Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
B. Chs. 5–11. The Second Discourse Introductory to the Laws
This discourse is characterised throughout by emphasising, as the foundation of everything, Israel’s relation and duty to Jehovah their God. Without love, fear, and loyalty towards Him, without a knowledge of what He is and has shown Himself to be in their experience, without a grateful remembrance of what He has done for them in Egypt and the wilderness, and an equal sense of their utter dependence upon Him for the blessings of the Land to which He is bringing them—without in short a jealous guarding of their heart in reverent awe and warm, undivided affection to Himself—they cannot keep His Laws with any constancy or power. It is the warmth and singleness of aim with which this spiritual theme is pursued that weld these chapters into a unity. There are, however, not only many small intrusions by the hands of editors, interrupting what is the particular theme of the discourse for the moment (on these see notes to separate verses), but signs that the main body of the discourse has been compiled from more than one source. Throughout the Sg. and Pl. forms of address succeed each other for longer and shorter sections; and these sections are at the same time marked by certain differences of subject, of attitude and temper, and of language. The two principal sections in the Pl., chs. 5 and Deuteronomy 9:7 b–10:11, are mainly historical and retrospective; and the former includes the Decalogue in the Sg. as obviously a quotation. The Sg. sections which form the bulk of the discourse are mainly, though not exclusively, hortatory; and it is they alone which dwell on the beauties and blessings of the Land, to which Israel is coming. For further details of the distinction between the two, see the separate notes; and for the general questions raised see the Introduction, § 8.
Prologue to the Second Discourse introductory to the Laws
This chapter is fairly complete in itself; and—apart from its quotation of the Decalogue—carries throughout the Pl. form of address, whereas immediately after it in ch. 6 a change is made to the Singular, which then prevails for several chapters. On these grounds and because the subject is peculiar to itself Bertholet takes ch. 5 as a separate discourse designed—perhaps for a ‘people’s edition’ of the deuteronomic code—to correlate the Decalogue with that code. But there is no reason why such a design should not have been carried out by the authors of the Code, whose scope included history as well as legislation. Steuernagel, who analyses 5–11 into two documents, one in the Pl. address and mainly historical, and one in the Sg. and mainly hortatory, takes ch. 5, of course, as belonging to the former.
Moses (no date or place is given, but the discourse is under the title Deuteronomy 4:45-49 which gives both) summons Israel to hear laws which he has to speak to them (Deuteronomy 5:1). But first he tells them of the origin of these (which is also alluded to in Deuteronomy 4:11-14). He reminds them that at Ḥoreb and with the present generation (this in contradiction to Deuteronomy 2:14 f.), God had made a covenant, addressing them directly out of the fire (while Moses stood between to declare the purport of the awful Voice) (Deuteronomy 5:2-5). The words of that covenant were the Ten Words which he now quotes (Deuteronomy 5:6-21). To these, spoken to the whole Assembly, God added no more but wrote them on two tables of stone (Deuteronomy 5:22). Moses witnesses that having heard the voice of God and being still alive the people had yet feared that the fire would consume them and if they heard any more they would die (Deuteronomy 5:23-26); that they had begged him to go near and hear for them what God had still to say, promising their obedience to it (Deuteronomy 5:27). Hearing their words God had directed Moses to dismiss them to their tents (Deuteronomy 5:28-30), but himself to stay and receive a command, statutes and judgements to teach the people to do in the land He was about to give them (Deuteronomy 5:31). Instead of immediately announcing these commandments, uttered to himself alone at Ḥoreb, he first exhorts the people to obey them (Deuteronomy 5:32 f.).
This narrative is expanded, with some alterations of terminology, from the fragments of E concerning the theophany and publication of the Decalogue on Ḥoreb; Exodus 19:15; Exodus 19:17; Exodus 19:19; Exodus 20:1-21. (For the evidence that in Exodus 19, 20 two accounts of the theophany at Ḥoreb have been mingled and for the discrimination of E from J see Driver’s Exod. 168 ff. and W. R. Smith, OTJC2, footnote on 336.) E states that God descended on Ḥoreb in thunder and lightning (D with fire and darkness) and agrees with D (but see below) that the Decalogue was then pronounced from the mount in the hearing of all the people, that fearing death they begged God might speak to Moses and not to themselves, and that Moses drawing near received additional laws. Then there is a great difference. In E the laws communicated to Moses alone are presumably the so-called Book of the Covenant which immediately follows, Exodus 20:22 to Exodus 23:33; in D they are, it is evident, the deuteronomic Code 12–26, not revealed by Moses till the people were in Moab 38 years from the time they had been at Ḥoreb. The interesting suggestion is made by Kuenen that originally E had similarly assigned the publication of the ‘Book of the Covenant’ to the time in Moab, but when that Code was replaced by the deuteronomic legislation, it was removed to the account of the occurrences at Ḥoreb.
And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them.1. called unto] i.e. summoned together. So rightly LXX.
all Israel] D’s characteristic phrase for the people: see Deuteronomy 4:44.
Hear, O Israel] The verb is the only Sg. in this Pl. passage. So in the same association in other Pl. passages: Deuteronomy 4:1, Deuteronomy 20:3 (cp. Deuteronomy 1:8):
the statutes and the judgements] also characteristic of D.
observe to do] also characteristic of D; occurring some 20 times both with Sg. and Pl.; but many of the instances are editorial.
The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.2. covenant] See Deuteronomy 4:13.
The LORD made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day.3. not … with our fathers] Rather, forefathers, i.e. the Patriarchs—‘those great Grandfathers of thy Church1—with whom, however, D recognises a previous covenant, Deuteronomy 4:31, Deuteronomy 7:12, Deuteronomy 8:18. The immediate fathers of the generation had all passed away before the entry into Moab, according to Deuteronomy 2:14 f. Here it is said emphatically that those with whom the covenant at Ḥoreb had been made were still all—us, all of us—alive here this day. Dillmann meets the contradiction by taking Deuteronomy 2:14 f. as a later gloss. Others find in it a proof of the difference of authorship between the first discourses Deuteronomy 1:6 to Deuteronomy 4:49 and the present series; but this still leaves unsolved the difference within the former between Deuteronomy 1:30 and Deuteronomy 2:14 f. A more probable explanation is that the speaker is made to ignore the tradition of the death of those who had been adults at Ḥoreb (of which the author cannot well have been ignorant) for rhetorical purposes: (1) to emphasise the contrast between the Patriarchs and Israel after the Exodus; and (2) to emphasise the new responsibility which the Ḥoreb covenant had laid on the latter, in all its successive generations. What Dillmann on Deuteronomy 1:30 says of the previous discourse is true of this one (cp. Deuteronomy 11:2-7): ‘In the whole discourse Moses conceives the present generation as identical with the previous one.’
 Donne, The Litanie, vii.
The LORD talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire,4. face to face] i.e. person with person, without the intervention of another. The metaphor is hardly an instance of the tendency of D’s style to hyperbole2. For although all that the people perceived was a voice, or sound, of words (Deuteronomy 4:12), this came at first directly to the whole people, and it was because they feared the effect of its directness that they begged Moses to mediate (Deuteronomy 5:22-27). But if not a hyperbole the phrase face to face needs qualification—it was only with Moses that God talked (morally speaking) face to face (Deuteronomy 34:10, Exodus 33:11); and so a qualification is given immediately in parenthesis in the next verse.
 It is, however, an interesting illustration of how an O.T. writer (like so many of the prophets), while forbidding strenuously the representation of the Deity in any material form, does not hesitate to use anthropomorphisms in describing His appearances to men. Ch. Deuteronomy 4:12; Deuteronomy 4:15 emphasise that Israel saw no manner of form in the Mount; while Deuteronomy 5:4 now asserts that God spake face to face with the people. What is denied in fact, so as to exclude every excuse for plastic representations of the Deity, is allowed in metaphor.
out of the midst of the fire] So in Deuteronomy 4:12 (but without the phrase preceding in the mount), 15, 33, 36; and Deuteronomy 5:22; Deuteronomy 5:24, Deuteronomy 9:10, Deuteronomy 10:4.
(I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to shew you the word of the LORD: for ye were afraid by reason of the fire, and went not up into the mount;) saying,5. (I stood between the Lord and you … to shew you the word] In Heb. a circumstantial clause: I standing between Jehovah and you at that time, in order to publish, or declare, to you the word, etc.; to articulate what though directly declared had been in its awfulness but a sound of words (Deuteronomy 4:12). It is impossible to say whether this qualification is original or from a later hand.
at that time] See on Deuteronomy 1:9.
‘The Ten Words’
In this series—see Driver, Exodus, 191 ff.; cp. Chapman, Introd. to the Pent. 112 ff.—the ‘Ten Words’ have already been introduced, analysed and annotated. But a statement of the textual data and the questions they start is necessary also here, especially with reference to the relations of the two editions (in D and E) of ‘the Ten Words’ to each other and to other ‘Words’ said (by E and J) to have been delivered at Ḥoreb.
First, the Names for this central Hebrew code: (a) ‘Words,’ so E, Exodus 20:1 (all these words); either in the broadest sense of the term sayings, utterances, or more specifically words of command or order as used for a king’s decree, 1 Chronicles 21:4; 1 Chronicles 21:6, or for God’s, Genesis 44:2; Genesis 47:30 and often elsewhere. (b) ‘The Ten Words’ only in D (Deuteronomy 4:13, Deuteronomy 10:4) rendered by A.V. The Ten Commandments, which has thus become the ordinary English title; the LXX translates more broadly τὰ δέκα ῥήματα and οἱ δέκα λόγοι, whence the single term ἡ δεκάλογος, The Decalogue, the earliest known occurrence of which is in Clement of Alexandria, Paedagog. iii. 89, etc. (c) ‘The Covenant,’ also only in D; Deuteronomy 4:13 (His covenant), Deuteronomy 4:23, Deuteronomy 5:2 f.; cp. tables of the Covenant, Deuteronomy 9:9; Deuteronomy 9:11; Deuteronomy 9:15; ark of the Covenant of Jehovah, Deuteronomy 10:8, Deuteronomy 31:9; Deuteronomy 31:25 f.; when the same phrases occur in JE or other pre-deuteronomic writings they are to be explained as later intrusions (cp. Driver, Exod. 193); a fact sometimes betrayed by the disturbance of grammar which the intrusion has caused, e.g. Joshua 3:14; Joshua 3:17; the deuteronomic origin of this name can hardly, therefore, be doubted. (d) ‘The Testimony’ (‘edûth), rather attestation or solemn edict (see above on Deuteronomy 5:1), P’s name, occurring 36 times in P and nowhere else.
Second, the Two Editions of ‘the Ten Words’ and their relations to each other and to other ‘Words’ given at Ḥoreb:
Like so much else in D ‘the Ten Words,’ as revealed from God to Israel at Ḥoreb, are also recorded in E (Exodus 20:1 ff.), but in a form unusual in E for it contains a considerable number of deuteronomic phrases (Deuteronomy 5:2; Deuteronomy 5:4 b, Deuteronomy 5:5 a, Deuteronomy 5:10 a, Deuteronomy 5:10 b, Deuteronomy 5:12 b). It has besides a sentence (Deuteronomy 5:5 b, Deuteronomy 5:6) which echoes J; and another which both reflects the style of P and contains a statement found elsewhere only in P (Genesis 2:3; cp. Exodus 31:17 b); on all these see the notes on Exodus 20:1 ff. and the notes below.—Further, this E edition of the Ten Words is not called a ‘Covenant’ as in D, nor connected with a Covenant. E, however, does record a Covenant between Jehovah and Israel at Ḥoreb, Exodus 24:3-8, but associates this with other ‘Words,’ evidently the ‘Words,’ or decrees of moral and religious law, in Exodus 20:22-26; Exodus 23:10-33, which are distinct (as is now generally recognised) from the ‘judgements’ (mishpatim) or decisions in civil and criminal law, Exodus 21:1 to Exodus 23:9, embedded between their two groups1. These ‘Words’ show a few striking parallels to the Ten Words.
 On this distinction between the ‘words’ and the ‘judgements,’ see Driver’s Exodus, 202, 252 ff.; and the Oxford Hexateuch.
J also records a Covenant at Sinai, Exodus 34:10, based upon ‘Words,’ 11–27, which have been called ‘a second Decalogue.’ But they are rather parallel to E’s Covenant words, and like them are more in number than ten. (See the notes to Exodus 34) The phrase ‘ten words’ in Deuteronomy 5:28 is probably a gloss.
