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Ezekiel 18 Good News Translation (GNT)

Individual Responsibility

18 The Lord spoke to me and said, “What is this proverb people keep repeating in the land of Israel?

‘The parents ate the sour grapes,
But the children got the sour taste.’

“As surely as I am the living God,” says the Sovereign Lord, “you will not repeat this proverb in Israel any more. The life of every person belongs to me, the life of the parent as well as that of the child. The person who sins is the one who will die.

“Suppose there is a truly good man, righteous and honest. He doesn't worship the idols of the Israelites or eat the sacrifices offered at forbidden shrines. He doesn't seduce another man's wife or have intercourse with a woman during her period. He doesn't cheat or rob anyone. He returns what a borrower gives him as security; he feeds the hungry and gives clothing to the naked. He doesn't lend money for profit. He refuses to do evil and gives an honest decision in any dispute. Such a man obeys my commands and carefully keeps my laws. He is righteous, and he will live,” says the Sovereign Lord.

10 “Then suppose this man has a son who robs and kills, who does any[a] of these things 11 that the father never did. He eats sacrifices offered at forbidden shrines and seduces other men's wives. 12 He cheats the poor, he robs, he keeps what a borrower gives him as security. He goes to pagan shrines, worships disgusting idols, 13 and lends money for profit. Will he live? No, he will not. He has done all these disgusting things, and so he will die. He will be to blame for his own death.

14 “Now suppose this second man has a son. He sees all the sins his father practiced, but does not follow his example. 15 He doesn't worship the idols of the Israelites or eat the sacrifices offered at forbidden shrines. He doesn't seduce another man's wife 16 or oppress anyone or rob anyone. He returns what a borrower gives him as security. He feeds the hungry and gives clothing to the naked. 17 He refuses to do evil[b] and doesn't lend money for profit. He keeps my laws and obeys my commands. He will not die because of his father's sins, but he will certainly live. 18 His father, on the other hand, cheated and robbed[c] and always did evil to everyone. And so he died because of the sins he himself had committed.

19 “But you ask, ‘Why shouldn't the son suffer because of his father's sins?’ The answer is that the son did what was right and good. He kept my laws and followed them carefully, and so he will certainly live. 20 It is the one who sins who will die. A son is not to suffer because of his father's sins, nor a father because of the sins of his son. Good people will be rewarded for doing good, and evil people will suffer for the evil they do.

21 “If someone evil stops sinning and keeps my laws, if he does what is right and good, he will not die; he will certainly live. 22 All his sins will be forgiven, and he will live, because he did what is right. 23 Do you think I enjoy seeing evil people die?” asks the Sovereign Lord. “No, I would rather see them repent and live.

24 “But if a righteous person stops doing good and starts doing all the evil, disgusting things that evil people do, will he go on living? No! None of the good he did will be remembered. He will die because of his unfaithfulness and his sins.

25 “But you say, ‘What the Lord does isn't right.’ Listen to me, you Israelites. Do you think my way of doing things isn't right? It is your way that isn't right. 26 When a righteous person stops doing good and starts doing evil and then dies, he dies because of the evil he has done. 27 When someone evil stops sinning and does what is right and good, he saves his life. 28 He realizes what he is doing and stops sinning, so he will certainly not die, but go on living. 29 And you Israelites say, ‘What the Lord does isn't right.’ You think my way isn't right, do you? It is your way that isn't right.

30 “Now I, the Sovereign Lord, am telling you Israelites that I will judge each of you by what you have done. Turn away from all the evil you are doing, and don't let your sin destroy you. 31 Give up all the evil you have been doing, and get yourselves new minds and hearts. Why do you Israelites want to die? 32 I do not want anyone to die,” says the Sovereign Lord. “Turn away from your sins and live.”

Footnotes:

  1. Ezekiel 18:10 Some ancient translations who does any; Hebrew unclear.
  2. Ezekiel 18:17 Some ancient translations (see also verse 8) to do evil; Hebrew from the poor.
  3. Ezekiel 18:18 Some ancient translations robbed; Hebrew unclear.
Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Ezekiel 18 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Individual Retribution

18 The word of the Lord came to me: What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, “The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge”? As I live, says the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Know that all lives are mine; the life of the parent as well as the life of the child is mine: it is only the person who sins that shall die.

If a man is righteous and does what is lawful and right— if he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife or approach a woman during her menstrual period, does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, does not take advance or accrued interest, withholds his hand from iniquity, executes true justice between contending parties, follows my statutes, and is careful to observe my ordinances, acting faithfully—such a one is righteous; he shall surely live, says the Lord God.

10 If he has a son who is violent, a shedder of blood, 11 who does any of these things (though his father[a] does none of them), who eats upon the mountains, defiles his neighbor’s wife, 12 oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, does not restore the pledge, lifts up his eyes to the idols, commits abomination, 13 takes advance or accrued interest; shall he then live? He shall not. He has done all these abominable things; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself.

