Date: Fri, 9 Dec 1994 09:53:22 CET Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From: Teus Benschop Subject: Deuteronomy 5 Contents ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1. Introduction 2. Explanation 3. Questions 1. Introduction ------------------------------------------------------------------------ This is an issue of a continuous explanation of the Bible-book Dvarim, that is Deuteronomy. If something is unclear in the explanation (they are not easy), you are free to ask me. The Bible-text is taken from the King James version. Deuteronomy 5. Title: Reminder on the giving of the Ten Commandments Short contents: Moshe speaks a foreword, and after that he repeats the Ten Commandments of God. The nation is very frightened because of the hearing of God's voice. Therefore they ask Moshe if they may not hear the voice of God anymore. They asked if Moshe would speak to them. Moshe urges the people to obedience. 2. Explanation ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1 And Moshe 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. Moshe presents the statutes. He also tells why he presents them. It is so that they would learn and do them. Moshe does not want that the statutes are learnt to speak only about them. No, the law must not be only in the head. They have to learn the laws to keep them in the practice, and to do them. 2 The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Chorev. Here, Moshe calls the law a covenant. The nation is considered worthy to be in a covenant not only with someone else, but with the holy God. This honour should spur on the nation the more to maintain the commandments. 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 nation is even privileged above the fathers. The fathers were already obedient to God, without the covenant of Chorev. When the fathers were already obedient, how much the more is the nation obliged to obey. This privilege above the fathers must spur on the nation to keep the commandments of God. 4 The LORD talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire, The LORD talked face to face. This means that he spoke familiarly. The nation did not need to doubt about the Giver of the commandments. It was totally clear to them that God was the Giver. In this way, this verse again is a spur to the keeping of the commandments. 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, Although Moshe had just said that the LORD spoke face to face to the nation, here he adds something. For in reality Moshe was a mediator between the nation and the LORD. 6 I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. This is the introduction to the law of the Ten Commandments. God mentions three reasons, why the nation should keep His law. With the words "I am the LORD", the LORD shows His authority on the nation. He is the Creator, and Lord of all. God deserves obedience. The words "thy God" point out that God is especially the God of the Israelites. They must not be only spurred on by the authority of the LORD, but they must also be pulled amiably by their own God. Further, God says that He has delivered the nation out of the house of bondage of Egypt. This benefaction shows the right, which God has on the nation. 7 Thou shalt have none other gods before me. God commands that only He must be served. When one would have other gods, this would be superstition. Therefore, God forbids all superstition. The religion had to be and to stay purified from all the human additions. The religion has always to be purified from the human findings, which are stealing inwards. This needs much attention. Although this is a prohibition to serve other gods, yet from this results a command. Which command? To serve only God. That means that we ought to rely only on Hem. Who relies on God will keep standing, but who relies on something else will fall. Tanach teaches us this. "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright," Thilliem / Psalm 20:8,9. Here we see it. They, who trusted in chariots and horses are fallen. But they, who rely on God, keep standing upright. 8 Thou shalt not make 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 waters beneath the earth: In verse seven is commanded that only God may be served. In this verse is said in which way God has to be served. Not on the way of the graven image, or any likeness. This is not allowed, because God is spiritual. Who would make an image of Him should change God's spirituality in something corporally. This would bring great harm to God's majesty and holiness. Therefore we persist that God is spiritual, and not can be put for the eyes. Why are mentioned in this commandment the heaven, the earth and the waters? This has a cause. Somebody, who walks in the nature and looks on that, sees therein great beauty. This is good. Also, Davied saw that beauty. "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork," Thilliem / Psalm 19:1. But it could happen that the the man wil start worshipping the nature as a god. Or that he wants to worship God in the nature. And that he gets stuck with his minds in the nature, and not rises to God. It is this, which God forbids in this verse. So we see that all nature-worshippers are condemned here. 9 Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto 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, God forbids the serving of the idols. Which reason does the LORD use before this? In the first place He uses His authority. The LORD is a jealous God. Then He uses a threat. He is a God, Who visits the iniquity to the offspring unto the fourth generation. How is this now? Must the children die because of the disobedience of the parents? No, that not, because God does not punish the innocent. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him," Jchezkeel / Ezekiel 18:20. Here is meant something else. It will be in general so, that the descendants of the wicked fathers also will sin by themselves. Because the descendants themselves sin also, they are punished for their own sins. Therefore, in the Hebrew text is written: to thirds, and to the fourths, to them that hate Me. With this is meant that God will only punish, when the third and the fourth generation will hate Him. 10 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments. The LORD has insisted his commandments by His authority and by threat, in the previous verse. In this verse, He adds important instigation. God punished the inequity only to the fourth generation, but with His mercy it is totally different. That is much greater. He shows mercy to thousands of them that love Him. Here you see the great grace of God. God is indebted nothing to the people; nevertheless, He promises them great things. His mercies go about thousands. Attend that the people may not rest on God's mercies, and meanwhile sin. No, His mercies are unto thousands, who love Him and keep His commandments. Herein is something remarkable. For who keeps God's commandments, he should deserve the salvation. In fact there had to be written: And give pay to thousands from them, who keep My commandments. But this is not written there. God does not give pay to them, who keep His commandments and love Him, but He is merciful to them. Hereof is clear the undeserved grace of God. Even they, who love Him, have no claim on pay. They receive all things in grace. Why not in pay? Because there is no man who can serve God as it should be. There is nobody who not does sin. It is therefore, that we must speak about mercy. 11 Thou shalt not take the name of Adonai thy God in vain: for Adonai will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. The Name of Adonai is very holy. Therefore, God's Name may not be used in vain. This does not mean that God's Name must be kept silent, because of fear of misuse. Tanach teaches us differently. Davied teaches in short how one can use God's Name. "Bless Adonai, o my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name," Thilliem / Psalm 103:1. Davied calls the Name of God holy to a prevention against misuse. However, he does not keep silent God's Name, but he praises Him. So we see that God's Name may be used, but not in vain. In vain, that is useless. The Name of God cannot be used for every little thing. That is in vain and useless. Where it is suitable, there God's Name may be mentioned. But one forgets too quickly not to profane God's Name. Therefore, God threatens the transgressors with His punishment. 12 Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as Adonai thy God hath commanded thee. The intention of the Sabbath is that the believers this day specially set apart for the service of God. That is meant by sanctifying. Here is not commanded to serve God only on the Sabbath. For elsewhere is written that one has to serve God all days. "Adonai was ready to save me: therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of our life in the house of Adonai," Jeshajah / Isaiah 38:20. There is no permission to do during the week as the lovers of the world do. Here is commanded to keep the Sabbath specially. This day is dedicated, more then the others days, to the sanctification of God's Name. 13 Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work: You have six days for your work. Surely, this is not asked too much, to specially dedicate only one day to God. Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh you shall do My work. 14 But the seventh day is the sabbath of Adonai 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. On the seventh day man shall not do any work. Then men may rest. What does this mean? Does this mean that you may rest well, and nice do nothing? Does the service of God consist therein, in idleness and laziness? Many people would want that. Doing nothing in the name of the service of God. God admonishes us not to do such a terrible thing. "If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of Adonai, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words", Jeshajah / Isaiah 58:13. In this text, we are admonished not to do our pleasure on God's holy day, not to do our own ways, and not to speak a word of our desire, on God's day. We have to call God's day a delight, so that Adonai will be sanctified. That is the real goal of the Sabbath. Not doing our own desire, but sanctifying the Name of God. From this we learn that we have to deny totally our own pleasures. And that we totally dedicate ourselves to the service of God. Only when our desires are denied, and we devote ourselves to God, only then there is a matter of rest. Then you are no longer persecuted by your own desires. Then both the body and the spirit rest in God. That is why Jeshajah / Isaiah says, that we have to "call the sabbath a delight, the holy of Adonai, honourable," Jeshajah / Isaiah 58:13. May we than totally not have physical rest? Is there not a matter of servants and maidservants, who may rest? Truly. And when they serve God on that day, entirely, after they have worked hard during six days, than this is a blessed rest for them. 15 And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that Adonai thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore Adonai thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day. Adonai uses an instigation to keep the Sabbath. Adonai brought them out of Egypt, and therefore they have to serve Him. So they do not keep the Sabbath to deserve something with that. Here we see that we do not keep God's commandments to deserve something by that. Who is saved by God, he will keep God's commandments in thankfulness. 16 Honour thy father and thy mother, as Adonai thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which Adonai thy God giveth thee. The institution of the marriage is from God. Also the authority, which is therein, has come from God. Now the man is commanded to honour his father and mother. He has to obey them and show them all love. For that is pleasant before God. Adonai spurs us on the more by promising that our days will be prolonged, and that it will go well with us. By this promises, God wants to make us the more willing that we obey our elders. The authority comes from God. So who is disobedient to the authority, he fights directly against God. Must you also obey wicked elders? Yes, as far as they do not keep back their children from the other duties, which are commanded by God. The obeying of God is more important than the obeying of people. 17 Thou shalt not kill. This forbids not only killing, but also all the illegal violence to others. The foundation of this ban on killing is that the man is made in the image of God "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man," Bereshiet / Genesis 9:6. But have you answered to God's law when you only abstain yourself from all injustice? No, surely not. In the commandment, not only the illegal killing is forbidden, but the contrary is commanded. You have to protect your fellow man and do him good. This prohibition is not limited to the deed only. It also forbids the considerations to murder. And wherewith begin such considerations? They begin with hatred and envy against the fellow man. See this in Kain, who killed Abel; in Achav who killed Navot; in Esau. "And Esau hated Yaakov because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart: The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Yaakov," Bereshiet / Genesis 27:41. There are more of such examples. And what says the Psalm? "Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil," Thilliem / Psalm 37:8. The Psalm says: Cease from anger, which would lead to doing evil. In short, this commandment forbids killing, forbids hatred and envy against the fellow man, commands to do well to the fellow man and to protect him, and commands to love him. They, who think to keep God's commandments, but do it only in deeds, they are wrong. In reality they transgress the commandments in their mind and words. 18 Neither shalt thou commit adultery. Although only adultery is mentioned here, clearly everybody is urged to all purity. It is not enough that you not transgress this commandment with the deed. Also, unchaste lusts are forbidden. Iov / Job says of this: "I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?" Iov / Job 31:1. 19 Neither shalt thou steal. What does this command mean? It means that the right will be maintained for everybody. Not only stealing is forbidden, but also all illegal profit. Profit from the misfortune of others, profit by all kinds of tricks. In this way Amos speaks of people, who not sanctify the Sabbath, s"aying: When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit," Amos 8:5. It is not enough to refrain from injustice. Above all it is necessary to treat the fellow-men just, and to help them. 20 Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour. Here, Adonai takes care that the good name of the other is preserved. Here, the false testifying before the court of justice is forbidden. But also the secret lying, or gossiping together about others. God forbids not only the lying, but with this He also commands all sincerity. Not only the libelling is forbidden. But on the contrary the promoting of the good name of others is commanded. We must also close our ears for others, when they speak ill. The lying is the own work of Satan, as appeared in the garden of Eden. For God said: "Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die," Bereshiet / Genesis 2:17. The serpent perverted this and lied, because "the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die," Bereshiet / Genesis 3:4. God said: You will surely die. The serpent said: You shall not surely die. Something results from this. There are people who boast on being Avrahams descendants. But they do not his works. They lie and cheat, and in this way they do the works of Satan. So they are descendants of Satan, not of Avraham. 