In D’s edition of the Ten Words now before us we find again all the features of E’s edition except the last sentence of the 4th commandment, the sentence which reflects P (another of the many facts which support the argument that P is later than D). Instead another reason is assigned to the commandment in the language, and characteristic of the humane spirit, of D. In the same commandment D has its common keep or observe for E’s remember, and adds the clauses as Jehovah thy God commanded thee, nor thine ox nor thine ass nor any of (thy cattle); in the 5th it adds the phrases as Jehovah thy God hath commanded thee and that it may go well with thee; in the 9th it gives a wider term groundless or vain for E’s false; and in the 10th it adds to and rearranges the details with a finer ethical discrimination, using two verbs for covet or desire, and putting the wife of thy neighbour first and by herself, distinct from the rest of his household. Further, D asserts (Deuteronomy 5:22) in contradiction to E that the Ten Words were the only words spoken to Israel at Ḥoreb; and adds that He wrote them on two tables of stone. Note, also, that in D the Ten Words are introduced as a quotation in the Sg. form of address in a discourse which uses throughout the Pl.
P does not record the Ten Words. The legislation which it assigns to Sinai, Exodus 25-31 (with a variant edition 35–40), consists of directions, given to Moses on the Mount and afterwards proclaimed to the people, as to the sanctuary and priesthood (see Driver on these passages). The only parallel which this legislation offers to the Decalogue is the law of the Sabbath (Exo 31:22-27, Exodus 35:1 ff.). But P mentions incidentally the Testimony which I shall give thee (Exodus 25:16) and says that God gave unto Moses when He had made an end of communing with him upon Mount Sinai the two tables of the testimony (Exodus 31:18).
Such are the principal data of the various traditions of the legislation at Sinai-Ḥoreb. They start serious questions of literary construction and historical fact, to which several hypothetical, but no certain, answers are possible.
The question which mainly concerns us here is that of the relation of the two editions of the Ten Words in E and D. To the argument that because so much else of law and narrative in D is based on E, therefore D must also have derived the Ten Words from E, there are the following objections: (1) E’s edition has not only many deuteronomic phrases, but in the 4th commandment reflects P; while D’s is in style and spirit consistently deuteronomic. (2) E connects the Covenant at Ḥoreb not with the Ten Words but with others. (3) These other Words, while offering some parallels to the Ten, are of a distinctly less spiritual character and apparently from a more primitive stage of ethical development; and it is difficult to conceive that E could have first recorded the Decalogue as given at Ḥoreb and then based the Covenant there on other words of an inferior character. (4) Nor is it clear that E’s narrative of the theophany, Exodus 19:14-17; Exodus 19:19; Exodus 20:18-21, implies that the people heard from God any articulate words at all, before Moses (because of their apprehension that God would speak directly to them) entered the darkness out of which His thunder had come and received for them the Words (Exodus 20:22-26; Exodus 23:10-33) on which the Covenant was based.
On these grounds a strong case has been made out for the hypothesis that E did not originally contain the Ten Words; that these were the work of the deuteronomic school, based on the teaching of the 8th century prophets and expressed throughout in deuteronomic phraseology; that D, while borrowing from E the tradition of a Covenant at Ḥoreb, substituted them as the basis of that Covenant for the other words which E had connected with it, or else did not know of those other words in E, for he distinctly asserts (Deuteronomy 5:22) that God added no others to the Ten at Ḥoreb; and finally that a late editor, with both D and P before him, intruded the Ten Words into E repeating most of their deuteronomic phraseology, but substituting in the 4th commandment for one of D’s phrases a phrase based on P. This hypothesis finds support in the substance of the Decalogue, which it is maintained is suitable for an agricultural and not for a nomadic people; and especially in the prohibition of graven images, the early date of which is difficult if not impossible to reconcile with the use of images in Israel before the 8th century and particularly in the N. kingdom in which E was composed.
All the data, however, do not thus support the hypothesis of the priority of D’s Decalogue. It may not be certain that E’s remember the sabbath-day is earlier than D’s keep or observe, nor is E’s false witness necessarily more primitive than the wider vain, or groundless, which D employs—although they would appear to be so (with the former cp. J’s remember in the same sense, Exodus 13:3). But D’s form for the 10th commandment, because more developed and of a finer ethical standard, is almost certainly later than E’s; and so are the additions to the 4th and 5th commandments. Further, in the E edition the name of the Deity even in association with creation is not Elohim, but Jehovah.
