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Ezekiel 18 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 18

Personal Responsibility. The word of the Lord came to me: Son of man, what is the meaning of this proverb you recite in the land of Israel:

“Parents eat sour grapes,
    but the children’s teeth are set on edge”?[a]

As I live—oracle of the Lord God: I swear that none of you will ever repeat this proverb in Israel. For all life is mine: the life of the parent is like the life of the child, both are mine. Only the one who sins shall die!

If a man is just—if he does what is right, if he does not eat on the mountains,[b] or raise his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel; if he does not defile a neighbor’s wife, or have relations with a woman during her period; if he oppresses no one, gives back the pledge received for a debt, commits no robbery; gives food to the hungry and clothes the naked; if he does not lend at interest or exact usury; if he refrains from evildoing and makes a fair judgment between two opponents; if he walks by my statutes and is careful to observe my ordinances, that man is just—he shall surely live—oracle of the Lord God.

10 But if he begets a son who is violent and commits murder, or does any of these things, 11 even though the father does none of them—a son who eats on the mountains, defiles the wife of his neighbor, 12 oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, does not give back a pledge, raises his eyes to idols, does abominable things, 13 lends at interest and exacts usury—this son certainly shall not live. Because he practiced all these abominations, he shall surely be put to death; his own blood shall be on him.

14 But, in turn, if he begets a son who sees all the sins his father commits, yet fears and does not imitate him— 15 a son who does not eat on the mountains, or raise his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, or defile a neighbor’s wife; 16 who does not oppress anyone, or exact a pledge, or commit robbery; who gives his food to the hungry and clothes the naked; 17 who refrains from evildoing, accepts no interest or usury, but keeps my ordinances and walks in my statutes—this one shall not die for the sins of his father. He shall surely live! 18 Only the father, since he committed extortion and robbed his brother, and did what was not good among his people—he will die because of his sin! 19 You ask: “Why is not the son charged with the guilt of his father?” Because the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to observe all my statutes—he shall surely live! 20 Only the one who sins shall die. The son shall not be charged with the guilt of his father, nor shall the father be charged with the guilt of his son. Justice belongs to the just, and wickedness to the wicked.

21 But if the wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed, if he keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live. He shall not die! 22 None of the crimes he has committed shall be remembered against him; he shall live because of the justice he has shown. 23 Do I find pleasure in the death of the wicked—oracle of the Lord God? Do I not rejoice when they turn from their evil way and live?

24 And if the just turn from justice and do evil, like all the abominations the wicked do, can they do this evil and still live? None of the justice they did shall be remembered, because they acted treacherously and committed these sins; because of this, they shall die. 25 You say, “The Lord’s way is not fair!”[c] Hear now, house of Israel: Is it my way that is unfair? Are not your ways unfair? 26 When the just turn away from justice to do evil and die, on account of the evil they did they must die. 27 But if the wicked turn from the wickedness they did and do what is right and just, they save their lives; 28 since they turned away from all the sins they committed, they shall live; they shall not die. 29 But the house of Israel says, “The Lord’s way is not fair!” Is it my way that is not fair, house of Israel? Is it not your ways that are not fair?

30 Therefore I will judge you, house of Israel, all of you according to your ways—oracle of the Lord God. Turn, turn back from all your crimes, that they may not be a cause of sin for you ever again. 31 Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. Why should you die, house of Israel? 32 For I find no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies—oracle of the Lord God. Turn back and live!

Footnotes:

  1. 18:2 Parents…on edge: a proverb the people quoted to complain that they were being punished for their ancestors’ sins; cf. Jer 31:29.
  2. 18:6 Eat on the mountains: take part in meals after sacrifice at the high places.
  3. 18:25 The Lord’s way is not fair: this chapter rejects the idea that punishment is transferred from one generation to the next and emphasizes individual responsibility and accountability.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Ezekiel 18 New International Version (NIV)

The One Who Sins Will Die

18 The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you people mean by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel:

“‘The parents eat sour grapes,
    and the children’s teeth are set on edge’?

“As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel. For everyone belongs to me, the parent as well as the child—both alike belong to me. The one who sins is the one who will die.

“Suppose there is a righteous man
    who does what is just and right.
He does not eat at the mountain shrines
    or look to the idols of Israel.
He does not defile his neighbor’s wife
    or have sexual relations with a woman during her period.
He does not oppress anyone,
    but returns what he took in pledge for a loan.
He does not commit robbery
    but gives his food to the hungry
    and provides clothing for the naked.
He does not lend to them at interest
    or take a profit from them.
He withholds his hand from doing wrong
    and judges fairly between two parties.
He follows my decrees
    and faithfully keeps my laws.
That man is righteous;
    he will surely live,
declares the Sovereign Lord.

10 “Suppose he has a violent son, who sheds blood or does any of these other things[a] 11 (though the father has done none of them):

“He eats at the mountain shrines.
He defiles his neighbor’s wife.
12 He oppresses the poor and needy.
He commits robbery.
He does not return what he took in pledge.
He looks to the idols.
He does detestable things.
13 He lends at interest and takes a profit.

Will such a man live? He will not! Because he has done all these detestable things, he is to be put to death; his blood will be on his own head.

14 “But suppose this son has a son who sees all the sins his father commits, and though he sees them, he does not do such things:

15 “He does not eat at the mountain shrines
    or look to the idols of Israel.
He does not defile his neighbor’s wife.
16 He does not oppress anyone
    or require a pledge for a loan.
He does not commit robbery
    but gives his food to the hungry
    and provides clothing for the naked.
17 He withholds his hand from mistreating the poor
    and takes no interest or profit from them.
He keeps my laws and follows my decrees.

He will not die for his father’s sin; he will surely live. 18 But his father will die for his own sin, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother and did what was wrong among his people.

19 “Yet you ask, ‘Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?’ Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. 20 The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.

21 “But if a wicked person turns away from all the sins they have committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, that person will surely live; they will not die. 22 None of the offenses they have committed will be remembered against them. Because of the righteous things they have done, they will live. 23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?

24 “But if a righteous person turns from their righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked person does, will they live? None of the righteous things that person has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness they are guilty of and because of the sins they have committed, they will die.

25 “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear, you Israelites: Is my way unjust? Is it not your ways that are unjust? 26 If a righteous person turns from their righteousness and commits sin, they will die for it; because of the sin they have committed they will die. 27 But if a wicked person turns away from the wickedness they have committed and does what is just and right, they will save their life. 28 Because they consider all the offenses they have committed and turn away from them, that person will surely live; they will not die. 29 Yet the Israelites say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Are my ways unjust, people of Israel? Is it not your ways that are unjust?

30 “Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? 32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!

Footnotes:

  1. Ezekiel 18:10 Or things to a brother
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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