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. The previous commandments, in which wicked deeds are forbidden, are in the explanation always extended with wicked considerations and words. In this commandment, Adonai does this also. This is necessary. It could happen that someone hears: you shall not kill, neither shall you commit adultery, neither shall you steal. And he would think that he has not done anything of this, so he has done well. Therefore, in this commandment, also all desire to do this is forbidden. From this is clear that the law is spiritual. God, Who is a Spirit, must be served spiritually. When one acts well in the appearance, not transgresses a commandment, that is not enough. Also, the heart must be pure. "If I regard iniquity in my heart, Adonai will not hear me," Thilliem / Psalm 66:18. 22 These words Adonai 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. Adonai has revealed Himself so clearly in the fire, the cloud and the darkness, that there cannot be left any doubt about His Majesty. God spoke these words, and He added no more. This means that the law of the ten commandments is a complete guideline for us. It contains, in short, the whole will of God about our life. 23 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; 24 And ye said, Behold, Adonai our God hath shewed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth. Truly this is a great wonder. Having heard God and staying alive. Even the hardest rocks tremble before Him, and the hills do not continue to exist. "The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein," Nachum / Nahum 1:5. And this people, who were only flesh and dust, stayed alive. Truly a great wonder. 25 Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of Adonai our God any more, then we shall die. This time the people kept alive, but who says that this will also happen the next time? They do not dare to try this. They do not dear to listen directly to God. 26 For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? The flesh cannot exist before God, so weak is it. "The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of Adonai bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass," Jeshajah / Isaiah 40:6,7. 27 Go thou near, and hear all that Adonai our God shall say: and speak thou unto us all that Adonai our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear it, and do it. Now they ask for a mediator between them and God. Moshe has to teach them and to convey God's message to them. From this we learn that God has appointed teachers to explain God's words to us. When Moshe commands something to the nation, which answer give the people then? We will hear it, and do it. Here, they promise to obey God. 28 And Adonai heard the voice of your words, when ye spake unto me; and Adonai said unto me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people, which they have spoken unto thee: they have well said all that they have spoken. Adonai approves the words of the people. They asked Moshe as mediator. This is good. They promised to obey God. This also is good. 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! Adonai approves it that the nation wants to obey Him. But He knows that they will not do that. Therefore, He says: "O that there was such an heart in them that they would fear me." When they would fear me, it might always be well with them. 30 Go say to them, Get you into your tents again. 31 But as for thee, stand thou here by me, and I will speak unto thee all the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which thou shalt teach them, that they may do them in the land which I give them to possess it. 32 Ye shall observe to do therefore as Adonai your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. 33 Ye shall walk in all the ways which Adonai your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess "Moshe spurs on the nation to obey God. They have promised to obey. And now they have to do it. They may not deviate. That is, they may not serve God according to their own thoughts. But they must keep the commandments. When they obey, it will go well with them. In verse seven is forbidden to serve other gods. A god is something or somebody whereon we rely. Observe Davied, who entirely relied on his God. He says: "The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence," Shmueel / Samuel B 22:3. All, whereon we put our trust, outside God, that is idolatry. Many rely on their insurance, for example. The whole house is insured. Now they are safe, they think. But this is idolatry, and resists the command. Other rely thereon, that they go to the synagogue each Sabbath. And without trusting God. They do not look upon God but on the synagogue. Also this is idolatry, though in a religious name. For all, whereon somebody relies outside God, that harms Him. Others rely thereon, that they are circumcised. They think that they now are children of Avraham. But they have not the faith of Avraham. These people rely on their circumcision but not on God. Many rely on their good behaviour. But they do not see, that they sin against God each day. They lean on their good deeds without looking for God. Also this is idolatry. In this way we commit idolatry in our hearts in all kinds of ways. We do not see most of these