1 THE WORD of the Lord came to me again, saying,
2 What do you mean by using this proverb concerning the land of Israel, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge?
3 As I live, says the Lord God, you shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel.
4 Behold, all souls are Mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is Mine; the soul that sins, it shall die. [Rom. 6:23.]
5 But if a man is [uncompromisingly] righteous (upright and in right standing with God) and does what is lawful and right,
6 And has not eaten [at the idol shrines] upon the mountains nor lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, has not defiled his neighbor's wife nor come near to a woman in her time of impurity,
7 And has not wronged anyone but has restored to the debtor his pledge, has taken nothing by robbery but has given his bread to the hungry and has covered the naked with a garment,
8 Who does not charge interest or percentage of increase on what he lends [in compassion], who withholds his hand from iniquity, who executes true justice between man and man,
9 Who has walked in My statutes and kept My ordinances, to deal justly; [then] he is [truly] righteous; he shall surely live, says the Lord God. [Ezek. 20:11; Amos 5:4.]
10 If he begets a son who is a robber or a shedder of blood, who does to a brother either of these sins of violence,
11 And leaves undone all of the duties [of a righteous man], and has even eaten [the food set before idols] on the mountains and defiled his neighbor's wife,
12 Has wronged the poor and needy, has taken by robbery, has not restored [to the debtor] his pledge, has lifted up his eyes to the idols, has committed abomination (things hateful and exceedingly vile in the eyes of God),
13 And has charged interest or percentage of increase on what he has loaned [in supposed compassion]; shall he then live? He shall not live! He has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him.
14 But if this wicked man begets a son who sees all the sins which his father has committed, and considers and fears [God] and does not do like his father,
15 Who has not eaten [food set before idols] upon the mountains nor has lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, has not defiled his neighbor's wife,
16 Nor wronged anyone, nor has taken anything in pledge, nor has taken by robbery but has given his bread to the hungry and has covered the naked with a garment,
17 Who has withdrawn his hand from [oppressing] the poor, who has not received interest or increase [from the needy] but has executed My ordinances and has 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, and did that which is not good among his people, behold, he shall die for his iniquity and guilt.
19 Yet do you say, Why does not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son has done that which is lawful and right and has kept all My statutes and has done them, he shall surely live.
20 The soul that sins, it [is the one that] shall die. The son shall not bear and be punished for the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear and be punished for the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him only, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon the wicked only.
21 But if the wicked man turns from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all My statutes and does that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die.
22 None of his transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; for his righteousness which he has executed [for his moral and spiritual rectitude in every area and relation], he shall live.
23 Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked? says the Lord, and not rather that he should turn from his evil way and return [to his God] and live?
24 But if the 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? None of his righteous deeds which he has done shall be remembered. In his trespass that he has trespassed and in his sin that he has sinned, in them shall he die.
25 Yet you say, The way of the Lord is not fair and just. Hear now, O house of Israel: Is not My way fair and just? Are not your ways unfair and unjust?
26 When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity and dies in his sins, for his iniquity that he has done he shall die.
27 Again, when the wicked man turns away from his wickedness which he has committed and does that which is lawful and right, he shall save his life.
28 Because he considers and turns away from all his transgressions which he has committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die.
29 Yet says the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not fair and just! O house of Israel, are not My ways fair and just? Are not your ways unfair and unjust?
30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, says the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin and so shall they not be a stumbling block to you. [Matt. 3:2; Rev. 2:5.]
31 Cast away from you all your transgressions by which you have transgressed against Me, and make you a new mind and heart and a new spirit. For why will you die, O house of Israel? [Eph. 4:22, 23.]
32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him who dies, says the Lord God. Therefore turn (be converted) and live!