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Ezekiel 18:18-19

18. As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother by violence, and did that which is not good among his people, lo, even he in shall die in his iniquity.

18. Pater ejus quia opprimendo oppressit, et rapuit praedam a fratre, et quod non est bonum fecit in medio populi sui: ecce is morietur iniquitate sua.

19. Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live.

19. Et dicitis, Quare non portabit filius iniquitatem patris? eo quod filius fecit judicium et justitiam, et custodivit omnia statuta mea fecitque ea: ideo vivendo vivet.


He inculcates the same thing more at length, not for the sake of ornament so much as to refute that impious saying in which the Israelites so perniciously persisted. Since then it was difficult to tear from their minds what was so deeply rooted in them, the Prophet often exclaims that no one was punished except he deserved it for his crimes. He adds in the next verse what seems superfluous and absurd: for the Israelites did not contend with God for sparing the innocent: but here Ezekiel represents them speaking as if they wished the innocent son to be punished equally with the wicked father. But he does not mean that they contended about the right, but about the fact, as we usually say. For since they were imbued with that error, that punishments extended beyond the criminals, on the other hand he pronounces that the just were not absolved by their own goodness, if they sprang from impious parents, although the people supposed so; for they were buried under their own depraved judgment, otherwise they must have perceived that justice is never deprived by God of its reward of life.

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