14 But if this man has a son who sees all the sins that his father has done, considers, and does not do likewise, 15 who does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife, 16 does not wrong anyone, exacts no pledge, commits no robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, 17 withholds his hand from iniquity,[b] takes no advance or accrued interest, observes my ordinances, and follows my statutes; he shall not die for his father’s iniquity; he shall surely live. 18 As for his father, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother, and did what is not good among his people, he dies for his iniquity.

19 Yet you say, “Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?” When the son has done what is lawful and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. 20 The person who sins shall die. A child shall not suffer for the iniquity of a parent, nor a parent suffer for the iniquity of a child; the righteousness of the righteous shall be his own, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be his own.

21 But if the wicked turn away from all their sins that they have committed and keep all my statutes and do what is lawful and right, they shall surely live; they shall not die. 22 None of the transgressions that they have committed shall be remembered against them; for the righteousness that they have done they shall live. 23 Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord God, and not rather that they should turn from their ways and live? 24 But when the righteous turn away from their righteousness and commit iniquity and do the same abominable things that the wicked do, shall they live? None of the righteous deeds that they have done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which they are guilty and the sin they have committed, they shall die.

25 Yet you say, “The way of the Lord is unfair.” Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair? 26 When the righteous turn away from their righteousness and commit iniquity, they shall die for it; for the iniquity that they have committed they shall die. 27 Again, when the wicked turn away from the wickedness they have committed and do what is lawful and right, they shall save their life. 28 Because they considered and turned away from all the transgressions that they had committed, they shall surely live; they shall not die. 29 Yet the house of Israel says, “The way of the Lord is unfair.” O house of Israel, are my ways unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair?

30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, all of you according to your ways, says the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions; otherwise iniquity will be your ruin.[c] 31 Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed against me, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord God. Turn, then, and live.

Footnotes:

  1. Ezekiel 18:11 Heb he
  2. Ezekiel 18:17 Gk: Heb the poor
  3. Ezekiel 18:30 Or so that they shall not be a stumbling block of iniquity to you
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Ezekiel 18 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

18 The word of Adonai came to me: “What does it mean, that you keep quoting this proverb in the land of Isra’el —

‘When parents eat sour grapes,
their children’s teeth are set on edge’?

“As I live,” says Adonai Elohim, “I swear that you will never again quote this proverb in Isra’el. Look, all lives belong to me — both the parent’s life and the child’s life are equally mine — so it is the person who sins, himself, who must die.

“Consider someone who is righteous, who does what is lawful and right. He doesn’t eat on the mountains or raise his eyes toward the idols of the house of Isra’el; he doesn’t defile his neighbor’s wife or touch a woman during her time of menstrual impurity; he doesn’t wrong anyone; he returns any pledged property a debtor has given as collateral for a loan; he takes nothing by robbery, but gives his food to the hungry and clothing to those who need it; he neither demands nor accepts interest on a loan; he refrains from what is evil; and he judges honestly between one person and another. In short, he lives according to my laws and observes my rulings, so as to act faithfully. Such a person is righteous, and he will certainly live,” says Adonai Elohim.

10 “Now suppose he is the father of a son who is a robber, a murderer, or who does any of these things to a brother — 11 whereas the father himself does none of them. He eats on the mountains, defiles his neighbor’s wife, 12 wrongs the poor and needy, takes by robbery, doesn’t restore pledged property, raises his eyes toward the idols, engages in disgusting practices, 13 demands and accepts interest. Should he live? He will not live, because he has engaged in all these disgusting practices — he must be put to death; his blood is on him.

14 “But now suppose he has a son who sees all the sins his father committed, thinks about them, and behaves differently. 15 He doesn’t eat on the mountains, raise his eyes to the idols of the house of Isra’el, defile his neighbor’s wife, 16 wrong others, keep pledged property or take by robbery, but gives his food to the hungry and clothing to those in need of it; 17 he refrains from oppressing the poor; and he neither demands nor accepts interest. He obeys my rulings and lives according to my laws. So he will not die for his father’s sins but will certainly live. 18 Yet his father, because he oppressed so cruelly, committed robbery against his brother and never did anything good among his people — he will die for his sins.

19 “You ask, ‘Why doesn’t the son bear his father’s guilt?’ When the son has done what is lawful and right, has kept all my laws and obeyed them, he will certainly live. 20 The person who sins is the one that will die — a son is not to bear his father’s guilt with him, nor is the father to bear his son’s guilt with him; but the righteousness of the righteous will be his own, and the wickedness of the wicked will be his own.

21 “However, if the wicked person repents of all the sins he committed, keeps my laws and does what is lawful and right; then he will certainly live, he will not die. 22 None of the transgressions he has committed will be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done, he will live. 23 Do I take any pleasure at all in having the wicked person die?” asks Adonai Elohim. “Wouldn’t I prefer that he turn from his ways and live?

24 “On the other hand, when the righteous person turns away from his righteousness and commits wickedness by acting in accordance with all the disgusting practices that the wicked person does, will he live? None of the righteous deeds he has done will be remembered; for the trespasses and sins he has committed, he will die.

