8 November 2017 Bible Reading
In today’s reading, Ezekiel responds to the people’s complaint that God is punishing them for their ancestors’ sins.
God promises that judgment will come to the individual for their sins alone, and those who repent will be forgiven. The passage begins with the complaint of the Israelites that they are being punished for their ancestor’s sins (18:1-3). The Lord responds, “all lives are mine” (18:4a), and that the righteousness of the righteous is theirs, just as the sins of the wicked are theirs and not another’s (18:20). This sets up a call for repentance and a promise of forgiveness to those individuals who repent (18:27-28).
18 Yahweh’s word came to me again, saying, 2 What do you mean, that you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge? 3 As I live, says the Lord Yahweh, you shall not use this proverb any more in Israel. 4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins, he shall die. 5 But if a man is just, and does that which is lawful and right, 6 and has not eaten on the mountains, neither has lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither has defiled his neighbor’s wife, neither has come near to a woman in her impurity, 7 and has not wronged any, but has restored to the debtor his pledge, has taken nothing by robbery, has given his bread to the hungry, and has covered the naked with a garment; 8 he who has not lent on interest, neither has taken any increase, who has withdrawn his hand from iniquity, has executed true justice between man and man, 9 has walked in my statutes, and has kept my ordinances, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, says the Lord Yahweh. 10 If he fathers a son who is a robber who sheds blood, and who does any one of these things, 11 or who does not do any of those things, but even has eaten on the mountains, and defiled his neighbor’s wife, 12 has wronged the poor and needy, has taken by robbery, has not restored the pledge, and has lifted up his eyes to the idols, has committed abomination, 13 has lent on interest, and has taken increase; shall he then live? he shall not live: he has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be on him. 14 Now, behold, if he fathers a son, who sees all his father’s sins, which he has done, and fears, and does not such like; 15 who has not eaten on the mountains, neither has lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, has not defiled his neighbor’s wife, 16 neither has wronged any, has not taken anything to pledge, neither has taken by robbery, but has given his bread to the hungry, and has covered the naked with a garment; 17 who has withdrawn his hand from the poor, who has not received interest nor increase, has executed my ordinances, has walked in my statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live. 18 As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, robbed his brother, and did that which is not good among his people, behold, he shall die in his iniquity. 19 Yet you say, Why doesn’t the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son has done that which is lawful and right, and has kept all my statutes, and has done them, he shall surely live. 20 The soul who sins, he 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 on him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be on him. 21 But if the wicked turn from all his sins that he has committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. 22 None of his transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him: in his righteousness that he has done he shall live. 23 Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked? says the Lord Yahweh; and not rather that he should return from his way, and live? 24 But when the righteous turns away from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? None of his righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered: in his trespass that he has trespassed, and in his sin that he has sinned, in them shall he die. 25 Yet you say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, house of Israel: Is my way not equal? Aren’t your ways unequal? 26 When the righteous man turns away from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, and dies therein; in his iniquity that he has done shall he die. 27 Again, when the wicked man turns away from his wickedness that he has committed, and does that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. 28 Because he considers, and turns away from all his transgressions that he has committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die. 29 Yet the house of Israel says, “The way of the Lord is not fair.” House of Israel, aren’t my ways fair? Aren’t your ways unfair? 30 Therefore I will judge you, house of Israel, everyone according to his ways, says the Lord Yahweh. Return, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. 31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, in which you have transgressed; and make yourself a new heart and a new spirit: for why will you die, house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him who dies, says the Lord Yahweh: therefore turn yourselves, and live.
19 Moreover, take up a lamentation for the princes of Israel, 2 and say, What was your mother? A lioness: she couched among lions, in the middle of the young lions she nourished her cubs. 3 She brought up one of her cubs: he became a young lion, and he learned to catch the prey; he devoured men. 4 The nations also heard of him; he was taken in their pit; and they brought him with hooks to the land of Egypt. 5 Now when she saw that she had waited, and her hope was lost, then she took another of her cubs, and made him a young lion. 6 He went up and down among the lions; he became a young lion, and he learned to catch the prey; he devoured men. 7 He knew their palaces, and laid waste their cities; and the land was desolate, and its fullness, because of the noise of his roaring. 8 Then the nations set against him on every side from the provinces; and they spread their net over him; he was taken in their pit. 9 They put him in a cage with hooks, and brought him to the king of Babylon; they brought him into strongholds, that his voice should no more be heard on the mountains of Israel. 10 Your mother was like a vine, in your blood, planted by the waters: it was fruitful and full of branches by reason of many waters. 11 It had strong rods for the scepters of those who bore rule, and their stature was exalted among the thick boughs, and they were seen in their height with the multitude of their branches. 12 But it was plucked up in fury, it was cast down to the ground, and the east wind dried up its fruit: its strong rods were broken off and withered; the fire consumed them. 13 Now it is planted in the wilderness, in a dry and thirsty land. 14 Fire is gone out of the rods of its branches, it has devoured its fruit, so that there is in it no strong rod to be a scepter to rule. This is a lamentation, and shall be for a lamentation.
9 Now indeed even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service, and an earthly sanctuary. 2 For a tabernacle was prepared. In the first part were the lamp stand, the table, and the show bread; which is called the Holy Place. 3 After the second veil was the tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies, 4 having a golden altar of incense, and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which was a golden pot holding the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; 5 and above it cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat, of which things we can’t speak now in detail. 6 Now these things having been thus prepared, the priests go in continually into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the services, 7 but into the second the high priest alone, once in the year, not without blood, which he offers for himself, and for the errors of the people. 8 The Holy Spirit is indicating this, that the way into the Holy Place wasn’t yet revealed while the first tabernacle was still standing; 9 which is a symbol of the present age, where gifts and sacrifices are offered that are incapable, concerning the conscience, of making the worshiper perfect; 10 being only (with meats and drinks and various washings) fleshly ordinances, imposed until a time of reformation.
32 They angered him also at the waters of Meribah,
so that Moses was troubled for their sakes;
33 because they were rebellious against his spirit,
he spoke rashly with his lips.
34 They didn’t destroy the peoples,
as Yahweh commanded them,
35 but mixed themselves with the nations,
and learned their works.
36 They served their idols,
which became a snare to them.
37 Yes, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons.
38 They shed innocent blood,
even the blood of their sons and of their daughters,
whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan.
The land was polluted with blood.
39 Thus were they defiled with their works,
and prostituted themselves in their deeds.
40 Therefore Yahweh burned with anger against his people.
He abhorred his inheritance.
41 He gave them into the hand of the nations.
Those who hated them ruled over them.
42 Their enemies also oppressed them.
They were brought into subjection under their hand.
43 Many times he delivered them,
but they were rebellious in their counsel,
and were brought low in their iniquity.
44 Nevertheless he regarded their distress,
when he heard their cry.
45 He remembered for them his covenant,
and repented according to the multitude of his loving kindnesses.
46 He made them also to be pitied
by all those who carried them captive.
47 Save us, Yahweh, our God,
gather us from among the nations,
to give thanks to your holy name,
to triumph in your praise!
48 Blessed be Yahweh, the God of Israel,
from everlasting even to everlasting!
Let all the people say, “Amen.”
10 Don’t forsake your friend and your father’s friend.
Don’t go to your brother’s house in the day of your disaster:
better is a neighbor who is near than a distant brother.