How can God judge sin upon later generations?


Good day,

There are a few occasions in Scripture where God pronounces judgment on later generations (for example, I Kings 21:29). How do we explain this if sin is not judged upon another?



When Israel was sent off into captivity, the captives told themselves that they were there because of their ancestor's sins. The proverb they used was: "The fathers eat sour grapes, but the children's teeth are set on edge" (Ezekiel 18:2). God then proves the proverb to be false. "'As I live,' declares the Lord GOD, 'you are surely not going to use this proverb in Israel anymore'" (Ezekiel 18:3). He then shows that each person is responsible for his own sin (Ezekiel 18:20). The reason Israel was in captivity was that they continued the sins of their ancestors. "'Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, each according to his conduct,' declares the Lord GOD. 'Repent and turn away from all your transgressions, so that iniquity may not become a stumbling block to you. Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,' declares the Lord GOD. 'Therefore, repent and live'" (Ezekiel 18:30-32).

Why did God bring disaster to Ahab's son, Ahaziah? Because he continued his father's sins. "Ahaziah the son of Ahab became king over Israel in Samaria in the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and he reigned two years over Israel. He did evil in the sight of the LORD and walked in the way of his father and in the way of his mother and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin. So he served Baal and worshiped him and provoked the LORD God of Israel to anger, according to all that his father had done" (I Kings 22:51-53). It is easy to forget that Ahaziah was an adult when God said disasters would come to him during his reign in I Kings 21:29. Ahaziah didn't suddenly become evil when he took over as king. This was how he was living his life.

You can also see this when God promised the land of Canaan to Abraham's descendants. God told Abraham that it wouldn't happen for over four hundred years because the sins of the Amorites had not yet grown sufficient to warrant destruction (Genesis 15:13-16). Why were the Amorites destroyed? Because in 400 years, that generation would become so wicked that God would need to punish them.

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