The Valley Of Dry Bones


Ezekiel was the son of Buzi, and he was captured and taken to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar B. C. 598, Ezekiel 1:1-3.

In the Book of Ezekiel, we read about the vision of the valley of dry bones in which God brings a fascinating vision to Ezekiel in demonstration of the new life which Israel will have.

When it comes to the Book of Ezekiel, for many people, this is the only part of the book they know, which is a great pity. But what does it mean?

The Vision Of Dry Bones

Valleys were commonplace for battles in Bible times, Genesis 14:1-16 / Joshua 7:1-3 / Joshua 8:1-29 / Judges 4:1-23 / Judges 5:1-23, and this valley is no exception, Ezekiel 37:1. The Spirit of the Lord takes Ezekiel to the middle of a valley.

I am sure as Ezekiel looked out, he saw mountains on both sides and a valley in between. But that is not all he sees, he sees the remains of an army who were defeated at some point in history and scattered throughout the valley, Ezekiel 37:9.

The dry bones coming to life must bring a smile to Ezekiel’s face as he now relates the vision. Here is where the spiritual comes from, we must remember we are reading about a vision situation. The prophet clearly indicates that this is happening, Ezekiel 37:1.

Here the nation of Israel are given new life, for they are pictured as being dead, completely dead, you can’t get more dead than dry bones, Ezekiel 37:2.

The prophet is taken to a valley full of ‘very dry’ bones, Ezekiel 37:2. After being asked if these bones can live, Ezekiel knew that only the Lord knew the answer to that question, Ezekiel 37:3.

He is asked to prophesy to the bones and to thereby make them come to life, Ezekiel 37:4-6. He knew that it was impossible for these bones to live, the bones were lifeless, they are dead and had been for a long while. A strange request perhaps, but by now, he is probably ready to do anything, He knows that it is the Lord, Ezekiel 37:6.

Obeying the Lord’s command, Ezekiel prophecies to the bones and things start happening, Ezekiel 37:7-10.

1. The bones come together, Ezekiel 37:7.

2. The sinews and flesh came on the skeletons, Ezekiel 37:8, just as the Lord said He would, Ezekiel 37:6.

3. They came to life, as vast as an army, Ezekiel 37:10.

The Meaning Of The Vision

The bones represent the people of Israel in Babylon, Ezekiel 37:11. They are to be brought back to life by God, Ezekiel 37:14. There is a clear likeness to a resurrection in this vision which indicates the state of the nation.

They are said to be in the grave, the bones are very dry and dried up, as a nation they are beyond anything they can do for themselves, Ezekiel 37:12-14. God must resurrect them if they are to have any hope.

Their undignified position as dry bones scattered throughout the land of Babylon is coming to an end, Jeremiah 25:9-11. The God of Israel will cause them to stand once more upright, in their own land, Ezekiel 37:12 / Ezekiel 37:14, once again with dignity.

Matthew Henry, in his commentary, says the following.

‘No created power could restore human bones to life. God alone could cause them to live. Skin and flesh covered them, and the wind was then told to blow upon these bodies, and they were restored to life. The wind was an emblem of the Spirit of God and represented his quickening powers. The vision was to encourage the desponding Jews; to predict both their restoration after the captivity and also their recovery from their present and long-continued dispersion. It was also a clear intimation of the resurrection of the dead; and it represents the power and grace of God, in the conversion of the most hopeless sinners to himself. Let us look to Him who will at last open our graves, and bring us forth to judgment, that He may now deliver us from sin, and put his Spirit within us, and keep us by his power, through faith, unto salvation.’


There is no arguing that the vision was all about Israel as a nation and their restoration, however, when it comes to the fulfilment of the vision many people have come to the wrong conclusion.

For example, many people believe that ‘this prophecy was fulfilled recently in 1948 when Israel was created by United Nations Resolution 181 which divided the territory of the British Mandate for Palestine into two states for Jews and Palestinian Arabs.’

However, God said that they would return after their seventy years of captivity in Babylon, Jeremiah 25:11-12 / Daniel 9:1-2, and God even named Cyrus as the king who would allow them to return, Isaiah 44:24-28.

History reveals that they did return way before 1948 and in three stages.

1. Stage 1 happened in 538 B.C. Ezra 1-6.

2. Stage 2 happened in 458 B.C. Ezra 7-10.

3. Stage 3 happened in 445/444 B.C. Nehemiah 1:1-13.

When the Persians conquered the Babylonians, Cyrus began changing things and allowed the people to go home to their own land. This was a guaranteed restoration that God was proclaiming.

The prophecy tells us that they would return home. And history tells us they did, returned home, rebuilt the temple and the city walls, and never again turned to idols, 2 Chronicles 36:22-23 / Ezra 1:1-4.


The vision which Ezekiel had of the valley of dry bones reminds us that Israel were in a hopeless and lifeless state. They could do nothing to save themselves or restore themselves back to life.

As Christians we need to remind ourselves that we too were just like Israel, we too were powerless to save ourselves, Romans 5:6, and very much spiritually dead, Ephesians 2:1-3.

And just like Israel as they were pictured in the valley of dry bones, only God can raise the dead back to life. God does the same with sinners today, they were dead in their sins and trespasses but because of His great mercy and love for us, He made us alive with Christ, Ephesians 2:4-6.

Just as Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, John 11:38-44, and we look forward to the time when He will raise up our bodies on the last day, 1 Corinthians 15:20-23.

In the meantime, we need to ask ourselves, are we living like we are alive, or merely just giving the impression that we are? Outwardly we may look great but inwardly we may be rotting away just as the church in Sardis was.

‘To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.’ Revelation 3:1