Iniquity of the Fathers

We tend to recall the ten commandments in an abbreviated form. As a result, we often forget some of the additional things God said. Consider this commandment against graven images:
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:4-6)

Did you notice that the text speaks only of the iniquity of the fathers? The Dake Annotated Reference Bible explains this on page 84 of the Old Testament:

Iniquity of the Fathers (Ex. 20:5)
Never does it say the iniquity of the mothers. Adam, not Eve, was the moral, spiritual, and legal head and representative of the whole race. Because all were in his loins when he sinned he acted for the entire race; as their source he was responsible for sin being passed upon all men. He acted not as a private person, but for the race that was to come from him, to share his blessings if he obeyed or his curses if he sinned (Gen. 2:17; 3:1-24; Rom. 5:12-21; 2 Cor. 15:21-22, 45-48). We virtually gave consent to what he did in the same sense that Levi paid tithes while still in Abraham's loins (Heb. 7:9-10). Sin has always been reckoned as passing from the fathers to the children, not through the mothers (Ex. 20:5; 34:7; Lev. 26:39-40; Num. 14:18; Dt. 5:9). Scripture attributes human reproduction to women without sinful responsibility in terms of passing sin from parent to offspring. This is how Jesus could be born of a woman, a virgin, and still not be sinful flesh. See Reasons Christ Had Sinless Flesh, p. 175 of N.T.


Mosaic Authorship of the Pentateuch
Biblical Types
Blessings and Cursings are Conditional
Backsliding