Ezekiel 18:19 MEANING

Ezekiel 18:19
(19) Why? Doth not the son bear?--It would be clearer to read this as a single question, "Why doth not the son, &c?" It is the question proposed by the people in objection to what has been declared. To them it seemed the law of nature, the necessity of the case, the teaching of history, that the son should bear the iniquity of his father. Their ideas had not risen to the conception of man's individual responsibility to God; to them the individual was still but a part of the nation or the family. They ask, therefore, why this universal law should now be reversed. It was not true that any law was reversed, it was only that the superior prevailed over the inferior law; but, as usual in such cases, the Divine word does not reason with the human objection, but in this and the following verse only reiterates most emphatically the law of individual responsibility.

Verse 19. - Why? doth not the son, etc.? The words are better taken, with the LXX., Vulgate, Revised Version, and most critics, as a single question, Why doth not the son bear, etc.? What is the explanation of a fact which seemingly contradicts the teaching of the Law? The answer to the question seems at first only an iteration of what had been stated before. The son repents, and therefore does not bear his father's iniquity. A man is responsible for his own sins, and for those only. To think otherwise is to think of God as less righteous than man.

18:1-20 The soul that sinneth it shall die. As to eternity, every man was, is, and will be dealt with, as his conduct shows him to have been under the old covenant of works, or the new covenant of grace. Whatever outward sufferings come upon men through the sins of others, they deserve for their own sins all they suffer; and the Lord overrules every event for the eternal good of believers. All souls are in the hand of the great Creator: he will deal with them in justice or mercy; nor will any perish for the sins of another, who is not in some sense worthy of death for his own. We all have sinned, and our souls must be lost, if God deal with us according to his holy law; but we are invited to come to Christ. If a man who had shown his faith by his works, had a wicked son, whose character and conduct were the reverse of his parent's, could it be expected he should escape the Divine vengeance on account of his father's piety? Surely not. And should a wicked man have a son who walked before God as righteous, this man would not perish for his father's sins. If the son was not free from evils in this life, still he should be partaker of salvation. The question here is not about the meritorious ground of justification, but about the Lord's dealings with the righteous and the wicked.Yet say ye, why?.... Why do you say so? why do you go on to assert that which is not fact, or which is contrary to fact, contrary to what we feel and experience every day, to say that children are not punished for their parents' sins? these are the words of the murmuring, complaining, and blaspheming Jews, quarrelling with the prophet, and with the Lord himself:

doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? have not we proof of it every day we live? are not our present case and circumstances a full evidence of it? or the words may be rendered, "why does not the son bear the iniquity of the father?" so the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions; or, as the Targum,

"why is not the son punished for the sins of the father?''

and so they are an objection, which is foreseen might be made, and is here anticipated, to which an answer is returned; and so the Syriac version introduces it, "but if they said", &c. then adds, "tell them", as follows:

when, or "because"

the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them: this is the reason why he shall not bear his father's sins, or be punished for them; intimating that they had not done these things that made the complaint, or put the, question; but had committed the same sins their fathers had, and so were punished, not for their fathers' sins, but their own: for otherwise the man that does what is just and right with God, and between man and man,

he shall surely live; See Gill on Ezekiel 18:17.

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