This, however, only leads to the further question whether behind both editions there was not an earlier and much simpler form. In both the Ten Words are of very unequal length. In the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 10th the excesses over the others are hortatory enforcements in the language of D and in harmony with D’s usual method of elaborating his materials and adding reasons and enforcements: teaching and expounding the Law to use his own terms. Remove these excesses and there remain, besides the preface, Ten Words of similar length and divisible into two tables of virtually equal size.
I am Jehovah [thy God which brought thee out of the land of Egypt out of the house of slaves].
Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
Thou shalt not make thee a graven image.
Thou shalt not take the name of Jehovah in vain.
Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy.
Honour thy father and thy mother.
Thou shalt do no murder.
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt not bear false witness [against thy neighbour].
Thou shalt not covet [thy neighbour’s house].
To sum up—it appears necessary to postulate some such brief form of the Ten Words as prior to the editions of them in E and D on these grounds: that all of the contents of these editions which is over and above this form consists of easily separable expansions of a hortatory or explanatory character, expressed in the language and the spirit of D; and that it was the general practice of D thus to expand, refine and enforce the materials of earlier traditions. Also D treats the Ten Words as a quotation (see above).
Whether this pre-deuteronomic Decalogue was originally part of E is more than doubtful. In E there is neither room nor reason for any ‘Words’ at Ḥoreb before those on which E bases the Covenant; nor any trace that the Divine voice became at all articulate before the latter were spoken. The double tradition of E and J is that the Covenant ‘Words’ spoken by God in Ḥoreb-Sinai, while offering certain parallels to the Decalogue, were more primitive than this. And that excludes the only possible alternative theory, that, if these ‘Words,’ now associated in E with the Covenant, along with ‘the judgements’ that are embedded within their two sections, were originally assigned to Israel’s residence in Moab, their removal to the Ḥoreb period (see above) displaced the Decalogue from its association with the Ḥoreb Covenant and pushed it forward to a point in the narrative at which it has no proper connection with its context.
From the literary data, therefore, the most probable conclusion is that the Decalogue came to D from a source independent of J and E. Whether its origin was earlier than E and may even have been Mosaic or was later, and in fact the result of the teaching of the 8th century prophets, are far more difficult questions; for which answers must be sought, not in the literary forms, so much as in the substantial ideas, of the Decalogue. The theory that the Decalogue is later than E gets rid of the historical difficulties for an early date for the 2nd commandment which arise from the use of images by leaders in Israel and especially in the N. kingdom, without any rebuke from prophets before the 8th century, and for an early date for the 4th commandment as one impossible of fulfilment by, and therefore unnatural to prescribe to, a people still in the pastoral stage of culture. And if J and E’s record of a more primitive form of Covenant words at Ḥoreb be regarded as reliable this is also a reason for assigning the Decalogue to a later stage in Israel’s social and ethical development. On the other hand, there are good grounds for the possibility of the prohibition of images as early as Moses. Not only do the ‘Words’ assigned by E to the Covenant at Ḥoreb forbid gods of silver and gold (Exodus 20:23) and by J molten gods (Exodus 34:17); but E and J never impute the use of images to the Patriarchs, while E (Exodus 32) records Moses’ anger and God’s threat to destroy the people because of the golden calf which they had fashioned. More significant is the absence from all the historical records of any mention of an image in connection with the Ark, or the sanctuary at Shiloh or Gibeon or Jerusalem, or other place before the disruption of the kingdom. As to the Sabbath-law, the presumably oldest form of it is perfectly possible for a purely pastoral people; while the fuller forms, though evidently designed for an agricultural people, could not be literally observed even by them (unless the Heb. term for work be limited to field-work), because they continued to have flocks and herds. As for the other Commandments there is not one of them in its shorter form which makes a date for it impossible before the settlement of Israel in Canaan—not even the first commandment, for it merely forbids the worship of any gods but Jehovah (henolatry), and does not assert His sole deity (monotheism). The possibility of the Mosaic origin of the Decalogue is, therefore, clear so far as its ideals are concerned. The real difficulty with regard to it rests upon its superiority to the ‘Words’ which the other traditions describe as the laws of the Covenant at Ḥoreb. See further ‘The Date of the Decalogue,’ App. IV. to Driver’s Exodus.
