WHAT EZEKIEL SAW IN THE VALLEY
 ALL that was left now of the people of Judah was a company
of captives, carried away from their own land to the
land of Babylon. Theirs was a long, sorrowful journey,
with their wives and children, dragged by cruel
soldiers over mountains and valleys almost a thousand
miles. They could not go straight across the vast
desert which lies between the land of Judah and the
plains of Babylonia. They were led around this desert
far to the north, through Syria, up to the Euphrates
river, and then following the great river in all its
windings down to the land of their captivity. There in
the land of Babylonia or Chaldea they found rest at
THE CAPTIVES IN BABYLON
When they were once in their new home the captives met
with less trouble than they had feared; for the people
of the land under Nebuchadnezzar, the great king,
treated them kindly, and gave them fields to work in as
their own. The soil was rich, and they could raise
large crops of wheat, and barley, and other grains.
They planted gardens and built for themselves houses.
Some of them went to live in the cities, and became
rich, and some were in the court of King
Nebuchadnezzar, and rose to high places as nobles and
princes, standing next to the king in rank and honor.
And the best of all was that these captives in a
strange land did not worship idols. They saw the images
of the Babylonian gods all around them, but they did
not bow down to them. They worshipped the Lord God of
their fathers, and the Lord only. The idol worshippers
in Judah had been slain, and most of the captives were
good men and women, who taught their children to love
and serve the lord.
And these people did not forget the land from which
they had come. They loved the land of Israel, and they
taught their children to love it by singing songs about
it. Some of these songs which the
 captive Jews sang in the land of Chaldea are in the
Book of Psalms. Here is a part of one of these songs:
"By the rivers of Babylon,
There we sat down, yea, we wept,
When we remembered Zion.
Upon the willow-trees in the midst of that land
We hanged up our harps
For there they that led us captive asked us to sing;
And they that wanted us asked us to be glad, saying,
'Sing us one of the songs of Zion.'
How shall we sing the Lord's song
In a foreign land?
If I forget thee, O Jerusalem,
Let my right hand forget her skill,
Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth,
If I do not remember thee
If I do not prefer Jerusalem
Above my chief joy."
From this time these people were called Jews, a name
which means "people of Judah." And the Jews everywhere
in the world belong to this people, for they have
sprung or descended from the men who once lived in the
land of Judah. And because they had once belonged to
the twelve tribes of Israel, and ten of the tribes had
been lost, and their kingdom had forever passed away,
they were also spoken of as Israelites. So from this
time "people of Judah," Jews, and Israelites, all mean
the people who had come from the land of Judah, and
their descendants after them.
God was good to his people in the land of Babylon, or
Chaldea, another name by which this country was called.
He sent to them prophets, who showed to them the way of
the Lord. One of these prophets was Daniel, a young man
who lived in the court of King Nebuchadnezzar. Another
was a priest named Ezekiel, who lived among the captive
people beside a river in Chaldea, called the river
Cheban. God gave to Ezekiel wonderful visions. He saw
the throne of the Lord, and the strange creatures with
six wings, that the prophet Isaiah had seen long
before. (See Story 94.) And he heard
the voice of the Lord telling him of what should come
to his people in the years to come.
At one time the Lord lifted up Ezekiel and brought him
 the middle of a great valley. The prophet looked
around, and saw that the valley was covered with the
bones of men, as though a great battle had been fought
upon it, and the bodies of the slain had been left
there, and they had become a vast army of dry bones.
"Son of man," spoke the voice of the Lord to Ezekiel,
"can these dry bones live again?"
And Ezekiel answered, "O Lord God, thou knowest whether
these dry bones can live."
Then the Lord said to Ezekiel, "Preach to these dry
bones, O son of man, and say to them, 'O ye dry bones,
hear the voice of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord, I will
send breath into you, and you shall live, and I will
put flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and you
shall be alive again, and know that I am the Lord.' "
Then Ezekiel spoke to the army of dry bones spread over
the valley, as the Lord bade him speak. And while he
was speaking there sounded a noise of rolling thunder,
and all through the field the different bones began to
come together, one part to another part, until they
were no more loose bones, but skeletons of bones fitted
together. Then another change came. Suddenly the flesh
grew over all the bones, and they lay on the ground
like an army of dead men, a host of bodies without
 Then the Lord said to Ezekiel, "Speak to the wind, O
son of man; speak, and say, 'Come from the four winds,
O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may
Then Ezekiel called upon the wind to come, and while he
was speaking the dead bodies began to breathe. Then
they stood up on their feet, a great army of living
men, filling the whole valley. Then the Lord said to
Ezekiel, "Son of man, these dry bones are the people of
Israel. They seem to be lost, and dead, and without
hope. But they shall live again, for I, the Lord, will
put life into them; and they shall go back to their own
land, and be a people once more. I, the Lord, have
spoken to it, and I will do it."
When Ezekiel told the captive people this vision their
hearts were lifted up with a new hope that they should
see their own land again.