That Eerie Dry Bones Story
By James Donahue
Book of Ezekiel, Chapter 37, contains one of the most eerie stories to be found in the Old Testament. Ezekiel tells how he
was “carried away” and taken to a valley filled with dried out human bones scattered all over the floor of a valley.
He was told to believe in the power of God, and to command the bones to rise up to life.
“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. Then as I
watched, muscles and flesh formed over the bones. Then skin formed to cover their bodies.”
Ezekiel said he was then commanded to speak a prophetic message and command the bodies
to rise up and become alive again. “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.”
the sight of a zombie army like this, rising up from piles of dried bones, apparently the remains of a great battle once fought
where the dead bodies were left in the field to decay and be picked clean by wildlife and insects. Now, as commanded by the
God of the Hebrews, with words spoken by Ezekiel on behalf of God, the bones spring back to life to fight once more.
So what is the significance of such a story?
Verse 11 explains that the bones represent the people of Israel who have become spread across the land, without
a home and seemingly without hope. But the Lord proclaims: “My people, I am going to open your graves
and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel . . . I will put my Spirit in you and you will live,
and I will settle you in your own land.”
Indeed, if we accept the Old Testament stories as they were written, the Hebrew people did occupy
the land of Palestine and were ruled by Kings David and his son, King Solomon. The stories tell how the people fought for
the land of Canaan and occupied it until driven out by the Romans and eventually the Christian crusades. Yet much of this
recorded Old Testament history is now disputed by archaeologists who question whether David and Solomon ever even existed.
But there is a strange contemporary sequence to the dry bones story. During World War II,
as Hitler was ordering the Nazi army to seek out and kill Jews throughout Europe, there was a mass exodus of Jewish people
back into Palestine, where they believed they still possessed a God-ordained inheritance.
They moved in and shared the land with the Palestinians at first, but eventually began to take the
territory as their own. Today there is an ongoing battle between the Palestinians and the Jews over the Land of Israel. The
issue has remained a sore spot in world politics ever since and shows no sign of going away.
The Jews have indeed carved out a hunk of Palestine and created a Nation of Israel that now is recognized by the
world. What they did was clearly unfair to the Palestine people who had their land occupied and taken away from them. But
how was that different from what the Europeans did to the American Indians when they moved into the North American continent?
So in a sense, the prophecy of the dry bones has really happened before our eyes. Not only
have the Jewish people remained uniquely separated from the other world races and nationalities for over 2,000 years, but
they seem to have magically returned to the land they claim was always meant to be theirs.