1A message came to me from the Lord. He said,2"You people have a proverb about the land of Israel. What do you mean by it? It says, " 'The parents eat sour grapes. But the children have a bitter taste in their mouths.'3"You will not use that proverb in Israel anymore," announces the LORD and King. "And that is just as sure as I am alive.4Everyone belongs to me. Father and son alike belong to me. People will die because of their own sins.5"Suppose a godly man does what is fair and right.6And he does not eat at the mountain temples. He does not worship the statues of Israel's gods. He does not have sex with another man's wife. He does not make love to his own wife during her monthly period.7He does not treat anyone badly. Instead, he always gives back what he took as security for a loan. He does not steal. Instead, he gives his food to hungry people. He provides clothes for those who are naked.8He does not lend money and charge too much interest. He keeps himself from doing what is wrong. He judges cases fairly.9He follows my rules. He is faithful in keeping my laws. He always does what is right. You can be sure he will live," announces the LORD and King.10"But suppose he has a mean son who harms other people. The son commits murder. Or he does some other things that are wrong.11Suppose he does those things even though his father never did. "Suppose he eats at the mountain temples. And he has sex with another man's wife.12He treats poor and needy people badly. He steals. He does not pay back what he owes. He worships statues of gods. He does other things I hate.13He lends money and charges too much interest. Will a man like that live? He will not! You can be sure he will be put to death. And what happens to him will be his own fault. He did many things I hate.14"But suppose that son has a son of his own. And the son sees all of the sins his father commits. He sees them, but he does not do them.15"Suppose he does not eat at the mountain temples. And he does not worship the statues of Israel's gods. He does not have sex with another man's wife.16He does not treat anyone badly. He does not make people give him something to prove they will pay back what they owe him. He does not steal. Instead, he gives his food to hungry people. He provides clothes for those who are naked.17He keeps himself from committing sins. He does not lend money and charge too much interest. He keeps my laws and follows my rules. He will not die because of his father's sin. You can be sure he will live.18But his father will die because of his own sin. He got rich by cheating others. He robbed his relatives. He also did what was wrong among his people.19"But you still ask, 'Is the son guilty along with his father?' No! The son did what was fair and right. He was careful to keep all of my rules. So you can be sure he will live.20People will die because of their own sins. The son will not be guilty because of what his father did. And the father will not be guilty because of what his son did. The right things a godly person does will be added to his account. The wrong things a sinful person does will be charged against him.21"But suppose a sinful person turns away from all of the sins he has committed. And he keeps all my rules. He does what is fair and right. Then you can be sure he will live. He will not die.22None of the sins he has committed will be held against him. Because of the godly things he has done, he will live.23"When sinful people die, it does not give me any joy," announces the LORD and King. "But when they turn away from their sins and live, that makes me very happy.24"Suppose a godly person stops doing what is right. And he commits sin. He does the same evil things a sinful person does. He does things I hate. Then he will not live. I will not remember any of the right things he has done. He has not been faithful to me. He has also committed many other sins. So he is guilty. He will die.25"But you say, 'What the Lord does isn't fair.' Listen to me, people of Israel. What I do is always fair. What you do is not.26"Suppose a godly person stops doing what is right. And he commits sin. Then he will die because of it. He will die because of the sin he has committed.27"But suppose a sinful person turns away from the evil things he has done. And he does what is fair and right. Then he will save his life.28He thinks about all of the evil things he has done. And he turns away from them. So you can be sure he will live. He will not die.29"But the people of Israel still say, 'What the Lord does isn't fair.' People of Israel, what I do is always fair. What you do is not.30"So I will judge you people. I will judge each of you in keeping with what you have done," announces the LORD and King. "Turn away from your sins! Turn away from all of the evil things you have done. Then sin will not bring you down.31Get rid of all of the evil things you have done. Let me give you a new heart and a new spirit. Then you will be faithful to me. Why should you die, people of Israel?32When anyone dies, it does not give me any joy," announces the LORD and King. "So turn away from your sins. Then you will live!
1"Sing a song of sadness about Israel's princes.2Say to Israel, " 'You were like a mother lion to your princes. She lay down among the young lions. She brought up her cubs.3One of them was Jehoahaz. He became a strong lion. He learned to tear apart what he caught. And he ate men up.4The nations heard about him. They trapped him in their pit. They put hooks in his face. And they led him away to Egypt.5" 'The mother lion looked and waited. But all of her hope was gone. So she got another one of her cubs. She made him into a strong lion.6He prowled with the lions. He became very strong. He learned to tear apart what he caught. And he ate men up.7He broke down their forts. He completely destroyed their towns. The land and all those who were in it were terrified when he roared.8Then nations came against him. They came from all around him. They spread out their net to catch him. He was trapped in their pit.9They used hooks to pull him into a cage. They brought him to the king of Babylonia. They put him in prison. So his roar was not heard anymore on the mountains of Israel.10" 'Israel, you were like a vine in a vineyard. It was planted near water. It had a lot of fruit and many branches. There was plenty of water.11Its branches were strong. Each was good enough to be made into a ruler's rod. The vine grew high above all of the leaves. It stood out because it was so tall and had so many branches.12But Nebuchadnezzar became angry. He pulled it up by its roots. He threw it to the ground. The east wind dried it up. Its fruit was stripped off. Its strong branches dried up. And fire destroyed them.13Now it is planted in the Babylonian desert. It is in a dry and thirsty land.14One of its main branches was Zedekiah. Fire spread from it and burned up its fruit. None of its branches is good enough to be made into a ruler's rod.' "That is a song of sadness. And that is how it should be used."