Ezekiel 18:9
Has walked in my statutes, and has kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, said the Lord GOD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
18:1-20 The soul that sinneth it shall die. As to eternity, every man was, is, and will be dealt with, as his conduct shows him to have been under the old covenant of works, or the new covenant of grace. Whatever outward sufferings come upon men through the sins of others, they deserve for their own sins all they suffer; and the Lord overrules every event for the eternal good of believers. All souls are in the hand of the great Creator: he will deal with them in justice or mercy; nor will any perish for the sins of another, who is not in some sense worthy of death for his own. We all have sinned, and our souls must be lost, if God deal with us according to his holy law; but we are invited to come to Christ. If a man who had shown his faith by his works, had a wicked son, whose character and conduct were the reverse of his parent's, could it be expected he should escape the Divine vengeance on account of his father's piety? Surely not. And should a wicked man have a son who walked before God as righteous, this man would not perish for his father's sins. If the son was not free from evils in this life, still he should be partaker of salvation. The question here is not about the meritorious ground of justification, but about the Lord's dealings with the righteous and the wicked.Live ... die - In the writings of Ezekiel there is a development of the meaning of "life" and "death." In the holy land the sanctions of divine government were in great degree temporal; so that the promise of "life" for "obedience," the threatening of "death" for "disobedience," in the Books of Moses, were regarded simply as temporal and national. In their exile this could not continue in its full extent, and the universality of the misfortune necessarily made men look deeper into the words of God. The word "soul" denotes a "person" viewed as an "individual," possessing the "life" which God breathed into man when he became a "living soul" Genesis 2:7; i. e., it distinguishes "personality" from "nationality," and this introduces that fresh and higher idea of "life" and "death," which is not so much "life" and "death" in a future state, as "life" and "death" as equivalent to communion with or separation from God - that idea of life and death which was explained by our Lord in the Gospel of John John 8, and by Paul in Romans 8. 9. truly—with integrity.

surely live—literally, "live in life." Prosper in this life, but still more in the life to come (Pr 3:1, 2; Am 5:4).

Walked; framed his life, and managed his conversation, conformed to the good, just, and holy ordinances of God. In my statutes; in matters of religion, hath kept to the direction of God’s law.

Kept my judgments, in matters of civil concern between man and man.

To deal truly; to act sincerely, with an honest heart, according to the best of his knowledge and judgment.

He is just; is just comparatively, so far righteous that he shall not feel, nor need he fear, to suffer what others’ sins bring upon them, he shall not suffer what he hath not deserved.

Shall surely live; shall be delivered from famine, pestilence, and sword, shall see good days, as Psalm 34:12,13; his teeth shall not be set on edge, whatever quarrelling sinners say or think, but the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him. Hath walked in my statutes,.... Respecting the worship of God and true religion; being observant of all laws and ordinances relating thereunto:

and hath kept my judgments to deal truly; in things moral and civil among men; regarding all such laws of God as oblige to such things:

he is just; such a man is a just man, at least externally; and if he does all these things from a right principle, without trusting to them for justification before God, and acceptance with him, but looking to the righteousness of Christ for these things, he is truly, and in the sight of God, a just man:

he shall surely live, saith the Lord God; spiritually and comfortably here, and an eternal life hereafter; or rather he shall not be distressed with famine, sword, or plague, or go into captivity; but shall live in his own land, and eat the good things of it; and this shall be his case, let his father have been what he will, ever so great a sinner.

Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
9. The man who acts thus (Ezekiel 18:5-8) hath walked in God’s statutes and he shall live. For “to deal truly,” LXX. reads: to do them, by transposition of two letters, which is more natural.

