Earlier in the series, I posted what the prophet Ezekiel had to say about inherited guilt. Since then I’ve followed some references and found a few additional texts. I wanted to take a few moments to share them. The first is similar to the Ezekiel quote and is found in 2 Kings (4 Kingdoms if using the Septuagint book names) 14:6. Here’s the text.
But the children of the murderers he did not execute, according to what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, in which the LORD commanded, saying, “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall children be put to death for their fathers; but a person shall be put to death for his own sin.”
And that, of course, led me to the citation in the Torah, found in Deuteronomy 24:16.
Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall children be put to death for their fathers; a person shall be put to death for his own sin.
Finally, the prophet Jeremiah has the following to say in Jeremiah 31:30.
But every one shall die for his own iniquity; every man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.
Or, the Septuagint version (Jeremiah 38:30), which is slightly different.
But rather, each shall die in his own sin, and the teeth of him who eats the sour grapes shall be set on edge.
As you can see, the idea that guilt is not inherited was embedded in the law and the prophets by God. We don’t simply reject the idea as human beings. God rejects the idea himself in the law he gave Israel and in the prophets he sent to them.