"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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Ezekiel: Valley of Dry Bones
Ezekiel 37:1-14 Commentary
by Brent A. Strawn
Few people these days, or so it seems, know much about the long, complex, and exceedingly odd book of the prophet Ezekiel.
But if they know anything, it’s likely to be Ezekiel 37:1-14, if only because it was the inspiration for the old spiritual, “Dem Bones,” by James Weldon Johnson, recorded by The Famous Myers Jubilee Singers in 1928. The lyrics include a litany of various bones, their connections, and an address that they listen to Ezekiel’s prophecy.
Toe bone connected to the foot bone Foot bone connected to the heel bone… Now hear the word of the Lord. Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk around Dem bones, dem bones gonna rise again. Now hear the word of the Lord….
But if this passage is somewhat familiar, given the catchy tune accompanying this lyric, the details of the text are nothing short of ghoulish -- or, better, cadaverous. The unit is famous for its possible relationship to notions of resurrection in ancient Israel, but before any talk of resurrection is raised (pun intended in this case), the intensely morbid nature of Ezekiel’s vision must be fully reckoned ...
| Bible Text
2019-20 Worship resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL294: Ezekiel: Valley of Dry Bones
December 10, 2017
This is the podcast for Ezekiel 37:1-14, the Narrative Lectionary reading for Dec. 10, 2017, featuring Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Kathryn Schifferdecker, and Craig Koester. Podcast recorded at Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn.