Sirach 41:5

Ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus

3 Do not fear death's decree for you; remember those who went before you and those who will come after. 4 This is the Lord's decree for all flesh; why then should you reject the will of the Most High? Whether life lasts for ten years or a hundred or a thousand, there are no questions asked in Hades. 5 The children of sinners are abominable children, and they frequent the haunts of the ungodly. 6 The inheritance of the children of sinners will perish, and on their offspring will be a perpetual disgrace. 7 Children will blame an ungodly father, for they suffer disgrace because of him.

John 9:2

New Testament

1 Now as Jesus was passing by, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who committed the sin that caused him to be born blind, this man or his parents?” 3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but he was born blind so that the acts of God may be revealed through what happens to him. 4 We must perform the deeds of the one who sent me as long as it is daytime. Night is coming when no one can work.

 Notes and References

"... Kaminsky has shown that although the notion of individual accountability enjoyed increased emphasis following the trauma of the Babylonian exile, the notion of collective accountability did not disappear. (For the continued importance of the individual, see Daniel 6:25; Esther 9:7-10; Matthew 23:29-36; John 9:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16; Leviticus Rabbah 4:6; b. Sandhedrin 43b-44) Ben Sira offers a relatively lengthy discussion concerning the children of the wicked ... The curses awaiting the children of sinners are numerous: a bad reputation, loss of wealth, shame, and contempt for their father. The association of children of sinners with other ungodly individuals invites even more negative consequences, as Sirach 22:13 suggests, because the troubles of the wicked seem to be contagious for those who associate with them. The intragenerational consequences of this will be explored below in connection with Sirach 22:13, but it is important to note in the discussion of Sirach 41:5-10 that the children of the ungodly face insuperable odds in avoiding the retribution incurred by their parents. The passage suggests that the children of sinners are by their very nature detestable. That they dwell among the ungodly could be a case either of like attracting like or of the unbreakable cycle of wickedness; because the child’s father is wicked and exposes his son to his wicked accomplices, the child inherits the negative consequences of his father’s actions and associations ..."

Kapfer, Hilary Claire Collective Accountability among the Sages of Ancient Israel (p. 75, 131) Harvard University, 2013

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