Sin and Iniquity
Today we live in galut (exile) because of our sins of our fathers and our own sins. We all know what sin is, don’t we? Or do we? There is a lot written on Sin and Iniquity in the Tanakh. Today we will be covering a fraction of what is there. Yet, we will cover enough to get an understanding of this topic.
The first word in Hebrew is Chattat (chat-taht) (Chet-Tet-Aleph-Tav) 2403, which is a feminine noun and related to 2398. It has the general meaning of a wrong committed or missing the mark in reference to the Tanakh. It is found on page 308 in the BDB.
Bereshit (Genesis) 4:7
7 Surely, if you do right, There is uplift. But if you do not do right Sin (Chattat חַטָּאת) couches at the door; Its urge is toward you, Yet you can be its master.”
7 הֲלוֹא אִם־תֵּיטִיב שְׂאֵת וְאִם לֹא תֵיטִיב לַפֶּתַח חַטָּאת רֹבֵץ וְאֵלֶיךָ תְּשׁוּקָתוֹ וְאַתָּה תִּמְשָׁל־בּוֹ׃
Halo im-teytiv se’et veim lo teytiv lapetach chattat rovetz ve’eleykha teshuqato veatah tim’shal-bo.
Is there not if you do well rising. And if not you do well to open place/door sin lies down and to you he shall overflow and you rule him.
I have heard this in English but it seems to me that far from Sin being like a lion ready to pounce on us. We give it space and let it fill us. Yet we are told we can rule over it the word tim’shal is from Mashal, which can be rule in some cases. Therefore we don’t need someone to master it for us. We see here right away there is a right and wrong way.
Bereshit (Genesis) 31:36
36 Now Jacob became incensed and took up his grievance with Laban. Jacob spoke up and said to Laban, “What is my crime [transgression/rebellion pesha 6588], what is my guilt [sin] (chattatiy חַטָּאתִי) that you should pursue me?
You see here that Yaaqov is upset at Laven for accusing him of stealing his idols. He asks him what is the rebellion (done against) I have done you, what is my sin. We are seeing that sin is doing something wrong. Of Course he did not know that Rachel had indeed stolen the idols.
Bereshit (Genesis) 50:17
17 So shall you say to Joseph, ‘Forgive, I urge you, the offense and guilt [sin] (chattatam חַטָּאתָם) of your brothers who treated you so harshly (ra’ah 7451).’ Therefore, please forgive the offense of the servants of Elohey of your father.” And Joseph was in tears as they spoke to him.
Here the brothers are asking for forgiveness for the chattatam (sin) that they committed against Yosef in doing him harm. Ra’ah here is sometimes translated as evil but we understand as harm or bad.
Shemot (Exodus) 10:16-17
16 Pharaoh hurriedly summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I stand guilty [have sinned] (chatatiy חָטָאתִי) before Yehovah Eloheykha and before you. 17 Forgive my offense [sin] (chattatiy חָטָאתִי) just this once, and plead with Yehovah Eloheykha that He but remove this death from me.”
Pharaoh is asking for the affliction of Locus to stop and for Mosheh to plead for him. His refusal to let the people go was going against the direct command of Yehovah and therefore he sinned.
Shemot (Exodus) 32:30-34
30 The next day Moses said to the people, “You have been guilty [sinned] (chatatem חֲטָאתֶם) of a great sin (chata’ah 2401 חֲטָאָה). Yet I will now go up to Yehovah; perhaps I may win forgiveness for your sin (chattat’khem חַטַּאתְכֶם).” 31 Moses went back to Yehovah and said, “Alas, this people is guilty (chata 2398 חָטָא) of a great sin (chata’ah 2401 חֲטָאָה) in making for themselves Elohey of gold. 32 Now, if You will forgive their sin (chattatam חַטָּאתָם) [well and good]; but if not, erase me from the record which You have written!” 33 But Yehovah said to Moses, “He who has sinned (chata 2398 חָטָא) against Me, him only will I erase from My record. 34 Go now, lead the people where I told you. See, My angel shall go before you. But when I make an accounting, I will bring them to account for their sins (chatatam חַטָּאתָם).”
