Lectionary Calendar
Friday, July 12th, 2024
the Week of Proper 9 / Ordinary 14
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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 18

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New TestamentZerr's N.T. Commentary

Verse 1

Eze 18:1-2. There was no basis for the saying about the fathers’ eating sour grapes and setting the children’s teeth on edge. But it was a convenient way of shifting personal responsibility lo blame the wrong on inherit-ance from the fathers. Such a theory never was true, but the falsity of it had not been exposed as cleaTly as the Lord threatened to do next.

Verse 3

Verse 3. The Lord declared he was going to take away all occasion for such a saying. As I live means the thing predicted was to be as sure as the fact that the Lord was a living Being.

Verse 4

Eze 18:4. All souls are mine signifies that God would have no reason to punish one soul on behalf of another since one of His beloved servants would be as precious as the other. The force of the last clause will be realized if the pronoun is emphasized and made to read, the soul that sinneth it shall die; that is, one soul will not have to die for the sins of another.

Verse 5

Eze 18:5. Justice is described in this verse as consisting of doing that which is lawful and right in one’s conduct Loward his fellow man.

Verse 6

Eze 18:6. Eaten upon the mountains. The connection indicates this means the eating in the feasts instituted in the idolatrous services. The idolaters often selected mountains or other "high places’’ as points for setting up their idofs. The last clause of the verse would have been a violation of Lev 18:19.

Verse 7

Eze 18:7. It was lawful to accept a pledge from another to secure an obligation but it was wrong to retain it overnight (Exo 22:26).

Verse 8

Eze 18:8. The general meaning of this verse is to take advantage of the misfortunes of another and make a gain thereby.

Verse 9

Eze 18:9. The statutes and judgments of the Lord means the divine laws enacted for the conduct of His people. The man who does them has the promise that he will live, while the one who disregards all of such regulations will he Ihe soul lhat sins and IT was condemned to die.

Verse 10

Eze 18:10. A man who begets a son who goes wrong will not have to answer for the sins of that son; provided, of course, he does what he can to instruct his son aright.

Verse 11

Eze 18:11, Many of the wrongs previously mentioned are repeated because of the importance of the subject. Eaten upon the mountains is a reference to the idolatrous feasts that were performed on the various "high places."

Verse 12

Eze 18:12. Spoiled by violence means to use force in taking from another his property. Not restored the pledge refers to the law which required a lender to return a pledge at the end of the day.

Verse 13

Eze 18:13. It was unlawful under the law of Moses to exact usury (interest) of a Jewish brother. Instead, if a loan was made to him, the lender could require a pledge in the form of some article of value, but even that must be returned at sundown.

Verse 14

Eze 18:14. A father was not made to answer for the sins of his son. By the same token, if a father was a doer of wrong deeds, it did not furnish the son any excuse for doing the like. The son should consider the bad example set by t.be father and profit by it instead of following in the same line of conduct.

Verse 15

Eze 18:15. This verse is the same in thought as verse 6,

Verse 16

Eze 18:16. To oppress in the sense that is condemned means to take undue advantage of another. One way in which that could be done was to retain a pledge beyond the legal hour which was stipulated by the law to be at sundown.

Verse 17

Eze 18:17. Taken his hand from the poor denotes he has refrained from oppressing the poor, such as charging him usury or interest on money loaned to him. If a son follows these righteous principles in life he will not be punished because of his father.

Verse 18

Eze 18:18. It was likewise true that the good deeds of a son would not benefit an unworthy father. The son would '‘live” in the favor of God, but the father would have to die on the ground of his own responsibility.

Verse 19

Eze 18:19. The first part of this verse is a protest from the people because of the old notion that a son should bear the blame for his father’s evil deeds. The last part is God’s reply, and it is a restatement, of what has been already declared.

Verse 20

Eze 18:20. The first sentence is an identical repetition of the closing clause of verse 4. This verse as a whole is a summing up of the several verses on a most, important subject, that of individual responsibility.

Verse 21

Eze 18:21. This verse introduces another phase of one’s responsibility as regards his personal conduct, but it still leaves the individual item where it was. No man will need to die for the sins of another, it is only the soul that sinneth that shall die. Yet even such a person needs not die, notwithstanding his past sins. Repentance or reformation of life is always open to ail men and if such a course will be adopted the sinner may be forgiven his evil conduct and live in the favor of God.

Verse 22

Eze 18:22. When God forgives a man the matter is dropped. There is a popular saytng uttered in prayers where the petitioner asks God to forgive our sins "and remember them against us no more." Such a statement is an insult to the Almighty, for it implies that God will promise to forgive and yet might remember our sins against us after declaring they had been forgiven. It puts God on a level with hypocritical man who agrees to “bury the hatchet,” but who leaves the handle in sight.

Verse 23

Eze 18:23. The primary object in all scriptural discipline is the possibility of reforming the sinner (1Co 5:5; 2Co 7:12; 2Th 3:14; 2Th 3:16; Hebrews 12; 6-11; 13; 17). God does not obtain any pleasure out of the punishment of his creatures (2Pe 3:9), but inflicts it solely for their good.

Verse 24

Eze 18:24. This verse is akin to verse 22 at one very important point. When a wicked man repents and is forgiven, □one of his former sins are mentioned against him. Likewise, if a righteous man backslides and deserts his life of righteousness, he will he dealt with according to his sins just the same as if he had never been a righteous man. It is one of the weaknesses of mankind to overlook the evil doing of a person for the sake of his previous record. It will be heard say, "We know he is not doing just right now. but we still remember the good he has done." Such persons are pretending to have a better memory or know better how to deal with a sinner than does the Lord. He declares he will not consider the former good deeds of the backslider after he takes up a life of sin but that he shall die in his sins.

Verse 25

Eze 18:25. Any accusation made against the Lord would be false, but this one was especially foolish in view of the declarations just made about the dealing meted out toward man. It shows that He treated all persons in an impartial manner in that a man's past conduct, whether good or bad, was not used as a basis for the treatment of him at present. In spite of this, the people of Israel accused God of using ways that were not equal, which means that he was partial in his dealings.

Verse 26

Eze 18:26. The conclusion that is in this verse is that when a man dies IN his iniquities, they are to be regarded as the cause for the penalty of death imposed.

Verse 27

Eze 18:27. Much repetition may be observed in this chapter, but human beings are so forgetful they need to be reminded frequently of the same truth. It should be seen that throughout this long passage one principle is out in front, and that is that man’s fate is largely In his own hands, he will be dealt with according to his deeds.

Verse 28

Eze 18:28. Repentance is not something a man does unthinkingly or on the spur of the moment, but it is because he considereih. It is true that repentance must start in the mind (2Co 7:9-10), but if it is sincere it will manifest itself by a life of reformation and turning from the ways of unrighteousness.

Verse 29

Eze 18:29. In spite of the fairness of this principle in Cod’s dealings, his people charged him with unequal or partial treatment of them.

Verse 30

Eze 18:30. God determined to proceed in the manner decreed and judge each man according to HIS ways, and not in consideration'of the conduct of others. The fairness of this principle is evident in that it gives each individual an opportunity to avoid personal disaster by turning from his sins.

Verse 31

Eze 18:31. Repentance is an active and practical something. A sinner must accomplish it himself by putting away the evil things of his life: no one can do it for him. The New Testament teaches the same principle in 2Ti 2:19-21 and many other passages. After man has purged his manner of life by sincere reformation, God will purge him from the guilt thereof by forgiveness.

Verse 32

Eze 18:32. The primary object of discipline is discussed at verse 23.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Ezekiel 18". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/ezekiel-18.html. 1952.
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