The word of the LORD came to me:
“What do you people mean by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel: “ ‘The parents eat sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’?
“As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel.
For everyone belongs to me, the parent as well as the child—both alike belong to me. The one who sins is the one who will die.
“Suppose there is a righteous man who does what is just and right.
He does not eat at the mountain shrines or look to the idols of Israel. He does not defile his neighbor’s wife or have sexual relations with a woman during her period.
He does not oppress anyone, but returns what he took in pledge for a loan. He does not commit robbery but gives his food to the hungry and provides clothing for the naked.
He does not lend to them at interest or take a profit from them. He withholds his hand from doing wrong and judges fairly between two parties.
He follows my decrees and faithfully keeps my laws. That man is righteous; he will surely live, declares the Sovereign LORD.
“Suppose he has a violent son, who sheds blood or does any of these other things
(though the father has done none of them): “He eats at the mountain shrines. He defiles his neighbor’s wife.
He oppresses the poor and needy. He commits robbery. He does not return what he took in pledge. He looks to the idols. He does detestable things.
He lends at interest and takes a profit. Will such a man live? He will not! Because he has done all these detestable things, he is to be put to death; his blood will be on his own head.
“But suppose this son has a son who sees all the sins his father commits, and though he sees them, he does not do such things:
“He does not eat at the mountain shrines or look to the idols of Israel. He does not defile his neighbor’s wife.
He does not oppress anyone or require a pledge for a loan. He does not commit robbery but gives his food to the hungry and provides clothing for the naked.
He withholds his hand from mistreating the poor and takes no interest or profit from them. He keeps my laws and follows my decrees. He will not die for his father’s sin; he will surely live.
But his father will die for his own sin, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother and did what was wrong among his people.
“Yet you ask, ‘Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?’ Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live.
The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.