The people have sinned in making and worshipping an Idol. We also see that a person who sins is responsible for his or her own sins. He holds people accountable for their sins.
Shemot (Exodus) 34:5-9
5 Yehovah came down in a cloud; He stood with him there, and proclaimed the name Yehovah. 6 Yehovah passed before him and proclaimed: “Yehovah! Yehovah! El compassionate (mericful) and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in kindness and faithfulness, 7 extending kindness to the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity (avon 5771 עָוֹן), transgression (pesha), and sin (va chatta’ah וְחַטָּאָה); yet He does not remit all punishment (and clear not clear), but visits the iniquity (avon 5771 עָוֹן) of parents upon children and children’s children, upon the third and fourth generations.”
8 Moses hastened to bow low to the ground in homage, 9 and said, “If I have gained Your favor, O Yehovah, pray, let Yehovah go in our midst, even though this is a stiffnecked people. Pardon [to] our iniquity (la avonnu) and [to] our sin (ulachattatenu וּלְחַטָּאתֵנוּ), and take us for Your own!”
Here we see the incident where Mosheh sees the presence of Yehovah. We also see that he merciful to the thousands and forgiving iniquity, transgression and sins. Yet he does not leave those unpunished. When visiting it upon the Children how does that work when each is responsible for their own sins. The Parents if they have not repented of their iniquity and sins then they will teach by their own example to disobey Yehovah. Therefore the sinful and iniquitous parents pass on the punishment by not teaching the right ways to their children and children’s children. So the children continue in the sins of their fathers.
Bamidbar (Numbers) 5:6-7
6 Speak to the Israelites: When a man or woman commits any wrong [sin] (mikol-chattot מִכָּל־חַטֹּאת) toward a fellow man, thus breaking faith [committing a trespass] with Yehovah, and that person realizes his guilt, 7 he shall confess the wrong (et-chatta’tam אֶת־חַטָּאתָם) that he has done. He shall make restitution in the principal amount and add one-fifth to it, giving it to him whom he has wronged.
Doing wrong to another is committing a trespass with Yehovah. Causing Harm or Hurt monetarily.
We can see that sinning is to do wrong to another person and causing them harm. Some examples of this are: stealing, falsely saying something that is not true of a person and with holding payment when due. We must be cautious in our relationships with each other as well as our relationship with Yehovah. We also see that breaking his covenant is also a sin. So how do we know that this word really means to do wrong or offending someone. We have to remember that Hebrew is verb based and so the nouns in Hebrew get their meaning from the verbs.
The verb for Chattat is Chata (chah-tah) (Chet-Tet-Aleph) 2398. It has the general meaning of a wrong committed or offending someone.
Bereshit (Genesis) 20:9
9 Then Abimelech summoned Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? What wrong (chata’tiy חָטָאתִי) have I done that you should bring so great a guilt (chata’ah – 2401חֲטָאָה) upon me and my kingdom? You have done to me things that ought not to be done.
Here Abimelech is asking why Abraham has brought a wrong upon him and his kingdom. The word chata is used as wrong here but it is also used as offense as we see I the next verse..
Bereshit (Genesis) 40:1
1 Some time later, the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt gave offense (chat’u חָטְאוּ) to their adoni the king of Egypt.
Here it is used as in an offense.
Shemot (Exodus) 5:16
16 No straw is issued to your servants, yet they demand of us: Make bricks! Thus your servants are being beaten, when the fault (chatat חָטָאת) is with your own people.”
Here we see the taskmaster’s (chiefs of the sons of Israel) are blaming the Egyptians for the people not being able to the work under the new rules of Pharaoh. The fault, wrong or offense was being put on the Egyptians.
Bamidbar (Numbers) 14:40
40 Early next morning they set out toward the crest of the hill country, saying, “We are prepared to go up to the place that Yehovah has spoken of, for we were wrong [we have sinned] (chatanu חָטָאנוּ).”
They were to at fault, wrong, or caused offense for not going up to the land as they were originally commanded.
