Please note: In order to avoid the article becoming unacceptably long, I have put quite a bit of information in the six footnotes.
Part I ... Generational Curses
Introduction, Breaking The Curse and Who is Behind Them, Demonic Possession,
Alleged Scriptural Support ,
Good and Bad Ancestors
The Factual Data
The Kings Of Israel and Judah
Does The Bible Contradict Itself Or Are We Missing Something?
Part II - An Old Testament Word Study
Part III ... The Atonement for Sin, Iniquity and Transgression (Next Page)
The teaching on 'generational curses" is usually based on several passages in the Pentateuch (Exodus 20:5-6 and 34:7, Deuteronomy 5:9-10, Numbers 14:18 etc), that say God shows loving-kindness to thousands, but visits the iniquity of the fathers on subsequent generations. Thus, whether we realize it or not, many of the the sins we commit, the physical ailments we suffer from, and the problems we face - including mental problems, depression, anger issues, patterns of financial difficulties, addiction to alcohol and/or drugs, etc. are due to this inherited spiritual bondage.
In other words, people can be cursed because of the sins of their parents, grandparents or even more remote ancestors. Sadly it is often true that those closest to us pay a price for our sins but this is not the same as a 'generational curse'. See Footnote I
What is particularly alarming is the fact that this doctrine suggests that receiving Jesus as Lord and Saviour, and being filled with the Holy Sprit is not sufficient to free us and even "born again" believers may need to be delivered from the sins of their ancestors. As a result, the modern church has seen a mushrooming of ministries dedicated to the cause of helping people break these 'curses' ... they supposedly possess special knowledge and abilities that can help release people.
But, although many verses in the Bible flatly contradict this very popular understanding of the verses mentioned above, there remains the niggling fact that these passages do state that the iniquity of the fathers is visited on the children - to the third and the fourth generations. In light of the contradictory passages, how are we to understand these verses? The answer is that we are quite obviously missing something. That "something" being an understanding of the specific Hebrew words used.
Breaking The Curse
Innumerable ministries supposedly equipped with special knowledge and abilities are dedicated to the cause of helping people break these "curses". For example, the back cover of the third edition of Blessing or Curse You can Choose authored by Derek Prince, founder of Derek Prince Ministries International, addresses Christians when it asks the question...
Are you or your family experiencing repeated sickness or accidents? Do you feel under mental, emotional or financial pressure much of the time? Are your closest relationships in turmoil? Do you wonder why success comes easily to others but seems to elude you? Bible teacher Derek Prince shows how the forces behind blessings and curses might be at work in your life. 
Also See Derek Prince's Flagrant and Reprehensible Mishandling of Scripture in Footnote II
And in more recent days, a site called demon buster (seriously!) says "You did not get Saved until YOU did something. Curses are not broken until YOU do something.  In his book The Bondage Breaker, Neil Anderson, founder of Freedom in Christ ministries lists seven steps to "freedom" - the seventh being
"to renounce the sins of your ancestors as well as any curses which may have been placed on you by deceived and evil people or groups". .
The Bible tells us that every Christian is a new creature in Christ, reconciled to God through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17-18), and that we belong to God's household (Ephesians 2:16, 19 ) so one has to ask how it is possible that we could still be under a curse that God Himself has laid upon us.
In any case, if generational curses were true, we need to remember that....
God, Not Satan, Visits The Iniquity Of The Fathers On The Children.
Most people assume the curses are the work of Satan who wishes to hold us in a never ending cycle of repeating the same destructive patterns of sin. A spiritual bondage if you will. However, if you pay attention to the 'proof texts' offered by the pro-generational curse camp you will notice that, in one way or another, they all very clearly say that the iniquity is visited on people by God Himself.
Therefore the idea that any human or ministry can free someone of a curse that God Himself has put on them is altogether absurd. If God wants a person or several generations of people cursed, I'm pretty sure they will stay cursed. All the institutions, support groups, psychological counselling, etc. would have no effect.
The fact that these patterns of behavior can be helped and even overcome is overwhelming evidence that God was not behind it.
On the other hand, there is always the possibility that demonic influence can be passed down through the generations. In his book The Believer's Guide to Spiritual Warfare, author Tom White gives a hypothetical example of what can happen if one or more of a person's ancestors was involved in the occult
Let's say that my great-grandmother practiced occultism. She would have consorted with spirits and received certain powers of divination. She went to her grave unrepentant and unredeemed, her sin unresolved before God. What happens to those divining and deceiving spirits when she dies? Where do they go? They will probably try to stay within the family. The typical scenario is that these spirits will transfer to the daughter or granddaughter, or cross over to the male line.... If, at the time of conversion, I do not sufficiently separate and break from these spiritual connections, I may experience some significant oppression and resistance to my growth in grace. Typically, this is evidenced by significant struggles to read the Bible, to pray or to experience the joy of the Lord. 
Perhaps, but what is important to note is that this type of 'harassment' is not instigated by God thus the person concerned can and should seek the Father's help to free themselves of it. However this article does deal not with any form of demonic influence but with the idea that the Father Himself curses people because of the sins their ancestors may have committed.
Alleged Scriptural Support - Passages in The Pentateuch
Exodus 20:5-6 - Showing Love To Thousands of "Generations"?
Several passages in the Pentateuch do seem to indicate that God visits the iniquity of the fathers on subsequent 'generations'. The first was a serious warning about the grave consequences of worshiping other gods. The second was part of the instructions given Moses when he went up to Sinai for the second time. Number three was Moses citing Exodus 34:7 in his plea for mercy for the nation
1. (5) You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity (Hebrew âvôn) of the fathers on the children, on the third (Heb. shillêsh) and the fourth (Heb. ribbêa) generations of those who hate Me, (6) but showing loving kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. (Exodus 20:5-6 NASB)
2. who keeps loving-kindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity (Hebrew âvôn), transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity (Hebrew âvôn) of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third (Heb. shillêsh) and fourth (Heb. ribbêa) generations (Heb. rib·bê·‘îm) ." (Exodus 34:7 NASB)
3. 'The Lord is slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness, forgiving iniquity (Hebrew âvôn) and transgression (Heb. pesha') ; but He will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity (Hebrew âvôn) of the fathers on the children to the third (Heb. shillêsh) and the fourth (Heb. ribbêa) generations (Numbers 14:18 NASB)
Note: The word generations does not occur in the original Hebrew of the above passages. The KJV indicates this by putting the word into italics (Unfortunately the NASB does not - I have added the italics). However, the insertion is warranted since (according to Strong's Hebrew and Greek lexicon) shillêsh means a descendant of the third degree (great grandchild) and ribbêa means a descendant of the fourth generation (great great grandchild)
However, in the first quote (Exodus 20:6) (also in Deuteronomy 5:10) the NIV adds the word generation which then reads .".. showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments". The insertion is absolutely NOT warranted. There is a huge difference between 'thousands of people' (which is what the verse says) and 'thousands of generations'.
However, Deuteronomy 7:9-10 actually uses the word 'generation' in reference to God's loving kindness.
See Good and Bad Ancestors and Deuteronomy 7:9-10 Below
Additionally, Deuteronomy 23:2 is also sometimes used to show that descendants of an illegitimate union also suffered the consequence. However, not everyone is agreed that the Hebrew actually means illegitimate birth. says "No one of illegitimate birth (Heb. mamzêr) shall enter the assembly of the Lord; none of his descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall enter the assembly of the Lord". See Footnote III
Good and Bad Ancestors and Deuteronomy 7:9-10
One factor that seems not to have been taken into consideration is what happens when a person has both good and bad ancestors which is probably the case with every single one of us.
In a hypothetical but very likely situation person A's great, great grandfather was a God loving, God fearing man. The blessing incurred by this venerable ancestor are supposed to flow down through many generations. But what if he had a son that was quite the opposite.. a heartless evil man. Do the sins of the son negate the blessings we would have received from our great, great grandfather? or perhaps the blessings will only be 'interrupted' for three or four generations. Unless, of course, another evil doer comes along.
Which brings up the fact that Deuteronomy 7:9-10 actually uses the word 'generation'
Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His loving-kindness to a thousandth (eleph) generation (dôr) with those who love Him and keep His commandments; but repays those who hate Him to their faces, to destroy them; He will not delay with him who hates Him, He will repay him to his face. (Deuteronomy 7:9-10 NASB)
The problem is the words "thousand generations" implies that any person who has had even one ancestor that loved and feared God in the past thousand generations, automatically falls into the "blessed" category. Statistically, most Jews and people in predominantly Christian countries, would have had at least one such relative therefore would be shown mercy by God. This is as absurd as it gets.
