by Clarence E. Macartney

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The Parable of the Dry Bones (13 of 15)
Series: The Parables of the Old Testament
Clarence Macartney
Ezekiel 37

The hand of the Lord was upon Ezekiel, Israel's exiled prophet, and he was set down in the midst of a vast and dismal valley, a valley not of the shadow of death, but of the gruesome relics of death. Even the scattered bones of a beast of the field lying by the wayside speak with melancholy accents to man and serve to remind him of his latter end. Much more so the relics of the human body itself.

What a sight was this that greeted the prophet's eye! In this valley a great battle had once been fought for empire and dominion. Here had waved the standards of the invaders, and there the banners of those defending their native soil; here the squadrons of horse had met in thunderous onset, and there the phalanxes of the foot soldiers. But long ago the tide of battle had rolled back from this now deserted valley. That is the strangest thing about such battle fields as Shiloh, Chickamauga, and the Wilderness, and their deep silence and solitude. Once the thousands of the flower of the nation met on those fields in mortal combat; but today, save for graceful memorial to the heroic dead, they are as silent and unfrequented as a primeval forest.

So in this valley of Ezekiel's vision there reigned silence and desolation; not only silence, but desolation, for the bones of the victims of the battle were strewn over the earth like the fallen leaves of the autumn. Years had passed since the trumpets sounded the attack and the retreat. ''Wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.'' The vultures had done their part, and the rains and the dews and the snows had done theirs, and now nothing but bones, barren and bleached, were left of the once mighty host. Here they lay, rank upon rank, row upon row. Grim skeletons grinned from the helmets which encased them, and rusted and unlifted lances lay across the bones of the hands which ...

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