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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Deuteronomy 5

 

 

Verse 1

And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them.

Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments. Whether this rehearsal of the law was made in a solemn assembly, or, as some think, at a general meeting of the elders as representatives of the people, is of little moment; it was addressed either directly or indirectly to the Hebrew people as the principles of their special constitution as a nation; and hence, as has been well observed, 'the Jewish law has no obligation upon Christians, unless so much of it as given or commanded by Jesus Christ; because whatever in this law is conformable to the laws of nature obliges us, not as given by Moses, but by virtue of an antecedent law common to all rational beings' (Dr. Wilson).


Verse 2

The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 3

The LORD made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day.

The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us. The meaning is, not "with our fathers" only, "but with us" also, assuming it to be a "covenant" of grace; or, not "with our fathers" at all, if the reference is to the special establishment of the covenant at Sinai-a law was not given to them as to us, nor was the covenant ratified in the same public manner and by the same solemn sanctions. Or, finally, not "with our fathers" who died in the wilderness, in consequence of their rebellion, and to whom God did not give the rewards promised only to the faithful; but "with us," who alone, strictly speaking, shall enjoy the benefits of this covenant by entering on the possession of the promised land.


Verse 4

The LORD talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire,

The Lord talked with you face to face - not in a visible and corporeal form, of which there was no trace (Deuteronomy 4:12; Deuteronomy 4:15), but freely, familiarly, and in such a manner that no doubt could be entertained of His presence.


Verse 5

(I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to shew you the word of the LORD: for ye were afraid by reason of the fire, and went not up into the mount;) saying, (I stood between the Lord and you) - as the messenger and interpreter of thy heavenly King, bringing near two objects formerly removed from each other at a vast distance-namely, God and the people (Gal. ). In this character Moses was a type of Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and men (1 Timothy 2:5), the Mediator of a better covenant (Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 12:24).

(To show you the word of the Lord) - not the Ten Commandments, because they were proclaimed directly by the Divine Speaker Himself, but the statutes and judgments which are repeated in the subsequent portion of this book.


Verse 6

I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

I am the Lord thy God. The word "Lord" is expressive of authority or dominion; and God, who by natural claim as well as by covenant relation was entitled to exercise supremacy over His people Israel, had a sovereign right to establish laws for their government. The commandments which follow are, with a few slight verbal alterations, the same as formerly recorded (Exodus 20:10), and in some of them there is a distinct reference to that promulgation.


Verses 7-11

Thou shalt have none other gods before me.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 12

Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee.

Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the Lord ... - i:e., keep it in mind as a sacred institution of former enactment and perpetual obligation.


Verse 13

Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work:

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 14

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.

Within thy gates (see the notes at Exodus 20:8-11); that thy man-servant and thy maid-servant may rest as well as thou. One design of the Sabbatic rest was for mental improvement as well as physical refreshment. The Sabbath was to be a season of holy convocation (see the note at Leviticus 23:3) - time was to be afforded for religious meditation, and those devotional exercises to which meditation leads. Cessation from secular work, and privacy, are, if not indispensable, at least very subservient to religious reflection and its attendant exercises. But the securing of the privileged season of rest to a servant, even though a pagan, equally with the master, on every seventh day, was an admirable memento that, in a religious point of view, they were equals.

A different reason is here assigned for the observance of the Sabbath from what is assigned in Exodus 20:1-26, where that day is stated, to be an appointed memorial of the creation. But the addition of another motive for the observance does not imply any necessary contrariety to the other; and it has been thought probable that, the commemorative design of the institution being well known, the other reason was specially mentioned on this repetition of the law, to secure the privilege of Sabbatic rest to servants, of which, in some Hebrew families, they had been deprived.

In this view, the allusion to the period of Egyptian bondage (Deuteronomy 5:15), when themselves were not permitted to observe the Sabbath either as a day of rest or of public devotion, was peculiarly seasonable and significant, well fitted to come home to their business and bosoms at a time when they were about to enter into the rest of the promised land (cf. Hebrews 4:7-9, where this rest is alluded to as typifying the rest of the heavenly Canaan).

Ainsworth and others suppose that the deliverance from the bondage of Egypt was accomplished on the Sabbath. 'It was a new and added reason. Next to the benefit of existence, the Israelites never had received so great a boon as their emancipation from Egyptian bondage. The displays of the divine character which attended that deliverance-of dreadful majesty in regard to the oppressors, and of marvelous compassion in respect to the oppressed-were such as should be kept in everlasting remembrance. To the seed of Jacob it was an exchange of excessive toil for rest, of cruel servitude for freedom, and of dark despair for comfort and joy. Then let them, on every return of the day of holy rest, remember their escape, and give praise to their merciful deliverer' (Bates). (See on the enforcement of the Sabbath by different motives, Exodus 20:8-14; Exodus 31:17.)

'Such supplementary sanctions to the performance of a duty, however well adapted to secure the obedience of the Israelites, are quite consistent with a previous command addressed to all, and upon a principle binding on all' (Blunt's 'Undesigned Coincidences,' p. 21).


Verse 15

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.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 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.

That it may go well with thee. This clause is not in Exodus 20:11, but admitted into Ephesians 6:3.


Verses 17-20

Thou shalt not kill.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 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.

Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour's wife ... house and field. An alteration is here made in the words (see Exodus 20:1-26), but it is so slight - "wife" being put in the first clause, and "house" in the second-that it would not have been worth while noticing it, except that the interchange proves, contrary to the opinion of some eminent critics, that these two objects are included in one and the same commandment.


Verse 22

These words the LORD spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me.

He added no more - (Exodus 20:1.) The preeminence of these Ten Commandments was shown in God's announcing them directly. Other laws and institutions were communicated to the people through the instrumentality of Moses.


Verses 23-28

And it came to pass, when ye heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, (for the mountain did burn with fire,) that ye came near unto me, even all the heads of your tribes, and your elders;

And ... ye came near unto me - (see the note at Exodus 20:19.)


Verse 29

O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!

O that there were such an heart in them! God can bestow such a heart, and has promised to give it wherever it is asked (Jeremiah 32:40). But the wish which is here expressed on the part of for the piety and steadfast obedience of the Israelites, did not relate to them as individuals so much as a nation whose religious character and progress would have a mighty influence on the world at large.

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 5:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/deuteronomy-5.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, September 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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