The only way to understand "to a thousandth generation" is as a figure of speech, not intended to be taken literally... since those faithful to God can count on His faithfulness for all eternity, not just a thousand generations. In any case, there is unlikely to be a thousand generations from creation to the end of this age.
The Factual Data
There is not a single example of a one-to-one correlation between the spiritual condition of parents and the spiritual condition of their children throughout the Old Testament. Godly parents often had wicked children - wicked parents often had godly children. Each generation fixed their own moral compass.
Godly Parents Often Had Wicked Children
Abraham and Esau:
The patriarch Abraham is repeatedly held up as a model of faith in the Bible, yet his grandson Esau took his wives from the daughters of Canaan (Genesis 36:2), was father of the Edomites (Genesis 36:9) who became aggressive foes of the Israelites until David defeated them (1 Chronicles 18:13). In spite of the many blessing promised his grandfather, Esau was described as someone God hated and whose inheritance was appointed for the jackals (Malachi 1:3).
Similarly, although priests to the Lord Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were "worthless" men (1 Samuel 2:12) Eli was only held accountable for the fact that although he was aware of their iniquity, he did not rebuke them (1 Samuel 3:12-14).
Samuel a confirmed prophet of the Lord (1 Samuel 3:20) played a huge role in Israel, anointing first Saul then David as kings of Israel. However, Samuel's sons whom he appointed as judges over Israel "...did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after dishonest gain and took bribes and perverted justice. (1 Samuel 8:1-3).
In Other Cases, The Children Were The Ones Blessed
God lost all patience with the Israelites when they continued grumbling, turned to idols etc. after they were rescued out of Egypt by amazing miracles. However, although He had every reason to, God did not destroy them but kept them alive in the wilderness for 40 years so that the promise made to Abraham would be fulfilled. In other words, with a couple of exceptions, it was the children of those faithless people who inherited the land. See Numbers 14:30-32
The Kings Of Israel and Judah
A brief examination of the record of the kings of Judah makes it very clear that there was no relationship between the spirituality of the fathers and that of the sons. The record soundly refutes the idea that sons are destined to commit the sins of their fathers.
King David and Solomon: David committed both murder and adultery, but his son Solomon was appointed to build the temple. His eventual fall from grace was due to the fact that he himself went after other gods and not because of the sins of his father. 1 Kings 11:9-11 NASB)
Some may argue that Solomon was spared the generational curse because his father David repented for his sins, let us consider some of the other kings of Judah.
Rehoboam and Abijam: During the reign of Solomon's son Rehoboam, Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord provoking Him more than all that their fathers had done (1 Kings 14:22-24). Rehoboam's son, Abijam, who reigned for a mere ten years walked in all the sins of his father which he had committed before him; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord (1 Kings 15:2-3)
There is no record of these two ever repenting, yet...
Asa, Abijam's son reigned 41 years and did what was right in the sight of the Lord. He put away the male cult prostitutes from the land and removed all the idols which his fathers had made. He even removed Maacah his mother from being queen mother, because she had made a horrid image as an Asherah (1 Kings 15:11-15). Asa's son, Jehoshaphat, also walked righteously in the way of his father, and did not turn aside from doing right in the sight of the Lord (1 Kings 22:41-44).
Skipping over a few years brings us to two of the best known of Judah's kings... Hezekiah and Manasseh
Hezekiah was one of Judah's most righteous kings. In his own words to the Lord "Remember now, O Lord, I beseech You, how I have walked before You in truth and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in Your sight." (Isaiah 38:3 NASB). Yet his son Manasseh and grandson Amon were the worst of Judah's rulers.
Manasseh: Hezekiah's son Manasseh "misled Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the sons of Israel" (2 Chronicles 33:9). He "He made his sons pass through the fire in the valley of Ben-hinnom; and he practiced witchcraft, used divination, practiced sorcery and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking Him to anger. Then he put the carved image of the idol which he had made in the house of God, of which God had said to David and to Solomon his son, "In this house and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen from all the tribes of Israel, I will put My name forever; (2 Chronicles 33:6-7 NASB).