With the ideal of a righteous man here given may be compared these others: Job’s, ch. 31, perhaps the most inward in the Old Testament, Psalms 15; Isaiah 58:5-7. Such ideals differ from ours principally in that they seem to consist of conduct exclusively external, while we express our ideal in terms of the thought and feelings. But first, when these external actions are enumerated it is always assumed that they proceed from a right condition of mind, of which they are the natural fruit. Hence the prophet says, “Make you a new heart, and a new spirit” (Ezekiel 18:31). The same assumption is made when God is spoken of as making men righteous by forgiveness, or by bestowing on them prosperity, the sign of righteousness. The mental state corresponding to this right relation to God is always regarded as present. And in point of fact the righteousness of God himself consists in righteous acts, just as the righteousness of man. The ancient mind fastened on the outward acts as revealing the inward state, while the modern mind goes directly to the internal condition. And secondly, moral conduct was never thought of as the result of a happy or pure disposition, or as the fruit of prevalent social custom, or obedience to laws called moral or natural; it was always regarded as obedience to divine commandment. Morals was part of religion. Every moral law was fulfilled in obedience to God; hence Jehovah says of this moral man, “he hath walked in my statutes, he shall live” (Ezekiel 18:9).Interpretation of the Riddle

Ezekiel 17:11. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 17:12. Say to the refractory race: Do ye not know what this is? Say, Behold, the king of Babel came to Jerusalem and took its king and its princes, and brought them to himself to Babel. Ezekiel 17:13. And he took of the royal seed, and made a covenant with him, and caused him to enter into an oath; and he took the strong ones of the land: Ezekiel 17:14. That it might be a lowly kingdom, not to lift itself up, that he might keep his covenant, that it might stand. Ezekiel 17:15. But he rebelled against him by sending his messengers to Egypt, that it might give him horses and much people. Will he prosper? will he that hath done this escape? He has broken the covenant, and should he escape? Ezekiel 17:16. As I live, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah, surely in the place of the king, who made him king, whose oath he despised, and whose covenant he broke with him, in Babel he will die. Ezekiel 17:17. And not with great army and much people will Pharaoh act with him in the war, when they cast up a rampart and build siege-towers, to cut off many souls. Ezekiel 17:18. He has despised an oath to break the covenant, and, behold, he has given his hand and done all this; he will not escape. Ezekiel 17:19. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, As I live, surely my oath which he has despised, and my covenant which he has broken, I will give upon his head. Ezekiel 17:20. I will spread out my net over him, so that he will be taken in my snare, and will bring him to Babel, and contend with him there on account of his treachery which he has been guilty of towards me. Ezekiel 17:21. And all his fugitives in all his regiments, by the sword will they fall, and those who remain will be scattered to all winds; and ye shall see that I Jehovah have spoken it.

