17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; …”
Genesis 3:17  NASB

The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.
Ezekiel 18:20  NASB

SAB Contradiction 234

Is God fair?

There is a strange problem we see in the Bible. God is a righteous God, however there are many stories where the reader gets the feeling that things are not fair: the innocent often seem to be punished with the guilty. The SAB-critic makes the question more specific. He claims clear Bible Contradictions concerning the issue; he gives a list of 16 examples that seem contradictory to the biblical truth that “the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself” (Ezekiel). Let’s have a look.


The list


Curse unto Canaan
1. In Genesis 9:21-25 we read the story that Noah had become drunk and he laid naked in his tent. His son Ham told to his brothers Sem and Jafeth about it, who covered their father. When Noah awoke from his wine “he knew what his youngest son had done” and he said: “Cursed be Canaan …” The question is: Was Canaan cursed for a sin of his father Ham or was Canaan cursed for his own sin?
Canaan was not punished for a sin of his father Ham, as there is no mentioning of Ham’s sin. Moreover Ham wasn’t Noah’s youngest son; that was Japhet. Ham only made known to his brothers that their father Noah was naked in his tent. Apparently Canaan was punished for his own sin, though we don’t know exactly what sin that was. Maybe he made jokes concerning Noah’s state? Often a grandson is called ‘son’ according to the rule “A son of a son is a son.” Which would mean that Ham was the youngest grandson of Noah at the moment of the occurrence. To conclude that Canaan, the son of Ham, was punished for Ham’s transgression is an utterly false accusation.
No Bible Contradiction.

Infertility of the household of Abimelech
2. In Genesis 20:2-18 we are told that king Abimelech brought Sarah in his house with the intention to make her his wife. Abraham had said to him that she was his sister and so Abimelech felt free to be interested in Sarah. Indeed Sarah was a half-sister of Abraham, but he had remained silent about their marriage. In verse 18 we read that the Lord had closed fast all the wombs of the household of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife. The critic states that the house of Abimelech was punished with infertility because of Abraham’s lack of being straightforward. However, was this really a punishment? How many died? None. How many remained infertile? None. This was not a punishment but a divine sign to Abimelech to make Sarah return to Abraham. Healing came when Abraham prayed for Abimelech’s house.
No Bible Contradiction.

Iniquity of the fathers
3. In Exodus 20:5 we have the text: “… for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” This is so unfair according to the critic: the children of the sinners are punished as their parents and the children of the faithful are blessed as their parents. However, God’s visiting is not an immediate punishment, as it can also be positive: “Visit me with Your salvation, …” (Psalm 106:4). The “iniquity of the fathers upon the children” means that the children will have the disposition to repeat the sins of their fathers. No doubt about that and already in Old Israel Ezekiel had to oppose the wrong idea among the people that sons were punished for the sins of the fathers in the common but clearly false saying (18:2): “The fathers eat the sour grapes, but the children’s teeth are set on edge.” No, Ezekiel said (18:20): “The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity” So God will visit the children with warnings and if they don’t listen they will be punishable for their own sins. Compare 2 Kings 17:13-14. (The illustrations by the SAB-critic of, Exodus 34:7, Numbers 14:18, Deuteronomy 5:9, Jeremiah 32:18 are the same as Exodus 20:5).
No Bible Contradictions.


