1The Lord picked me up and carried me away by his Spirit. He set me down in the middle of a valley that was full of bones.
2He led me around them, and in all directions I saw many, many bones on the valley floor. They were really dry.
3Then he asked me, “Son of man, can these bones come back to life?” “Lord God, only you know the answer,” I replied.
4He told me, “Prophesy to these bones and tell them, Dry bones, listen to this message from the Lord!
5This is what the Lord God says to these bones: I will breathe into you, and you will come back to life.
6I will give you tendons and have flesh grow over you and cover you with skin. I will breathe into you so that you will come back to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”
7So I prophesied just as I had been ordered. When I started prophesying, suddenly I heard a rattling noise. The bones joined together, bone attached to bone.
8As I watched, I saw tendons and flesh grow on them, and skin covered them; but the bodies didn't breathe.
9Then he told me, “Prophesy to the breath! Prophesy, son of man, and tell the breath that this is what the Lord God says: Breath, come from the four winds, and breathe into these bodies, so that they can come back to life!”
10So I prophesied just as he had ordered me, and the breath went into the bodies, and they came back to life and stood up, a huge army!
11He told me, “Son of man, these bones represent all the people of Israel. Listen to what the people are saying, ‘Our bones have dried up, and our hope has been crushed. We have been wiped out!’
12So prophesy and tell them that this is what the Lord God says: My people, I'm going to open your graves and lift you out of them, and I will take you back to the country of Israel.
13Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and lift you out of them, my people.
14I will put my Spirit in you and you will live again, and I will take you back to your own country. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will carry it out, declares the Lord.”
15Another message from the Lord came to me, saying,
16“Son of man, get one piece of wood and write on it: ‘This belongs to Judah and the Israelite tribes allied to them.’ Then get another piece of wood and write on it: ‘This belongs to Joseph. This is Ephraim's piece of wood, and to the Israelite tribes allied to them.’
17Then join the two pieces of wood into one, so that you hold them as one in your hand.
18When your people come and ask you, ‘Are you going to explain what this is all about?’
19tell them that this is what the Lord God says: I'm going to take Joseph's piece of wood, which Ephraim is holding, along with the Israelite tribes allied with them, and I'll join them with Judah's piece of wood. I will make them into a single piece of wood, and they will be as one in my hand.
20When you're holding the pieces of wood you've written on, and while everyone is watching,
21tell them that this is what the Lord God says: I'm going to bring the Israelites back from the nations where they've gone. I will gather them from everywhere and take them back to their own country.
22I will make them one nation in the country, living in the mountains of Israel, and one king will rule them all. They won't be two nations any longer; never again will they be divided into two kingdoms.
23They won't make themselves unclean anymore with their idols or disgusting images, or with any of their rebellious sins. I will save them from all their sins when they abandoned me, and I will make them clean. They will be my people, and I will be their God.
24My servant David will be their king. They will be united under one ruler. They will follow my laws, and they will observe and practice my regulations.
25They will live in the country I gave to my servant Jacob where your forefathers lived. They will live there with their children and grandchildren forever, and my servant David will be their prince forever.
26I will make an agreement of peace with them. This will be an everlasting agreement. I will make them secure and increase their numbers, and I will keep my sanctuary there with them forever.
27My Tabernacle will be with them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
28The nations will acknowledge that I am the Lord who blesses Israel, when my sanctuary is with them forever.”