sins; also others see them not, but God does see them. "But Adonai said unto Shmueel / Samuel: Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for Adonai seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but Adonai looketh on the heart," Shmueel / Samuel A 16:7. Adonai looks on the heart, but the man looks only on the outward appearance. Student, when you also see idolatry in yourself, ask Adonai for pardon. Do not longer trust in your own good behaviour. This cannot exist before God. But rely only on Adonai. In verse 21, the illegal desire is forbidden. Who goes free herein? Let only speak our conscience. This desiring is not only about the great things. Also, the smaller is desire. Someone, who always wants to live nice and desirous, he wants to satisfy his lusts. The result is that he does not worry about God anymore. What does Davied say about these careless people? "Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword. From men which are thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes," Thilliem / Psalm 17:13,14. The sin has begun with desire. "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat," Bereshiet / Genesis 3:6. This commandment warns us that we not fulfil our own desires. But to seek above all that, what is acceptable in the sight of God. "I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart," Thilliem / Psalm 40:8. Not my will has to happen, but thy will, o God. In this chapter we read that the fathers of then were very frightened of the fire of God. That happened at the mountain Sinai. But what do we see that has happened? When they stood at the mountain and saw the fire, they were very frightened. A short time later however, they made the golden calf. And later yet they constantly enraged Adonai by their ungrateful grumbling in the desert. All people, who had sinned, are knocked down in the desert. From this we learn that only the seeing of God's holy law is not enough. We will keep transgressing, just like our forefathers. The prophet Jesajah speaks about this. "The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?" Jeshajah / Isaiah 33:14. It is true that the sinners and hypocrites were frightened, but they kept sinning and making believe. Therefore, the law alone will not save us. We will not praise God, because we have heard the law. Who hears the law, truly hears it in his heart, he cannot do anything else than being frightened. For we are not able to keep the law as it should be. No, the law will not make us praising God. But the man, whose sins are forgiven, he will praise God. The horror is past then, and he praises God. "Bless Adonai, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits." "Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases, "Thilliem / Psalm 103:2,3. From this we learn some things. He, who hears the law for the first time in his heart, he will become very frightened. He sees his transgressions, and knows that the death sentence is spoken out about that. But when Adonai redeems him from his sins, then he will praise Him. Because of that redeeming, that man gets loving Adonai very much, and he wants to walk in His law. In this loving of God, and in this walking in His law, therein consist the salvation on earth. "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of Adonai; and in his law doth he meditate day and night," Thilliem / Psalm 1:1,2. 3. Questions ------------------------------------------------------------------------ If you want to gain more benefit from the explanation, you could consider to answer the questions and do the tasks. You can send these to the editor. He will look at it, and return them to you with his comments. Questions. 1 Read verse six. Which three arguments does Adonai use here, to spur on the nation to keep His law? 2 Is idolatry only the having of images, or is idolatry still more? 3 Read verse nine. Will the children be punished because of the sins of their elders? Why or why not? 4 Read verse nine and ten. a. How far does God's punishment stretch? b. How far does God's mercy stretch? 5 a. May we spend the Sabbath in idleness? b. What does God want, that we do on the Sabbathday? 6 Does God forbid in the ten commandments only the sinful deeds, of also the sinful thoughts and words? 7 a. What do the people promise in verse 27? b. What does Adonai say from that in verse 29? c. What does Moshe say from that in verse 32 and 33? d. Can you keep God's commandments? 8 Mention some present idols, on which unfortunately many rely. Tasks. 1 In verse 27 the nation promises to do all God's commandments. Seek the same in Shemot / Exodus 19, Shemot / Exodus 24 en Jehoshua / Joshua 1. Write down who promised, what was promised, and if the promise is kept. 2 In verse 29 Adonai wished, to speak in a human way, that the nation would fear Him. Seek the same in Thilliem / Psalm 81, Jeshajah / Isaiah 48, Jechezkeel 18. Explain with all these texts, what would have happened, when the nation had walked in God's commandments. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Chr-Exp, a Christian explanation of the Tanach and the New Testament Editor: Teus Benschop - firstname.lastname@example.org No copyrights on this publication - Translated by a Dutchman Institution Practical Bible-education, the Netherlands .