Bamidbar (Numbers) 22:34
34 Balaam said to the angel of Yehovah, “I erred (chata‘tiy חָטָאתִי) because I did not know that you were standing in my way. If you still disapprove, I will turn back.”
Again at fault, wrong, or caused offense.
Bamidbar (Numbers) 32:20-24
20 Moses said to them, “If you do this, if you go to battle as shock-troops, at the instance of Yehovah, 21 and every shock-fighter among you crosses the Jordan, at the instance of Yehovah, until He has dispossessed His enemies before Him, 22 and the land has been subdued, at the instance of Yehovah, and then you return—you shall be clear before Yehovah and before Israel; and this land shall be your holding under Yehovah. 23 But if you do not do so, you will have sinned (chatatem חֲטָאתֶם) against Yehovah; and know that your sin (chattat’khem 2403 חַטַּאתְכֶם) will overtake you. 24 Build towns for your children and sheepfolds for your flocks, but do what you have promised.”
If they did not keep their promise to do this then they will have sinned against Yehovah. Breaking an oath was on of the things that there was a sacrifice for.
Shemuel Aleph (1 Samuel) 15:24, 30
24 Saul said to Samuel, “I did wrong (chata’tiy חָטָאתִי) to transgress Yehovah’s command and your instructions; but I was afraid of the troops and I yielded to them.
30 But [Saul] pleaded, “I did wrong (chata’tiy חָטָאתִי). Please, honor me in the presence of the elders of my people and in the presence of Israel, and come back with me until I have bowed low to Yehovah Eloheykha.”
Here Saul was talking about his rebellion of not keeping the command of Yehovah. When we do not keep his commands that causes us to sin.
Yermiyahu (Jeremiah) 37:18
18 And Jeremiah said to King Zedekiah, “What wrong have I done to you [What have I sinned] (chatatiy חָטָאתִי), to your courtiers, and to this people, that you have put me in jail?
Here we see that again the same word use not in reference to a law of Yehovah, but in reference to a human ruler. In this case we clearly see that this word used for sinned is wronged, offended, or fault.
So what we have seen so far is that Sin, as we know it is not just limited to breaking his commandment but also when we wrong others and it is our fault.
There are 3 other Hebrew nouns that are linked to Chata and Chattath. The first is Chata 2400 (Chet-Tet-Aleph) as a masculine noun on page 307 in the BDB.
Melekh Aleph (I Kings) 1:16 - 21
16 Bathsheba bowed low in homage to the king; and the king asked, “What troubles you?” 17 She answered him, “My adoni, you yourself swore to your maidservant by Yehovah Eloheykha: ‘Your son Solomon shall succeed me as king, and he shall sit upon my throne.’ 18 Yet now Adonijah has become king, and you, my adoni the king, know nothing about it. 19 He has prepared a sacrificial feast of a great many oxen, fatlings, and sheep, and he has invited all the king’s sons and Abiathar the priest and Joab commander of the army; but he has not invited your servant Solomon. 20 And so the eyes of all Israel are upon you, O adoni king, to tell them who shall succeed my adoni the king on the throne. 21 Otherwise, when my adoni the king lies down with his fathers, my son Solomon and I will be regarded as traitors [offenders] (Chattiym חַטָּאִים).”
Again we see this word as one who offends.
Bamidbar (Numbers) 17:3
the fire pans of those who have sinned (ha chattaiym הַחַטָּאִים) at the cost of their lives, and let them be made into hammered sheets as plating for the altar—for once they have been used for offering to Yehovah, they have become sacred—and let them serve as a warning to the people of Israel.
The sin in this case was the bringing of fire (incense) by Dathan and Abiram thinking they were equal to Mosheh and Aharon. The caused an offense to Yehovah.
Bereshit (Genesis) 13:13
13 And the Men of Sodom were evil (ra’iym) and sinners (va chattaiym וְחַטָּאִים) before Yehovah.
The men of Sodom were hurtful and offenders/Wrong doers too.