In Ezekiel 17:12-17 the parable in Ezekiel 17:2-10 is interpreted; and in Ezekiel 17:19-21 the threat contained in the parable is confirmed and still further expanded. We have an account of the carrying away of the king, i.e., Jehoiachin, and his princes to Babel in 2 Kings 24:11., Jeremiah 24:1, and Jeremiah 29:2. The king's seed (זרע המּלוּכה, Ezekiel 17:13, as in Jeremiah 41:1 equals זרע המּלך, 1 Kings 11:14) is Jehoiachin's uncle Mattaniah, whom Nebuchadnezzar made king under the name of Zedekiah (2 Kings 24:17), and from whom he took an oath of fealty (2 Chronicles 36:13). The strong of the land (אילי equals אוּלי, 2 Kings 24:15), whom Nebuchadnezzar took (לקח), i.e., took away to Babel, are not the heads of tribes and families (2 Kings 24:15); but the expression is used in a wide sense for the several classes of men of wealth, who are grouped together in 2 Kings 24:14 under the one term כּל־גּבּורי ח (אנשׁי חיל, 2 Kings 24:16), including masons, smiths, and carpenters (2 Kings 24:14 and 2 Kings 24:16), whereas the heads of tribes and families are classed with the court officials (סריסים, 2 Kings 24:15) under the title שׂריה (princes) in Ezekiel 17:12. The design of these measures was to make a lowly kingdom, which could not raise itself, i.e., could not revolt, and to deprive the vassal king of the means of breaking of the covenant. the suffix attached to לעמדהּ is probably to be taken as referring to ממלכה rather than בּריתי, although both are admissible, and would yield precisely the same sense, inasmuch as the stability of the kingdom was dependent upon the stability of the covenant. But Zedekiah rebelled (2 Kings 24:20). The Egyptian king who was to give Zedekiah horses and much people, in other words, to come to his assistance with a powerful army of cavalry and fighting men, was Hophrah, the Apries of the Greeks, according to Jeremiah 44:30 (see the comm. on 2 Kings 24:19-20). היצלח points back to תּצלח in Ezekiel 17:9; but here it is applied to the rebellious king, and is explained in the clause 'הימּלט וגו. The answer is given in Ezekiel 17:16 as a word of God confirmed by a solemn oath: he shall die in Babel, the capital of the king, who placed him on the throne, and Pharaoh will not render him any effectual help (Ezekiel 17:17). עשׂה אותו, as in Ezekiel 15:1-8 :59, to act with him, that is to say, assist him, come to his help. אותו refers to Zedekiah, not to Pharaoh, as Ewald assumes in an inexplicable manner. For 'שׁפך סללה , compare Ezekiel 4:2; and for the fact itself, Jeremiah 34:21-22, and Jeremiah 37:5, according to which, although an Egyptian army came to the rescue of Jerusalem at the time when it was besieged by the Chaldeans, it was repulsed by the Chaldeans who marched to meet it, without having rendered any permanent assistance to the besieged.

In Ezekiel 17:18, the main thought that breach of faith can bring no deliverance is repeated for the sake of appending the further expansion contained in Ezekiel 17:19-21. נתן ידו, he gave his hand, i.e., as a pledge of fidelity. The oath which Zedekiah swore to the king of Babel is designated in Ezekiel 17:19 as Jehovah's oath (אלתי), and the covenant made with him as Jehovah's covenant, because the oath had been sworn by Jehovah, and the covenant of fidelity towards Nebuchadnezzar had thereby been made implicite with Jehovah Himself; so that the breaking of the oath and covenant became a breach of faith towards Jehovah. Consequently the very same expressions are used in Ezekiel 17:16, Ezekiel 17:18, and Ezekiel 17:19, to designate this breach of oath, which are applied in Ezekiel 16:59 to the treacherous apostasy of Jerusalem (Israel) from Jehovah, the covenant God. And the same expressions are used to describe the punishment as in Ezekiel 12:13-14. נשׁפּט אתּו is construed with the accusative of the thing respecting which he was to be judged, as in 1 Samuel 12:7. Jehovah regards the treacherous revolt from Nebuchadnezzar as treachery against Himself (מעל); not only because Zedekiah had sworn the oath of fidelity by Jehovah, but also from the fact that Jehovah had delivered up His people and kingdom into the power of Nebuchadnezzar, so that revolt from him really became rebellion against God. את before כּל־מברחו is nota accus., and is used in the sense of quod adtinet ad, as, for example, in 2 Kings 6:5. מברחו, his fugitives, is rendered both by the Chaldee and Syriac "his brave men," or "heroes," and is therefore identified with מבחרו (his chosen ones), which is the reading in some manuscripts. But neither these renderings nor the parallel passage in Ezekiel 12:14, where סביבותיו apparently corresponds to it, will warrant our adopting this explanation, or making any alteration in the text. The Greek versions have πάσας φυγαδείας αὐτοῦ; Theodoret: ἐν πάσαις ταῖς φυγαδείαις αὐτοῦ; the Vulgate: omnes profugi ejus; and therefore they all had the reading מברחו, which also yields a very suitable meaning. The mention of some who remain, and who are to be scattered toward all the winds, is not at variance with the statement that all the fugitives in the wings of the army are to fall by the sword. The latter threat simply declares that no one will escape death by flight. But there is no necessity to take those who remain as being simply fighting men; and the word "all" must not be taken too literally.

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