|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:1-4 The great duty of children is, to obey their parents. That obedience includes inward reverence, as well as outward acts, and in every age prosperity has attended those distinguished for obedience to parents. The duty of parents. Be not impatient; use no unreasonable severities. Deal prudently and wisely with children; convince their judgements and work upon their reason. Bring them up well; under proper and compassionate correction; and in the knowledge of the duty God requires. Often is this duty neglected, even among professors of the gospel. Many set their children against religion; but this does not excuse the children's disobedience, though it may be awfully occasion it. God alone can change the heart, yet he gives his blessing to the good lessons and examples of parents, and answers their prayers. But those, whose chief anxiety is that their children should be rich and accomplished, whatever becomes of their souls, must not look for the blessing of God.
Verse 3. - That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. A free rendering (after the manner of the apostle) of the reason annexed to the fifth commandment, "that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." While the Decalogue was an expression of the will of God on matters of moral and indefeasible obligation, it had a local Hebrew element here and there. In the present ease the apostle drops what is specially Hebrew, adapting the promise in spirit to a wider area. The special promise of long life in the land of Canaan is translated into a general promise of prosperity and longevity. As before, we must not suppose that the apostle excludes exceptions. The promise is not for each individual; many good and obedient children do not live long. But the general tendency of obedience to parents is towards the results specified. Where obedience to parents is found, there is usually found along with it temperance, self-control, industry, regular ways of life, and other habits that tend towards prosperity and longevity. In Christian families there is commonly affection, unity, prayer, mutual helpfulness, reliance on God, trust in Christ, and all that makes life sweet and wholesome. The spirit of the promise is realized in such ways, and it may be likewise in special mercies vouchsafed to each family.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
That it may be well with thee,.... In this world, and that which is to come; see Deuteronomy 5:16. The Jews (z) say,
"there are four things, which if a man does, he eats the fruit of them in this world, and the capital part remains for him in the world to come; and they are these, "honouring father and mother", doing acts of beneficence, making peace between a man and his neighbour, and learning of the law, which answers to them all.''
And thou mayest live long on the earth: length of days is in itself a blessing; and though men's days cannot be lengthened beyond God's purpose and decree; and though obedient children do not always live long; yet disobedience to parents often brings the judgments of God on children, so that they die not a common death, 2 Samuel 18:14. On those words in Deuteronomy 32:47, the Jews (a) have this paraphrase;
"because it is your life, , "this is honouring father and mother; and through this thing ye shall prolong your days", this is beneficence.''
It may be observed, that the words in this promissory part are not the same as in the decalogue, where they stand thus, "that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee", Exodus 20:12, referring to the land of Canaan; for the law in the form of it, in which it was delivered by Moses, only concerned the people of the Jews; wherefore to suit this law, and the promise of it, to others, the apostle alters the language of it.
(z) Misna Peah, c. 1. sect. 1. T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 127. 1, & Kiddushin, fol. 40. 1.((a) T. Hieros. Peah, fol. 15. 4.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. long on the earth—In Ex 20:12, "long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee," which Paul adapts to Gospel times, by taking away the local and limited reference peculiar to the Jews in Canaan. The godly are equally blessed in every land, as the Jews were in the land which God gave them. This promise is always fulfilled, either literally, or by the substitution of a higher blessing, namely, one spiritual and eternal (Job 5:26; Pr 10:27). The substance and essence of the law are eternally in force: its accidents alone (applying to Israel of old) are abolished (Ro 6:15).
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