Ezekiel 18:17
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
withholds his hand from iniquity, takes no interest or profit, obeys my rules, and walks in my statutes; he shall not die for his father’s iniquity; he shall surely live.

King James Bible
That hath taken off his hand from the poor, that hath not received usury nor increase, hath executed my judgments, hath walked in my statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live.

American Standard Version
that hath withdrawn his hand from the poor, that hath not received interest nor increase, hath executed mine ordinances, hath walked in my statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live.

Douay-Rheims Bible
That hath turned away his hand from injuring the poor, hath not taken usury and increase, but hath executed my judgments, and hath walked in my commandments: this man shall not die for the iniquity of his father, but living he shall live.

English Revised Version
that hath withdrawn his hand from the poor, that hath not received usury nor increase, hath executed my judgments, hath walked in my statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live.

Webster's Bible Translation
That hath taken off his hand from the poor, that hath not received interest nor increase, hath executed my judgments, hath walked in my statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live.

Ezekiel 18:17 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

In the word of God contained in this chapter, the delusion that God visits the sins of fathers upon innocent children is overthrown, and the truth is clearly set forth that every man bears the guilt and punishment of his own sins (Ezekiel 18:1-4). The righteous lives through his righteousness (Ezekiel 18:5-9), but cannot save his wicked son thereby (Ezekiel 18:10-13); whilst the son who avoids the sins and wickedness of his father, will live through his own righteousness (Ezekiel 18:14-20). The man who repents and avoids sin is not even charged with his own sin; and, on the other hand, the man who forsakes the way of righteousness, and gives himself up to unrighteousness, will not be protected from death even by his own former righteousness (Ezekiel 18:21-29). Thus will God judge every man according to his way; and it is only by repentance that Israel itself can live (Ezekiel 18:30-32). The exposition of these truths is closely connected with the substance and design of the preceding and following prophecies. In the earlier words of God, Ezekiel had taken from rebellious Israel every support of false confidence in the preservation of the kingdom from destruction. But as an impenitent sinner, even when he can no longer evade the punishment of his sins, endeavours as much as possible to transfer the guilt from himself to others, and comforts himself with the thought that he has to suffer for sins that other shave committed, and hardens himself against the chastisement of God through such false consolation as this; so even among the people of Israel, when the divine judgments burst upon them, the delusion arose that the existing generation had to suffer for the fathers' sins. If, then, the judgment were ever to bear the fruit of Israel's conversion and renovation, which God designed, the impenitent generation must be deprived even of this pretext for covering over its sins and quieting its conscience, by the demonstration of the justice which characterized the government of God in His kingdom.

