The first, and arguably most important contextual note, and one which sets the stage for reading all of Ezekiel, is to know that in this time period Yahweh’s people are in the throes of Babylonian exile. The prophet Ezekiel, who was among those exiled, was given to pronounce both judgment and blessing upon the people of Israel; and in Chapter 36 we find both. The reason for the judgment and subsequent exile is recalled, yet following quick on its heels is the prophecy of blessing and restoration that Yahweh is about to work in His people.
Because Yahweh’s name is on His people, and because His name is His reputation, the fact that His people are now a conquered and exiled people puts them in a bad light with other nations. By extension, this calls into question Yahweh’s name and reputation. If Babylon and Assyria could conquer Israel, then clearly the gods of Babylon and Assyria must be more powerful than this Yahweh, God of the Israelites. Thus Yahweh’s proclamation in this chapter is that his rescuing and restoring His people (describing an Eden-like restoration of the land – cf. verse 35) is under-girded by a desire to restore His name among the nations. It is for His name’s sake (and not their sake) that He is rescuing and restoring His people, Israel. This is most heavily emphasized beginning with verse 22 and capped off with the last verse of the Chapter, “then they (the nations) will know that I am Yahweh.” (Ezekiel 36:38)