The power of the LORD came over me. The LORD brought me out by his Spirit and put me down in the middle of a valley. The valley was filled with bones.
He led me all around them. I saw that there were very many bones at the bottom of the valley, and they were very dry.
Then he asked me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" I answered, "Only you know, Almighty LORD."
Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones. Tell them, 'Dry bones, listen to the word of the LORD.
This is what the Almighty LORD says to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you will live.
I will put ligaments on you, place muscles on you, and cover you with skin. I will put breath in you, and you will live. Then you will know that I am the LORD.'"
So I prophesied as I was commanded. While I was prophesying, suddenly there was a rattling noise, and the bones came together, one bone [attaching itself] to another.
As I looked, I saw that ligaments were on them, muscles were on them, and skin covered them. Yet, there was no breath in them.
Then the LORD said to me, "Prophesy to the breath! Prophesy, son of man. Tell the breath, 'This is what the Almighty LORD says: Come from the four winds, Breath, and breathe on these people who were killed so that they will live.' "
So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath entered them. Then they came to life and stood on their feet. There were enough of them to form a very large army.
The LORD also said to me, "Son of man, all the people of Israel are like these bones. The people say, 'Our bones are dry, and our hope has vanished. We are completely destroyed.'
So prophesy. Tell them, 'This is what the Almighty LORD says: My people, I will open your graves and take you out of them. I will bring you to Israel.
Then, my people, you will know that I am the LORD, because I will open your graves and bring you out of your graves.
I will put my Spirit in you, and you will live. I will place you in your own land. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.'"
The LORD spoke his word to me again. He said,
"Son of man, take a stick and write on it: 'For Judah and for the Israelites who are associated with it.' Then take another stick and write on it, 'The stick of Ephraim, for Joseph and for all the people of Israel associated with it.'
Then join both sticks together so that they will be one in your hand. Your people will say to you,
'Tell us what you mean by this.'
Then say to them, 'This is what the Almighty LORD says: I will take Joseph's stick, which is in Ephraim's hand, and the tribes of Israel associated with it, and I will put them with Judah's stick. I will make them into one stick. They will be one in my hand.'
When you hold the sticks in your hand, let the people see them.
"Then tell them, 'This is what the Almighty LORD says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they've gone. I will gather them from everywhere and bring them to their own land.
I will form them into one nation in the land on the mountains of Israel. One king will rule all of them. They will no longer be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms.
They will no longer dishonor themselves with their idols, with their detestable things, or with their rebellious acts. I will forgive them for all the times they turned away from me and sinned. I will cleanse them so that they will be my people, and I will be their God.
" 'My servant David will be their king, and all of them will have one shepherd. They will live by my rules, and they will obey my laws.
They will live in the land that I gave my servant Jacob, the land where their ancestors lived. They, their children, and their grandchildren will live in it permanently. My servant David will always be their prince.
I will promise them peace. This promise will last forever. I will establish them, make them increase in number, and put my holy place among them permanently.
My dwelling place will be with them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
Then the nations will know that I, the LORD, have set Israel apart as holy, because my holy place will be among them permanently.'"