The Land of Israel Will Be Rebuilt
1“Son of man,#36:1 Son of man This was usually just a way of saying “a person” or “a human being.” Here, it is a way of addressing Ezekiel. Also in verse 17. speak to the mountains of Israel for me. Tell them to listen to the word of the Lord! 2Tell them that this is what the Lord GOD says: ‘The enemy said bad things against you. They said, Hurray! Now the ancient mountains#36:2 mountains Literally, “high places,” usually a reference to places of worship. See “high place” in the Word List. will be ours!’
3“So speak to the mountains of Israel for me. Tell them that this is what the Lord GOD says: ‘The enemy destroyed your cities and attacked you from every direction. They did this so that you would belong to the other nations. Then people talked and whispered about you.’”
4So, mountains of Israel, listen to the word of the Lord GOD! This is what the Lord GOD says to the mountains, hills, streams, valleys, empty ruins, and abandoned cities that have been looted and laughed at by the other nations around them. 5The Lord GOD says, “I swear, I will let my strong feelings speak for me! I will let Edom and the other nations feel my anger. They took my land for themselves. They really had a good time when they showed how much they hated this land. They took the land for themselves, just so they could destroy it.”
6“So say these things about the land of Israel. Speak to the mountains and to the hills, to the streams, and to the valleys. Tell them that this is what the Lord GOD says: ‘I will let my strong feelings and anger speak for me, because you had to suffer the insults from those nations.’”
7So this is what the Lord GOD says: “I am the one making this promise! I swear that the nations around you will have to suffer for those insults.
8“But mountains of Israel, you will grow new trees and produce fruit for my people Israel. My people will soon come back. 9I am with you, and I will help you. People will till your soil and plant seeds in you. 10There will be many people living on you. The whole family of Israel—all of them—will live there. The cities will have people living in them. The destroyed places will be rebuilt. 11I will give you many people and animals, and they will grow and have many children. I will bring people to live on you as in the past. I will make it better for you than before. Then you will know that I am the Lord. 12Yes, I will lead many people—my people, Israel—to your land. You will be their property, and you will not take away their children again.”
13This is what the Lord GOD says: “Land of Israel, people say bad things to you. They say you destroyed your people. They say you took the children away from your people. 14But you will not destroy people anymore or take away their children again.” This is what the Lord GOD said. 15“I will not let those other nations insult you anymore. You will not be hurt by them anymore. You will not take the children away from your people again.” This is what the Lord GOD said.
The Lord Will Protect His Name
16Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, 17“Son of man, the family of Israel lived in their own country, but they made that land filthy by the bad things they did. To me, they were like a woman who becomes unclean because of her monthly time of bleeding. 18They spilled blood on the ground when they murdered people in the land. They made the land filthy with their idols, so I showed them how angry I was. 19I scattered them among the nations and spread them through all the lands. I gave them the punishment they deserved for the bad things they did. 20But even in those other nations, they ruined my good name. How? Those nations said, ‘These are the Lord’s people, but they left his land.’
21“The people of Israel ruined my holy name wherever they went, and I felt sorry for my name. 22So tell the family of Israel that this is what the Lord GOD says: ‘Family of Israel, you ruined my holy name in the places where you went. I am going to do something to stop this. I will not do it for your sake, Israel. I will do it for my holy name. 23I will show the nations how holy my great name really is. You ruined my good name in those nations! But I will show you that I am holy. I will make you respect my name, and then those nations will know that I am the Lord.’” This is what the Lord GOD said.
24“I will take you out of those nations, gather you together, and bring you back to your own land. 25Then I will sprinkle pure water on you and make you pure. I will wash away all your filth, the filth from those nasty idols, and I will make you pure. 26I will also put a new spirit in you to change your way of thinking. I will take out the heart of stone from your body and give you a tender, human heart. 27I will put my Spirit inside you#36:27 I will put my Spirit inside you Or “I will make my Spirit live among you.” and change you so that you will obey my laws. You will carefully obey my commands. 28Then you will live in the land that I gave to your ancestors. You will be my people, and I will be your God. 29Also, I will save you and keep you from becoming unclean. I will command the grain to grow. I will not bring a famine against you. 30I will give you large crops of fruit from your trees and the harvest from your fields so that you will never again feel the shame of being hungry in a foreign country. 31You will remember the bad things you did. You will remember that those things were not good. Then you will hate yourselves because of your sins and the terrible things you did.”
32The Lord GOD says, “I want you to remember this: I am not doing these things for your good! I am doing them for my good name. Family of Israel, you should be ashamed and embarrassed about the way you lived!”
33This is what the Lord GOD says: “On the day that I wash away your sins, I will bring people back to your cities. The ruined cities will be rebuilt. 34People will begin again to work the land so when other people pass by they will not see ruins anymore. 35They will say, ‘In the past, this land was ruined, but now it is like the Garden of Eden. The cities were destroyed. They were ruined and empty, but now they are protected, and there are people living in them.’
36“Then the nations that are still around you will know I am the Lord and that I rebuilt those places. I planted things in this land that was empty. I am the Lord. I said this, and I will make them happen!”
37This is what the Lord GOD says: “I will also let the family of Israel come to me and ask me to do these things for them. I will make them grow and become many people. They will be like flocks of sheep. 38During the special festivals, Jerusalem was filled with flocks of sheep and goats that had been made holy. In the same way the cities and ruined places will be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”