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Ezekiel 18:5-20

Context

18:5 “Suppose a man is righteous. He practices what is just and right, 18:6 does not eat pagan sacrifices on the mountains 1  or pray to the idols 2  of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife, does not have sexual relations with a 3  woman during her period, 18:7 does not oppress anyone, but gives the debtor back whatever was given in pledge, 4  does not commit robbery, 5  but gives his bread to the hungry and clothes the naked, 18:8 does not engage in usury or charge interest, 6  but refrains 7  from wrongdoing, promotes true justice 8  between men, 18:9 and follows my statutes and observes my regulations by carrying them out. 9  That man 10  is righteous; he will certainly live, 11  declares the sovereign Lord.

18:10 “Suppose such a man has 12  a violent son who sheds blood and does any of these things 13  mentioned previously 18:11 (though the father did not do any of them). 14  He eats pagan sacrifices on the mountains, 15  defiles his neighbor’s wife, 18:12 oppresses the poor and the needy, 16  commits robbery, does not give back what was given in pledge, prays to 17  idols, performs abominable acts, 18:13 engages in usury and charges interest. Will he live? He will not! Because he has done all these abominable deeds he will certainly die. 18  He will bear the responsibility for his own death. 19 

18:14 “But suppose he in turn has a son who notices all the sins his father commits, considers them, and does not follow his father’s example. 20  18:15 He does not eat pagan sacrifices on the mountains, does not pray to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife, 18:16 does not oppress anyone or keep what has been given in pledge, does not commit robbery, gives his food to the hungry, and clothes the naked, 18:17 refrains from wrongdoing, 21  does not engage in usury or charge interest, carries out my regulations and follows my statutes. He will not die for his father’s iniquity; 22  he will surely live. 18:18 As for his father, because he practices extortion, robs his brother, and does what is not good among his people, he will die for his iniquity.

18:19 “Yet you say, ‘Why should the son not suffer 23  for his father’s iniquity?’ When the son does what is just and right, and observes all my statutes and carries them out, he will surely live. 18:20 The person who sins is the one who will die. A son will not suffer 24  for his father’s iniquity, and a father will not suffer 25  for his son’s iniquity; the righteous person will be judged according to his righteousness, and the wicked person according to his wickedness. 26 

1 tn Heb, “on the mountains he does not eat.” The mountains are often mentioned as the place where idolatrous sacrifices were eaten (Ezek 20:28; 22:9; 34:6).

2 tn Heb, “does not lift up his eyes.” This refers to looking to idols for help.

3 tn Heb, “does not draw near to.” “Draw near” is a euphemism for sexual intercourse (Lev 18:14; Deut 22:14; Isa 8:3).

4 tn Heb “restores to the debtor his pledge.” The root occurs in Exod 22:25 in reference to restoring a man’s garment as a pledge before nightfall.

5 tn The Hebrew term refers to seizure of property, usually by the rich (Isa 3:14; 10:2; Mic 2:2 [see Lev 5:21, 22]).

6 sn This law was given in Lev 25:36.

7 tn Heb, “turns back his hand.”

8 tn Heb “justice of truth.”

9 tc The MT reads לַעֲשׂוֹת אֱמֶת (laasotemet, “to do with integrity”), while the LXX reads “to do them,” presupposing לַעֲשׂוֹת אֹתָם (laasototam). The ם (mem) and ת (tav) have been reversed in the MT. The LXX refelcts the original, supported by similar phrasing in Ezekiel 11:20; 20:19.

10 tn Heb “he.”

11 tn Heb “living, he will live.” The infinitive absolute precedes the finite verb for emphasis.

12 tn Heb “begets.”

13 tn Heb “and he does, a brother, from one of these.” If “brother” is retained, it may be an adverbial accusative, “against a brother” (i.e., fellow Israelite). But the form is likely dittographic (note the אח [aleph-heth] combination in the following form).

14 tn Heb “and he all of these did not do.” The parenthetical note refers back to the father described in the preceding verses.

15 sn See note on “mountains” in v. 6.

16 sn The poor and needy are often mentioned together in the OT (Deut 24:14; Jer 22:16; Ezek 14:69; Ps 12:6; 35:10; 37:14).

17 tn Heb “lifts up his eyes.”

18 tn Heb “be put to death.” The translation follows an alternative reading that appears in several ancient textual witnesses.

19 tn Heb “his blood will be upon him.”

20 tn Heb “and he sees and does not do likewise.”

21 tc This translation follows the LXX. The MT reads “restrains his hand from the poor,” which makes no sense here.

22 tn Or “in his father’s punishment.” The phrase “in/for [a person’s] iniquity/punishment” occurs fourteen times in Ezekiel: here and in vv. 18, 19, 20; 3:18, 19; 4:17; 7:13, 16; 24:23; 33:6, 8, 9; 39:23. The Hebrew word for “iniquity” may also mean the “punishment for iniquity.”

23 tn Heb “lift up, bear.”

24 tn Heb “lift up, bear.”

25 tn Heb “lift up, bear.”

26 tn Heb “the righteousness of the righteous one will be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked one will be upon him.”



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