It was only when Manasseh was captured by the Babylonians, that he "entreated the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. (2 Chronicles 33:11-12)
Amon: was Manasseh's son who was twenty-two years old when he became king. During his two year reign He did evil in the sight of the Lord as his father had done. Amon sacrificed to all the carved images which his father Manasseh had made, and he did not humble himself before the Lord as Manasseh had done. Instead he multiplied guilt. (2 Chronicles 33:20-23 NASB)
Josiah: Manasseh's descendants weren't cursed to the 3rd and 4th generation. Much to the contrary, the Bible speaks very highly of his son Josiah who reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem (2 Kings 22:1).
"there was none like him among all the kings of Judah". He... "removed all the houses of the high places which were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made provoking the Lord; and he did to them just as he had done in Bethel. All the priests of the high places who were there he slaughtered on the altars and burned human bones on them; then he returned to Jerusalem (2 Kings 23:19-20 NASB)
He also re-instituted the Passover and as the book of Chronicles tells us "There had not been celebrated a Passover like it in Israel since the days of Samuel the prophet; nor had any of the kings of Israel celebrated such a Passover as Josiah did with the priests, the Levites, all Judah and Israel who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem". (2 Chronicles 35:18 NASB)
One site does mention Israel's king Ahab stating that "the consequence of Ahab's sins passed on to his son's house (1 Kings 21:29)  which is true. However, this is not a good example. Ahab is considered by many to be the worst ruler that ancient Israel ever had who "did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him" (1 Kings 16:30). While we do not know anything about Ahab's sons we do know that God had determined to completely cut off his entire house choosing Jehu as one of three men who would do so. As the Lord told Elijah,
Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus, and when you have arrived, you shall anoint Hazael king over Aram; and Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. "It shall come about, the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall put to death. (1 Kings 19:15-17 NASB)
Does The Bible Contradict Itself Or Are We Missing Something?
While both the empirical evidence and a number of verses clearly indicate that each and every person is responsible for their own behavior and actions and will be rewarded or punished accordingly (See Footnote IV), there remains the niggling fact that several verses in the Pentateuch say that the iniquity of the fathers is visited on the children... to the third and the fourth generations.
Additionally, the prophet Jeremiah seemed to have be contradicting himself in two consecutive verses. In verse 18 he seems to support the idea of sons held accountable for the sins of their fathers yet, in the very next verse, he talks about individual accountability. (Note the underlined sections)
 Ah Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You,  who shows loving kindness to thousands, but repays the iniquity (Hebrew âvôn) of fathers into the bosom of their children after them, O great and mighty God. The Lord of hosts is His name;  great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, giving to everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds; (Jeremiah 32:17-19 NASB)
Faced with these inconsistencies, we can come to only one of two conclusions... 1) the Bible contradicts itself which means we cannot trust Moses, Ezekiel, or Jeremiah because one or more of them were wrong or 2) our understanding of the 'generational curse' verses is not accurate and we are missing something.
If we believe that the Bible is God's word, the second option is the only viable one. So what is the 'something' we are missing?
Continue On To Part II - An Old Testament Word Study HERE
Footnote I - Those Closest To Us Often Pay A Price For Our Sins
But this is very different from the popular concept of generational curses.
Caleb was one of the spies sent by Moses to spy out the land of Canaan. Although the inhabitants of the land were very frightening, only he and Joshua advised the Hebrews to proceed immediately to take the land and that God would deliver salvation as He had in the past. However the rest of the congregation unwilling to take on giants, wanted to stone them. As we all know the Lord's anger burned against the people and he sentenced them to 40 years wandering in the wilderness until all that generation had died. Although the two faithful ones. Caleb and Joshua, were the only ones to enter the promised land, they too had to endure 40 years of wandering in the wilderness - through no fault of theirs.
Similarly, the book of Lamentations depicts the condition of Jerusalem that had been burnt to the ground by the Babylonians. In it the prophet Jeremiah spoke of how the innocent suffered along with the guilty,
Our fathers sinned, and are no more; It is we who have borne their iniquities. (Lamentations 5:7 NASB)
When Nehemiah said
However, You are just in all that has come upon us; For You have dealt faithfully, but we have acted wickedly. "For our kings, our leaders, our priests and our fathers have not kept Your law Or paid attention to Your commandments and Your admonitions with which You have admonished them. (Nehemiah 9:33-34 NASB)
Note that he did not include the prophets, who continued to faithfully obey the voice of the Lord, and testify against the sins of the entire nation... often risking their lives to do so. Yet, in verse 32, the prophets were included in the list of people who suffered hardship.
"Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and loving-kindness, Do not let all the hardship seem insignificant before You, which has come upon us, our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers and on all Your people, From the days of the kings of Assyria to this day. (Nehemiah 9:32 NASB)
Also, the Israelites who returned from captivity did not complain of being unjustly punished because their parents were idolaters. Instead, under Nehemiah, they made an agreement in writing to return to the Lord, to walk in God's law, and to keep and to observe His commandments including keeping the Sabbath, paying their tithes and not intermarrying with the nations around them. (Nehemiah 10:29-39)
In other words, the captives also broke God's laws.
Ezra 9 tells the leaders reporting to him the very bad spiritual condition of the post-exile community inasmuch as they had failed to separate from the pagan people that still lived taking some of their daughters as wives for themselves and for their sons. Ezra's reaction was to tear his garments, pull hair from his head and beard, and sit down absolutely appalled. Here is a small part of what he said to the Father "Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt, and on account of our iniquities ... for no one can stand before You because of this." Read the entire chapter. [PLACE IN TEXT]
Footnote II - Taking Passages Out of Context - Matthew 15:13
Those who teach this doctrine appeal to particular Biblical verses to support their position. In the afore mentioned book Derek Prince wrote,
Before he can enjoy true liberty and the fullness of the new creation in Christ, this weed must be completely pulled out, with all its roots. The most important root, and the one hardest to deal with, is the tap root that links him to many generations who have worshipped false gods. Nothing but the supernatural grace and power of God can effectively remove all these roots. But thank God, there is hope in the promise of Jesus in Matthew 15:13: "every plant which my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted" 
Which, I would be willing to bet, helped convince some people that generational curses need to be rooted out. However, the question one has to ask is whether this is what Jesus meant.
In everything they wrote, the Biblical authors intended one meaning and one meaning only. Thus whenever we read the Bible it is our duty to make every effort to discern what the original authors intent was rather than reading our own ideas into the passage. And this can only be done by by reading the passage in context. It is only the context that can provide the 'backdrop' and determine the exact meaning of the verses (or verses) in question. Wresting a passage from the surrounding text is one of the most common ways to put a different spin on the original author's intent - which is pretty much what Derek Prince did (And what many, many, false teachers do).
If you read Matthew 15:13 in context it becomes very clear this was Jesus' response when the disciples told Him that the Pharisees were offended by something He said. He told the disciples to leave them alone -God would root them out. The verse has absolutely nothing to do with our roots to ancestors who worshipped false gods.
After Jesus called the crowd to Him, He said to them, "Hear and understand. "It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man." Then the disciples *came and * said to Him, "Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?" But He answered and said, "Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted. "Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit." (Matthew 15:10-14 NASB) [PLACE IN TEXT]
Footnote III - Deuteronomy 23:2
Deuteronomy 23:2 reads
No one of illegitimate birth (Heb. mamzêr) shall enter the assembly of the Lord; none of his descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall enter the assembly of the Lord. (Deuteronomy 23:2 NASB)
There is no question that once again the separation between pure and impure is being stressed. However, the meaning of the Hebrew word mamzêr is not really clear. The KJV renders it as bastard while other translations use the terms 'illicit union', 'illegitimate birth', even 'born of a harlot or prostitute' etc.
jewfaq.org says it is "The child of a marriage that is prohibited and invalid under Jewish law, such as an incestuous union. 
Unlike the English word, "bastard," the Hebrew term mamzer does not refer to the child of two unmarried individuals who could theoretically marry (i.e. born out of wedlock). Rather, it refers only to the offspring of people whose relationship would be punishable with karet (excision). This includes many close-blood relatives or a woman who was concurrently married to someone other than the child's father. 
Nevertheless, I am not sure how well this fits in with the single other occurrence of mamzêr in the Old Testament. Zechariah 9:5-6 speak about the defeat of various nations. There cannot be a whole nation of people born of illegitimate unions.
