Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones

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Engraving of "The Vision of The Valley of The Dry Bones" by Gustave Doré

The Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones (or The Valley of Dry Bones or The Vision of Dry Bones) is a prophecy in chapter 37 of the Book of Ezekiel.[1] The chapter details a vision revealed to the prophet Ezekiel, conveying a dream-like realistic-naturalistic depiction.

In his vision, the prophet sees himself standing in the valley full of dry human bones. He is commanded to carry a prophecy. Before him, the bones connect into human figures; then the bones become covered with tendon tissues, flesh and skin. Then God reveals the bones to the prophet as the people of Israel in exile and commands the prophet to carry another prophecy in order to revitalize these human figures, to resurrect them and to bring them to the Land of Israel.

Literary references[edit]

The novelist Anthony Powell named The Valley of Bones, the seventh novel in the sequence A Dance to the Music of Time, for this part of Ezekiel 37. The novel is about the opening days of World War II. The entirety of the relevant part of Ezekiel 37 is read from the pulpit at the end of Chapter 1 by a Church of England pastor to a motley group of mostly Welsh miners and bankers as well as some officers from England's upper classes as they begin to form a company. The pastor suggests that not just they, but all of the British army as it prepares for war, should take this image as a way of thinking about how they need to come together. Unlike in Ezekiel, though, as the novel unfolds,

The hand and spirit of God are absent; instead, there are men – never very strong, often ineffective, seldom secure, always troubled....Powell's narrative pictures the partial breakdown of an infantry company: the personal ossification of some men, the cracking of the mold in others, the failure (and even death) of still others.[2]

Poet Glauco Ortolano wrote a poem entitled Valley of the Dry Bones based on Ezekiel 37.

As Israel bid farewell to Babylon
In the Valley of Dry Bones
So should we
Overcome the sins and enticements
Of the world

Thus, when our time to return from the grave comes,
Let our bones reconnect with our figure
So we may be allowed to fight the last insurrection
As the fruits of the first resurrection

In popular culture[edit]

James Weldon Johnson's well-known spiritual "Dem Bones", also known as "Dry Bones", was inspired by Ezekiel's vision of the Valley of Dry Bones.
The game [World of Warcraft] by Blizzard has an area called the Valley of the Bones in the Burning Crusade area called the Hellfire Peninsula. It is related to the quest Smooth as Butter The 2020 worship song Rattle by Elevation Worship is based on the story of the dry bones.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Book of Ezekiel, 37:1-14
  2. ^ Morris, Robert (1968). The Novels of Anthony Powell. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 218–230. Retrieved June 14, 2020.