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16 1 June 2006
With acknowledgements to Chris Wright The Message of Ezekiel, IVP, 2001.
Read Ezekiel 18:1-32
Theme: Only the wicked need die. Wright p.181
Chapter 18 is about the profound relationship between God’s justice and human
freedom, including a powerful evangelistic appeal by Ezekiel. The last study finished
with verses 1-4, now we continue with the rest of the chapter.

1. Select the verse you consider the key verse in this chapter.

2. How do the 3 ethical case studies in v.5-9, 10-13 and 14-18 define the
situation for three generations?

3. What was the relevance of these studies to the exiles? With which case
study would they have identified themselves? What was Ezekiel trying to help
them to see?

4. What did the people say in verse 19, and later in verses 25 and 29?

5. What does God say about his justice? Ezekiel 18:23-32. See also Genesis
18:25 and 1Timothy 2:3-4.

6. How do you answer those who consider God unfair?

The ethical content

7. Ezekiel 18:5. The righteous man does justice (mispat in Hebrew) and
righteousness (sadaqa in Hebrew). See Psalm 33:5. He is not morally perfect
but he is morally committed. See Psalm 15.

8. The model of righteousness is portrayed in a list of 10 statements grouped

in 5 pairs (verses 6-8), with a conclusion in verse 9a. Describe each pair.

9. Although Ezekiel was a priest by training he fully endorsed the perspective

of the pre-exilic prophets. Proverbs 21:3. How did the exiles react to such a
comprehensive and damning case? Some still argued. See verses 25 and 29.
Some had their defences pierced by God’s word through his prophet and all
false hopes and pretences were extinguished. Chapter 33 recalls the
disputation in chapter 18 and puts it alongside the news of the fall of
Jerusalem. See 33:10. Ezekiel may seem severe but pastoral duty requires
attention to people’s deepest needs, not a shoring up of people’s self-excusing
darkness. Without acceptance of responsibility there is no true repentance.
What in our modern world mitigates against acceptance of personal

10. Analyse the evangelistic appeal in Ezekiel 18:30-32.

PTO for helpful notes.

Only repentance makes the difference 18:21-32; 33:10-20.
Radical choice 18:21-24.
Real choice and real change are possible.
Moral choice is a matter of life and death.
Radical consistency 18:25-29; 33:17-20.
Yahweh’s consistent covenant promises.
Yahweh’s consistent will to life.
Radical repentance 18:30-32.
Repentance which is practical 18:21, 30b-31;33:13-15.
Repentance which is purging 18:22; 33:16.
Repentance which is pleasing to God 18:31-32; 33:11.