The Meaning of Ezekiel 18:20 Explained

Ezekiel 18:20

KJV: 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.

YLT: The soul that doth sin -- it doth die. A son doth not bear of the iniquity of the father, And a father doth not bear of the iniquity of the son, The righteousness of the righteous is on him, And the wickedness of the wicked is on him.

Darby: 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.

ASV: 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.

Discover Ezekiel 18:20

What does Ezekiel 18:20 Mean?

Context Summary

Ezekiel 18:14-32 - The Reversal Of The Divine Judgment
The Jews of Ezekiel's day asserted that God's dealings with their nation were not just, because they were suffering, not for their own sins, but for their fathers'. God here makes it clear that He deals with individuals according to their deserts. The guilty son of a good father does not escape punishment because of his father's virtues; and the good son of evil parents reaps the reward of his own goodness. What a well of comfort is supplied by Ezekiel 18:21-22! God pledges Himself that forgiven sin shall not even be mentioned. This solemn covenant should be appropriated and its fulfillment claimed, by those who through all their lifetime have been subject to bondage because of their past. We must not be content with an outward amendment; there must be, and there can be, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, an inward and radical change. This impossible command drives us to the Holy Spirit, Psalms 51:10; Psalms 51:12. As Augustine puts it: "Give what thou requirest, and require what thou wilt." [source]

Chapter Summary: Ezekiel 18

1  God defends his justice
31  and exhorts to repentance

What do the individual words in Ezekiel 18:20 mean?

The soul who sins it shall die The son not shall bear the guilt of the father and the father nor bear of the son the righteousness of the righteous upon himself shall be and the wickedness of the wicked shall be -
הַנֶּ֥פֶשׁ הַחֹטֵ֖את הִ֣יא תָמ֑וּת בֵּ֞ן לֹא־ יִשָּׂ֣א ׀ בַּעֲוֺ֣ן הָאָ֗ב וְאָב֙ לֹ֤א יִשָּׂא֙ הַבֵּ֔ן צִדְקַ֤ת הַצַּדִּיק֙ עָלָ֣יו תִּֽהְיֶ֔ה וְרִשְׁעַ֥ת [רשע] (הָרָשָׁ֖ע) תִּֽהְיֶֽה ס

הַנֶּ֥פֶשׁ  The  soul 
Parse: Article, Noun, feminine singular
Root: נֶפֶשׁ  
Sense: soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion.
הַחֹטֵ֖את  who  sins 
Parse: Article, Verb, Qal, Participle, feminine singular
Root: חָטָא 
Sense: to sin, miss, miss the way, go wrong, incur guilt, forfeit, purify from uncleanness.
הִ֣יא  it 
Parse: Pronoun, third person feminine singular
Root: הוּא 
Sense: he, she, it.
תָמ֑וּת  shall  die 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperfect, third person feminine singular
Root: מוּת  
Sense: to die, kill, have one executed.
בֵּ֞ן  The  son 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: בֵּן 
Sense: son, grandson, child, member of a group.
יִשָּׂ֣א ׀  shall  bear 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperfect, third person masculine singular
Root: נָשָׂא  
Sense: to lift, bear up, carry, take.
בַּעֲוֺ֣ן  the  guilt 
Parse: Preposition-b, Noun, common singular construct
Root: עָוֹן  
Sense: perversity, depravity, iniquity, guilt or punishment of iniquity.
הָאָ֗ב  of  the  father 
Parse: Article, Noun, masculine singular
Root: אָב  
Sense: father of an individual.
וְאָב֙  and  the  father 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Noun, masculine singular
Root: אָב  
Sense: father of an individual.
לֹ֤א  nor 
Parse: Adverb, Negative particle
Root: הֲלֹא 
Sense: not, no.
יִשָּׂא֙  bear 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperfect, third person masculine singular
Root: נָשָׂא  
Sense: to lift, bear up, carry, take.
הַבֵּ֔ן  of  the  son 
Parse: Article, Noun, masculine singular
Root: בֵּן 
Sense: son, grandson, child, member of a group.
צִדְקַ֤ת  the  righteousness 
Parse: Noun, feminine singular construct
Root: צְדָקָה  
Sense: justice, righteousness.
הַצַּדִּיק֙  of  the  righteous 
Parse: Article, Adjective, masculine singular
Root: צַדִּיק  
Sense: just, lawful, righteous.
עָלָ֣יו  upon  himself 
Parse: Preposition, third person masculine singular
Root: עַל 
Sense: upon, on the ground of, according to, on account of, on behalf of, concerning, beside, in addition to, together with, beyond, above, over, by, on to, towards, to, against.
תִּֽהְיֶ֔ה  shall  be 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperfect, third person feminine singular
Root: אֶהְיֶה 
Sense: to be, become, come to pass, exist, happen, fall out.
וְרִשְׁעַ֥ת  and  the  wickedness 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Noun, feminine singular construct
Root: רִשְׁעָה  
Sense: wickedness, guilt.
(הָרָשָׁ֖ע)  the  wicked 
Parse: Article, Adjective, masculine singular
Root: רָשָׁע  
Sense: wicked, criminal.
תִּֽהְיֶֽה  shall  be 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperfect, third person feminine singular
Root: אֶהְיֶה 
Sense: to be, become, come to pass, exist, happen, fall out.
ס  - 
Parse: Punctuation

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