Ezekiel 18:18
As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother by violence, and did that which is not good among his people, lo, even he shall die in his iniquity.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) As for his father.—There is here a recurrence to the second case, to bring out more sharply the contrast between the two, and to emphasise the fact insisted upon, that each individual must be judged according to his own character, without help or prejudice from that of his father.

This third case was especially adapted to the prophet’s purpose of refuting the proverb, because here was the father who had “eaten sour grapes,” and his son’s teeth were not to be set on edge.

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.Live ... die - In the writings of Ezekiel there is a development of the meaning of "life" and "death." In the holy land the sanctions of divine government were in great degree temporal; so that the promise of "life" for "obedience," the threatening of "death" for "disobedience," in the Books of Moses, were regarded simply as temporal and national. In their exile this could not continue in its full extent, and the universality of the misfortune necessarily made men look deeper into the words of God. The word "soul" denotes a "person" viewed as an "individual," possessing the "life" which God breathed into man when he became a "living soul" Genesis 2:7; i. e., it distinguishes "personality" from "nationality," and this introduces that fresh and higher idea of "life" and "death," which is not so much "life" and "death" in a future state, as "life" and "death" as equivalent to communion with or separation from God - that idea of life and death which was explained by our Lord in the Gospel of John John 8, and by Paul in Romans 8. 17. taken off his hand from the poor—that is, abstained from oppressing the poor, when he had the opportunity of doing so with impunity.The different sense of the phrase in Eze 16:49, in reference to relieving the poor, seems to have suggested the reading followed by Fairbairn, but not sanctioned by the Hebrew, "hath not turned his hand from," &c. But Eze 20:22 uses the phrase in a somewhat similar sense to English Version here, abstained from hurting. Oppressing, he oppressed; and spoiling, spoiled; did all the mischief he could: he shall die.

As for his father,.... It shall be otherwise with him:

because he cruelly oppressed; or, "oppressed an oppression"; or, "with an oppression" (i); oppressed the poor, and had no mercy on them, but used them in the most rigorous manner:

spoiled his brother by violence; took away the spoil of his brother; spoiled him of his substance; did injury to his person and property, and all the mischief that lay in his power:

and did that which is not good among his people; neighbours, citizens, and countrymen; did nothing which was good, as he ought to have done; but everything that was bad, which he should not have done:

lo, even he shall die in his iniquity: and for it; it shall not be forgiven him; he shall be punished for it with death, with the death of affliction; and with corporeal death, as a punishment for sin; and with eternal death, dying in his sins, and in a state of impenitence. These instances, put every way, most clearly show the equity of God; the justness of his proceedings in providence; and how inapplicable the proverb in Ezekiel 18:2 was to them; and that such that sin, and continue therein, shall die for their own iniquities, and not for the sins of others.

(i) "oppressit oppressionem", Pagninus, Montanus; "oppressit oppressione", Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius.

As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother by violence, and did that which is not good among his people, lo, even he shall die in his iniquity.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. spoiled his brother] LXX. omits “brother;” the word is that referred to Ezekiel 18:10. Here “brother” might stand, though “neighbour” is the term elsewhere used (Ezekiel 18:6; Ezekiel 18:11). The word “violence” or robbery has a different form Ezekiel 18:7; Ezekiel 18:12.

Verse 18. - The reappearance of the father, with the same emphatic "lo!" seems to imply that Ezekiel thought of the two phenomena as possibly contemporaneous. Men might see before them, at the same time, the father dying in his sins, and the son turning from them and gaining the true life. Ezekiel 18:18The son who avoids his father's sin will live; but the father will die for his own sins. - Ezekiel 18:14. And behold, he begetteth a son, who seeth all his father's sins which he doeth; he seeth them, and doeth not such things. Ezekiel 18:15. He eateth not upon the mountains, and lifteth not up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel; he defileth not his neighbour's wife, Ezekiel 18:16. And oppresseth no one; he doth not withhold a pledge, and committeth not robbery; giveth his bread to the hungry, and covereth the naked with clothes. Ezekiel 18:17. He holdeth back his hand from the distressed one, taketh not usury and interest, doeth my rights, walketh in my statutes; he will not die for the sin of his father; he shall live. Ezekiel 18:18. His father, because he hath practised oppression, committed robbery upon his brother, and hath done that which is not good in the midst of his people; behold, he shall die for his sin. Ezekiel 18:19. And do ye say, Why doth the son not help to bear the father's sin? But the son hath done right and righteousness, hath kept all my statutes, and done them; he shall live. Ezekiel 18:20. The soul that sinneth, it shall die. A son shall not help to bear the father's sin, and a father shall not help to bear the sin of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. - The case supposed in these verses forms the antithesis to the preceding one; the father is the transgressor in this instance, and the son a keeper of the law. The subject to הוליד in Ezekiel 18:14 is not the righteous man described in Ezekiel 18:15, but a man who is described immediately afterwards as a transgressor of the commandments of God. The Chetib וירא bite in the last clause of Ezekiel 18:14 is not to be read ויּרא, καὶ φοβηθῇ, et timuerit, as it has been by the translators of the Septuagint and Vulgate; nor is it to be altered into ויּראה, as it has been by the Masoretes, to make it accord with Ezekiel 18:28; but it is the apocopated form ויּרא, as in the preceding clause, and the object is to be repeated from what precedes, as in the similar case which we find in Exodus 20:15, (18). Ewald and Hitzig propose to alter מעני in Ezekiel 18:17 into מעול after Ezekiel 18:8, but without the slightest necessity. The lxx are not to be taken as an authority for this, since the Chaldee and Syriac have both read and rendered עני; and Ezekiel, when repeating the same sentences, is accustomed to make variations in particular words. Holding back the hand from the distressed, is equivalent to abstaining from seizing upon him for the purpose of crushing him (compare Ezekiel 18:12); בּתוך, in the midst of his countrymen equals בּתוך עמּו, is adopted from the language of the Pentateuch. מת after הנּה is a participle. The question, "Why does the son not help to bear?" is not a direct objection on the part of the people, but is to be taken as a pretext, which the people might offer on the ground of the law, that God would visit the sin of the fathers upon the sons in justification of their proverb. Ezekiel cites this pretext for the purpose of meeting it by stating the reason why this does not occur. נשׂא ב, to carry, near or with, to join in carrying, or help to carry (cf. Numbers 11:17). This proved the proverb to be false, and confirmed the assertion made in Ezekiel 18:4, to which the address therefore returns (Ezekiel 18:20). The righteousness of the righteous man will come upon him, i.e., upon the righteous man, namely, in its consequences. The righteous man will receive the blessing of righteousness, but the unrighteous man the curse of his wickedness. There is no necessity for the article, which the Keri proposes to insert before רשׁע.
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