Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 5

Sermon Bible CommentarySermon Bible Commentary

Verse 16

Deuteronomy 5:16

We find throughout the law that this commandment was put forth as the great foundation on which others were built. On him "that setteth light by his father or his mother" was one of the curses pronounced on Mount Ebal; and it was commanded, "He that curseth his father or his mother shall surely be put to death."

I. The keeping of this commandment implies and produces a certain temper of mind which we call meekness. So far as anything like peace can be obtained in this world, it can only be obtained by keeping this commandment, by obedience, obedience to God; and this cannot be shown but by obedience to those whom He has set over us.

II. The temper of obedience being, therefore, the very foundation of all true piety, God has so appointed it that men should be all their lives in conditions of life to exercise and practise this habit of mind, first of all as children under parents, then as servants under masters, as subjects under kings, as all under spiritual pastors, and spiritual pastors under their superiors.

III. It is in this temper of meekness, above all, that Christ has set Himself before us as our Pattern. Christ was willingly subject to a poor carpenter in an obscure village, so much so as even to have worked with him, it is supposed, at his trade. He, alone without sin, was subject to sinful parents.

IV. The more difficult it is for children to pay this honour and obedience to parents who may be unworthy, the more sure they may be that it is the narrow way to life and the strait and difficult gate by which they must enter. True love will cover and turn away its eyes from sins and infirmities. For this reason there is a blessing even unto this day on the children of Shem and Japheth, and a curse on the descendants of Ham.

Plain Sermons by Contributors to " Tracts for the Times," vol. ix., p. 277.

References: Deuteronomy 5:16 . J. Oswald Dykes, The Law of the Ten Words, p. 105.Deuteronomy 5:17-21 . Ibid., pp. 123, 139, 155, 171, 189. Deuteronomy 5:22 . Old Testament Outlines, p. 49; J. Oswald Dykes, The Law of the Ten Words, p. 1.Deuteronomy 5:24 . Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, p. 201.Deuteronomy 5:24-26 . Clergyman's Magazine, vol. x., p. 203.Deuteronomy 5:29 . R. D. B. Rawnsley, A Course of Sermons for the Christian Year, p. 209. Deuteronomy 5:31 . J. Keble, Sermons for the Christian Year: Easter to Ascension Day, p. 182.

Verse 33

Deuteronomy 5:33

I. One of these clauses is commonly said to enjoin a duty, the other to promise the blessings which those might confidently look for who performed it. This is not a satisfactory definition. Moses teaches his countrymen that God has conferred upon them the highest prize which man can conceive, freely and without any merit on their part. Was the knowledge of the living and unseen God nothing in itself, but only valuable in virtue of some results that were to come of it? Moses tells his countrymen that it was everything. To hold it fast was to be a nation; to lose it was to sink back into that condition out of which they had been raised.

II. Is there no duty then assigned in the text? Certainly when it is said, "Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you," it must be meant that there is something required on the part of the creature as well as something bestowed by the Creator. We cannot understand what is required unless we understand what is bestowed. If we believe that a way has been made for us, and that we have been put in that way, we can apprehend the force of the precept to walk in it, we can feel what is meant by transgression and revolt.

III. It is here signified in very simple, clear language that a people in a right, orderly, godly state shall be a well-doing people, a people with all the signs and tokens of strength, growth, triumph, a people marked for permanence and indefinite expansion.

IV. It cannot be true that the blessings of adversity were unknown to the Jews, were reserved for a later period. The more strong their feeling was that God had chosen their nation and made a covenant with it, the greater was their struggle with their individual selfishness, their desire of great things for themselves, the more need had they of God's fires to purify them. No men could be more taught than the Jewish seers were that punishments are necessary for individuals and nations, and that "whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth."

V. It is a perilous and an almost fatal notion that Christian men have less to do with the present than the Jews had, that their minds and their religion are to be projected into a region after death, because there only the Divine Presence is dwelling.

The alternative is between a faith which shall belong to men as men, which shall concern all their ordinary pursuits, toils, relations the alternative is between such a faith and absolute atheism.

F. D. Maurice, Patriarchs and Lawgivers of the Old Testament, p. 241.

References: Deuteronomy 6:1-12 . Parker, vol. iv., p. 136. Deuteronomy 6:1-25 . Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iv., p. 217.

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 5". "Sermon Bible Commentary".