Does Exodus 20:5 Teach Inherited Sin ?

Exodus 20:5 reads – I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me

This is not saying children suffer spiritual death because of the sins of their Fathers (that would contradict Ezekiel 18:20), but it is saying God sometimes punishes the one who sins by causing or allowing his descendants to suffer physical consequences because of their ancestor’s sin.

Somebody could sure punish me by torturing or killing one of my children. Other examples are:

• II Samuel 12:14 – David’s son died physically because of David’s sin with Bathsheba and against Uriah. Did David’s son also die spiritually because of his Father’s sin? No, David said he would see him again (verse 23), implying his son would be in heaven.

• I Samuel 28:18-19, 31:6 – Saul’s three sons (including Jonathon – 31:2) died physically because of Saul’s sin.

• II Samuel 21:1,5-6 After Saul’s death, there was famine and seven descendants of Saul were killed, because Saul slew the Gibeonites.

• II Chronicles 33, II Kings 24:3-4 After Manasseh’s death, God brings nations against Judah because of Manasseh’s sin.

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