Ezekiel 37:5

Hebrew Bible

3 He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said to him, “Sovereign Lord, you know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and tell them: ‘Dry bones, listen to the Lord’s message. 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: Look, I am about to infuse breath into you and you will live. 6 I will put tendons on you and muscles over you and will cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will live. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. There was a sound when I prophesied— I heard a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to bone.

John 20:22

New Testament

20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. Just as the Father has sent me, I also send you.” 22 And after he said this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you retain anyone’s sins, they are retained.” 24 Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.

 Notes and References

"... There are several broader connections between the spirit/breath/wind in John 20 and Ezekiel 37. John’s allusions to nearby material suggest his interest in this section of Ezekiel. John has already alluded once to the dry bones oracle in John 5:25-28 (above), as well as to the “one nation” oracle that follows in Ezekiel (John 10:16, 11:52 / Ezekiel 37:19-25). The material in Ezekiel’s preceding oracle (the “new spirit” and sprinkling of water, Ezekiel 36:25-28) also seems to have influenced John’s use of water symbolism. Both Ezekiel 37 and John 20:22 describe the giving of God’s Spirit. Ezekiel explains the meaning of the raised dry bones in Ezekiel 37:13-14, “You will know that I am the Lord when I open your graves… and I will give my Spirit in you, and you will live, and I will place you in your land.” Ezekiel pictures the despairing exiles as dead, in the tomb of Babylon. The restoration of Israel is pictured as the restoration of life, God’s breathing life back into the dead bodies ... Jesus’ prophetic action of blowing, combined with the uttering of the words ‘receive the Holy Spirit,’ seems intended to announce the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy and the arrival of the new covenant. Ezekiel’s promise of national restoration, however, is muted; John does not use Ezekiel’s promise of return to the land, and it is only the disciples of Jesus, rather than the “whole house of Israel” (Ezekiel 37:11) that receive the gift of the Spirit ..."

Manning, Gary T. Shepherd, Vine, and Bones: The Use of Ezekiel in the Gospel of John (pp. 1-31) T&T Clark, 2010

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