The proverb and the word of God. - Ezekiel 18:1. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 18:2. Why do you use this proverb in the land of Israel, saying, Fathers eat sour grapes, and the sons' teeth are set on edge. Ezekiel 18:3. As I live, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah, this proverb shall not be used any more in Israel. Ezekiel 18:4. Behold, all souls are mine; as the father's soul, so also the soul of the son, - they are mine; the soul which sinneth, it shall die. - On Ezekiel 18:2 compare Ezekiel 12:22. מה־לּכם, what is to you, what are you thinking of, that...? is a question of amazement. על־אדמת , in the land of Israel (Ezekiel 12:22), not "concerning the land of Israel," as Hvernick assumes. The proverb was not, "The fathers have eaten sour grapes," for we have not אכלוּ, as in Jeremiah 31:29, but יאכלוּ, they eat, are accustomed to eat, and אבות has no article, because it applies to all who eat sour grapes. Bōsĕr, unripe, sour grapes, like bēsĕr in Job 16:33 (see the comm. in loc.). The meaning of the proverb is self-evident. The sour grapes which the fathers eat are the sins which they commit; the setting of the children's teeth on edge is the consequence thereof, i.e., the suffering which the children have to endure. The same proverb is quoted in Jeremiah 31:29-30, and there also it is condemned as an error. The origin of such a proverb is easily to be accounted for from the inclination of the natural man to transfer to others the guilt which has brought suffering upon himself, more especially as the law teaches that the sins of the fathers are visited upon the children (Exodus 20:5), and the prophets announce that the Lord would put away Judah from before His face on account of the sins of Manasseh (2 Kings 24:3; Jeremiah 15:4), while Jeremiah complains in Lamentations 5:7 that the people are bearing the fathers' sins. Nevertheless the proverb contained a most dangerous and fatal error, for which the teaching of the law concerning the visitation of the sins of the fathers, etc., was not accountable, and which Jeremiah, who expressly mentions the doctrine of the law (Jeremiah 32:18), condemns as strongly as Ezekiel. God will visit the sins of the fathers upon the children who hate Him, and who also walk in the footsteps of their fathers' sins; but to those who love Him, and keep His commandments, He will show mercy to the thousandth generation. The proverb, on the other hand, teaches that the children would have to atone for their fathers' sins without any culpability of their own. How remote such a perversion of the truth as to the transmission of sins and their consequences, viz., their punishment, was from the law of Moses, is evident from the express command in Deuteronomy 24:16, that the children were not to be put to death with the fathers for the sins which the latter had committed, but that every one was to die for his own sin. What God here enjoins upon the judicial authorities must apply to the infliction of his own judgments. Consequently what Ezekiel says in the following verses in opposition to the delusion, which this proverb helped to spread abroad, is simply a commentary upon the words, "every one shall die for his own sin," and not a correction of the law, which is the interpretation that many have put upon these prophetic utterances of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. In Ezekiel 18:3, the Lord declares with an oath that this proverb shall not be used any more. The apodosis to 'אם יהיה וגו, which is not expressed, would be an imprecation, so that the oath contains a solemn prohibition. God will take care that this proverb shall not be used any more in Israel, not so much by the fact that He will not give them any further occasion to make use of it, as by the way in which He will convince them, through the judgments which He sends, of the justice of His ways. The following is Calvin's admirable paraphrase: "I will soon deprive you of this boasting of yours; for your iniquity shall be made manifest, so that all the world may see that you are but enduring just punishment, which you yourselves have deserved, and that you cannot cast it upon your fathers, as you have hitherto attempted to do." At the same time, this only gives one side; we must also add the other, which is brought out so prominently in Jeremiah 31:29., namely, that after the judgment God will manifest His grace so gloriously in the forgiveness of sins, that those who are forgiven will fully recognise the justice of the judgments inflicted. Experience of the love and compassion of the Lord, manifesting itself in the forgiveness of sin, bows down the heart so deeply that the pardoned sinner has no longer any doubt of the justice of the judgments of God. "In Israel" is added, to show that such a proverb is opposed to the dignity of Israel. In Ezekiel 18:4, the reason assigned fore the declaration thus solemnly confirmed by an oath commences with a general thought which contains the thesis for further discussion. All souls are mine, the soul of the father as well as that of the son, saith the Lord. In these words, as Calvin has well said, "God does not merely vindicate His government or His authority, but shows that He is moved with paternal affection towards the whole of the human race which He created and formed." There is no necessity for God to punish the one for the other, the son for the father, say because of the possibility that the guilty person might evade Him; and as the Father of all, He cannot treat the one in a different manner from the other, but can only punish the one by whom punishment has been deserved. The soul that sinneth shall die. הנּפשׁ is used here, as in many other passages, for "man," and מוּת is equivalent to suffering death as a punishment. "Death" is used to denote the complete destruction with which transgressors are threatened by the law, as in Deuteronomy 30:15 (compare Jeremiah 21:8; Proverbs 11:10). This sentence is explained in the verses which follow (vv. 5-20).

Ezekiel 18:17 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

hath taken

Ezekiel 18:8 He that has not given forth on usury, neither has taken any increase, that has withdrawn his hand from iniquity...

Job 29:16 I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out.

Proverbs 14:31 He that oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker: but he that honors him has mercy on the poor.

Proverbs 29:7,14 The righteous considers the cause of the poor: but the wicked regards not to know it...

Jeremiah 22:16 He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well with him: was not this to know me? said the LORD.

Daniel 4:27 Why, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you, and break off your sins by righteousness...

Matthew 18:27-35 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt...

Luke 19:8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said to the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor...

that hath not

Ezekiel 18:8,9,13 He that has not given forth on usury, neither has taken any increase, that has withdrawn his hand from iniquity...

Leviticus 18:4,26,30 You shall do my judgments, and keep my ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God...

he shall not

Ezekiel 18:19,20 Yet say you, Why? does not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son has done that which is lawful and right...

Ezekiel 20:18,30 But I said to their children in the wilderness, Walk you not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments...

Jeremiah 16:11-13,19 Then shall you say to them, Because your fathers have forsaken me, said the LORD, and have walked after other gods...

Malachi 3:7 Even from the days of your fathers you are gone away from my ordinances, and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you...

Matthew 23:29-33 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you build the tombs of the prophets...

he shall surely

Ezekiel 18:9,19,21,28 Has walked in my statutes, and has kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, said the Lord GOD...

Ezekiel 3:21 Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned...

Ezekiel 33:13,15,16 When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity...

Cross References
Romans 2:7
to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life;

Psalm 119:1
Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD!

Ezekiel 18:18
As for his father, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother, and did what is not good among his people, behold, he shall die for his iniquity.

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