Exodus 20:5
Parallel Verses
New International Version
You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,

New Living Translation
You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected--even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me.

English Standard Version
You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,

New American Standard Bible
"You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,

King James Bible
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

Holman Christian Standard Bible
You must not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the fathers' sin, to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,

International Standard Version
You are not to bow down to them in worship or serve them, because I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the iniquity of the parents to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me,

NET Bible
You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, responding to the transgression of fathers by dealing with children to the third and fourth generations of those who reject me,

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Never worship them or serve them, because I, the LORD your God, am a God who does not tolerate rivals. I punish children for their parents' sins to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Thou shalt not bow down to them nor serve them; for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons unto the third and fourth generation of those that hate me

King James 2000 Bible
You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

American King James Version
You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

American Standard Version
Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them, for I Jehovah thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation of them that hate me,

Douay-Rheims Bible
Thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them: I am the Lord thy God, mighty, jealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me:

Darby Bible Translation
thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them; for I, Jehovah thy God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons to the third and to the fourth [generation] of them that hate me,

English Revised Version
thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation of them that hate me;

Webster's Bible Translation
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

World English Bible
you shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them, for I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and on the fourth generation of those who hate me,

Young's Literal Translation
Thou dost not bow thyself to them, nor serve them: for I, Jehovah thy God, am a zealous God, charging iniquity of fathers on sons, on the third generation, and on the fourth, of those hating Me,
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

20:3-11 The first four of the ten commandments, commonly called the FIRST table, tell our duty to God. It was fit that those should be put first, because man had a Maker to love, before he had a neighbour to love. It cannot be expected that he should be true to his brother, who is false to his God. The first commandment concerns the object of worship, JEHOVAH, and him only. The worship of creatures is here forbidden. Whatever comes short of perfect love, gratitude, reverence, or worship, breaks this commandment. Whatsoever ye do, do all the glory of God. The second commandment refers to the worship we are to render to the Lord our God. It is forbidden to make any image or picture of the Deity, in any form, or for any purpose; or to worship any creature, image, or picture. But the spiritual import of this command extends much further. All kinds of superstition are here forbidden, and the using of mere human inventions in the worship of God. The third commandment concerns the manner of worship, that it be with all possible reverence and seriousness. All false oaths are forbidden. All light appealing to God, all profane cursing, is a horrid breach of this command. It matters not whether the word of God, or sacred things, all such-like things break this commandment, and there is no profit, honour, or pleasure in them. The Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. The form of the fourth commandment, Remember, shows that it was not now first given, but was known by the people before. One day in seven is to be kept holy. Six days are allotted to worldly business, but not so as to neglect the service of God, and the care of our souls. On those days we must do all our work, and leave none to be done on the sabbath day. Christ allowed works of necessity, charity, and piety; for the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath, Mr 2:27; but all works of luxury, vanity, or self-indulgence in any form, are forbidden. Trading, paying wages, settling accounts, writing letters of business, worldly studies, trifling visits, journeys, or light conversation, are not keeping this day holy to the Lord. Sloth and indolence may be a carnal, but not a holy rest. The sabbath of the Lord should be a day of rest from worldly labour, and a rest in the service of God. The advantages from the due keeping of this holy day, were it only to the health and happiness of mankind, with the time it affords for taking care of the soul, show the excellency of this commandment. The day is blessed; men are blessed by it, and in it. The blessing and direction to keep holy are not limited to the seventh day, but are spoken of the sabbath day.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 5. - Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them. Every outward sign of honour was shown to images in the ancient world. They were not regarded as emblems, but as actual embodiments of deity. There was a special rite in Greece (Theopoea) by means of which the gods were inducted into their statues, and made to take up their abodes in them. Seneca says of the Romans of his own day - "They pray to these images of the gods, implore them on bended knee, sit or stand long days before them, throw them money, and sacrifice beasts to them, so treating them with deep respect, though they despise the man who made them" (Ap. Lact. 2:2). I, the Lord thy God am a jealous God. God "will not give his glory to another" (Isaiah 42:8; Isaiah 48:11), will not suffer a rival near his throne. He is not "jealous." as the Greeks thought (Herod. 7:10, § 5), of mere success, or greatness; but he is very jealous of his own honour, and will not have the respect and reverence, which is his due, bestowed on other beings or on inanimate objects. Compare with the present passage Exodus 34:14; Deuteronomy 4:24; Deuteronomy 5:9; Deuteronomy 6:15; Joshua 24:19; etc. Visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children. Exception has been taken to the plain meaning of this passage by a multitude of writers, who dread the reproach of the sceptic, that the God of the Old Testament is a God careless of justice and bent upon revenge. But neither does society, nor does civil justice itself, regard the visiting of parents' sins upon their children as in all cases unjust. Society by its scorn punishes for their parents' transgressions the illegitimate, the children of criminals, the children - especially the daughters - of adulteresses. Civil justice condemns to forfeiture of their titles and their estates, the innocent children of those executed for treason. God again manifestly does by the laws which obtain in his moral universe, entail on children many consequences of their parents' ill-doing - as the diseases which arise from profligacy or intemperance, the poverty which is the result of idleness or extravagance, the ignorance and evil habits which are the fruit of a neglected education. It is this sort of visitation which is intended here. The children and grandchildren of idolaters would start in life under disadvantages. The vicious lives of their parents would have sown in them the seeds both of physical and moral evil. They would commonly be brought up in wrong courses, have their moral sense early perverted, and so suffer for their parents' faults. It would be difficult for them to rise out of their unhappy condition. Still, "each would bear his own iniquity." Each would "be judged by that he had, not by that he bad not." An all-wise God would, in the final award, make allowance for the disadvantages of birth and inherited disposition, and would assign to each that position to which his own conduct - his struggles, efforts, endeavours after right - entitled him. To say that the threat "applies only to such children as follow the sins of their fathers" Kalisch) is to empty the passage of all force. It applies to all; but the visitation intended consists in temporal disadvantages, not in the final award of happiness or misery.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Thou shall not bow down thyself to them,.... Perform any worship to them, show any reverence of them by any gesture of the body; one being mentioned, bowing the body, and put for all others, as prostration of it to the earth, bending the knee, kissing the hand, lifting up of hands or eyes to them, or by any outward action expressing a religious esteem of them, as if there was divinity in them:

nor serve them; in a religious manner, internally or externally, by offering sacrifice and burning incense to them; by praying to, or praising of them; by expressing love to them, faith and trust in them, hope and expectation of good things from them, and the like. The reason of this second command, relating to the making and worshipping of images, next follows:

for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God; jealous of his own honour and glory, and will not give it to another; even to graven images, nor suffer it to be given to them without resenting it; and jealousy is fierce and cruel, and breaks forth into great wrath, and issues in dreadful scenes oftentimes among men; as a man that has reason to be jealous of his wife, and especially if he takes her and the adulterer in the fact, it often costs them both their lives, being so enraged at such an insult upon him, and such a violation of the marriage bed; and thus the great Jehovah, the God of Israel, their head and husband, is represented, in order to deter from idolatry, or spiritual adultery, than which nothing could be more provoking to him:

visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children; meaning chiefly, if not solely, the iniquity of idolatry; which being such an insult on his honour, "crimen laesae majestatis", is treated by him as high treason is among men; not only he punishes the authors and perpetrators of it in their own persons, which is meant by "visiting", but upon their children also, which are parts of themselves; and whatsoever is inflicted on them is the same as on themselves, and is an addition to, and a sensible aggravation of their punishment; and especially these are visited in such a manner, when they tread in their father's steps, and fill up the measure of their iniquity. So the Targum of Jonathan,"visiting the iniquity of ungodly fathers on rebellious children:

unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; as all idolaters must be thought to do, whatsoever love and affection they may pretend to God, by worshipping idols before him, besides him, along with him, or him in them: "the third and fourth generation" are mentioned, because sometimes parents lived to see these, and so with their eyes beheld the punishment inflicted upon their posterity for their sins, which must be distressing to them; or, however, these being but small removes from them, might impress their minds and affect them, to think what their sins would bring upon their descendants, who would quickly come after them, and share in the sad effects of their iniquities, and so be a means to deter them from them.



Exodus 20:5 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Ten Commandments
4"You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 5"You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.…
Cross References
John 9:2
His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

Exodus 23:24
Do not bow down before their gods or worship them or follow their practices. You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces.

Exodus 34:6
And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,

Exodus 34:7
maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation."

