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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on Ezekiel

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Commentary spanning earlier chapters

35.1–36.15 : Oracle on behalf of the mountains of Israel.

35.1–15 : Oracles against Edom.

Edom has already been judged in Ezekiel's middle section ( 25.12–14 ). The present description of its grabbing of land belonging to Israel (v. 10; cf. 1 Esd 4.50 ) has been placed here as a foil for the restoration message of 35.1–36.15 . Ezekiel's prophecies of restoration generally have as foils past wrongs, which they aim to reverse.

1–4 :

First oracle.

2 :

Mount Seir is the plateau in which Sela, the Edomite capital, was located.

5–9 :

Second oracle.

5 :

Cf. 25.12; Ob 10,14; Ps 137.7 .

10–13 :

Third oracle.

10 :

Two nations, Israel and Judah. The LORD was there until the glory left (see 11.22–25n. ); however, the glory will return ( 48.35 ).

14–15 :

Fourth oracle.

15a :

As Edom rejoiced over Judah's fall (Ob 12 ), so the world will rejoice over Edom's fall.

36.1–12 : Deliverance as “punishment.”

Mountains of Israel, the highlands, representing all Israel, are here promised deliverance and blessing as a defiant response to the nations who desolated and slandered them. Though dispossessed by Edom ( 35.1–15 ) and surrounding nations (Neh 2.19 ), Israel will be restored to her heritage. This oracle reverses ch 6 (e.g., contrast v. 10 with 6.4–7 ).

5 :

God's personal identification with the land of Israel is shown by the phrase my land (cf. Lev 25.23 ).

9 :

Lev 26.9 .

10 :

All of it, including the Northern Kingdom ( 37.21–22 ).

11 :

See Gen 1.28; Lev 26.9 .

12 :

An editorial transition to vv. 13–15 .

13–15 : No more disgrace.

The land had been feared as a devouring land at least since the time that Israel first reconnoitered it (Num 13.32 ). In Ezekiel's new Exodus and settlement, there will be no place for such defamation.

36.16–38 : God's honor as the cause of the restoration.

16–21 :

Historical prologue. According to the “Holiness Collection,” when the homeland becomes defiled, it vomits out its inhabitants (Lev 18.25,28 ). This is what has happened to the exiled Israelites.

17 :

Uncleanness, see Lev 15.19–30; 18.19 .

20 :

God's name was desecrated (cf. Lev 20.3; 22.2,32 ) either because the exile made God look powerless to protect the Israelites (NRSV's interpretation) or because God's people from God's own land prove to be depraved (alternate sense of the Hebrew).

22–32 :

Vv. 22 and 32 form an envelope around this section by their parallel assertions that the restoration is not anything deserved. God's grace is unmerited by the people and even precedes their repentance. (According to v. 31 , the people show remorse only after their restoration to the land. This chapter thus moves beyond texts such as Lev 26.40–42; Jer 31.18–20 , where repentance is the driving motivation behind restoration.)

24 :

A reversal of v. 19 .

25 :

God will sprinkle them (cf. Num 19.20 ) with water, cleansing them, inasmuch as human beings cannot make themselves clean.

26 :

Ezekiel's calls to repentance have failed (see especially 18.31 ). A radical, new creation (see 11.19; 18.31; cf. Deut 30.1–6; Jer 31.31–34 ) will be needed to break the people's bondage to the cycles of sin and retribution of Israel's past (ch 20 ). The concept of engrafting a new heart goes beyond Jer 31.33 and Deut 30.1–6 and is in keeping with Ezekiel's focus on God's sovereignty in effecting salvation ( 20.33–34 ).

27 :

God will place obedience to the covenant within each member of the community (Lev 26.3 ), so the restoration will be permanent.

29–30 :

Lev 26.4 .

33–36 :

The skeptical nations (v. 20 ) will recognize Israel's transformation to a paradise as God's act. Garden of Eden ( 28.13; 47.1–12; Isa 51.3; see Gen 2–3 ).

37–38 :

Note the reversal of 14.3; 20.3,31 . Population growth is a blessing of the “Holiness Collection” covenant (Lev 26.9 ). Like a flock, see ch 34 .

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