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Punishing the Sons for the Sins of the Fathers

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Punishing the Sons for the Sins of the Fathers

Post by Legolas Greenleaf on Sat Nov 01, 2008 10:49 am

I've been puzzling over something lately in the Old Testament. In 2 King 14 it says verses 5 and 6 Now it came about, as soon as the kingdom was firmly in [Joash's] hand, that he killed his servants who had slain the king his father. But the sons of the slayers he did not put to death, according to what is written in the book of the Law of Moses, as the LORD commanded, saying, "The fathers shall not be put to death for the sons, nor the sons be put to death for the fathers; but each shall be put to death for his own sin." However, there seem to be many instances where this is not kept, at the command of the Lord. Here are a few examples:
2 Samuel 21:1-9 Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David sought the presence of the LORD. And the LORD said, "It is for Saul and his bloody house, because he put the Gibeonites to death." So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them (now the Gibeonites were not of the sons of Israel but of the remnant of the Amorites, and the sons of Israel made a covenant with them, but Saul had sought to kill them in his zeal for the sons of Israel and Judah). Thus David said to the Gibeonites, "What should I do for you? And how can I make atonement that you may bless the inheritance of the LORD?" Then the Gibeonites said to him, "We have no concern of silver or gold with Saul or his house, nor is it for us to put any man to death in Israel." And he said, "I will do for you whatever you say." So they said to the king, "The man who consumed us and who planned to exterminate us from remaining within any border of Israel, let seven men from his sons be given to us, and we will hang them before the LORD in Gibeah of Saul, the chosen of the LORD." And the king said, "I will give them." But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the oath of the LORD which was between them, between David and Saul's son Jonathan. So the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, Armoni and Mephibosheth whom she had borne to Saul, and the five sons of Merab the daughter of Saul, whom she had borne to Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite. Then he gave them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the mountain before the LORD, so that the seven of them fell together; and they were put to death in the first days of harvest at the beginning of barley harvest.

Another passage I'll just make reference two since it covers several chapters. If you remember Elijah tells Ahab that God will judge him for kiling Naboth. Ahab then repents so God relents and says He will wait till Ahab dies before He obliterates Ahab's house. So when Jehu becomes king according to the word of Yahweh he kills all of Ahabs relatives. These passages can be read in 1 Kings 21 and then 2 Kings 9 and 10.

From reading these I can almost see how Israel would have the saying, "The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children's teeth are set on edge." Help me puzzle this dilemma out! confused
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Re: Punishing the Sons for the Sins of the Fathers

Post by BrianEschen on Mon Nov 03, 2008 7:19 pm

Unless there is a positive, direct command from God, you must obey the law that is written. In other words, God had to tell those people directly to punish the sons as a result of what their fathers had done. . . otherwise they would have had to obey the Law of Moses. Only God can determine who is worthy of death. God communicates with us today only through His written word . . . there is no new revelation . . . hence we must now follow the law of Moses on this.

I believe that would be a reasonable explanation for this dilemma. What think ye? Question
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Re: Punishing the Sons for the Sins of the Fathers

Post by CheeseKing on Sat Nov 08, 2008 3:20 am

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."

I agree with Mr. Eschen.

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Re: Punishing the Sons for the Sins of the Fathers

Post by Legolas Greenleaf on Sat Nov 08, 2008 10:37 am

What would you say if that same reasoning is used for lying? We have a command, you shall not lie. Then we have several cases where either God commands a man to "lie" or a man lies and seems to be commended for it. It seems we have a direct command from God and so must not break it unless He expressly tells us. (Which basically rules out it happening today. Wink)
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Re: Punishing the Sons for the Sins of the Fathers

Post by CheeseKing on Sat Nov 08, 2008 5:07 pm

Depends. I think the German Christians were justified in their actions when they lied concerning the Jews they were hiding. I don't think that the harlot was given a direct command to protect the Jewish spies in Joshua and she was commended for her faith when she did. In such cases, some have argued that it's not lying in those cases and argued that a refusal to give false information is consenting to murder. The covenanters were very godly men, women, and children. They stood out for their abundant faith and were not ashamed of the true Gospel. They were put to death by the thousands. The same with the Christians in Rome and the Protestants in Ireland who were slaughtered by the Irish catholics, the Huguenots slaughtered by the French Catholics, and multiple other groups. If it comes to a point of self preservation, you should value your life enough to fight for it, but its an honor to die for the word of God and it's been pointed out that for every Roman Christian killed, 10 more arose in their place. It may be cynical to suggest, but maybe we need some of that. My argument after all of this is you should seek to preserve the lives of the innocent and it's your duty to disobey unlawful government in such cases. Bloodshed of the innocent is one of the many curses of a nation, showing their deep depravity. I think I went off on a tangent, sorry.

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Re: Punishing the Sons for the Sins of the Fathers

Post by BrianEschen on Sun Nov 09, 2008 4:41 pm

Legolas Greenleaf wrote:What would you say if that same reasoning is used for lying? We have a command, you shall not lie. Then we have several cases where either God commands a man to "lie" or a man lies and seems to be commended for it. It seems we have a direct command from God and so must not break it unless He expressly tells us. (Which basically rules out it happening today. Wink)
Briefly, I would say the difference is that you never have a case of someone putting to death children for the sins of the fathers without a direct command from God. Whereas with lying in certain instances is done with approbation from God without an express command. This shows that in some instances lying is not contrary to the ninth commandment.
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Re: Punishing the Sons for the Sins of the Fathers

Post by Legolas Greenleaf on Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:00 am

Good answer!
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