Ephraim is the bad child (Hos 13:12-13:13)

“Ephraim’s iniquity

Is bound up.

His sin is kept in store.

The pangs of childbirth

Come for him.

But he is an unwise son.

At the proper time,

He does not present himself

At the mouth of the womb.”

The iniquity of the territory of Ephraim, in the northern kingdom of Israel, has bound and tied them up. They have kept their own sins stored up. When the pangs of childbirth came for him, he was an unwise son. He failed to present himself at the mouth of the womb for childbirth. In other words, Ephraim refused to come out of the womb, a strange concept for us today.

Personal responsibility (Jer 31:29-31:30)

“In those days,

They shall no longer say.

‘The parents have eaten

Sour grapes.

The children’s teeth

Are set on edge.’

But all shall die

For their own sins.

The teeth of everyone

Who eats sour grapes,

Shall be set on edge.”

Yahweh talks about personal responsibility rather than suffering for the sins of your father or parents. Instead of the parents eating sour grapes with the affect on the teeth of their children, now it will affect the parents’ teeth. Yahweh says that everyone will die for their own sins, not the sins of their ancestors. Sometimes, sinning persons were putting the blame on their ancestors, rather than themselves, for what was happening to them. Thus whoever eats sour grapes would find his own teeth affected, not their children.

The sixth son dies (2 Macc 7:18-7:19)

“After him they brought forward the sixth son. When he was about to die, he said.

‘Do not deceive yourself in vain.

We are suffering these things on our own account,

Because of our sins against our own God.

Therefore astounding things have happened.

But do not think that you will go unpunished

For having tried to fight against God!’”

Notice that all these sons were able to utter last important words that form a theological foundation for the afterlife. Now they are turning defiant as they predicted evil things to come. God would not let them go unpunished. However, the sons were suffering because of their own sins.