Ezekiel 18

1The word of Hashem came to me:

אוַיְהִי דְבַר־יְהֹוָה אֵלַי לֵאמֹר׃

2What do you mean by quoting this proverb upon the soil of Yisrael, “Parents eat sour grapes and their children's teeth are blunted”?

ma la-KHEM a-TEM mo-sh'-LEEM et ha-ma-SHAL ha-ZEH al ad-MAT yis-ra-AYL lay-MOR a-VOT YO-kh'-lu VO-ser v'-shi-NAY ha-ba-NEEM tik-HE-nah

במַה־לָּכֶם אַתֶּם מֹשְׁלִים אֶת־הַמָּשָׁל הַזֶּה עַל־אַדְמַת יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר אָבוֹת יֹאכְלוּ בֹסֶר וְשִׁנֵּי הַבָּנִים תִּקְהֶינָה׃

18:2  What do you mean by quoting this proverb upon the soil of Yisrael

The sinful nation complains that they are being punished for transgressions committed by their ancestors. Yechezkel explains that this is inaccurate; they are being held accountable because they have continued their parents’ evil deeds. The prophet specifically reprimands the people for uttering this complaint in the Land of Israel. The fallacy in the children’s complaint that they are being punished for their father’s sins motivates Yechezkel to speak, as the Holy Land cannot tolerate falsehood.

3As I live—declares Hashem—this proverb shall no longer be current among you in Yisrael.

גחַי־אָנִי נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה אִם־יִהְיֶה לָכֶם עוֹד מְשֹׁל הַמָּשָׁל הַזֶּה בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל׃

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.

דהֵן כָּל־הַנְּפָשׁוֹת לִי הֵנָּה כְּנֶפֶשׁ הָאָב וּכְנֶפֶשׁ הַבֵּן לִי־הֵנָּה הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַחֹטֵאת הִיא תָמוּת׃

5Thus, if a man is righteous and does what is just and right:

הוְאִישׁ כִּי־יִהְיֶה צַדִּיק וְעָשָׂה מִשְׁפָּט וּצְדָקָה׃

6If he has not eaten on the mountains or raised his eyes to the fetishes of the House of Yisrael; if he has not defiled another man's wife or approached a menstruous woman;

ואֶל־הֶהָרִים לֹא אָכָל וְעֵינָיו לֹא נָשָׂא אֶל־גִּלּוּלֵי בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאֶת־אֵשֶׁת רֵעֵהוּ לֹא טִמֵּא וְאֶל־אִשָּׁה נִדָּה לֹא יִקְרָב׃

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;

זוְאִישׁ לֹא יוֹנֶה חֲבֹלָתוֹ חוֹב יָשִׁיב גְּזֵלָה לֹא יִגְזֹל לַחְמוֹ לְרָעֵב יִתֵּן וְעֵירֹם יְכַסֶּה־בָּגֶד׃

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;

חבַּנֶּשֶׁךְ לֹא־יִתֵּן וְתַרְבִּית לֹא יִקָּח מֵעָוֶל יָשִׁיב יָדוֹ מִשְׁפַּט אֱמֶת יַעֲשֶׂה בֵּין אִישׁ לְאִישׁ׃

9if he has followed My laws and kept My rules and acted honestly—he is righteous. Such a man shall live—declares Hashem.

טבְּחֻקּוֹתַי יְהַלֵּךְ וּמִשְׁפָּטַי שָׁמַר לַעֲשׂוֹת אֱמֶת צַדִּיק הוּא חָיֹה יִחְיֶה נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה׃

10Suppose, now, that he has begotten a son who is a ruffian, a shedder of blood, who does any of these things,

יוְהוֹלִיד בֵּן־פָּרִיץ שֹׁפֵךְ דָּם וְעָשָׂה אָח מֵאַחַד מֵאֵלֶּה׃

11whereas he himself did none of these things. That is, [the son] has eaten on the mountains, has defiled another man's wife,

יאוְהוּא אֶת־כָּל־אֵלֶּה לֹא עָשָׂה כִּי גַם אֶל־הֶהָרִים אָכַל וְאֶת־אֵשֶׁת רֵעֵהוּ טִמֵּא׃

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,

יבעָנִי וְאֶבְיוֹן הוֹנָה גְּזֵלוֹת גָּזָל חֲבֹל לֹא יָשִׁיב וְאֶל־הַגִּלּוּלִים נָשָׂא עֵינָיו תּוֹעֵבָה עָשָׂה׃

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.

