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AND the word of the Lord came to me, saying: What is the meaning? 2 That you use among you this parable as a proverb in the land of Israel, saying: The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the teeth of the children are set on edge.

Ver. 2.  Edge.  Those in captivity would not allow that they were punished for their own sins: God convinces them of the contrary.  W.

 

--- They knew that he often visited the sins of the fathers upon the children, (Ex. xx. 5. and xxiv. 5.  C.) when they also hated him, (H.) and that many had suffered for their parents' faults, like those of Saul, David, &c.  C.

 

--- But these were all guilty of original sin at least, and death is not always a real misfortune.  H.

 

--- God seems to allow that the complaints had hitherto had some grounds, (Jer. xxxi.) but that they should be removed after the captivity, and still more effectually by the death of Christ, who came to redeem sinners, and rejected none.  By baptism he cancels original sin, the sour grape, and those who cannot receive it are not innocent.  C.

 

--- God chastises the body, but not the soul of children, for their parents' faults: (M.) and this conduct is a trial for them, which may increase their glory.  H.



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3 As I live, saith the Lord God, this parable shall be no more to you a proverb 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 that sinneth, the same shall die.

Ver. 4.  Mine.  He insinuates the vocation of the Gentiles and the general redemption.  All will be treated according to their works.  C.


5 And if a man be just, and do judgment and justice, 6 And hath not eaten upon the mountains, nor lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel: and hath not defiled his neighbour's wife, nor come near to a menstruous woman:

Ver. 6.  Mountains: of the sacrifices there offered to idols; (Ch.) or partaken in their usual feasts.  Some irregularly worshipped God in these high places, under many pious kings; and were tolerated, (C.) though condemned for so doing.  H.

 

--- Woman.  The pagans abstained by the light of reason.  C.

 

--- The contrary practice, "it is said," would give rise to lepers or monsters, (S. Jer.) as experience evinces.  C.

 

--- It was forbidden in the Christian Church.  S. Aug. q. 64. in Lev. xx. 18.  S. Greg. resp. 10. ad Aug.  C.

 

--- But no such questions are now asked.  The prophet insists on this no more.  v. 11, 15.


7 And hath not wronged any man: but hath restored the pledge to the debtor, hath taken nothing away by violence: hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment:

Ver. 7.  Wronged.  Lit. "constristated."  H.

 

--- Heb. "oppressed," maliciously.



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8 Hath not lent upon usury, nor taken any increase: hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, and hath executed true judgment between man and man:

Ver. 8.  Increase more than what he lent, on any pretext.  S. Jer.  C.


9 Hath walked in my commandments, and kept my judgments, to do truth: he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord God. 10 And if he beget a son that is a robber, a shedder of blood, and that hath done some one of these things:

Ver. 10.  Robber.  Heb. "breaker;" rude and lawless.  Sept. "pestilent."


11 Though he doth not all these things, but that eateth upon the mountains, and that defileth his neighbour's wife: 12 That grieveth the needy and the poor, that taketh away by violence, that restoreth not the pledge, and that lifteth up his eyes to idols, that committeth abomination:

Ver. 12.  Abomination.  This refers to the woman, (v. 6.) or to idolatry.


13 That giveth upon usury, and that taketh an increase: shall such a one live? he shall not live. Seeing he hath done all these detestable things, he shall surely die, his blood shall be upon him.

Ver. 13.  Him.  He alone is answerable, and shall suffer.


14 But if he beget a son, who, seeing all his father's sins, which he hath done, is afraid, and shall not do the like to them: 15 That hath not eaten upon the mountains, nor lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, and hath not defiled his neighbour's wife: 16 And hath not grieved any man, nor withholden the pledge, nor taken away with violence, but hath given his bread to the hungry, and covered the naked with a garment:

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17 That hath turned away his hand from injuring the poor, hath not taken usury and increase, but hath executed my judgments, and hath walked in my commandments: this man shall not die for the iniquity of his father, but living he shall live. 18 As for his father, because he oppressed and offered violence to his brother, and wrought evil in the midst of his people, behold he is dead in his own iniquity. 19 And you say: Why hath not the son borne the iniquity of his father? Verily, because the son hath wrought judgment and justice, hath kept all my commandments, and done them, living, he shall live. 20 The soul that sinneth, the same shall die: the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, and the father shall not bear the iniquity of the son: the justice of the just shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

Ver. 20.  Sinneth.  God never acted otherwise, though the Jews seem to have thought so.  Temporal afflictions are the source of merit, and generally fall to the share of the saints, particularly under the new law.



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21 But if the wicked do penance for all his sins which he hath committed, and keep all my commandments, and do judgment, and justice, living he shall live, and shall not die.

Ver. 21.  Penance.  The end determines all.  If a person be then found just or unjust at his departure, he will be treated accordingly.  W.


22 I will not remember all his iniquities that he hath done: in his justice which he hath wrought, he shall live. 23 Is it my will that a sinner should die, saith the Lord God, and not that he should be converted from his ways, and live?

Ver. 23.  Will.  God sincerely wishes that the sinner should be converted.  If he refuse grace, it is only in punishment of former transgressions.  S. Aug. ep. 217.

 

--- He wills antecedently their salvation, (1 Tim. ii. 4.) though he has a consequent will to punish them, as they speak in the schools, because they themselves will not be saved.  Sanct.  C.

 

--- God's absolute will is always fulfilled, not that which is conditional.  S. Jo. Dam. (Fide ii. 29.)  S. Tho. p. 1. q. 19. a. 6.

 

--- He does enough by offering his graces and the death of Christ, to shew that his will is sincere; though by a consequent will his justice punishes the impenitent.  Thus a virtuous judge would have all to observe the laws and live: but finding some transgress, so as to become pernicious, he punishes them with death.  W.



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24 But if the just man turn himself away from his justice, and do iniquity according to all the abominations which the wicked man useth to work, shall he live? all his justices which he hath done, shall not be remembered: in the prevarication, by which he hath prevaricated, and in his sin, which he hath committed, in them he shall die.

Ver. 24.  Remembered, to procure him pardon; yet he will suffer less than if he had never done any good.  C.


25 And you have said: The way of the Lord is not right. Hear ye, therefore, O house of Israel: Is it my way that is not right, and are not rather your ways perverse?

Ver. 25.  Not right, in thus punishing or rewarding for the last act; (Theod.) or rather, God shews that those who complain are guilty.



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26 For when the just turneth himself away from his justice, and committeth iniquity, he shall die therein: in the injustice that he hath wrought he shall die. 27 And when the wicked turneth himself away from his wickedness, which he hath wrought, and doeth judgment, and justice: he shall save his soul alive.

Ver. 27.  Alive.  Mortal sin destroys that life of grace.  C.


28 Because he considereth and turneth away himself from all his iniquities which he hath wrought, he shall surely live, and not die. 29 And the children of Israel say: The way of the Lord is not right. Are not my ways right, O house of Israel, and are not rather your ways perverse? 30 Therefore will I judge every man according to his ways, O house of Israel, saith the Lord God. Be converted, and do penance for all your iniquities: and iniquity shall not be your ruin.

Ver. 30.  Do penance.  This is requisite, as well as a change of conduct.  W.



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31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, by which you have transgressed, and make to yourselves a new heart, and a new spirit: and why will you die, O house of Israel?

Ver. 31.  New.  We can do no good of ourselves: but we are admonished of our free-will, that we may do what we can, and ask for grace.  Trid. Ses. vi. 5. 11.  Jam. i. 5. and 2 Cor. iii. 5.  S. Aug. &c.)  C.

 


32 For I desire not the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God, return ye and live.

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