Isaiah 14.18-22 and Deuteronomy 24.16 – Sin & its consequences
Posted: 2 January 2011 in Deuteronomy, Isaiah

All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house. But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet. Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned. Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities. For I will rise up against them, saith the LORD of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, and son, and nephew, saith the LORD.

The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.

At first sight there is a slight contradiction here. The verse from Deuteronomy baldly states that children shall not be put to death for the sins of the fathers, whereas that is precisely what happens in the passage quoted from Isaiah.

The difference, of course, is that Deuteronomy is setting forth a principle of human juriprudence, whereas the passage from Isaiah is describing the activity of God. God will always act in a way necessary to bring his plans for the universe to fruition, even if that necessitates the death of some apparently innocent individuals.

If we leave aside, for the moment, the fact that it is not our business to sit in judgement upon the sovereign Lord of the universe, who always acts righteously, blame for the deaths of the Nebuchadnzzer’s descendants, if it is to attach to anyone, attaches to the King of Babylon himself. Sin is not just a matter of wrong doing; it is an objective reality which has consequences that echo down the generations.

The same is true of that first sin, which is narrated in Genesis 3. That too has had consequences which echo down the generations.

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