A False Proverb Refuted
1The word of the Lord came to me again, saying, 2“What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying:
‘The #Jer. 31:29; Lam. 5:7fathers have eaten sour grapes,
And the children’s teeth are set on edge’?
3“As I live,” says the Lord God, “you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel.
4“Behold, all souls are #Num. 16:22; 27:16; Is. 42:5; 57:16Mine;
The soul of the father
As well as the soul of the son is Mine;
#Ezek. 18:20; (Rom. 6:23)The soul who sins shall die.
5But if a man is just
And does what is lawful and right;
6#Ezek. 22:9If he has not eaten on the mountains,
Nor lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel,
Nor #Lev. 18:20; 20:10defiled his neighbor’s wife,
Nor approached #Lev. 18:19; 20:18a woman during her impurity;
7If he has not #Ex. 22:21; Lev. 19:15; 25:14oppressed anyone,
But has restored to the debtor his #Ex. 22:26; Deut. 24:12pledge;
Has robbed no one by violence,
But has #Deut. 15:7, 11; Ezek. 18:16; (Matt. 25:35–40); Luke 3:11given his bread to the hungry
And covered the naked with #Is. 58:7clothing;
8If he has not exacted #Ex. 22:25; Lev. 25:36; Deut. 23:19; Neh. 5:7; Ps. 15:5usury
Nor taken any increase,
But has withdrawn his hand from iniquity
And #Deut. 1:16; Zech. 8:16executed true judgment between man and man;
9If he has walked in My statutes
And kept My judgments faithfully—
He is just;
He shall surely #Ezek. 20:11; Amos 5:4; (Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17)live!”
Says the Lord God.
10“If he begets a son who is a robber
Or #Gen. 9:6; Ex. 21:12; Num. 35:31a shedder of blood,
Who does any of these things
11And does none of those duties,
But has eaten on the mountains
Or defiled his neighbor’s wife;
12If he has oppressed the poor and needy,
Robbed by violence,
Not restored the pledge,
Lifted his eyes to the idols,
Or #2 Kin. 21:11; Ezek. 8:6, 17committed abomination;
13If he has exacted usury
Or taken increase—
Shall he then live?
He shall not live!
If he has done any of these abominations,
He shall surely die;
#Lev. 20:9, 11–13, 16, 27; Ezek. 3:18; Acts 18:6His blood shall be upon him.
14“If, however, he begets a son
Who sees all the sins which his father has done,
And considers but does not do likewise;
15#Ezek. 18:6Who has not eaten on the mountains,
Nor lifted his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel,
Nor defiled his neighbor’s wife;
16Has not oppressed anyone,
Nor withheld a pledge,
Nor robbed by violence,
But has given his bread to the hungry
And covered the naked with clothing;
17Who has withdrawn his hand from the poor
And not received usury or increase,
But has executed My judgments
And walked in My statutes—
He shall not die for the iniquity of his father;
He shall surely live!
18“As for his father,
Because he cruelly oppressed,
Robbed his brother by violence,
And did what is not good among his people,
Behold, #Ezek. 3:18he shall die for his iniquity.
Turn and Live
19“Yet you say, ‘Why #Ex. 20:5; Deut. 5:9; 2 Kin. 23:26; 24:3, 4should the son not bear the guilt of the father?’ Because the son has done what is lawful and right, and has kept all My statutes and observed them, he shall surely live. 20#2 Kin. 14:6; 22:18–20; Ezek. 18:4The soul who sins shall die. #Deut. 24:16; 2 Kin. 14:6; 2 Chr. 25:4; Jer. 31:29, 30The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. #1 Kin. 8:32; Is. 3:10, 11; (Matt. 16:27)The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, #Rom. 2:6–9and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.
21“But #Ezek. 18:27; 33:12, 19if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 22#Is. 43:25; Jer. 50:20; Ezek. 18:24; 33:16; Mic. 7:19None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall #(Ps. 18:20–24)live. 23#Lam. 3:33; (Ezek. 18:32; 33:11; 1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9)Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord God, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?
24“But #1 Sam. 15:11; 2 Chr. 24:2, 17–22; Ezek. 3:20; 18:26; 33:18when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? #(2 Pet. 2:20)All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die.
25“Yet you say, #Ezek. 18:29; 33:17, 20; Mal. 2:17; 3:13–15‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair? 26#Ezek. 18:24When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity which he has done that he dies. 27Again, #Ezek. 18:21when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness which he committed, and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himself alive. 28Because he #Ezek. 18:14considers and turns away from all the transgressions which he committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 29#Ezek. 18:25Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair?
30#Ezek. 7:3; 33:20“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Lord God. #Matt. 3:2; Rev. 2:5“Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. 31#Is. 1:16; 55:7; Eph. 4:22, 23Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a #Ps. 51:10; Jer. 32:39; Ezek. 11:19; 36:26new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? 32For #Lam. 3:33; Ezek. 33:11; (2 Pet. 3:9)I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and #(Prov. 4:2, 5, 6)live!”