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Ezekiel Chapter 18 | Parsha:

1The word of the Lord came to me: 2What do you mean by quoting this proverb upon the soil of Israel, “Parents eat sour grapes and their children’s teeth are blunted”? 3As I live—declares the Lord God—this proverb shall no longer be current among you in Israel. 4Consider, all lives are Mine; the life of the parent and the life of the child are both Mine. The person who sins, only he shall die.

5Thus, if a man is righteous and does what is just and right: 6If he has not eaten on the mountains or raised his eyes to the fetishes of the House of Israel; if he has not defiled another man’s wife or approached a menstruous woman; 7if he has not wronged anyone; if he has returned the debtor’s pledge to him and has taken nothing by robbery; if he has given bread to the hungry and clothed the naked; 8if he has not lent at advance interest or exacted accrued interest; if he has abstained from wrongdoing and executed true justice between man and man; 9if he has followed My laws and kept My rules and acted honestly—he is righteous. Such a man shall live—declares the Lord God.

10Suppose, now, that he has begotten a son who is a ruffian, a shedder of blood, who does any of these things, 11whereas he himself did none of these things. That is, [the son] has eaten on the mountains, has defiled another man’s wife, 12has wronged the poor and the needy, has taken by robbery, has not returned a pledge, has raised his eyes to the fetishes, has committed abomination, 13has lent at advance interest, or exacted accrued interest—shall he live? He shall not live! If he has committed any of these abominations, he shall die; he has forfeited his life.

14Now suppose that he, in turn, has begotten a son who has seen all the sins that his father committed, but has taken heed and has not imitated them: 15He has not eaten on the mountains or raised his eyes to the fetishes of the House of Israel; he has not defiled another man’s wife; 16he has not wronged anyone; he has not seized a pledge or taken anything by robbery; he has given his bread to the hungry and clothed the naked; 17he has refrained from oppressing the poor; he has not exacted advance or accrued interest; he has obeyed My rules and followed My laws—he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, but shall live. 18To be sure, his father, because he practiced fraud, robbed his brother, and acted wickedly among his kin, did die for his iniquity; 19and now you ask, “Why has not the son shared the burden of his father’s guilt?” But the son has done what is right and just, and has carefully kept all My laws: he shall live!

20The person who sins, he alone shall die. A child shall not share the burden of a parent’s guilt, nor shall a parent share the burden of a child’s guilt; the righteousness of the righteous shall be accounted to him alone, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be accounted to him alone.

21Moreover, if the wicked one repents of all the sins that he committed and keeps all My laws and does what is just and right, he shall live; he shall not die. 22None of the transgressions he committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness he has practiced, he shall live. 23Is it my desire that a wicked person shall die?—says the Lord God. It is rather that he shall turn back from his ways and live.

24So, too, if a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does wrong, practicing the very abominations that the wicked person practiced, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds that he did shall be remembered; because of the treachery he has practiced and the sins he has committed—because of these, he shall die.

25Yet you say, “The way of the Lord is unfair.” Listen, O House of Israel: Is My way unfair? It is your ways that are unfair! 26When a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does wrong, he shall die for it; he shall die for the wrong he has done. 27And if a wicked person turns back from the wickedness that he practiced and does what is just and right, such a person shall save his life. 28Because he took heed and turned back from all the transgressions that he committed, he shall live; he shall not die.

29Yet the House of Israel say, “The way of the Lord is unfair.” Are My ways unfair, O House of Israel? It is your ways that are unfair! 30Be assured, O House of Israel, I will judge each one of you according to his ways—declares the Lord God. Repent and turn back from your transgressions; let them not be a stumbling block of guilt for you. 31Cast away all the transgressions by which you have offended, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit, that you may not die, O House of Israel. 32For it is not My desire that anyone shall die—declares the Lord God. Repent, therefore, and live!

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