This chapter contains an answer to an objection of the Jews to the
dealings of God with them in a providential way. The objection is
expressed in a proverb of common use among them, and complained of as
being without cause, \\#Eze 18:1,2\\; however, for the future, no occasion
should be given them to use it; for, though God could justify his
proceedings upon the foot of his sovereignty, all souls being his; yet
he was determined none but the sinner himself should suffer,
\\#Eze 18:3,4\\; and puts various cases for the illustration and
vindication of his proceedings; as that a just man, who is described by
his proper characters, as abstaining from several sins specified, and
doing what is right and good, should surely live, \\#Eze 18:5-9\\; but
that the son of such a just man, being the reverse of his father's
character, should surely die, \\#Eze 18:10-13\\; and again, the son of
such a wicked man, observing the heinousness of his father's sins, and
abstaining from them, though his father should die in his iniquities,
he should not die for them, but live, \\#Eze 18:14-18\\; by which it
appears that the dealings of God with the Jews were not according to
the proverb used by them, but quite agreeable to his resolution; that
the sinner, be he a father or a son, shall die for his own sins; and
that the righteous man's righteousness shall be upon him, and the
wicked man's sin upon him, and accordingly both shall be dealt with,
\\#Eze 18:19,20\\; which is further illustrated by a wicked man's
turning from his sinful course, and doing righteousness, and living in
that righteousness he has done; which is more agreeable to God that he
should live, and not die in sin, \\#Eze 18:21-23\\; and by a righteous
man turning from his righteousness, and living a vicious life, and
dying in it, \\#Eze 18:24\\; from both which instances this conclusion
follows, that God is to be justified; and that his ways are equal, and
the Jews' ways were unequal, and their complaint unjust, \\#Eze 18:25\\;
and the same instances are repeated in a different order, and the same
conclusion formed, \\#Eze 18:26-29\\; upon which the Lord determines to
judge them according to their own ways, their personal actions, good or
bad; and exhorts them to repentance and reformation; and closes with a
pathetic expostulation, with them, \\#Eze 18:30-32\\.