Bamidbar (Numbers) 32:13 - 14
13 And anger glowed Yehovah’s against Yisrael, so he set them astray in the wilderness forty years, until was destroyed all the generation that had done harm in the eyes of Yehovah. 14 And behold, you have risen up instead your fathers an increase of men sinful (chattaiym חַטָּאִים), to add more still to the heat of the anger of Yehovah, towards Yisrael.
Mosheh felt the sons of Reuven and Gad were committing the same sin in not going up to the land like their fathers before them. This was the second time they approached the land.
The next word is Chet 2399 (Chet-Tet-Aleph) as a masculine noun on page 307 in the BDB.
Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 1:16-18
16 Wash yourselves clean; Put your evil (bad/harmful) doings Away from My sight. Cease to do evil (bad/harmful); 17 Learn to do good. Devote yourselves to justice; Aid the wronged. Uphold the rights of the orphan; Defend the cause of the widow. 18 “Come, let us reach an understanding, —says Yehovah. Be your sins (chata’eykhem חֲטָאֵיכֶם) like crimson, They can turn snow-white; Be they red as dyed wool, They can become like fleece.”
Here we can see what we should be doing (verse 17 highlighted) yet because it was not done we were hurtful and bad and had incurred sin/offense/wrong/fault. It specifically lists what we were wrong in.
Devarim (Devarim) 15:9
9 Heed to yourself lest there be a matter in your heart evil (harmful) saying, draws near year the seventh, year of the release, and harm be your eye against your brother who is needy and nothing you give to him and he cry against you to Yehovah, and it be with you sin (chet חֵטְא)
Here we can be someone causing an offense if we deny needy brothers our help. We also see a linking of doing harm (evil) and in some cases were it to us as sin. We see this again in the next verse.
Devarim (Devarim) 24:14-15
14 You shall not abuse a needy and destitute laborer, whether a fellow countryman or a stranger in one of the communities of your land. 15 You must pay him his wages on the same day, before the sun sets, for he is needy and urgently depends on it; else he will cry to Yehovah against you and you will incur guilt (chet חֵטְא)
Devarim (Devarim) 23:22-23
22 When you make a vow to Yehovah Eloheykha, do not put off fulfilling it, for Yehovah Eloheykha will require it of you, and you will have incurred guilt (chet חֵטְא); 23 whereas you incur no guilt (chet חֵטְא) if you refrain from vowing.
Not fulfilling a vow even timely can cause us to sin/offend.
Devarim (Devarim) 24:16
16 Parents shall not be put to death for children, nor children be put to death for parents: a person shall be put to death only for his own crime (bachetu בְּחֶטְאוֹ).
The concept repeating again that no one can be put to death for the offense/sin/wrong doing/fault of another.
Bamidbar (Numbers) 9:13
13 But if a man who is clean and not on a journey refrains from offering the passover sacrifice, that person shall be cut off from his kin, for he did not present Yehovah’s offering at its set time; that man shall bear his guilt (chetu חֶטְאוֹ).
Vayikra (Leviticus) 19:17
17 Not you shall hate your brother in your heart. Surely you shall reprove (reason - yakhach) your neighbor and not lift up on him sin (chet חֵטְא).
Here we are to reason with our brother so they not cause sin/wrong doing/fault to be put on them.
Vayikra (Leviticus) 24:15
15 And to the Israelite people speak thus: Anyone who blasphemes (curses – yeqalel) his Elohayv shall bear his guilt (cheto חֶטְאוֹ);
The next word is Chata’ah 2401 (Chet-Tet-Aleph-Hey) as a feminine noun on page 308 in the BDB.
Shemot (Shemot) 32:21, 30, 31
21 Moses said to Aaron, “What did this people do to you that you have brought such great sin (chata’ah חֲטָאָה) upon them?”
30 The next day Moses said to the people, “You have been guilty of a great sin (chata’ah חֲטָאָה). Yet I will now go up to Yehovah; perhaps I may win forgiveness for your sin.” 31 Moses went back to Yehovah and said, “Alas, this people is guilty of a great sin (chata’ah חֲטָאָה) in making for themselves a god of gold.