יגבַּנֶּשֶׁךְ נָתַן וְתַרְבִּית לָקַח וָחָי לֹא יִחְיֶה אֵת כָּל־הַתּוֹעֵבוֹת הָאֵלֶּה עָשָׂה מוֹת יוּמָת דָּמָיו בּוֹ יִהְיֶה׃

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:

ידוְהִנֵּה הוֹלִיד בֵּן וַיַּרְא אֶת־כָּל־חַטֹּאת אָבִיו אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה וַיִּרְאֶה וְלֹא יַעֲשֶׂה כָּהֵן׃

15He has not eaten on the mountains or raised his eyes to the fetishes of the House of Yisrael; he has not defiled another man's wife;

טועַל־הֶהָרִים לֹא אָכָל וְעֵינָיו לֹא נָשָׂא אֶל־גִּלּוּלֵי בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת־אֵשֶׁת רֵעֵהוּ לֹא טִמֵּא׃

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;

טזוְאִישׁ לֹא הוֹנָה חֲבֹל לֹא חָבָל וּגְזֵלָה לֹא גָזָל לַחְמוֹ לְרָעֵב נָתָן וְעֵרוֹם כִּסָּה־בָגֶד׃

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.

יזמֵעָנִי הֵשִׁיב יָדוֹ נֶשֶׁךְ וְתַרְבִּית לֹא לָקָח מִשְׁפָּטַי עָשָׂה בְּחֻקּוֹתַי הָלָךְ הוּא לֹא יָמוּת בַּעֲוׂן אָבִיו חָיֹה יִחְיֶה׃

18To be sure, his father, because he practiced fraud, robbed his brother, and acted wickedly among his kin, did die for his iniquity;

יחאָבִיו כִּי־עָשַׁק עֹשֶׁק גָּזַל גֵּזֶל אָח וַאֲשֶׁר לֹא־טוֹב עָשָׂה בְּתוֹךְ עַמָּיו וְהִנֵּה־מֵת בַּעֲוׂנוֹ׃

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!

יטוַאֲמַרְתֶּם מַדֻּעַ לֹא־נָשָׂא הַבֵּן בַּעֲוׂן הָאָב וְהַבֵּן מִשְׁפָּט וּצְדָקָה עָשָׂה אֵת כָּל־חֻקּוֹתַי שָׁמַר וַיַּעֲשֶׂה אֹתָם חָיֹה יִחְיֶה׃

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.

כהַנֶּפֶשׁ הַחֹטֵאת הִיא תָמוּת בֵּן לֹא־יִשָּׂא בַּעֲוׂן הָאָב וְאָב לֹא יִשָּׂא בַּעֲוׂן הַבֵּן צִדְקַת הַצַּדִּיק עָלָיו תִּהְיֶה וְרִשְׁעַת רשע [הָרָשָׁע] עָלָיו תִּהְיֶה׃

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.

כאוְהָרָשָׁע כִּי יָשׁוּב מִכָּל־חטאתו [חַטֹּאתָיו] אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה וְשָׁמַר אֶת־כָּל־חֻקּוֹתַי וְעָשָׂה מִשְׁפָּט וּצְדָקָה חָיֹה יִחְיֶה לֹא יָמוּת׃

22None of the transgressions he committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness he has practiced, he shall live.

