V a 20:1-17. The Covenant stated. "The ten words." b 20:18-21. People "afar off". Moses draws near. c 20:22-23:33. General Laws. b 24:1,2. People "afar off". Moses to draw near. a 24:3-8. The Covenant made.
a A 2,3. Commands I and II = Thought. B 4-6. Command III = Word. C 7-12. Commands IV and V = Deed. C 13-15. Command VI, VII, and VIII = Deed. B 16. Command IX = Word. A 17. Command X = Thought.(Here, the three subjects, Thought, Word, and Deed, are repeated in the second table in reverse order. The law given in Arabia. The same country witnessed the giving of Mahomet's Law. The moral law given in public at Horeb. Cp. Mal.4:4. The ceremonial law given to Moses in the Tabernacle. The Judicial law given at sundry times times; neither so public and solemn as the former, nor so private as the latter.)
May 23rd, 1491 B.C.
1 And God (Elohim) spoke (Hence of universal application. Cp. Heb. 1:1. Deut. 4:12. Heb. 12:26; &c., &c. Not Yahaveh, LORD], for this title would have limited the law to Israel. See 6:2) all these words (it has been asserted that there are 3 strata of laws in the Pentateuch: I. The Prophetic code. Ex.20-23 and Num.34:17-26; II. The Priest's code. Rest of Ex., Lev., and Num.; III. The Deuteronomy code. But the structures of these books show that these were all in perfect order, spoken "at various times and in different manners." The Ten Commandments divided by Christ into two tables, Duty to God and neighbor- Matt.22:37-40. Divided by man into four and six. By Roman Catholics-in their Catechism-the second is joined to the first, and the tenth divided into two. But this is impossible. The Structure of the whole divides them into 5 + 5, the number of grace. Cp. John 1:17 "the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ", which, by Fig. Hendiadys = "true grace". For there was grace in the law, seeing no other nation was favored by it. Moreover, the first 5 are linked together by the words "Yahaveh your Elohim", the second 5 by the word "You"), saying, (The Ten Commandments begin, therefore with v.2)
(I.) 2 I, the Lord am your God (this must go with Com. I, or we should not have the five repetitions of it in the first 5), Which have brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. (all inclusive. 400 years)
3 You shall have no other gods before Me (= "before My face").
(II.) 4 You shall not make (the making is equally forbidden as the worshiping) unto you any graven image (Heb. pesel, a sculpture. First occ.), or any likeness of any thing that is in the heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
5 You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord your God am a zealous GOD (El. Shows emotion. cp. Deut. 4:24. Heb. 12:29), visiting (= charging. This burden of God's revelation of Himself reappears in Ex. 34:6,7. Num. 14:18. Deut. 5:9,10. The punishment being not lengthened in vengeance, but distributed in mercy over the third and fourth, so that the whole weight falls not on the first and second) the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; (Pay attention to the qualifier. Not generational curse. Each generation that hates Him will pay [see Jer. 31:29]. If you love Him no penalty extracted.)
6 And showing mercy to thousands of them that love Me, and keep My commandments.
(III.) 7 You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain (Much more important than the mere mispronunciation of the Name); for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain.
(IV.) 8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy (Because already hallowed, and command given. See Gen. 8:5,10,12,14. The Babylonians had a seventh-day rest, doubtless from Gen. 2:2,3: not this from Babylonians. Note this is the longest Commandment).
9 Six days shall you labor (the Heb. accent, zarka, marks this word for emphasis: implying that the fourth Commandment is twofold, and no seventh day rest can really be enjoyed without, or apart from, the six days of labor), and do all your work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord your God: in it you shall not do any work (= any forbidden work. Cp. Lev.23:7,8. Num. 28:18), you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates:
11 For in six days the Lord took to made heaven and earth (see Deut. 4:26), the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
(V.) 12 Honor your father and your mother (This completes the first 5, and ends with "promise" - Eph. 6:2. These 5, that relate to piety, are thus separated from the 5 that relate to probity-integrity. The 1st and 5th begin and end with honor to God, and to our parents whom He honors. They have nothing to do with our "neighbors"): that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God gives you.
(VI.) 13 You shall not kill. (= murder, criminal homicide. It means nothing else besides this, i.e. murder)
(VII.) 14 You shall not commit adultery.
(VIII.) 15 You shall not steal.
(IX.) 16 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
(X.) 17 You shall not covet your neighbor's house, you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is your neighbor's."
18 And all the People saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain
smoking: and when the People saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.
19 And they said to Moses, "Speak you with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die." (From Deut. 5:28 and 18:17 we learn that on that very day God promised to send "Him that speaks from heaven"-18:15-18)
20 And Moses said to the People, "Fear not: for God is come to prove you (i.e. for the purpose of proving), and that His fear may be before your faces, that you all sin not."
21 And the People stood afar off (note the difference between law and grace-Eph. 2:13),
c D¹ 20:-21-26. God: Worship (Canaanites and Commands). E¹ 21:1-22:17. Man (Persons and Property). D² 22:18-20. God: Worship (Witchcraft). E² 22:21-28. Man (Oppression and Property). D³ 22:29-31. God: Worship (Offerings). E³ 23:1-9. Man (Falsehood and Oppression). D4 23:10-19-. God: Worship (Sabbaths and Feasts). E4 23:-19. Man (Treatment of Animals). D5 23:20-33. God: Worship (Canaanites and Commands).
and Moses drew near (Moses' fourth ascent) to the thick darkness where God was.
22 And the Lord said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'You all have seen that I have talked
with you from heaven.
23 You all shall not make with Me gods of silver, neither shall you all make unto you gods of gold.
24 An altar of earth you shall make to Me, and shall sacrifice thereon your burnt offerings, and your peace offerings, your sheep, and your oxen: in all places where I record My name I will come to you, and I will bless you. (Shiloh was the first place, Jer. 7:12; Bethel, 1 Sam. 10:3; then Zion, Ps. 78:68. "Wherever we seek You, You are found.")
25 And if you will make Me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stone (no human handiwork to be used in approaching God in worship): for if you lift up your tool upon it, you have polluted it. (Man's work, in this sphere pollutes)
26 Neither shall you go up by steps to My altar (Only expresses nakedness. "I will come to you." v.24 is the essence of worship. Our approach is quite secondary. Whether by "tool" or "steps", it either pollutes the Divine or exposes the human.), that your nakedness be not discovered thereon."