As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother by violence, and did that which is not good among his people, see, even he shall die in his iniquity.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)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.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.
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.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 18:5. If a man is righteous, and doeth right and righteousness, Ezekiel 18:6. And doth not eat upon the mountains, and doth not lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, and doth not defile his neighbour's wife, and doth not approach his wife in her uncleanness, Ezekiel 18:7. Oppresseth no one, restoreth his security (lit., debt-pledge), committeth no robbery, giveth his bread to the hungry, and covereth the naked with clothes, Ezekiel 18:8. Doth not give upon usury, and taketh not interest, withholdeth his hand from wrong, executeth judgment of truth between one and another, Ezekiel 18:9. Walketh in my statutes, and keepeth my rights to execute truth; he is righteous, he shall live, is the saying of the Lord "Jehovah." - The exposition of the assertion, that God only punishes the sinner, not the innocent, commences with a picture of the righteousness which has the promise of life. The righteousness consists in the fulfilment of the commandments of the law: viz., (1) those relating to religious duties, such as the avoidance of idolatry, whether of the grosser kind, such as eating upon the mountains, i.e., observing sacrificial festivals, and therefore sacrificing to idols (cf. Deuteronomy 12:2.), or of a more refined description, e.g., lifting up the eyes to idols, to look to them, or make them the object of trust, and offer supplication to them (cf. Psalm 121:1; Deuteronomy 4:19), as Israel had done, and was doing still (cf. Ezekiel 6:13); and (2) those relating to moral obligations, such as the avoidance of adultery (compare Exodus 20:14; Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22; and for טמּא, Genesis 34:5), and of conjugal intercourse with a wife during menstruation, which was a defilement of the marriage relation (cf. Leviticus 18:19; Leviticus 20:18). All these sins were forbidden in the law on pain of death. To these there are appended duties to a neighbour (Ezekiel 18:7.), viz., to abstain from oppressing any one (Exodus 22:28; Leviticus 15:14, Leviticus 15:17), to restore the pledge to a debtor (Exodus 22:25; Deuteronomy 24:6, Deuteronomy 24:10.). חוב is hardly to be taken in any other sense than as in apposition to חבלתו, "his pledge, which is debt," equivalent to his debt-pledge or security, like דּרכּך זמּה in Ezekiel 16:27. The supposition of Hitzig, that חוב is a participle, like קום in 2 Kings 16:7, in the sense of debtor, is a far less natural one, and has no valid support in the free rendering of the lxx, ἐνεχυρασμὸν ὀφείλοντος. The further duties are to avoid taking unlawful possession of the property of another (cf. Leviticus 5:23); to feed the hungry, clothe the naked (cf. Isaiah 58:5; Matthew 25:26; James 2:15-16); to abstain from practising usury (Deuteronomy 23:20; cf. Exodus 22:24) and taking interest (Leviticus 25:36-37); in judicial sentences, to draw back the hand from wrong, and promote judgment of truth, - a sentence in accordance with the true nature of the case (see the comm. on Zechariah 7:9); and, lastly, to walk in the statutes and rights of the Lord, - an expression which embraces, in conclusion, all that is essential to the righteousness required by the law. - This definition of the idea of true righteousness, which preserves from death and destruction, and ensures life to the possessor, is followed in Ezekiel 18:10. by a discussion of the attitude which God sustains towards the sons.
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