1 The LORD took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the LORD to a valley filled with bones.2 He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out.3 Then he asked me, "Son of man, can these bones become living people again?"
"O Sovereign LORD," I replied, "you alone know the answer to that."
4 Then he said to me, "Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, 'Dry bones, listen to the word of the LORD!5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again!6 I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.'"
7 So I spoke this message, just as he told me. Suddenly as I spoke, there was a rattling noise all across the valley. The bones of each body came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons.8 Then as I watched, muscles and flesh formed over the bones. Then skin formed to cover their bodies, but they still had no breath in them.
9 Then he said to me, "Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.'"
10 So I spoke the message as he commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army.
11 Then he said to me, "Son of man, these bones represent the people of Israel. They are saying, 'We have become old, dry bones—all hope is gone. Our nation is finished.'12 Therefore, prophesy to them and say, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: O my people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. Then I will bring you back to the land of Israel.13 When this happens, O my people, you will know that I am the LORD.14 I will put my Spirit in you, and you will live again and return home to your own land. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken, and I have done what I said. Yes, the LORD has spoken!'"
15 Again a message came to me from the LORD:16 "Son of man, take a piece of wood and carve on it these words: 'This represents Judah and its allied tribes.' Then take another piece and carve these words on it: 'This represents Ephraim and the northern tribes of Israel.'*17 Now hold them together in your hand as if they were one piece of wood.18 When your people ask you what your actions mean,19 say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take Ephraim and the northern tribes and join them to Judah. I will make them one piece of wood in my hand.'
20 "Then hold out the pieces of wood you have inscribed, so the people can see them.21 And give them this message from the Sovereign LORD: I will gather the people of Israel from among the nations. I will bring them home to their own land from the places where they have been scattered.22 I will unify them into one nation on the mountains of Israel. One king will rule them all; no longer will they be divided into two nations or into two kingdoms.23 They will never again pollute themselves with their idols* and vile images and rebellion, for I will save them from their sinful backsliding. I will cleanse them. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God.
24 "My servant David will be their king, and they will have only one shepherd. They will obey my regulations and be careful to keep my decrees.25 They will live in the land I gave my servant Jacob, the land where their ancestors lived. They and their children and their grandchildren after them will live there forever, generation after generation. And my servant David will be their prince forever.26 And I will make a covenant of peace with them, an everlasting covenant. I will give them their land and increase their numbers,* and I will put my Temple among them forever.27 I will make my home among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.28 And when my Temple is among them forever, the nations will know that I am the LORD, who makes Israel holy."