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CHAPTER 18 Sep. 22 
The Justice of God’s Ways
The word of Yahweh came to me again, saying, 2What do you mean, that you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge? 3As I live says the Lord Yahweh, you shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. 4Behold, all souls are Mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins, he shall die. 5But if a man is just, and does that which is lawful and right, 6and has not eaten on the mountains, neither has lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither has defiled his neighbour’s wife, neither has come near to a woman in her impurity, 7and has not wronged any but has restored to the debtor his pledge, has taken nothing by robbery, has given his bread to the hungry and has covered the naked with a garment; 8he who has not given forth on interest neither has taken any increase, who has withdrawn his hand from iniquity, has executed true justice between man and man, 9has walked in My statutes, and has kept My commandments, to deal truly: he is just, he shall surely live, says the Lord Yahweh. 10If he fathers a son who is a robber, a shedder of blood, and who does any one of these things, 11and who does not any of those obligations, but even has eaten on the mountains and defiled his neighbour’s wife, 12has wronged the poor and needy, has taken by robbery, has not restored the pledge and has lifted up his eyes to the idols, has committed abomination, 13has given forth on interest, and has taken increase: shall he then live? He shall not live. He has done all these abominations. He shall surely die; his blood shall be on him. 14Now, behold, if he fathers a son, who sees all his father’s sins which he has done, and sees, and does not such like; 15who has not eaten on the mountains, neither has lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, has not defiled his neighbour’s wife, 16neither has wronged any, has not taken anything to pledge, neither has taken by robbery, but has given his bread to the hungry and has clothed the naked; 17who has not oppressed the poor, who has not received interest nor increase, has kept My commandments, has walked in My statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live. 18As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, robbed his brother, and did that which is not good among his people, see, he shall die in his iniquity. 19Yet you say, Why doesn’t 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. 20The soul who sins, he shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be on him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be on him. 21But if the wicked turn from all his sins that he has committed, and keep all My statutes and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. 22None of his transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him: in his righteousness that he has done he shall live. 23Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked? says the Lord Yahweh; and not rather that he should return from his way, and live? 24But when the righteous 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 that 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. 25Yet you say, The way of the Lord is not fair. Hear now, house of Israel: Is My way not fair? Aren’t your ways unfair? 26When the righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity and dies therein; in his iniquity that he has done shall he die. 27Again, when the wicked man turns away from his wickedness that he has committed and does that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. 28Because he considers and turns away from all his transgressions that he has committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die. 29Yet the house of Israel says, The way of the Lord is not fair. House of Israel, aren’t My ways fair? Aren’t your ways unfair? 30Therefore I will judge you, house of Israel, each one according to his ways, says the Lord Yahweh. Return, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. 31Cast away from you all your transgressions in which you have transgressed; and make yourself a new heart and a new spirit: for why will you die, house of Israel? 32For I have no pleasure in the death of him who dies, says the Lord Yahweh: therefore turn yourselves, and live.


18:4 The Jews of Ezekiel’s time felt they weren’t bad people, but were unjustly suffering the effects of their fathers’ sins. The Hebrew word translated “soul” here has a wide range of meaning, but generally it refers to the human person. The person who sins will die. The soul therefore isn’t something inherently immortal. This is a pagan idea which has sadly been accepted by some Christian traditions.
18:14 Note the double usage of the word “sees”. He sees the sins, and then he really sees them, and doesn't do them. This is how we must be in our registering of the fact that sin really brings death. We can know that sin brings death as theory; and we can really know it.
18:20 This simple truth demonstrates that the idea of suffering because of the sins of another person in another life is simply not true; we are judged for our own sins and not those of others. This can also psychologically free a person from the tendency to apply to ourselves ‘guilt by association’ for others’ sins. However, it’s also true that we can suffer the effects of others’ sins, and the Bible contains examples of this, not least our suffering the effect of Adam’s sin. But we are personally judged only for our own sins. We need to draw this line very clearly in our self-examination; between the suffering we experience as a result of others’ dysfunctions and sins, and that which is in response to our personal sins. 
18:22 Remembered against him- An implication that in some sense, at the day of judgment, there will be a ‘going through’ with the wicked of all their sins; whereas for the righteous, these will not be remembered and instead their good works will be recounted to them (:24). The parable of Mt. 25:36-44 says as much.
18:29 Working through the logic here, the answer to the ‘God’s not fair!’ syndrome is to reflect deeper upon our own sinfulness, and the simple fact that sin nets death.
18:32 God has no pleasure in punishing the wicked; rather do they punish themselves. He’s not some capricious deity who takes pleasure in using His omnipotence to make His opponents suffer. His dislike of punishing the wicked is proof enough that ‘hell’ doesn’t refer to any concept of eternal, conscious torment of the wicked; Biblically, sheol (the word translated “hell” in some Bibles) is the same word translated “the grave”. Death is the punishment for sin, not eternal torment.