Ashkelon will see it and be afraid. Gaza too will writhe in great pain; Also Ekron, for her expectation has been confounded. Moreover, the king will perish from Gaza, And Ashkelon will not be inhabited. And a mongrel race (Heb. mamzêr) will dwell in Ashdod, And I will cut off the pride of the Philistines. (Zechariah 9:5-6 NASB)
However, karaiteinsights.com brings up a couple of ideas well worth considering. They point out that
In both occurrences of the word mamzer (Deuteronomy 23:2 and Zacariyah 9:6), adjacent verses mention specific nations or their major cities. (Major cities are often synonymous in the Tanach with the nations living in them.) In Deuteronomy 23, the Ammonite, Moabite, Edomite and Egyptian are all mentioned along with the Mamzer. In Zekharia 9, the list includes Zor, Zidon, Ashkelon, Gaza, the Phillistines, etc.
The linguistic style of Deuteronomy 23:2 — which excludes Mamzer from the assembly of Yehowah, "even the tenth generation" — is precisely parallel to the linguistic style of Deuteronomy 23:3, which excludes Ammon and Moav from the Assembly of Yehowah, "even the tenth generation". 
Compare the two,
No one of illegitimate birth shall enter the assembly of the Lord; none of his descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall enter the assembly of the Lord. (Deuteronomy 23:2 NASB)
No Ammonite or Moabite shall enter the assembly of the Lord; none of their descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall ever enter the assembly of the Lord, (Deuteronomy 23:3 NASB) . [PLACE IN TEXT]
Footnote IV: Contradictory Verses
There are quite a few Biblical verses that very explicitly state that everyone is rewarded (one way or another) for their own conduct. For example (All Emphasis Added)
Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin. (Deuteronomy 24:16 NASB)
In those days they will not say again, 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children's teeth are set on edge.' "But everyone will die for his own iniquity; each man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth will be set on edge". (Jeremiah 31:29-30 NASB)
In Jeremiah 16:11-12 God actually attributes more blame to the 'sons' than to their forefathers...
"Then you are to say to them, 'It is because your forefathers have forsaken Me,' declares the Lord, 'and have followed other gods and served them and bowed down to them; but Me they have forsaken and have not kept My law. 'You too have done evil, even more than your forefathers; for behold, you are each one walking according to the stubbornness of his own evil heart, without listening to Me. (Jeremiah 16:11-12 NASB)
Ezekiel: The people of Ezekiel's day were experiencing one of the bleakest times in the history of the nation. Jerusalem had been sacked, the temple plundered, and most of the inhabitants of Jerusalem deported to Babylon. Under these circumstances, it is understandable that they believed God was punishing them for the sins of their ancestors, Ezekiel flatly contradicted this popular interpretation of the second commandment. He emphasized that every person has to take individual responsibility for his own actions.... and will either be rewarded or punished for his own actions, not those of his parents.
[20) "The person who sins will die. 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. [21) "But if the wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed and observes all My statutes and practices justice and righteousness, he shall surely live; he shall not die. [22) "All his transgressions which he has committed will not be remembered against him; because of his righteousness which he has practiced, he will live. [23) "Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked," declares the Lord GOD, "rather than that he should turn from his ways and live? [24) "But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity and does according to all the abominations that a wicked man does, will he live? All his righteous deeds which he has done will not be remembered for his treachery which he has committed and his sin which he has committed; for them he will die. (Ezekiel 18:20-24 NASB)
In fact, in the 19 verses that precede the ones quoted above, the prophet gives the example of a righteous man who "will surely live" because of his actions. However, this man has a violent and unrighteous son who is an idolater, thief and murderer. As Ezekiel said, the son's "blood will be on his own head" and he will "surely be put to death" (Vs. 10-13). The grandson, on the other hand, who is not like his father but walks in the Lord's statutes, "will not die for his father's iniquity, he will surely live". (Vs. 14-17).
It doesn't get any more clear than that. Read the entire chapter. [PLACE IN TEXT]
End Notes - Part I
 Derek Prince. Blessing or Curse You can Choose Back Cover. Publisher : Chosen Books; 3rd Edition (September 1, 2006)
 Curses And Returning The Fire. https://demonbuster.com/curses.html
 Neil T. Anderson. The Bondage Breaker. Harvest House Publishers, Dec 15, 2006. Pg. 239-240
 Tom White. The Believer's Guide to Spiritual Warfare. Publisher: Chosen Books; Revised, Updated ed. Edition (April 27, 2011). Pg. 63
 Derek Prince. Blessing or Curse You can Choose. Chosen Books; 3 edition (September 1, 2006) Pg 74
 The Meaning of Mamzer. Bastard Child or Name of a Nation? https://karaiteinsights.com/article/mamzer