Remember the great wrong or offense was done here.
The next word is Chata’ah 2403 (Chet-Tet-Aleph-Hey) as a feminine noun singular on page 308 in the BDB.
8 Behold, Adoni Yehovah has His eye Upon the sinful (ha chettata’ah הַחַטָּאָה) kingdom: I will wipe it off The face of the earth! But, I will not wholly wipe out The House of Jacob —declares Yehovah. 9 For I will give the order And shake the House of Israel—Through all the nations—As one shakes [sand] in a sieve, And not a pebble falls to the ground. 10 All the sinners (chattaey – 2400 חַטָּאֵי) of My people Shall perish by the sword, Who boast, “Never shall the evil (ha ra’ah 7451) Overtake us or come near us.”
The judgement against the house of Jacob is that they are deserving of total destruction. Yet, Yehovah in his Mercy will not wipe them out wholly. Those who do wrong or offend will be slain by the sword because they boast no harm can come to us. They do not respect Yehovah or his derekh (way).
We have seen an over all meaning for Sin as doing wrong or offending by going against what is commanded. When one goes against a mitzvah (commandment), torah (law), mishpat (judgement) or choq/choqah (practice/requirement) then one commits a sin. Because we have offended Yehovah, and we have done wrong in keeping the Covenant. We also saw that while evil (harm) and sin (wrong) are not equal. They are related to each other in that when one does harm to another they may also be committing a wrong (sin) by breaking the covenant.
So how does evil (harm) and sin (wrong) related to Iniquity?
The word in Hebrew for Iniquity is Avon (ah-vohn) (Ayin-vav-nun-sofit) 5771, which is a masculine noun and related to 5753. It has the general meaning of a wrong already committed or past wrong not atoned for. It is found in the BDB on pg. 730.
Bamidbar (Numbers) 5:15
15 the man shall bring his wife to the priest. And he shall bring as an offering for her one-tenth of an ephah of barley flour. No oil shall be poured upon it and no frankincense shall be laid on it, for it is a meal offering of jealousy, a meal offering of remembrance which recalls (miz’kharat) wrong doing (avon עָוֹן).
Miz’kharat is from the verb zakar that has the meaning remember. Here we see the offering is to bring to mind a past done wrong.
Vayikra (Leviticus) 5:17
17 And when a person, without knowing it, sins (techet) in regard to any of Yehovah’s commandments about things not to be done, and then realizes his guilt, he shall be subject to punishment [He bears his iniquity (avono עֲוֹנוֹ)].
His wrong doing of the past is still carried by the him even though he does not know he has done it. He is still guilty. This is unintentional sin.
Vayikra (Leviticus) 22:16
15 But [the priests] must not allow the Israelites to profane (yechalelu) the sacred donations that they set aside for Yehovah, 16 or to incur guilt (avon עֲוֹן) requiring a penalty payment, by eating such sacred donations: for it is I Yehovah who make them sacred.
He the Priest were to make sure the Sons of Yisrael did not make common the set-apart donations to him. We have seen in the past that treating something as being common was the way one would profane a set-apart item. The Iniquity is that the sin had happened when the person being unclean and eating Holy things. It required a guilt offering.
Vayikra (Leviticus) 26:39-43
39 Those of you who survive shall be heartsick over their iniquity (be’avonam בַּעֲוֹנָם) in the land of your enemies; more, they shall be heartsick over the iniquities (ba avonot בַּעֲוֹנֹת) of their fathers; 40 and they shall confess their iniquity (et-avonnam אֶת־עֲוֹנָם) and the iniquity (va et-avon וְאֶת־עֲוֹן) of their fathers, in that they trespassed against Me, yea, were hostile to Me. 41 When I, in turn, have been hostile to them and have removed them into the land of their enemies, then at last shall their obdurate (uncircumcised) heart humble itself, and they shall atone for their iniquity (et-avonnam אֶת־עֲוֹנָם). 42 Then will I remember My covenant with Jacob; I will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and also My covenant with Abraham; and I will remember the land.