Born out of wedlock
4. The ‘bastard’ (Deuteronomy 23:2) is not allowed to enter into the holy community with God, neither his descendants. Isn’t this discrimination a punishment? A result of a transgression by others, parents? No! Anyone from any nation was allowed to pray in the temple, a house of prayer for all nations. Deuteronomy 23:2 deals with the warning to not marry with members of the peoples who had lived in Canaan before the Israelites entered the land. Children of those marriages were not reckoned as Israelites, but as strangers.
Zechariah 9:6 teaches us more: “And a mongrel race (of bastards) will dwell in Ashdod, …”; a prophecy that the proud city Ashdod was to lose its Philistine character through marriages with strangers. In Daniel 2:40-43 is said that the Iron Kingdom (Romans) would be weakened through mixed marriages. In Israel was the danger that the holy nation would loss it’s identity through marriages with members of forbidden nations (Ezra 9:1) who would take their gods and their ungodly rituals with them. Children of these marriages (bastards) were not allowed to participate in the public institutions of Jewish life.
Nevertheless Rahab, the Canaanite, lived in Israel and married Salmon (Matthew 1:5); and Ruth, the Moabite, married Boaz; and Uriah, the Hittite, was a respected general of David. Apparently marriages with members of other nations were possible, if they had become true believers of Yahweh. This was the rule as we read in Ezra 6:21 “The people of Isra’el who had returned from the exile and all those who had renounced the filthy practices of the nations living in the land in order to seek Adonai the God of Isra’el, ate [the Pesach lamb].” (CJB, Complete Jewish Bible).
Compare the article: Will God destroy those that intermarry?
No Bible Contradiction.


Curses unto apostates
5. In chapter 28 of the book of Deuteronomy the blessings are listed that will follow the faithful, then the curses are mentioned that will follow the apostates: Cursed will be ‘the fruit of thy body’ (verse18); isn’t this clear evidence that some will be punished for the sins of others, is it? Indeed they are punished; but NOT BY GOD, but by their parents who brought them in a bad condition of sinfulness. As earlier (3): God will visit the children with warnings and if they don’t listen they will be punishable for their own sins. Israelites, parents or children, who didn’t want to listen to the Torah became people of the Fall of Man, being banned from God’s good word.
No Bible Contradiction.


Descendants of Eli
6. Two sons of the priest Eli were real transgressors of the Law. Not only did they take the best parts of the sacrifices, but also did they sleep with women who worked at the tabernacle (1 Samuel 2:12-17, 22). Reconciliation was not possible because of the measure of their transgressions (1 Samuel 3:12-14). The curse they brought over the house of Eli included that their descendants became excluded from the priestly task to serve in the tabernacle. In short severe consequences were included for them and for their children. However, there were so many priests who didn’t work in the temple as chief priests. That also was no punishment but a state of affairs. So: consequence, Yes; punishment, No!
No Bible Contradiction.


Death of David's and Bathsheba's son
7. King David has been blamed for one transgression: he committed adultery with Bathsheba. To keep the matter silent he organized the death of his general Uriah who was married to Bathsheba. The child that was born, became ill and died (2 Samuel 12:14-15). It looks like a punishment of a child for the sin of it’s father and mother. For the common Bible reader this was not a punishment of the child, but of David and Bathsheba who had an extramarital affair. The child’s spirit was brought back into God’s presence (2 Samuel 12:23), which is no punishment of the child from a spiritual point of view.
No Bible Contradiction.


Seven sons of Saul
8. Seven sons of Saul were killed (2 Samuel 21:6-9), hanged in public. Why? King Saul had tried to exterminate the tribe of the Gibeonites who had a covenant with the Israelites to live in peace with them. Saul broke this covenant that was made in the name of Jahweh, the God of Israel. David being king after Saul received a delegation of Gibeonites and asked what satisfaction was demanded by them. They asked for the lives of seven sons of Saul, who had certainly been partakers in the crimes against the Gibeonites. We can be sure that these sons of Saul were killed for their own sins.
No Bible Contradiction.

Descendants of Joab
9. Joab was the commander in chief of David’s army. In that fuction he committed two crimes: he killed Abner and Amasa, two guiltless men (1 Kings 2:5). After an act of disloyalty king Solomon gave the instruction to execute Joab, saying:  “Do as he has spoken and fall upon him and bury him, that you may remove from me and from my father’s house the blood which Joab shed without cause…” (2:31) And further: So shall their blood return on the head of Joab and on the head of his descendants forever; but to David and his descendants and his house and his throne, may there be peace from the Lord forever.” (2:33) This last statement may give the impression that Solomon wished not only to punish Joab, but also his descendants. That would be unfair, of course. However, this is not his intention at all. In the former statement Solomon said that Joab brought also guilt on the houses of David and Solomon, with his crimes committed under king David’s authority. In other words Joab had brought guilt over his own descendants, that was not a punishment of God, but an implication (consequence) of Joab’s actions.
No Bible Contradiction.


