27. My tabernacle … with them—as foretold (Ge 9:27); Jn 1:14, “The Word … dwelt among us” (literally, “tabernacled”); first, in humiliation; hereafter, in manifested glory (Rev 21:3).
The Source of Israel’s Renaissance (37:26–27)
Now the attention returns to Yahweh, the source of Israel’s renewal, who hereby promises to make a new (renewed) covenant with Israel. The declaration modifies the standard formula for covenant making with two significant if familiar qualifiers. The first, covenant of peace (bĕrît šālôm), derives from 34:25–31, where Ezekiel had expounded on the gloriously harmonious relations it effects among all parties in the deity-nation-land association. The second, eternal covenant (bĕrît ʿôlām), stems from Lev. 26:4. This expression, which is found in other prophets as well, speaks of both the chronological durability of Yahweh’s commitment and its inviolability. The latter places the “covenant of peace” into the same category as other eternal covenants: Noachian (Gen. 9:12), Abrahamic (Gen. 17:7), Mosaic (Exod. 31:16; Lev. 24:8), Davidic. Does Ezekiel envision a new covenant, or the renewal of one of these? If the latter is correct, which of these covenants is restored? Ezekiel provides his own clues to the answer.
First, the content of the covenant is defined by the familiar covenant formula, “I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Second, as a corollary to the covenant Yahweh will give to them [the land of Israel] (ûnĕtattîm). Without an adverbial modifier ûnĕtattîm appears to be a truncated form of the land-grant formula, forms of which appear in connection with the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants. Significantly, in three of the four occurrences of the covenant formula in Ezekiel it is accompanied by Yahweh’s promise to restore the nation-land tie.124 Third, Yahweh will multiply the nation, an expression that alludes to the promise to Abraham to multiply his descendants as the stars of the sky, the grains of sand on the seashore, and the dust of the earth. Fourth, Yahweh will establish his own residence in the midst of the nation. That this statement represents the climax of Ezekiel’s vision of Israel’s great new day is evident from: (1) the semipoetic parallelistic construction; (2) the assurance of the promise’s durability and irrevocability with the key word ʿôlām; (3) the repetition of the theme in the expanded recognition formula in v. 28; (4) the later resumption of this subject with the most detailed discussion in the entire book (chs. 40–48). Fifth, in a previous reference to the “everlasting covenant” (16:60–63), Yahweh had spoken of “remembering” (zākar) his covenant made with his people in their youth; this reference suggests a preexistent entity. Sixth, Ezekiel’s vision of the restoration is always presented in terms of past realities and past experiences. The original exodus from Egypt provides the paradigm for the new exodus from among the nations.
The terms of the covenant made at Sinai thus provide the background not only for Israel’s judgment but also for the hope of restoration. Built into the original Mosaic covenant was the prospect that Yahweh would not forever reject his people. Indeed, the present complex of promises bears a striking resemblance to Lev. 26:1–13, a text that has figured often in Ezekiel’s oracles. Here the prophet also anticipates nothing less than the fulfillment of Deut. 4:30. From the context of dispersion among the nations, the Israelites will learn that Yahweh, their God, is a compassionate God. He will neither fail them nor destroy them utterly. The basis of the nation’s eternal hope is Yahweh’s eternal, immutable covenant with the ancestors.
Yahweh’s residence is identified by two expressions, which reflect opposite dimensions of the divine character. miqdāš, Ezekiel’s favorite designation for the sanctuary (5:11; 8:6; 9:6), from qdš, “to be holy,” highlights the holiness of the residence and reflects the transcendent nature of the one who dwells within. miškān, residence, from šākan, “to reside, dwell,” occurs only here in the book with reference to the house of God (cf. 25:4, used of human dwellings). This expression reflects the immanence, the condescending presence, of God. In Exodus it is often associated with the ʾōhel môʿēd, “tent of appointments,” which symbolized Yahweh’s desire for regular contact with his people. Ezekiel’s combination of nouns and prepositions is paradoxical. The sanctuary is in their midst, among (bĕtôk) the people; the residence or dwelling place is over (ʿal) them. The latter may have been influenced by the image of the kābôd of Yahweh, which resided over (šākan ʿal) the tent of meeting (Exod. 40:35). Like the promise of land, so the promise of the divine presence among his people is often associated with the ancient covenant formula (cf. Exod. 29:45–46). Ezekiel’s statement expresses Yahweh’s definitive rejection of any threat ever to abandon his people again, as he had in 586 B.C., and as was so graphically portrayed in the temple vision of chs. 8–11.
37:27–28 My dwelling place shall be with them. The oracle’s conclusion emphasizes the centrality of God’s presence to the renewed people, the greatest of all blessings by far. The “dwelling place” (Hb. mishkan) recalls the wilderness tabernacle. The sanctuary (Hb. miqdash; see v. 26) points rather to the temple, in particular the renewed temple, which will occupy Ezekiel’s attention in ch. 44.
Vers. 26, 27.—With the people thus gathered (ver. 21), united (ver. 22), purified (ver. 23), and established under the rule of Messiah (ver. 25), Jehovah makes a covenant of peace (see on ch. 34:25; and comp. Ps. 89:3), further characterized as an everlasting covenant; or, covenant of eternity (see on ch. 16:60; and comp. Gen. 17:7; Isa. 55:3; Jer. 32:40); which guarantees the continuance between him and them of undying friendship, conjoined with the bestowment on his part and the enjoyment on theirs of the highest social and religious blessings. First, national existence and secure possession of the soil. I will place (literally, give) them, either to their land, as in ch. 17:22 (Smend), or to be a nation (Keil), or perhaps both (Kliefoth). Next, steady increase of population—I will multiply them (comp. ch. 36:37; Lev. 26:9). Thirdly, perpetual residence of Jehovah amongst them, I will set (or, give) my sanctuary (mikdashi, conveying the idea of sanctity) in the midst of them for evermore (comp. Lev. 26:11); my tabernacle (mishkani, the idea being that of residence or dwelling) also shall be with them; or, over them—the figure being derived from the elevated site of the temple, which overhung the city (Ps. 69:29), and intended to suggest the idea of Jehovah’s protecting grace. That this promise was in part implemented by the erection of the second temple in the days of Zerubbabel may be conceded, and also that Ezekiel himself may have looked forward to a literal restoration of the sanctuary; but its highest realization must be sought for, first in the Incarnation (John 1:14), next in God’s inhabitation of the Church through the Spirit (2 Cor. 6:16), and finally in his tabernacling with redeemed men in the heavenly Jerusalem (Rev. 21:3, 22). The last blessing specified is the intimate communion of God with his people, and of them with him—Yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. This, which formed the kernel of the old covenant with Israel (Lev. 26:12), became the essence of the new covenant with the Israel of the restoration (ch. 11:20; 36:28; Jer. 30:22; 31:33; 32:38; 8:8; 13:9), but only attained to complete realization in the relation of Christian believers to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 6:16).
 Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 611). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
 Block, D. I. (1997–). The Book of Ezekiel, Chapters 25–48 (pp. 419–421). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
 Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1560). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
 Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Ezekiel (Vol. 2, p. 268). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.