43 For the land shall be forsaken of them, making up for its sabbath years by being desolate of them, while they atone for their iniquity (et-avonnam אֶת־עֲוֹנָם); for the abundant reason that they rejected My rules (judgements –bemishpatay) and spurned My laws (practices – choqotay).
When we are heartsick over our past wrongs and our fathers past wrong and confess them and humble our uncircumcised hearts and we pay for our iniquity, he will remember the covenant and the land. That is what must happen for Yehovah to return to us.
Tehillim (Psalms) 130:1-8
1 A song of ascents. Out of the depths I call You, O Yehovah. 2 O Adoni, listen to my cry; let Your ears be attentive to my plea for mercy. 3 If You keep account of sins [If iniquity you will keep] (im-avonot אִם־עֲוֹנוֹת), O Yah, Adoni, who will survive? 4 Yours is the power to forgive so that You may be held in awe. 5 I look to Yehovah; I look to Him; I await His word. 6 I am more eager for Yehovah than watchmen for the morning [morning-observers], watchmen for the morning [observing for the morning]. 7 O Israel, wait for Yehovah; for with Yehovah is steadfast love and great power to redeem. 8 It is He who will redeem Israel from all their iniquities (avonotayv עֲוֹנֹתָיו).
In this psalm the psalmist illustrates the attitude of one who desires Yehovah to recognize his and his prayers. He redeems us of our past wrongs.
The word in Hebrew for Perverted/Inquitity is Avah (ah-vah) (Ayin-vav-hey) 5753, which is a verb. It has the general meaning of a wrong already committed. It is found in the BDB on pg. 730-731.
Daniyel (Daniel) 9:5
5 We have sinned (Chata’nu –2398 חָטָאנוּ); we have gone astray [did inquity] (ve aviynu וְעָוִינוּ); we have acted wickedly (vehar’sha’nu 7561 וְהִרְשַׁעְנוּ); we have been rebellious and have deviated from Your commandments and Your rules,
By deviating from keeping Yehovah’s commands, we rebel against him and sin. By not atoning for that sin we bear iniquity.
Ester (Esther) 1:16
16 Thereupon Memucan declared in the presence of the king and the ministers: “Queen Vashti has committed an offense (av’tah עָוְתָה) not only against Your Majesty but also against all the officials and against all the peoples in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus.
The offense here was the queens refusal to obey the kings commands.
Shemuel Bet (2 Samuel) 24:17
17 When David saw the angel who was striking down the people, he said to Yehovah, “I alone am guilty (chat’tiy 2398 חָטָאתִי), I alone have done wrong (he eveytiy הֶעֱוֵיתִי); but these poor sheep, what have they done? Let Your hand fall upon me and my father’s house!”
David clearly shows he committed the sin (wrong) and had done wrong (iniquity).
Melekh Aleph (I Kings) 8:47
47 and then they take it to heart in the land to which they have been carried off, and they repent and make supplication to You in the land of their captors, saying: ‘We have sinned (chata’nu חָטָאנוּ), we have acted perversely [done iniquity] (va he eviynu וְהֶעֱוִינוּ), we have acted wickedly,’
Melekh Shlomoh (King Solomon) asks that if the people sin and bring upon themselves iniquity over time. That they be forgiven if they repent (turn back to Yehovah) and make payment (atone) to Yehovah.
Does Yehovah weight out our good and bad? Does he desire the sinner to die?
Yehezkel (Ezekiel) 18
1 The word of Yehovah came to me: 2 What do you mean by quoting this proverb upon the soil of Israel, “Parents eat sour grapes and their children’s teeth are blunted”? 3 As I live—declares Adoni Yehovah—this proverb shall no longer be current among you in Israel. 4 Consider, all lives are Mine; the life of the parent and the life of the child are both Mine. The person who sins, only he shall die.
