|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:6-22 There is some variation here from Ex 20 as between the Lord's prayer in Mt 6 and Lu 11. It is more necessary that we tie ourselves to the things, than to the words unalterably. The original reason for hallowing the sabbath, taken from God's resting from the work of creation on the seventh day, is not here mentioned. Though this ever remains in force, it is not the only reason. Here it is taken from Israel's deliverance out of Egypt; for that was typical of our redemption by Jesus Christ, in remembrance of which the Christian sabbath was to be observed. In the resurrection of Christ we were brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God, with a mighty hand, and an outstretched arm. How sweet is it to a soul truly distressed under the terrors of a broken law, to hear the mild and soul-reviving language of the gospel!
Verses 7-21. - Repetition of the Ten Commandments. On these, as the basis of the covenant, the whole legislation rests, and therefore a rehearsal of them is a fitting introduction to a repetition and enforcement of the laws of the theocracy. Some differences appear between the statement of the "ten words," as given here and as given in Exodus 20. It is chiefly in the fourth commandment that these are to be found. It begins here with "remember" for "keep;" reference is made to the command of God as sanctioning the Sabbath (ver. 12), which is omitted in Exodus; a fuller description of the animals to be exempted from work on that day is given (ver. 14); the words, "that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou" are added (ver. 14); and in place of a reference to the resting of God after the Creation as the ground of the Sabbath institute, as in Exodus, there is here a reference to the deliverance of the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt as a reason why the Lord commanded them to keep the Sabbath day (ver. 15). In the fifth commandment there are two additions here-the one of the words," as Jehovah thy God hath commanded thee," and the other of the words, "that it may go well with thee" (ver. 16). In the tenth commandment, the first two clauses are transposed, "desire" appears in place of "covet" in relation to "wife," and "field" is added to the specification of objects (ver. 21). These differences are of little moment. The only one demanding notice is that in the fourth commandment, where different reasons are assigned for the ordinance of the Sabbath. The two reasons assigned, however, are perfectly compatible; the one is fundamental and universally applicable, the other is subsidiary and special in its application; the one is a reason why the Sabbath was originally instituted and is for all men, the other is a reason why it was specially and formally instituted in Israel and was especially memorable to that people. In a popular address to them it seems fitting that the latter rather than the former should be the one adduced. As a memorial of their deliverance from Egypt, the Sabbath was all important to them, for by it they were constantly reminded that "they were thereby freed from the dominion of the world to be a peculiar possession of Jehovah, and so amid the toil and trouble of the world had part in the holy rest of their God" (Baumgarten). It was also fitting in a recapitulatory address that special emphasis should be laid on the fact that what the Law enunciated was what "the Lord had commanded." The addition of "field" in the tenth commandment is probably due to the fact that now, the occupation and division of the land having begun, the people were about to have, what they had not before - each his own property in land. In the tenth commandment, also, there is a difference in the two accounts worthy of notice. In Deuteronomy, "field" is added to the enumeration of objects not to be coveted, and the "wife" is put first and apart, while in Exodus the "house" precedes the "wife" and the latter ranks with the rest. In Deuteronomy also this separation of the wife is emphasized by a change of the verb: "Neither shalt thou desire (תַּחְמֹד) thy neighbor's wife, neither shalt thou covet (תִּתְאַוָּה) thy neighbor's house," etc. Verses 7-16. - FIRST TABLE OF THE LAW praecepta pietatis. Verse 7. - In this, the first commandment, the great principle and basis of all true religion is asserted - monotheism, as opposed to polytheism or pantheism There is but one God, and that God is Jehovah, the self-existent and eternal, who yet has personal relations with men.
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