“You will have delivered your soul” in Ezekiel 3

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I’m trying to understand the “Watchman” passage in Ezekiel 3:16-21 (largely repeated in 33:1-9). Excerpting from 3:18-19 (ESV):

If….you give him no warning….in order to save his life (ləḥayyōtô), that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand (dāmô mîyyādəkā ʾăbaqqēš).

But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness….he shall die (yāmût) for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul (ʾet–napšəkā hiṣṣaltā).

I’m trying to determine whether “deliver your soul” means anything different from “save [your] life”. For some reason, each time the wicked man turns from his wickedness he “saves his life”, but the watchman, by his obedience, “delivers [his] soul”.

In the logic of the contingencies, these two don’t seem to be exactly interchangeable. They have different opposites:

  • “save his life” ↔ “die”, whereas
  • “deliver his soul” ↔ “his blood I will require…” .

The last I understand (mostly from looking at the more dynamic translations) to mean “I will hold you responsible for his death”. This makes me wonder whether “deliver his soul” actually means “not be held responsible [for another’s death]”.

Does “deliver your soul” mean anything different from “save your life”?

1 Comment

  • Reply November 16, 2018

    Brenton

    If God tells you to minister to some one isnt saved and you dont listen to God and they die you are resonsible for their soul and their sin. So their blood will be on your hands but if you do and they dont listen then you are not responsible and their blood is not on your hands so your soul or life is spared. This is what i got out of it.

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