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Bible Commentaries

Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Ezekiel 18

Verses 1-32

God’s Equity vindicated

The popular view of Israel’s calamities, as expressed in a current proverb, was that they were the punishment of the sins of former generations. Though there was a measure of truth in this, the proverb was used in a false and mischievous sense. It led the present generation to ignore their own sin, to doubt the justice of God’s providence, to despair of escape from the working of a blind fate. Ezekiel, consequently, emphasised in the strongest way the truths of individual responsibility, and of God’s impartiality in dealing with every man according to his own character (Ezekiel 18:1-4). If a man is righteous he shall live (Ezekiel 18:5-9). If a righteous man has a wicked son, the son will not be saved by his father’s righteousness, but will die (Ezekiel 18:10-13). If this wicked man, in turn, has a righteous son, the latter will not die for his father’s sin, but will live (Ezekiel 18:14-18). Further, a wicked man who repents and becomes righteous will live (Ezekiel 18:21-22, Ezekiel 18:27-28), and a righteous man who becomes wicked will die (Ezekiel 18:24, Ezekiel 18:26). All this is unquestionably just, and God does not wish any to die, but appeals to all to forsake sin and live (Ezekiel 18:19-20, Ezekiel 18:23, Ezekiel 18:25, Ezekiel 18:29-32). This chapter recalls Ezekiel 3:17-21, and the teaching of both passages is repeated in Ezekiel 33:1-20.

2. The fathers, etc.] The same proverb is quoted and refuted in Jeremiah 31:29, Jeremiah 31:30.

4. All souls are mine] God deals directly with every one, and not with the son through the father.

It shall die] ’Die’ and ’live’ are used in the sense explained under Ezekiel 3:18.

6. Eaten upon the mountains] shared in an idolatrous meal at a high place.

7. Restored.. his pledge] see Exodus 22:6; Deuteronomy 24:12.

22. Mentioned unto] RV ’remembered against’: so in Ezekiel 18:24.

24. Ezekiel does not raise the question whether a truly righteous man could thus fall away. He assumes that a man’s final conduct expresses his real and final character.

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 18". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.