From whatever source the deuteronomists derived the Decalogue it is interesting that they developed it in more than one edition. For this we shall find analogies in their practice with regard to other laws (Deuteronomy 5:12-26).
The Decalogue with its Preface has been variously arranged and divided. The LXX (cod. B) makes the commandment against adultery follow immediately on that to honour parents, thus naturally bringing together the two commandments which concern family life: in Ex. that against murder follows, but in D precedes, that against theft. In the N.T. the order varies, following the Heb. order in Matthew 5:21; Matthew 5:27 (so far as murder and adultery are concerned), Deuteronomy 19:18, and Mark 10:19; but the Greek of D in Luke 18:20, Romans 13:9. The Talmud takes the Preface as the 1st commandment and the prohibitions of other gods and of images as together the 2nd, on the ground presumably that the reason annexed to the latter is equally, or even more, suitable to the former. This conjunction was accepted by Augustine and through him by the Roman and Lutheran Churches, but they keep the Preface as such and divide the 10th commandment into two (though the latter half as we have seen is not original). Philo, Josephus, Origen and other fathers, the Greek and Reformed Churches and most modern scholars divide as follows: Preface; 1, Other gods; 2, Images; 3, Name of Jehovah; 4, Sabbath; 5, Parents; 6, Murder; 7, Adultery; 8, Theft; 9, False witness; 10, Covetousness.
 So R.V.; but A.V. following Another text has the order: adultery, murder. Matthew, Mark and Luke all give the 5th Commandment after the 6th–9th.
With regard to the scope and spirit of the Ten Words it is enough to say that they lay down the double duty of Israelites towards God and towards men: religion and morality. The duty towards God is expressed with regard to the special temptations of the people at the time—the belief that there were other gods actually existent and with divine powers and spheres of action, and the custom of worshipping the deity in images. The 1st commandment is not the expression of a pure monotheism, and it is remarkable that the deuteronomists did not expand it as well as those which follow it (but see below on Deuteronomy 5:7). Yet it has been found a suitable statement, not only of the sovereignty but of the oneness of the Deity. Similarly the 2nd has been understood as a statement of His spirituality. The 3rd forbids the irreverence which is the sin equally of the ignorant and careless and of the familiar but formal worshipper. Duty towards men is covered in its main aspects in the life of the family and of society by the 5th to the 10th ‘Words,’ the last adding the sphere of thought and feeling to that of action detailed in the others. Between these two groups the 4th commandment forms the transition, for while it expresses man’s due to God in setting apart a regular portion of time to Him, it also in its expanded form enforces that the Sabbath was equally a duty to himself, his family, and his dependents. How fine and true was the instinct of the deuteronomists in thus expanding the Sabbath-law is shown by the saying of Christ that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath2.
 The following may he noted among the Christian expositions of the theological and ethical contents of the Decalogue. From the Roman side, Catechism of the Council of Trent, Pars iii. Capp. i.–x. From the Protestant, the Larger Westminster Catechism, John Forbes (‘the Aberdeen Doctor’), Theologia Moralis, and R. W. Dale, The Ten Commandments. See also Prof. W. P. Paterson’s art. ‘The Decalogue,’ in Hastings’ Dict. of the Bible.
For full notes on the separate verses the reader is referred to Exodus 20:1-17. The following may be added: they are chiefly on the matter found only in Deut. or here expressed differently from Exodus 21:1-17.
I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.6. ‘The Preface’ to the Ten Commandments: the same as in Exodus 20:2. The phrases used, though occurring much more frequently in D, are also found (either exactly as here or with grammatical variations) in J and E (see on Exodus 20:2); so it is difficult to say whether the original form was simply I am Jehovah or the long one before us. A Preface longer than each of the separate words is not unnatural; yet the original may have been simply I am Jehovah thy God as in ch. 6.
