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Bible Commentaries

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

Ezekiel 18

Verses 1-32

Each person is responsible (18:1-32)

Many of the exiles complained that it was unjust that they should suffer because of the sins of the previous generation. True, the present captivity had resulted from the continuing decay of the nation over several generations, but the exiles could not deny that they too had sinned. There could be no excuses. They are individually responsible for their wrongdoings and they are punished accordingly (18:1-4).
Examples of sins are then given. These include joining in idol feasts at the high places, immorality, exploitation of the weakness of others, and lack of concern for those in need. The person who avoids these sins and does what is right will enjoy the blessing of God (5-9).
If this good person has a son who does evil, the son will be punished for his sin (10-13). If this wicked son produces, in turn, a son who does good, the good man will be rewarded for his goodness, though his wicked father will be punished (14-18). Each is either rewarded or punished according to whether he has done good or evil, regardless of how his father may have acted (19-20).
God wants sinners to repent, so that they can receive forgiveness and enjoy God’s blessings in life. But if they deliberately choose the way of sin, nothing is left for them but judgment (21-24). The exiles had accused God of being unjust, but they, because of their wickedness, are the ones who are unjust (25-29). God in his justice will punish those who sin, though it gives him no pleasure. He prefers that they repent of their sin and be forgiven; and to each person who repents, God will give eternal life (30-32).

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Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Ezekiel 18". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". 2005.