New International Reader's Version

Ezekiel 18

People Will Die Because of Their Own Sins

1A message from the Lord came to me. The Lord said, “You people have a proverb about the land of Israel. What do you mean by it? It says,

“ ‘The parents eat sour grapes.
    But the children have a bitter taste in their mouths.’

“You will not use that proverb in Israel anymore,” announces the Lord and King. “And that is just as sure as I am alive. Everyone belongs to me. Parents and children alike belong to me. A person will die because of their own sins.

“Suppose there is a godly man
    who does what is fair and right.
And he does not eat at the mountain temples.
    He does not worship the statues of Israel’s gods.
He does not sleep with another man’s wife.
    He does not have sex with his own wife
    during her monthly period.
He does not treat anyone badly.
    Instead, he always returns things he takes
    to make sure loans are paid back.
He does not steal.
    Instead, he gives his food to hungry people.
    He provides clothes for those who are naked.
He does not charge interest when he lends money to them.
    He does not make money from them.
    He keeps himself from doing what is wrong.
    He judges cases fairly.
He obeys my rules.
    He is faithful in keeping my laws.
He always does what is right.
    You can be sure he will live,”
    announces the Lord and King.

10 “But suppose he has a mean son who harms other people. The son commits murder. Or he does some other things that are wrong. 11 Suppose he does these things even though his father never did.

“Suppose the son eats at the mountain temples.
    And he sleeps with another man’s wife.
12 He treats poor and needy people badly.
    He steals.
He does not pay back what he owes.
    He worships statues of gods.
He does other things I hate.
13     He charges interest when he lends money to poor people. He makes money from them.

Will a man like that live? He will not! He must be put to death. And what happens to him will be his own fault. He did many things I hate.

14 “But suppose this son has a son of his own. And the son sees all the sins his father commits. He sees them, but he does not do them.

15 “Suppose he does not eat at the mountain temples.
    And he does not worship the statues of Israel’s gods.
    He does not sleep with another man’s wife.
16 He does not treat anyone badly.
    He does not make people give him something
    to prove they will pay back what they owe him.
He does not steal.
    Instead, he gives his food to hungry people.
    He provides clothes for those who are naked.
17 He keeps himself from committing sins.
    He does not charge interest when he lends money to poor people.
    He does not make money from them.
    He keeps my laws and obeys my rules.

He will not die because of his father’s sin. You can be sure he will live. 18 But his father will die because of his own sin. He got rich by cheating others. He robbed his relatives. He also did what was wrong among his people.

19 “But you still ask, ‘Is the son guilty along with his father?’ No! The son did what was fair and right. He was careful to obey all my rules. So you can be sure he will live. 20 A person will die because of their own sins. A child will not be guilty because of what their parent did. And a parent will not be guilty because of what their child did. The right things a godly person does will be added to their account. The wrong things a sinful person does will be charged against them.

21 “But suppose a sinful person turns away from all the sins they have committed. And they obey all my rules. They do what is fair and right. Then you can be sure they will live. They will not die. 22 None of the sins they have committed will be held against them. Because of the godly things they have done, they will live. 23 When sinful people die, it does not give me any joy,” announces the Lord and King. “But when they turn away from their sins and live, that makes me very happy.

24 “Suppose a godly person stops doing what is right. And they sin. They do the same evil things a sinful person does. They do things I hate. Then they will not live. I will not remember any of the right things they have done. They have not been faithful to me. They have also committed many other sins. So they are guilty. They will die.

25 “But you say, ‘What the Lord does isn’t fair.’ Listen to me, you Israelites. What I do is always fair. What you do is not. 26 Suppose a godly person stops doing what is right. And they sin. Then they will die because of it. They will die because of the sin they have committed. 27 But suppose a sinful person turns away from the evil things they have done. And they do what is fair and right. Then they will save their life. 28 They think about all the evil things they have done. And they turn away from them. So you can be sure they will live. They will not die. 29 But the Israelites still say, ‘What the Lord does isn’t fair.’ People of Israel, what I do is always fair. What you do is not.

30 “So I will judge you Israelites. I will judge each of you in keeping with what you have done,” announces the Lord and King. “Turn away from your sins! Turn away from all the evil things you have done. Then sin will not bring you down. 31 Get rid of all the evil things you have done. Let me give you a new heart and a new spirit. Then you will be faithful to me. Why should you die, people of Israel? 32 When anyone dies, it does not give me any joy,” announces the Lord and King. “So turn away from your sins. Then you will live!