Today’s Scripture reading – Ezekiel 18; Ezekiel 19 

Click on this link to translate this Bible study into Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, German, Spanish, French, or Portuguese.

Please note that this is the first of two Bible studies for today. As we continue our chronological journey through the Scriptures, please share and invite others to subscribe to

Ezekiel 18


A Parable of “Sour Grapes” (Ezekiel 18:1-3)

The LORD left no doubt that the sins of the people had brought sorrows and judgments upon Israel, Judah, and Jerusalem. Yet, a question arose in Babylon: Who was responsible for the calamities?

Speaking in a parable, some said, “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge?” (Ezekiel 18:2). In other words, there were some who blamed Israel’s troubles and miseries on the sins of their fathers and forefathers. The LORD rebuked that generation and declared an enduring, universal truth:

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.” (Ezekiel 18:4)

A Hypothetical Study of Three Generations (Ezekiel 18:4-20)

One’s responsibility for sin and its consequences was the subject, and this passage answers some critical questions regarding the justice and fairness of God’s judgment.

1) Are sons punished for the sins of their fathers, or are fathers punished for the sins of their sons?

2) If a father chooses a godless lifestyle, will a son inevitably follow in his steps?

Because “blame shifting” is epidemic today, Ezekiel 18 should interest believers and unbelievers.

A Hypothetical Study of Three Generations (Ezekiel 18:4-20)

A Righteous Father (Ezekiel 18:5-9)

God blesses a man who chooses righteousness and obeys His statutes and judgments (Ezekiel 18:5-9). Such a man obeys the Commandments of the LORD. He will not commit adultery nor oppress those who are weaker (Ezekiel 18:6b-7a). The righteous restores the surety to a debtor, does not plunder and rob others by violence, and is charitable to those who are hungry (Ezekiel 18:7b). The righteous do not crush a debtor with exorbitant interest, and conducts himself in a lawful manner (Ezekiel 18:8). Because he walks in harmony with the statutes (ordinances and decrees) and judgments (laws) of the LORD, and deals honestly with others, he is declared just by the LORD. Such a man will live and prosper (Ezekiel 18:9).

A Wicked Son (Ezekiel 18:10-13)

What if an adult son of a righteous man refuses to follow his father’s godly example and instead turns to a path of wickedness? Should the father be punished for the sins of a son who is a robber and murderer? (Ezekiel 18:10) Should a father be penalized because his son offers sacrifices to idols, commits adultery, abuses the poor, robs others, and is immoral (Ezekiel 18:11-12)? When a son charges excessive interest and oppresses debtors, should his father go unpunished? Though his father was righteous, such a son will bear the guilt of his sins and “shall not live…he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him” and not his father (Ezekiel 18:13).


A Righteous Grandson (Ezekiel 18:14-18) 

Each generation bears responsibility for its sins, and God will not punish a father for the sins of his son (Ezekiel 18:10-13). Should a son see the sins of his father but choose the way of righteousness, that son will not bear his father’s guilt (Ezekiel 18:14-17). A wicked father, as an evil son, will not go unpunished for his sins (Ezekiel 18:18-20).

Who are you going to blame for your troubles and sorrows? (Ezekiel 18:20-24)

Ezekiel repeated the principle of individual responsibility and wrote, “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” (Ezekiel 18:20).

The LORD is longsuffering, ready, and willing to forgive the sinner who repents and turns from his sins (Ezekiel 18:21-22). After all, He does not delight in seeing the wicked die in their sins (Ezekiel 18:23).

Yet, what if a righteous man turns and follows a path of sin? (Ezekiel 18:24a).  Be forewarned: One’s past righteousness will not deliver a man from the consequences of his present sins (Ezekiel 18:24b).

Who are you going to blame for your troubles and sorrows?

Closing thoughts (Ezekiel 18:25-32)

Sinners cannot accuse the LORD of being unjust (Ezekiel 18:25). The believer who sins will be punished (Ezekiel 18:26), and the wicked who repents of his sins will be forgiven and live (Ezekiel 18:27-28). Nevertheless, family members suffer the consequences of a loved one’s sinful choices. Yet, the LORD is just, and He does not judge or condemn the innocent for the sins of the guilty (Ezekiel 18:29-30). The LORD will judge every sinner “according to his ways” (Ezekiel 18:30).

This first of two Bible studies concludes with a beautiful assurance: When a sinner repents, the LORD promises to give “a new heart and a new spirit” (Ezekiel 18:31). Though the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23a), the LORD invites all who sin, saying, “turn yourselves, and live” (Ezekiel 18:32). 

Don’t wallow in a mire of self-pity or blame others for your sinful choices!  Repent, and live!

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

* Please subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals by entering your name and email address at the bottom of today’s devotion.

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization. Your donation is welcome and supports the worldwide ministry outreach of

Mailing address:

Heart of A Shepherd Inc

7853 Gunn Hwy


Tampa, FL 33626-1611