The land of Israel is comforted, both by destruction of the heathen, who spitefully used it, 1-7, and by the blessings of God promised to it, 8-15. Israel was rejected for their sin, 16-20, and God will glorify himself in a promise of pardon, 21-24. The blessings of Christ's kingdom, 25-38.
1 "Also, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel, and say, 'You mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD. 2 Thus says the Lord GOD: "Because the enemy had said against you, 'Aha, even the ancient high places are ours in possession,' 3 Therefore prophesy and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Because they have made you desolate and swallowed you up on every side, so that you might be a possession to the residue of the heathen, and you are taken up in the lips of talkers and are an infamy of the people,"'" 4 Therefore, mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD. Thus says the Lord GOD to the mountains, to the hills, to the rivers, to the valleys, to the desolate wastes, and to the cities that are forsaken, which became a prey and derision to the residue of the heathen who are around— 5 Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD: "Surely in the fire of my jealousy I have spoken against the residue of the heathen and against all Edom, who have appointed my land into their possession with the joy of all their heart, with despiteful minds, to cast it out for a prey."' 6 Prophesy therefore concerning the land of Israel, and say to the mountains, to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I have spoken in my jealousy and in my fury, because you have borne the shame of the heathen." 7 Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD: "I have lifted up my hand. Surely the heathen who are around you, they shall bear their shame. 8 But you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to my people of Israel, for they are at hand to come. 9 For behold, I am for you and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown. 10 And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it. And the cities shall be inhabited and the wastes shall be built. 11 And I will multiply upon you man and beast, and they shall increase and bring fruit. And I will settle you after your old states and will do better to you than at your beginnings. And you shall know that I am the LORD. 12 I will even cause men to walk upon you, even my people Israel. And they shall possess you, and you shall be their inheritance. And you shall no more from now on bereave them of men."
13 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Because they say to you, 'You devour men and have bereaved your nations,' 14 Therefore you shall no longer devour men, neither bereave your nations anymore," says the Lord GOD. 15 "I will not cause men to hear in you the shame of the heathen anymore, neither shall you bear the reproach of the people anymore, neither shall you cause your nations to fall anymore," says the Lord GOD.'"
16 Moreover, the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 17 "Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own way and by their doings. Their way was before me as the uncleanness of a removed woman. 18 Therefore, I poured my fury upon them for the blood that they had shed upon the land and for their idols with which they had polluted it. 19 And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries. According to their way and according to their doings I judged them. 20 And when they entered among the heathen where they went, they profaned my holy name when they said to them, 'These are the people of the LORD and have gone forth out of his land.' 21 But I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen where they went.
22 "Therefore, say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "I do not do this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for my holy name's sake, which you have profaned among the heathen where you went. 23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which you have profaned in the midst of them. And the heathen shall know that I am the LORD," says the Lord GOD, "when I have been sanctified in you before their eyes. 24 For I will take you from among the heathen, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean. From all your filthiness and from all your idols, I will cleanse you. 26 A new heart I will also give you, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them. 28 And you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers. And you shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will also save you from all your uncleannesses. And I will call for the grain and increase it, and lay no famine upon you. 30 And I will multiply the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field, so that you shall no longer receive reproach of famine among the heathen. 31 Then you shall remember your own evil ways and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. 32 It is not for your sakes that I do this," says the Lord GOD. "May that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel."
33 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "In the day that I have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be built. 34 And the desolate land shall be tilled, instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who passed by. 35 And they shall say, 'This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden, and the waste, desolate, and ruined cities have become fortified and are inhabited.' 36 Then the heathen who are left around you shall know that I, the LORD, build the ruined places and plant that which was desolate. I, the LORD, have spoken it, and I will do it."
37 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them. I will increase them with men like a flock. 38 As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts, so the waste cities shall be filled with flocks of men. And they shall know that I am the LORD."'"
Matthew Henry Commentary - Ezekiel, Chapter 36[➚]
John Gill's Chapter Summary:
This chapter is a prophecy concerning the desolations of the land of Israel and the causes of them; of the return of the people to it and the fruitfulness of it; and of spiritual blessings bestowed upon them in the latter day. And first, for the comfort of the people of Israel, it is observed that their enemies that insulted them will suffer the vengeance of God's wrath, particularly the Edomites (Ezekiel 36:1-7); that the land of Israel should again become fruitful, its cities rebuilt, men and beasts be multiplied upon it, and be no more liable to destruction, nor bear any more the reproach of the Heathen (Ezekiel 36:8-15); the causes of its desolation and destruction, the sins of its inhabitants, especially bloodshed, idolatry, and profanation of the name of God (Ezekiel 36:16-20); nevertheless the Lord promises to have mercy on them and return them to their own land, not for their sakes, but for his own name's sake (Ezekiel 36:21-24); then follow promises of spiritual blessings to them, as purification from all sin by the blood of Christ, regeneration by his Spirit and grace, and evangelical obedience as the fruit of that (Ezekiel 36:25-27); and others of a mixed kind, respecting partly temporal and partly spiritual blessings (Ezekiel 36:28-36); for all which it is expected of the Lord that he should be prayed to for them; particularly their inhabitation in their own land and the multiplication of them in it, with which the chapter concludes (Ezekiel 36:37-38).
[v.20] - Quoted in Romans 2:24.