5 Thus, if a man is righteous and does what is just and right: 6 If he has not eaten on the mountains or raised his eyes to the fetishes (idols) of the House of Israel; if he has not defiled (tame) another man’s wife or approached a menstruous woman; 7 if he has not wronged anyone; if he has returned the debtor’s pledge to him and has taken nothing by robbery; if he has given bread to the hungry and clothed the naked; 8 if he has not lent at advance interest or exacted accrued interest; if he has abstained from wrongdoing and executed true justice between man and man; 9 if he has followed My laws and kept My rules and acted honestly—he is righteous. Such a man shall live—declares Adoni Yehovah.
10 Suppose, now, that he has begotten a son who is a ruffian, a shedder of blood, who does any of these things, 11 whereas he himself did none of these things. That is, [the son] has eaten on the mountains, has defiled another man’s wife, 12 has wronged the poor and the needy, has taken by robbery, has not returned a pledge, has raised his eyes to the fetishes, has committed abomination, 13 has lent at advance interest, or exacted accrued interest—shall he live? He shall not live! If he has committed any of these abominations, he shall die; he has forfeited his life.
14 Now suppose that he, in turn, has begotten a son who has seen all the sins that his father committed, but has taken heed and has not imitated them: 15 He has not eaten on the mountains or raised his eyes to the fetishes of the House of Israel; he has not defiled another man’s wife; 16 he has not wronged anyone; he has not seized a pledge or taken anything by robbery; he has given his bread to the hungry and clothed the naked; 17 he has refrained from oppressing the poor; he has not exacted advance or accrued interest; he has obeyed My rules and followed My laws—he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, but shall live. 18 To be sure, his father, because he practiced fraud, robbed his brother, and acted wickedly among his kin, did die for his iniquity; 19 and now you ask, “Why has not the son shared the burden of his father’s guilt (baavon בַּעֲוֹן)?” But the son has done what is right and just, and has carefully kept all My laws: he shall live!
20 The person who sins, he alone shall die. A child shall not share the burden of a parent’s guilt (baavon בַּעֲוֹן), nor shall a parent share the burden of a child’s guilt (baavon בַּעֲוֹן); the righteousness of the righteous shall be accounted to him alone, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be accounted to him alone.
21 Moreover, if the wicked one repents (turns from) of all the sins (chat’tav 2403 חַטֹּאתָיו / חַטָּאתוֹ) that he committed and keeps all My laws and does what is just and right, he shall live; he shall not die. 22 None of the transgressions he committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness he has practiced, he shall live. 23 Is it my desire that a wicked person shall die?—says Adoni Yehovah. It is rather that he shall turn back from his ways and live.
24 So, too, if a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does wrong, practicing the very abominations that the wicked person practiced, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds that he did shall be remembered; because of the treachery he has practiced and the sins he has committed—because of these, he shall die.
25 Yet you say, “The way of Yehovah is unfair.” Listen, O House of Israel: Is My way unfair? It is your ways that are unfair! 26 When a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does wrong, he shall die for it; he shall die for the wrong he has done. 27 And if a wicked person turns back from the wickedness that he practiced and does what is just and right, such a person shall save his life. 28 Because he took heed and turned back from all the transgressions that he committed, he shall live; he shall not die.
29 Yet the House of Israel say, “The way of Yehovah is unfair.” Are My ways unfair, O House of Israel? It is your ways that are unfair! 30 Be assured, O House of Israel, I will judge each one of you according to his ways—declares Adoni Yehovah. Repent and turn back from your transgressions; let them not be a stumbling block of guilt (avon עָוֹן) for you. 31 Cast away all the transgressions by which you have offended, and get yourselves a new (renewed) heart and a new (renewed) spirit, that you may not die, O House of Israel. 32 For it is not My desire that anyone shall die—declares Adoni Yehovah. Repent, therefore, and live!
We see now that Iniquity is the past wrongs or sins we have committed. Thus, they are related and it is whether we have atoned for them or not that makes them iniquity. Thus, so far we have seen that evil (harm) can be a sin (wrong) and after a time and iniquity (past wrong) if a command of Yehovah is broken. It is possible to cause harm to another and not be sinning. When we look at what his teachings are and are familiar with them we can then see when we wrong another.