|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
20:1,2 God speaks many ways to the children of men; by conscience, by providences, by his voice, to all which we ought carefully to attend; but he never spake at any time so as he spake the TEN COMMANDMENTS. This law God had given to man before; it was written in his heart; but sin so defaced it, that it was necessary to revive the knowledge of it. The law is spiritual, and takes knowledge of the secret thoughts, desires, and dispositions of the heart. Its grand demand is love, without which outward obedience is mere hypocrisy. It requires perfect, unfailing, constant obedience; no law in the world admits disobedience to itself. Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all, Jas 2:10. Whether in the heart or the conduct, in thought, word, or deed, to omit or to vary any thing, is sin, and the wages of sin is death.
Verse 2. - I am the Lord thy God. The ten precepts were prefaced by this distinct announcement of who it was that uttered them. God would have the Israelites clearly understand, that he himself gave them the commandments. It is only possible to reconcile the declarations of the New Testament, that the law was given by the ministration of angels (Acts 7:53; Galatians 3:19; Hebrews 2:2) with this and other plain statements, by regarding God the Son as the actual speaker. As sent by his father, he too was, in a certain sense, an angel (i.e., a messenger). Which brought thee out of the land of Egypt. God does not appeal to his authority as creator, but to his mercy and kindness as protector and deliverer. He would be obeyed by his people from a sentiment of love, not by fear. Out of the house of bondage. Compare Exodus 13:3, 14; and for the ground of the expression, see Exodus 1:14; Exodus 6:9.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I am the Lord thy God,.... This verse does not contain the first of these commands, but is a preface to them, showing that God had a right to enact and enjoin the people of Israel laws; and that they were under obligation to attend unto them with reverence, and cheerfully obey them, since he was the Lord, the eternal and immutable Jehovah, the Being of beings, who gives being to all creatures, and gave them theirs, and therefore had a right to give them what laws he pleased; and he was their God, their covenant God, in a special and peculiar manner, their King and their God, they being a Theocracy, and so more immediately under his government, and therefore had laws given them preferable to what any other people had:
which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt: where they had been afflicted many years, and reduced to great distress, but were brought forth with an high hand, and with great riches, and in a very wonderful and miraculous manner; so that they were under great obligations to yield a ready and cheerful obedience to the will of God:
out of the house of bondage: or "servants" (b); that is, where they had been servants and slaves, but now were made free, and were become a body politic, a kingdom of themselves, under their Lord, King, Lawgiver, and Saviour, Jehovah himself, and therefore to be governed by laws of his enacting; and this shows that this body of laws was delivered out to the people of Israel, and primarily belong to them; for of no other can the above things be said.
(b) "servorum", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. I am the Lord thy God—This is a preface to the ten commandments—the latter clause being specially applicable to the case of the Israelites, while the former brings it home to all mankind; showing that the reasonableness of the law is founded in their eternal relation as creatures to their Creator, and their mutual relations to each other.
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