on Exodus 20 :1
All these words - Houbigant supposes, and with great plausibility of reason, that the clause את כל הדברים האלה eth col haddebarim haelleh, "all these words," belong to the latter part of the concluding verse of Exodus 19, which he thinks should be read thus: And Moses went down unto the people, and spake unto them All These Words; i.e., delivered the solemn charge relative to their not attempting to come up to that part of the mountain on which God manifested himself in his glorious majesty, lest he should break forth upon them and consume them. For how could Divine justice and purity suffer a people so defiled to stand in his immediate presence? When Moses, therefore, had gone down and spoken all these words, and he and Aaron had re-ascended the mount, then the Divine Being, as supreme legislator, is majestically introduced thus: And God spake, saying. This gives a dignity to the commencement of this chapter of which the clause above mentioned, if not referred to the speech of Moses, deprives it. The Anglo-Saxon favors this emendation: God spoke Thus, which is the whole of the first verse as it stands in that version.
Some learned men are of opinion that the Ten Commandments were delivered on May 30, being then the day of pentecost.
The laws delivered on Mount Sinai have been variously named. In Deuteronomy 4:13, they are called עשרת הדברים asereth haddebarim, The Ten Words. In the preceding chapter, Exodus 19:5, God calls them את בריתי eth berithi, my Covenant, i.e., the agreement he entered into with the people of Israel to take them for his peculiar people, if they took him for their God and portion. If ye will obey my voice indeed, and Keep my Covenant, Then shall ye be a peculiar treasure unto me. And the word covenant here evidently refers to the laws given in this chapter, as is evident from Deuteronomy 4:13 : And he declared unto you his Covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even Ten Commandments. They have been also termed the moral law, because they contain and lay down rules for the regulation of the manners or conduct of men. Sometimes they have been termed the Law, התורה hattorah, by way of eminence, as containing the grand system of spiritual instruction, direction, guidance, etc. See on the word Law, Exodus 12:49 (note). And frequently the Decalogue, Δεκαλογος, which is a literal translation into Greek of the עשרת הדברים asereth haddebarim, or Ten Words, of Moses.
Among divines they are generally divided into what they term the first and second tables. The First table containing the first, second, third, and fourth commandments, and comprehending the whole system of theology, the true notions we should form of the Divine nature, the reverence we owe and the religious service we should render to him. The Second, containing the six last commandments, and comprehending a complete system of ethics, or moral duties, which man owes to his fellows, and on the due performance of which the order, peace and happiness of society depend. By this division, the First table contains our duty to God; the Second our duty to our Neighbor. This division, which is natural enough, refers us to the grand principle, love to God and love to man, through which both tables are observed.
1. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength.
2. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
On these two hang all the law and the prophets. See Clarke's note on Matthew 22:37. See Clarke's note on Matthew 22:38. See Clarke's note on Matthew 22:39. See Clarke's note on Matthew 22:40.
on Exodus 20 :1
The Hebrew name which is rendered in our King James Version as the ten commandments occurs in Exodus 34:28; Deuteronomy 4:13; Deuteronomy 10:4. It literally means "the Ten Words." The Ten Commandments are also called the law, even the commandment Exodus 24:12, the words of the covenant Exodus 34:28, the tables of the covenant Deuteronomy 9:9, the covenant Deuteronomy 4:13, the two tables Deuteronomy 9:10, Deuteronomy 9:17, and, most frequently, the testimony (e. g. Exodus 16:34; Exodus 25:16), or the two tables of the testimony (e. g. Exodus 31:18). In the New Testament they are called simply the commandments (e. g. Matthew 19:17). The name decalogue is found first in Clement of Alexandria, and was commonly used by the Fathers who followed him.
Thus we know that the tables were two, and that the commandments were ten, in number. But the Scriptures do not, by any direct statements, enable us to determine with precision how the Ten Commandments are severally to be made out, nor how they are to be allotted to the Two tables. On each of these points various opinions have been held (see Exodus 20:12).
Of the Words of Yahweh engraven on the tables of Stone, we have two distinct statements, one in Exodus Exo. 20:1-17 and one in Deuteronomy Deu 5:7-21, apparently of equal authority, but differing principally from each other in the fourth, the fifth, and the tenth commandments.
It has been supposed that the original commandments were all in the same terse and simple form of expression as appears (both in Exodus and Deuteronomy) in the first, sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth, such as would be most suitable for recollection, and that the passages in each copy in which the most important variations are found were comments added when the books were written.
The account of the delivery of them in Exodus 19 and in Exodus 20:18-21 is in accordance with their importance as the recognized basis of the covenant between Yahweh and His ancient people (Exodus 34:27-28; Deuteronomy 4:13; 1 Kings 8:21, etc.), and as the divine testimony against the sinful tendencies in man for all ages. While it is here said that "God spake all these words," and in Deuteronomy 5:4, that He "talked face to face," in the New Testament the giving of the law is spoken of as having been through the ministration of Angels Acts 7:53; Galatians 3:19; Hebrews 2:2. We can reconcile these contrasts of language by keeping in mind that God is a Spirit, and that He is essentially present in the agents who are performing His will.
on Exodus 20 :1