B. Israel will be restored to the land through a covenant of peace (33:23—
Since land had been part of the Lord’s unconditional promise to the patriarchs,
the issue of Israel’s return to the land was of utmost theological importance. No matter
how miserably Israel had failed in understanding its covenant mandate to be a holy nation
(Exod 19:5–6) they were clear on the fact that the land belonged to them by promise.
Hence, Ezekiel now turns to the issue of the nation’s restoration to the land in obedience
To set the context Ezekiel reviews the reasons for Israel’s captivity, namely
their disobedience to the Mosaic covenant (33:23–29—cf. Deut 28). They were still not
in a state of spiritual obedience (33:30–33) and could not be until the Lord effected a
spiritual reconstitution of His people (34:1–31). Once He has instituted a new covenant
with them, called here a covenant of peace (34:25), then He Himself would rule over
them as the True Shepherd, the Messiah of the house of David (34:23–24), and they
would dwell in the land in abundance and security (34:37–29).
The actual process of this restoration follows in 35:1—39:29. It will begin
with the judgment of those foreigners who had continually sought to possess the land,
represented by Edom, the ancient enemy of Israel, herein identified as Mt. Seir (35:1–15).
In this way the land, which had become plunder for the rest of the nations (36:4) would
be liberated and filled once more with the people to whom it had been promised, namely,
Israel (36:1–15). However, Israel had been delivered into the land before, under the
leadership of Moses and Joshua, and had failed to maintain possession. What would be
different this time? The key to Israel’s future obedience, and thus the perpetual enjoy-