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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 5

Whedon's Commentary on the BibleWhedon's Commentary


Verse 1


1. Moses called all Israel The nation is addressed as present, it being represented by its tribal chieftains.

Hear, O Israel An impressive commencement, more emphatic than the usual way of beginning a discourse.

Verse 2

2. The Lord… made a covenant with us It was to be impressed upon the Israelites that Jehovah their God had made a covenant with them. And here, just on the boundary line of the land promised to the seed of Abraham, they are to go back in thought to Sinai, with its awful splendour.

Verse 3

3. Not… with our fathers Not with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was the covenant of which Moses speaks made, but with their descendants who came up out of the land of bondage. A covenant had been made with their fathers, but this covenant was made at Sinai, and, though nearly forty years had passed, there were those among the hearers who could recall the scenes connected with its announcement.

Verse 4

4. The Lord talked Jehovah, in person, addressed the “ten words,” or commandments, to the people. Other precepts were given through Moses.

Verse 5

5. I stood between the Lord and you This verse is parenthetical, and properly so marked in our version. It seems to have been introduced to remind the hearers of those startling divine manifestations at Sinai which had alarmed them.

Verses 6-21


Here, on the plains of Moab, in sight of the Land of Promise, thirty-eight years after the first announcement of the law on Sinai, Moses repeats the code which Jehovah had given for the moral guidance of his people. There are variations in language, but not such as to change the meaning of a single commandment. We may suppose that in Exodus we have an exact copy of the law as written on the tables of stone. Here the substance is given in an address, so that we are not to expect exact verbal agreement. Comp. notes on Exodus 20:0.

Verses 12-15

12-15. In Exodus 20:11, there is reference to creation in connexion with the requirement for the observance of the Sabbath. In this passage the deliverance from bondage in Egypt seems to be mentioned as the occasion for the grateful remembrance of Jehovah in keeping the Sabbath. When Moses, in Exodus 20:11, says God blessed the Sabbath, because he rested on that day, he does not conflict with the statement here, that he commanded Israel to keep it for a special reason.

Verse 16

16. Honour thy father and thy mother In the parallel passage in Exodus, long life is promised for obedience to the commandment. The addition in this place of the words that it may go well with thee can only be considered an amplification of the promise.

Verse 18

18. Neither The Hebrew and not. All the commandments that follow, as well as this, commence with the conjunction and the negative.

Verse 22

22. He added no more No more to the people; but he said more to Moses, which he was to repeat to the people.

Verses 23-33

23-33. The Lord… hath showed us his glory The entire passage gives a more detailed account of the events related in Exodus 20:18-21. Jehovah’s answer to the prayer of the people, which is omitted in Exodus, is here given, that Moses may remind them that it was at their request he became for them spokesman with God.

Verse 29

29. Oh that there were such a heart In the Hebrew the words are very emphatic Who will give that their heart may be this to them. “Here the Christian fathers recognised a prophetic declaration of the doctrine of justification through faith working by love produced by God’s grace writing the law on the fleshly tables of the heart. 2 Corinthians 3:3.” Wordsworth.

Verse 31

31. The statutes, and the judgments These are the commands recorded in Exodus 21:22. Note on Deuteronomy 5:6-21. The variations between the commandments as given in this passage and in Exodus 20:1-17, are in the forth, fifth, and tenth. For the sake of comparison we place these commandments side by side:

Exodus 20:8-11.

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Loud thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant: nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Deuteronomy 5:12-15. Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee. Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day. Exodus 20:12. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. Deuteronomy 5:16. Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. Exodus 20:17. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. Deuteronomy 5:21. Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour’s wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour’s. Ewald’s view is that the ten words were originally each in the same terse form in which the first, sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth appear both in Exodus and Deuteronomy. See Speaker’s Commentary on Exodus 20:0.

Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 5". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/whe/deuteronomy-5.html. 1874-1909.
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