Ezekiel 18 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Ezekiel 18)

Verse 2

[2] What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge?

The land of Israel — The two tribes, not the ten.

The fathers — Our fore-fathers.

Have eaten — Have sinned.

The childrens — We their children, who were unborn, suffer for their sins.

Verse 4

[4] Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

Behold — There can be no colour of partial judgment in the proceedings of God, who is equally God to all.

All souls — All persons.

The soul — The person, whether father or son, shall die, shall bear his own punishment.

Verse 6

[6] And hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither hath defiled his neighbour's wife, neither hath come near to a menstruous woman,

Hath not eaten — Hath not committed idolatry, offering sacrifice, and eating of the things sacrificed to idols; whose temples and altars were on mountains, Hosea 4:13.

Verse 8

[8] He that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man,

Increase — Illegal interest.

Iniquity — Injustice of every kind.

Verse 9

[9] Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD.

Shall live — Shall be delivered from famine, pestilence, and sword, and shall see good days.

Verse 13

[13] Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase: shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him.

His blood — Heb. 'Tis plural, bloods; both the blood of the innocent which he murdered, and his own blood which thereby he forfeited; the blood of his own soul and life: that is the whole blame of his misery in time and eternity, shall lie upon himself.

Verse 17

[17] That hath taken off his hand from the poor, that hath not received usury nor increase, hath executed my judgments, hath walked in my statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live.

Hath taken off — Withdrawn his hand from hurting or wronging the poor, tho' he had power to do it securely.

Verse 20

[20] The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

Shall not bear — This is a most unquestionable truth; and tho' perhaps it may seem otherwise in some cases, yet could we see perfectly the connexion between persons and persons; could we see the connexion of sins and sins, and how easily, secretly, and undiscerned men become guilty of the same sins, we should see father and son, though perhaps one of them might not do the evil, both guilty, and neither punished for the sin farther than if it was his own: nor do the scriptures, Exodus 20:5; Deuteronomy 28:18, doom persons to punishment for sins from which they are wholly free; but if children shall follow their fathers in sin, then if they die for those sins, 'tis because these are their own, not as they are their fathers.

The righteousness — It shall be well with the righteous, for he shall eat the fruit of his doing, he shall be rewarded as a righteous one.

The wickedness — The reward of wickedness. "The son shall not die, not die eternally, for the iniquity of the father, if he do not tread in the steps of it: nor the father for the iniquity of the son, if he do all he can to prevent it.

Verse 22

[22] All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.

Not mentioned — Not to him.

Verse 25

[25] Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?

The way — His whole management of affairs.

Not equal — Not right, or consistent with his own declaration, and law.

Verse 28

[28] Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.

He shall surely live — "That is, he shall be restored to the favour of God, which is the life of the soul."

Verse 31

[31] Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

Make you a new heart — Suffer me to do it in you.

Verse 32

[32] For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

I have no pleasure — Sinners displease God when they undo themselves; they please him when they return.