Ezekiel 36

The Word Made Fresh

1“And you, son of man, speak to the mountains of Israel. Say, mountains, hear the word of the LORD. 2For this is what the LORD says: Because the enemy said of you, ‘Ha! The ancient hills now belong to us,’ 3you should say this prophesy: Thus says the LORD God: because they left you deserted, attacking you from every side until you were possessed by the other nations and became a laughing stock slandered by the peoples; 4therefore, mountains of Israel, hear what the LORD God has to say: The LORD God says to the mountains and hills and streams and valleys, and even the empty lands and deserted towns which have become nothing more than a source of plunder and a place to be derided by the other nations; 5so,” says the LORD God: “I am speaking in heated jealousy against all the other nations, including Edom, who joyfully and contemptuously took my land as their own possession to plunder its pastures. 6So, son of man, prophesy about the land of Israel and tell the mountains and hills and streams and valleys this is what the LORD God says: I am speaking angrily because you have suffered the insults of the nations. 7So,” says the LORD God, “I swear that the nations all around you will also suffer such insults.

8“But you mountains of Israel will sprout branches and give your fruit to my people Israel, for they are soon coming home. 9I am for you. I will help you and you shall be plowed and planted. 10I will multiply the number of those in the house of Israel. The towns will be reinhabited, and the deserted places rebuilt. 11I will multiply the people and animals in your midst. They will grow and be fruitful, and I will fill you with people as you were in times past. I will do more for you than ever before, and then you will know that I am the LORD.  12I will lead my people Israel back to you to possess you as their inheritance. They will no longer be bereft of children.”

13The LORD God says this: “Because they say that you devour people and take away from your nation, 14you will no longer do so,” says the LORD God. 15“And I will no longer let you hear the insults from the other nations nor let you bear their disgrace, and you shall no longer cause your nation to stumble,” says the LORD God.

16The LORD spoke to me again, saying: 17“Son of man, when the people of Israel lived on their own land, they polluted it because of the way they lived. I saw how unclean they were, like a woman’s monthly uncleanness. 18So, I acted in anger because of the blood they had shed across the land and because they defiled it with their idols. 19So, I scattered them among the nations because of their conduct and actions. 2But when they arrived in the other countries, they smeared my holy name. The peoples said of them, ‘These are the people of the LORD, but they had to leave the LORD’s land.’ 21I was concerned for my sacred name which Israel had cursed among all the nations to which they came.

22“So, tell the house of Israel that the LORD says this: It is not for your sake that I am about to act, but for the sake of my sacred name which you have profaned among all the peoples to whom you came. 23I will make my holy name holy again, my name that you have corrupted among the nations. And they shall know that I am the LORD,” says the LORD God, “when I reveal to them my sacred nature through you. 24I will remove you from all the countries, and return you to your own land. 25I will wash you with clean water, and you will be cleansed of your idols and all your misbehavior. 26I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit inside you, and I will remove your heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh. 27I will place my spirit within you so that you will follow my laws and be careful to keep all my rules. 28Then you shall live in the land that I had given your ancestors. You shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29I will rescue you from your uncleanliness, and I will make your grain abundant and send no famine against you. 30I will make the fruit of the trees and the food of the fields abundant, and you will never again suffer from famine and be disgraced among the nations. 31Then you will remember all your wickedness and actions that were not good. You will hate yourselves because of your sins and terrible deeds. 32But know that it is not for your sake that I will do these things,” says the LORD God. You should be ashamed for your ways.

33The LORD God says: “On the very day that I make you clean from all your sins, I will let the towns be reinhabited and the ruined places be rebuilt. 34The land that was wiped out will be farmed again. It will no longer be the desolate ground that it was in the sight of those who passed by it. 35Everyone will say, ‘This land that was desolate is now like the garden of Eden. People again live in the empty and ruined towns.’ 36Then the other nations around you will know that I, the LORD, have rebuilt the ruined towns and replanted the ruined fields. I, the LORD, have spoken, and I will do it.

37“So,” the LORD God says: “I will also allow the people of Israel to ask me to increase their numbers like a flock of sheep. 38They shall be like the holy flock that provides sacrifices in Jerusalem during the appointed holidays. The ruined towns shall once again be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the LORD.”


1-7: Ezekiel now is to prophesy to “the mountains of Israel,” which have been desolated by God’s wrath to the delight of the Edomites (verse 5) and all the nations. First of all, those nations are themselves to suffer the wrath of God.

8-12: The mountains of Israel, however, will thrive. Crops will be harvested, the population of people and domestic animals will increase, villages will again be settled and vibrant, and they will be possessed by the people of Israel rather than foreigners like those awful, awful Edomites.

13-15: Israel’s reputation for mistreating its own people will be reversed.

16-21: In a sense, the tables have been turned on God. God punished the people for profaning the sacred name, scattering them among the nations, but then the nations reached another conclusion: this is how the LORD treats God’s people!

22-32: So, God is going to bring them back to the land that had been given them, not for their own sake but for the sake of God’s own reputation. God is going to change them by removing their “hearts of stone,” and then putting a new spirit within them so that they will be ashamed for their sinfulness. This is similar to the sentiment expressed by Jeremiah, that God will give them a new heart (Jeremiah 32:33).

33-36: When the rebuilding and the resettling takes place the other nations will know that the LORD has done it.

37-38: On more than one occasion God has refused to allow them to ask for some favor to be done for them (see 14:3, 20:3 and 20:30). That prohibition will be removed, and God will welcome their petitions and fill the land so that it is like a festival that is always in progress.


God created the heavens and the earth before creating people. The earth is then a sacred home for us, and God is concerned about how we treat the land that has been given to us. Untended property is an indication of a lack of respect for the true owner of the property – God.