כבכָּל־פְּשָׁעָיו אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה לֹא יִזָּכְרוּ לוֹ בְּצִדְקָתוֹ אֲשֶׁר־עָשָׂה יִחְיֶה׃

23Is it my desire that a wicked person shall die?—says Hashem. It is rather that he shall turn back from his ways and live.

כגהֶחָפֹץ אֶחְפֹּץ מוֹת רָשָׁע נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה הֲלוֹא בְּשׁוּבוֹ מִדְּרָכָיו וְחָיָה׃

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.

כדוּבְשׁוּב צַדִּיק מִצִּדְקָתוֹ וְעָשָׂה עָוֶל כְּכֹל הַתּוֹעֵבוֹת אֲשֶׁר־עָשָׂה הָרָשָׁע יַעֲשֶׂה וָחָי כָּל־צדקתו [צִדְקֹתָיו] אֲשֶׁר־עָשָׂה לֹא תִזָּכַרְנָה בְּמַעֲלוֹ אֲשֶׁר־מָעַל וּבְחַטָּאתוֹ אֲשֶׁר־חָטָא בָּם יָמוּת׃

25Yet you say, “The way of Hashem is unfair.” Listen, O House of Yisrael: Is My way unfair? It is your ways that are unfair!

כהוַאֲמַרְתֶּם לֹא יִתָּכֵן דֶּרֶךְ אֲדֹנָי שִׁמְעוּ־נָא בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל הֲדַרְכִּי לֹא יִתָּכֵן הֲלֹא דַרְכֵיכֶם לֹא יִתָּכֵנוּ׃

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.

כובְּשׁוּב־צַדִּיק מִצִּדְקָתוֹ וְעָשָׂה עָוֶל וּמֵת עֲלֵיהֶם בְּעַוְלוֹ אֲשֶׁר־עָשָׂה יָמוּת׃

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.

כזוּבְשׁוּב רָשָׁע מֵרִשְׁעָתוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה וַיַּעַשׂ מִשְׁפָּט וּצְדָקָה הוּא אֶת־נַפְשׁוֹ יְחַיֶּה׃

28Because he took heed and turned back from all the transgressions that he committed, he shall live; he shall not die.

כחוַיִּרְאֶה וישוב [וַיָּשָׁב] מִכָּל־פְּשָׁעָיו אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה חָיוֹ יִחְיֶה לֹא יָמוּת׃

29Yet the House of Yisrael say, “The way of Hashem is unfair.” Are My ways unfair, O House of Yisrael? It is your ways that are unfair!

כטוְאָמְרוּ בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא יִתָּכֵן דֶּרֶךְ אֲדֹנָי הַדְּרָכַי לֹא יִתָּכְנּוּ בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל הֲלֹא דַרְכֵיכֶם לֹא יִתָּכֵן׃

30Be assured, O House of Yisrael, I will judge each one of you according to his ways—declares Hashem. Repent and turn back from your transgressions; let them not be a stumbling block of guilt for you.

ללָכֵן אִישׁ כִּדְרָכָיו אֶשְׁפֹּט אֶתְכֶם בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה שׁוּבוּ וְהָשִׁיבוּ מִכָּל־פִּשְׁעֵיכֶם וְלֹא־יִהְיֶה לָכֶם לְמִכְשׁוֹל עָוׂן׃

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 Yisrael.

לאהַשְׁלִיכוּ מֵעֲלֵיכֶם אֶת־כָּל־פִּשְׁעֵיכֶם אֲשֶׁר פְּשַׁעְתֶּם בָּם וַעֲשׂוּ לָכֶם לֵב חָדָשׁ וְרוּחַ חֲדָשָׁה וְלָמָּה תָמֻתוּ בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

32For it is not My desire that anyone shall die—declares Hashem. Repent, therefore, and live!

לבכִּי לֹא אֶחְפֹּץ בְּמוֹת הַמֵּת נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה וְהָשִׁיבוּ וִחְיוּ׃