25 “So now you say, ‘Adonai’s way isn’t fair.’ Listen, house of Isra’el! Is it my way that is unfair? or your ways that are unfair? 26 When the righteous person turns away from his righteousness and commits wickedness, he will die for it — for the wickedness he commits he will die. 27 And when the wicked person turns away from all the wickedness he has committed and does what is lawful and right, he will save his life. 28 Because he thinks it over and repents of all the transgressions he committed, he will certainly live, not die. 29 Yet the house of Isra’el says, ‘Adonai’s way isn’t fair.’ House of Isra’el, is it my ways that are unfair, or your ways that are unfair? 30 Therefore, house of Isra’el, I will judge each of you according to his ways,” says Adonai Elohim. “Repent, and turn yourselves away from all your transgressions, so that they will not be a stumblingblock that brings guilt upon you. 31 Throw far away from yourselves all your crimes that you committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit; for why should you die, house of Isra’el? 32 I take no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” says Adonai Elohim, “so turn yourselves around, and live!

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

Ezekiel 18 The Message (MSG)

Judged According to the Way You Live

18 1-2 God’s Message to me: “What do you people mean by going around the country repeating the saying,

The parents ate green apples,
The children got the stomachache?

3-4 “As sure as I’m the living God, you’re not going to repeat this saying in Israel any longer. Every soul—man, woman, child—belongs to me, parent and child alike. You die for your own sin, not another’s.

5-9 “Imagine a person who lives well, treating others fairly, keeping good relationships—

    doesn’t eat at the pagan shrines,
    doesn’t worship the idols so popular in Israel,
    doesn’t seduce a neighbor’s spouse,
    doesn’t indulge in casual sex,
    doesn’t bully anyone,
    doesn’t pile up bad debts,
    doesn’t steal,
    doesn’t refuse food to the hungry,
    doesn’t refuse clothing to the ill-clad,
    doesn’t exploit the poor,
    doesn’t live by impulse and greed,
    doesn’t treat one person better than another,
But lives by my statutes and faithfully
    honors and obeys my laws.
This person who lives upright and well
    shall live a full and true life.
        Decree of God, the Master.

10-13 “But if this person has a child who turns violent and murders and goes off and does any of these things, even though the parent has done none of them—

eats at the pagan shrines,
seduces his neighbor’s spouse,
bullies the weak,
steals,
piles up bad debts,
admires idols,
commits outrageous obscenities,
exploits the poor

“—do you think this person, the child, will live? Not a chance! Because he’s done all these vile things, he’ll die. And his death will be his own fault.

14-17 “Now look: Suppose that this child has a child who sees all the sins done by his parent. The child sees them, but doesn’t follow in the parent’s footsteps—

    doesn’t eat at the pagan shrines,
    doesn’t worship the popular idols of Israel,
    doesn’t seduce his neighbor’s spouse,
    doesn’t bully anyone,
    doesn’t refuse to loan money,
    doesn’t steal,
    doesn’t refuse food to the hungry,
    doesn’t refuse to give clothes to the ill-clad,
    doesn’t live by impulse and greed,
    doesn’t exploit the poor.
He does what I say;
    he performs my laws and lives by my statutes.

17-18 “This person will not die for the sins of the parent; he will live truly and well. But the parent will die for what the parent did, for the sins of—

oppressing the weak,
robbing brothers and sisters,
doing what is dead wrong in the community.

19-20 “Do you need to ask, ‘So why does the child not share the guilt of the parent?’

“Isn’t it plain? It’s because the child did what is fair and right. Since the child was careful to do what is lawful and right, the child will live truly and well. The soul that sins is the soul that dies. The child does not share the guilt of the parent, nor the parent the guilt of the child. If you live upright and well, you get the credit; if you live a wicked life, you’re guilty as charged.

21-23 “But a wicked person who turns his back on that life of sin and keeps all my statutes, living a just and righteous life, he’ll live, really live. He won’t die. I won’t keep a list of all the things he did wrong. He will live. Do you think I take any pleasure in the death of wicked men and women? Isn’t it my pleasure that they turn around, no longer living wrong but living right—really living?

24 “The same thing goes for a good person who turns his back on an upright life and starts sinning, plunging into the same vile obscenities that the wicked person practices. Will this person live? I don’t keep a list of all the things this person did right, like money in the bank he can draw on. Because of his defection, because he accumulates sin, he’ll die.

25-28 “Do I hear you saying, ‘That’s not fair! God’s not fair!’?

“Listen, Israel. I’m not fair? You’re the ones who aren’t fair! If a good person turns away from his good life and takes up sinning, he’ll die for it. He’ll die for his own sin. Likewise, if a bad person turns away from his bad life and starts living a good life, a fair life, he will save his life. Because he faces up to all the wrongs he’s committed and puts them behind him, he will live, really live. He won’t die.

29 “And yet Israel keeps on whining, ‘That’s not fair! God’s not fair.’

“I’m not fair, Israel? You’re the ones who aren’t fair.

30-32 “The upshot is this, Israel: I’ll judge each of you according to the way you live. So turn around! Turn your backs on your rebellious living so that sin won’t drag you down. Clean house. No more rebellions, please. Get a new heart! Get a new spirit! Why would you choose to die, Israel? I take no pleasure in anyone’s death. Decree of God, the Master.

“Make a clean break! Live!”

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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