The Soul That Sins Shall Die
18 1 The word of the Lord came to me again, saying, 2 Why do you make use of this saying about the land of Israel, The fathers have been tasting bitter grapes and the children's teeth are on edge? 3 By my life, says the Lord, you will no longer have this saying in Israel. 4 See, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so the soul of the son is mine: death will be the fate of the sinner's soul. 5 But if a man is upright, living rightly and doing righteousness, 6 And has not taken flesh with the blood for food, or given worship to the images of the children of Israel; if he has not had connection with his neighbour's wife, or come near to a woman at the time when she is unclean; 7 And has done no wrong to any, but has given back to the debtor what is his, and has taken no one's goods by force, and has given food to him who was in need of it, and clothing to him who was without it; 8 And has not given his money out at interest or taken great profits, and, turning his hand from evil-doing, has kept faith between man and man, 9 And has been guided by my rules and has kept my laws and done them: he is upright, life will certainly be his, says the Lord.
10 If he has a son who is a thief, a taker of life, who does any of these things, 11 Who has taken flesh with the blood as food, and has had connection with his neighbour's wife, 12 Has done wrong to the poor and to him who is in need, and taken property by force, and has not given back to one in his debt what is his, and has given worship to images and has done disgusting things, 13 And has given out his money at interest and taken great profits: he will certainly not go on living: he has done all these disgusting things: death will certainly be his fate; his blood will be on him. 14 Now if he has a son who sees all his father's sins which he has done, and in fear does not do the same: 15 Who has not taken the flesh with the blood for food, or given worship to the images of the children of Israel, and has not had connection with his neighbour's wife, 16 Or done wrong to any, or taken anything from one in his debt, or taken goods by force, but has given food to him who was in need of it, and clothing to him who was without it; 17 Who has kept his hand from evil-doing and has not taken interest or great profits, who has done my orders and been guided by my rules: he will certainly not be put to death for the evil-doing of his father; life will certainly be his. 18 As for his father, because he was cruel, took goods by force, and did what is not good among his people, truly, death will overtake him in his evil-doing. 19 But you say, Why does not the son undergo punishment for the evil-doing of the father? When the son has done what is ordered and right, and has kept my rules and done them, life will certainly be his. 20 The soul which does sin will be put to death: the son will not be made responsible for the evil-doing of the father, or the father for the evil-doing of the son; the righteousness of the upright will be on himself, and the evil-doing of the evil-doer on himself.
God's Way Is Just
21 But if the evil-doer, turning away from all the sins which he has done, keeps my rules and does what is ordered and right, life will certainly be his; death will not be his fate. 22 Not one of the sins which he has done will be kept in memory against him: in the righteousness which he has done he will have life. 23 Have I any pleasure in the death of the evil-doer? says the Lord: am I not pleased if he is turned from his way so that he may have life? 24 But when the upright man, turning away from his righteousness, does evil, like all the disgusting things which the evil man does, will he have life? Not one of his upright acts will be kept in memory: in the wrong which he has done and in his sin death will overtake him. 25 But you say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Give ear, now, O children of Israel; is my way not equal? are not your ways unequal? 26 When the upright man, turning away from his righteousness, does evil, death will overtake him; in the evil which he has done death will overtake him. 27 Again, when the evil-doer, turning away from the evil he has done, does what is ordered and right, he will have life for his soul. 28 Because he had fear and was turned away from all the wrong which he had done, life will certainly be his, death will not be his fate. 29 But still the children of Israel say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O children of Israel, are my ways not equal? are not your ways unequal?
30 For this cause I will be your judge, O children of Israel, judging every man by his ways, says the Lord. Come back and be turned from all your sins; so that they may not be the cause of your falling into evil. 31 Put away all your evil-doing in which you have done sin; and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit: why are you desiring death, O children of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him on whom death comes, says the Lord: be turned back then, and have life.
A Lamentation for the Princes of Israel
19 1 Take up now a song of grief for the ruler of Israel, and say, 2 What was your mother? Like a she-lion among lions, stretched out among the young lions she gave food to her little ones. 3 And one of her little ones came to growth under her care, and became a young lion, learning to go after beasts for his food; and he took men for his meat. 4 And the nations had news of him; he was taken in the hole they had made: and, pulling him with hooks, they took him into the land of Egypt. 5 Now when she saw that her hope was made foolish and gone, she took another of her little ones and made him into a young lion. 6 And he went up and down among the lions and became a young lion, learning to go after beasts for his food; and he took men for his meat. 7 And he sent destruction on their widows and made waste their towns; and the land and everything in it became waste because of the loud sound of his voice. 8 Then the nations came against him from the kingdoms round about: their net was stretched over him and he was taken in the hole they had made. 9 They made him a prisoner with hooks, and took him to the king of Babylon; they put him in the strong place so that his voice might be sounding no longer on the mountains of Israel.
10 Your mother was in comparison like a vine, planted by the waters: she was fertile and full of branches because of the great waters. 11 And she had a strong rod for a rod of authority for the rulers, and it became tall among the clouds and it was seen lifted up among the number of its branches. 12 But she was uprooted in burning wrath, and made low on the earth; the east wind came, drying her up, and her branches were broken off; her strong rod became dry, the fire made a meal of it. 13 And now she is planted in the waste land, in a dry and unwatered country. 14 And fire has gone out from her rod, causing the destruction of her branches, so that there is no strong rod in her to be the ruler's rod of authority. This is a song of grief, and it was for a song of grief.