Ezekiel 18:26
When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, and dies in them; for his iniquity that he has done shall he die.
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18:21-29 The wicked man would be saved, if he turned from his evil ways. The true penitent is a true believer. None of his former transgressions shall be mentioned unto him, but in the righteousness which he has done, as the fruit of faith and the effect of conversion, he shall surely live. The question is not whether the truly righteous ever become apostates. It is certain that many who for a time were thought to be righteous, do so, while ver. 26,27 speaks the fulness of pardoning mercy: when sin is forgiven, it is blotted out, it is remembered no more. In their righteousness they shall live; not for their righteousness, as if that were an atonement for their sins, but in their righteousness, which is one of the blessings purchased by the Mediator. What encouragement a repenting, returning sinner has to hope for pardon and life according to this promise! In verse 28 is the beginning and progress of repentance. True believers watch and pray, and continue to the end, and they are saved. In all our disputes with God, he is in the right, and we are in the wrong.Equal - literally, "weighed out, balanced." Man's ways are arbitrary, God's ways are governed by a self-imposed law, which makes all consistent and harmonious. 26-28. The two last instances repeated in inverse order. God's emphatic statement of His principle of government needs no further proof than the simple statement of it.

in them—in the actual sins, which are the manifestations of the principle of "iniquity," mentioned just before.

See Ezekiel 18:24, where the whole of this verse is explained. When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness,.... This is repeated for the further confirmation of it, and to raise their attention to it; to make it more plain and manifest to them, and to fix it upon their minds:

and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them: or, "he shall die for them" (m); both for his turning away from his righteousness, and for his committing iniquity:

for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die; in both respects. This is repeated to denote the certainty of it.

(m) "propter illa", Pagninus, Piscator, Grotius, Cocceius; so some in Vatsbins.

When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.
Verses 26-29. - The equity of the Divine judgments is asserted, as before, by fresh iteration rather than by new arguments. In a discourse delivered, as this probably was, orally, it was necessary, so to speak, to hammer in the truth upon men's minds so that it might be driven home and do its work. The righteousness of the father does not protect the wicked, unrighteous son from death. - Ezekiel 18:10. If, however, he begetteth a violent son, who sheddeth blood, and doeth only one of these things, Ezekiel 18:11. But he himself hath not done all this, - if he even eateth upon the mountains, and defileth his neighbour's wife, Ezekiel 18:12. Oppresseth the suffering and poor, committeth robbery, doth not restore a pledge, lifteth up his eyes to idols, committeth abomination, Ezekiel 18:13. Giveth upon usury, and taketh interest: should he live? He shall not live! He hath done all these abominations; he shall be put to death; his blood shall be upon him. - The subject to והוליד, in Ezekiel 18:10, is the righteous man described in the preceding verses. פּריץ, violent, literally, breaking in or through, is rendered more emphatic by the words "shedding blood" (cf. Hosea 4:2). We regard אח in the next clause as simply a dialectically different form of writing and pronouncing, for אך, "only," and he doeth only one of these, the sins previously mentioned (Ezekiel 18:6.). מאחד, with a partitive מן, as in Leviticus 4:2, where it is used in a similar connection; the form מאחד is also met with in Deuteronomy 15:7. The explanation given by the Targum, "and doeth one of these to his brother," is neither warranted by the language nor commended by the sense. עשׂה is never construed with the accusative of the person to whom anything is done; and the limitation of the words to sins against a brother is unsuitable in this connection. The next clause, לא עשׂה...והוּא, which has also been variously rendered, we regard as an adversative circumstantial clause, and agree with Kliefoth in referring it to the begetter (father): "and he (the father) has not committed any of these sins." For it yields no intelligible sense to refer this clause also to the son, since כּל־אלּה cannot possibly refer to different things from the preceding מאלּה, and a man cannot at the same time both do and not do the same thing. The כּי which follows signifies "if," as is frequently the case in the enumeration of particular precepts or cases; compare, for example, Exodus 21:1, Exodus 21:7,Exodus 21:17, etc., where it is construed with the imperfect, because the allusion is to things that may occur. Here, on the contrary, it is followed by the perfect, because the sins enumerated are regarded as committed. The emphatic גּם (even) forms an antithesis to אח מאחד (אך), or rather an epanorthosis of it, inasmuch as כּי גּם resumes and carries out still further the description of the conduct of the wicked son, which was interrupted by the circumstantial clause; and that not only in a different form, but with a gradation in the thought. The thought, for instance, is as follows: the violent son of a righteous father, even if he has committed only one of the sins which the father has not committed, shall die. And if he has committed even the gross sins named, viz., idolatry, adultery, violent oppression of the poor, robbery, etc., should he then continue to live? The ו in וחי introduces the apodosis, which contains a question, that is simply indicated by the tone, and is immediately denied. The antique form חי for חיּה, 3rd pers. perf., is taken from the Pentateuch (cf. Genesis 3:22 and Numbers 21:8). The formulae מות יוּמת and דּמיו בּו dna are also derived from the language of the law (cf. Leviticus 20:9, Leviticus 20:11, Leviticus 20:13, etc.).
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