Unwise political decision
10. Rehoboham, the son of Solomon, lost the northern part of the nation due to a clumsy political move of himself  (1 Kings 12). During the assembly with the ten northern tribes concerning the succession of the throne, he promised to be more rigid than his father in keeping control of the people. Then these tribes decided to break with Rehoboham and choose another king. It is right that the loss of the ten northern tribes had been predicted to Solomon earlier due to his transgressions (1 Kings 11:11), but actually it was the result of an unwise political decision of Rehoboham, the son of Solomon (1 Kings 11:11-12).
No Bible Contradiction.


In his son's days
11. There was a moment when the wicked king Ahab humbled himself before the Lord (1 Kings 21:29). The Lord said: “I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son’s days.” This seem to be a clear example, let’s have a closer look. Is this unfair punishment, or God’s foreknowing ability? The last, The Lord already saw the disobedient heart of Ahaziah who would reign after Ahab. He was punished according to his stubbornness in serving strange Gods: “…he served Baal and worshiped him and provoked the Lord God of Israel to anger, according to all that his father had done,” (1 Kings:53) but without a moment of humiliation as his father Ahab.
No Bible Contradiction.


Descendants of Naaman
12. Naaman’s leprosy “shall cling to you and to your descendants forever.” (2 Kings 5:27) For the reader of old it was clear that the descendants didn’t receive leprosy; all knew that the father would not be killed for the transgression of the son, and the son would not be killed for the transgression of the father. Only Naaman got leprosy; his children (we don’t know how much) are included in the saying. That is: they had to bear the shame forever even after the death of their father and they had also the care for their father as long as he lived outside the city. Compare the discussion about Joab earlier (9). This is a consequence of the affair, not a punishment of leprosy on the descendants.
No Bible Contradiction.


The sons of Babylon's king
13. Isaiah gives a satirical song (Isaiah 14:4-21) about the king of Babylon in which the people of the earth say: Prepare for his sons a place of slaughter, because of the iniquity of their fathers.” (verse 21) This is a description of a case about man against man and they are not so merciful concerning each other. This is the result of people’s actions against each other, not God’s action.
No Bible Contradiction.


More than your forefathers
14. Jeremiah accuses his fellow citizens (Jeremiah 16:10-12). When the people ask: “Why?” His answer is: because your forefathers have forsaken Me You too have done evil, even more than your forefathers; …” (12)
No Bible Contradiction.


Shemaiah's children punished
15. Shemaiah will be punished and his seed (Jeremiah 29:32). Jeremiah predicts a punishment of Shemaiah who, living in Babylon, had prophesied that the Jews would return to Jerusalem soon. This Shemaiah would be punished in Babylon for his prophesy of rebellion, of course not by the Jews but by the Chaldeans. They, not punishing lightly, certainly included his children in the punishment. This was not God’s will, but Jeremiah’s prophetic announcement of what was to occur. Yet another case where the critic tend to blame God for man’s merciless behavior.
No Bible Contradiction.


Punishment of the princes 
16. Zephaniah prophesied (1:8): That I will punish the princes, [and] the king’s sons. And all who clothe themselves with foreign garments.” There is no indication here that the king’s sons will be punished for the transgressions of their fathers, instead of their own transgressions. Zephaniah spoke at the time of Josiah’s reign (1:1).  It is generally accepted that with ‘the king’s sons’ are not meant children of king Josiah, but royal princes, sons of former bad kings (e.g. Manasseh), who at the first period of Josiah’s reign tried to continue the bad traditions of these kings. The critic tries to paint the picture of the guiltlessness of the king’s sons, but those who lived then knew better. So often in the past the sons of the king carried out the oppression and terror of their father as they felt completely covered by their royal position. (Compare point 8, the seven sons of Saul.)
No Bible Contradiction.




No Bible Contradictions at all.