Exodus 34:14
Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

Deuteronomy 4:24
For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

Deuteronomy 5:9
You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,

Deuteronomy 5:10
but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Joshua 23:7
Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them.

Joshua 24:19
Joshua said to the people, "You are not able to serve the LORD. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins.

1 Kings 19:10
He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too."

1 Kings 21:29
"Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son."

2 Kings 17:35
When the LORD made a covenant with the Israelites, he commanded them: "Do not worship any other gods or bow down to them, serve them or sacrifice to them.

Job 21:19
It is said, 'God stores up the punishment of the wicked for their children.' Let him repay the wicked, so that they themselves will experience it!

Isaiah 14:21
Prepare a place to slaughter his children for the sins of their ancestors; they are not to rise to inherit the land and cover the earth with their cities.

Jeremiah 32:18
You show love to thousands but bring the punishment for the parents' sins into the laps of their children after them. Great and mighty God, whose name is the LORD Almighty,

Ezekiel 18:19
"Yet you ask, 'Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?' Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live.

Ezekiel 20:7
And I said to them, "Each of you, get rid of the vile images you have set your eyes on, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt. I am the LORD your God."

Ezekiel 39:25
"Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will now restore the fortunes of Jacob and will have compassion on all the people of Israel, and I will be zealous for my holy name.

Nahum 1:2
The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The LORD takes vengeance on his foes and vents his wrath against his enemies.
Treasury of Scripture

You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

bow down

Exodus 23:24 You shall not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after …

Leviticus 26:1 You shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither raise you up …

Joshua 23:7,16 That you come not among these nations, these that remain among you; …

Judges 2:19 And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, …

2 Kings 17:35,41 With whom the LORD had made a covenant, and charged them, saying, …

2 Chronicles 25:14 Now it came to pass, after that Amaziah was come from the slaughter …

Isaiah 44:15,19 Then shall it be for a man to burn: for he will take thereof, and …

Matthew 4:9 And said to him, All these things will I give you, if you will fall …

for I

Exodus 34:14 For you shall worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, …

Deuteronomy 4:24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.

Deuteronomy 6:15 (For the LORD your God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger …

Deuteronomy 32:21 They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have …

Joshua 24:19 And Joshua said to the people, You cannot serve the LORD: for he …

Psalm 78:58 For they provoked him to anger with their high places, and moved …

Proverbs 6:34,35 For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in …

Ezekiel 8:3 And he put forth the form of an hand, and took me by a lock of my …

Daniel 1:2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part …

Nahum 1:2 God is jealous, and the LORD revenges; the LORD revenges, and is …

1 Corinthians 10:22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?

visiting

Exodus 34:7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression …

Leviticus 20:5 Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, …

Leviticus 26:29,39,40 And you shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters …

Numbers 14:18,33 The LORD is long-suffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity …

1 Samuel 15:2,3 Thus said the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to …

2 Samuel 21:1,6 Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after …

1 Kings 21:29 See you how Ahab humbles himself before me? because he humbles himself …

2 Kings 23:26 Notwithstanding the LORD turned not from the fierceness of his great …

Job 5:4 His children are far from safety, and they are crushed in the gate, …

Job 21:19 God lays up his iniquity for his children: he rewards him, and he shall know it.

Psalm 79:8 O remember not against us former iniquities: let your tender mercies …

Psalm 109:14 Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with the LORD; and …

Isaiah 14:20,21 You shall not be joined with them in burial, because you have destroyed …

Isaiah 65:6,7 Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will …

Jeremiah 2:9 Why I will yet plead with you, said the LORD, and with your children's …

Jeremiah 32:18 You show loving kindness to thousands, and recompense the iniquity …

Matthew 23:34-36 Why, behold, I send to you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and …

of them

Deuteronomy 7:10 And repays them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he …

Deuteronomy 32:41 If I whet my glittering sword, and my hand take hold on judgment; …

Psalm 81:15 The haters of the LORD should have submitted themselves to him: but …

Proverbs 8:36 But he that sins against me wrongs his own soul: all they that hate …

John 7:7 The world cannot hate you; but me it hates, because I testify of …

John 15:18,23,24 If the world hate you, you know that it hated me before it hated you…

Romans 1:30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors …

Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject …

James 4:4 You adulterers and adulteresses, know you not that the friendship …

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