The Preface states the Lawgiver’s Name, and His obligations upon Israel, ‘whereby He prepares their minds for obedience1,’ by calling on their loyalty and gratitude. This tenderness of the Preface (Matthew Henry contrasts it with the awfulness of the Theophany from which it issues) and its appeal to high motives are characteristic of D. But in all the traditions of the origins of Israel’s religion the note of redemption is fundamental; Grace is prior to Law, God’s saving deeds to His commandments. The stress laid upon the Preface by theologians in their practical application of the Decalogue to Christianity is therefore just. The form of the Preface is similar to the opening phrases on several Semitic royal monuments: the Moabite stone, ‘I am Mesha son of Kemosh’; the Byblus stele, ‘I am Yeḥawmilk, King of Gebal, etc.’; the Sidon sarcophagus, ‘I am Tabnith … King of the Sidonians, etc.’ But see Driver, Sam.2 p. xxiv. The prologue to the Code of Ḫammurabi is a record of the lawgiver’s achievements.
house of bondage] bondmen, see on Deuteronomy 6:12.
Thou shalt have none other gods before me.7. The First Commandment as in Exodus 20:3.
in front of me] a strong phrase, but of what exact degree of strength is doubtful. Literally over against my face, or presence. By D it is elsewhere (Deuteronomy 21:16) taken as in precedence, or preference, to; but in Job 16:14 it merely means in addition to. Calvin regards in preference to as ‘too frigid’ here, not sufficiently exclusive of other gods; and takes the idea to be ‘that God will not have companions obtruded upon Him.’ Others expand ‘as if to provoke Him’ or ‘dare Him to His face.’ Unless some sense of rivalry is meant the phrase is superfluous to the rest of the commandment; and the selection of the strongest of three kindred forms (‘al-pânai, ’eth-p., and lephânai) suggests some idea of affronting or provoking (cf. Deuteronomy 5:9). There is no statement here as to the real existence of other gods: real or unreal Israel is not to have them. Unlike its successors this commandment is without expansion, probably because Deuteronomy 5:9 b, 10 were intended to cover both the first and second commandments; unless indeed (as some suggest) they originally belonged to the first.
Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth:8. any form] See on Deuteronomy 4:12.
8–10. The Second Commandment; the differences from Exodus 20:4-6 are very slight (Ex. has the conjunction before any form and omits it before the third) and the Versions show them to be uncertain. On the questions of date raised by the prohibition of images see above, p. 85. The substance of the commandment is very fully treated in Driver’s notes on Exodus 20:4-6, which see.
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 unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,9. a jealous God] See on Deuteronomy 4:24.
And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.10. shewing mercy] better, loyal or true love; cf. Deuteronomy 7:9; Deuteronomy 7:12 keeping covenant and true love (Sg.). The Heb. term ḥesed as including both affection and constancy is peculiarly appropriate here.
Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.11. The Third Commandment exactly as in Exodus 20:7. On the need for this in Israel see on Deuteronomy 6:13.
Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee.12. Observe] A.V. keep, instead of remember, Exodus 20:8. In D remember is used almost exclusively of historical facts, e.g. Deuteronomy 5:15, Deuteronomy 7:18, Deuteronomy 8:2, Deuteronomy 9:7, Deuteronomy 15:15, Deuteronomy 16:3; but once with God, the giver of wealth, as the object, Deuteronomy 8:18. Observe or keep, used of the feast of unleavened bread by E Exodus 23:15, by J Exodus 34:18; the Sabbath by P Exodus 31:13 f., 16, Leviticus 19:3; Leviticus 19:30; Leviticus 26:2 (H); the month Abib by D Deuteronomy 16:1. In Psalm 103:18 keep His covenant and remember His precepts are parallel.
as the Lord thy God commanded thee] not in Exodus 20:8; cf. Deuteronomy 5:16, here and there a needless expansion, for it cannot refer to some previous institution of the Sabbath.
12–15. The Fourth Commandment as in Exodus 20:8-11 with the following differences:
Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work:
But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou.14. in it] not in Heb. text either here or in Ex., but supplied in both places by Sam. and LXX; so too in the Nash papyrus (see Driver, Exod. 417).
nor thy bondman] Exodus 20:10 omits the conjunction. So too Sam. and LXX here.
nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle] another obvious expansion. Ex. has only nor thy cattle.
that thy bondman and thy bondwoman may rest as well as thou] an additional characteristic of the humane spirit of D; cf. in the Laws Deuteronomy 12:12, Deuteronomy 14:26; Deuteronomy 14:29, Deuteronomy 15:13 f., Deuteronomy 16:11, Deuteronomy 24:14-18.
And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.15. A different reason for the keeping of the Sabbath from that given in Exodus 20:11. It is relevant to D’s addition in the previous v., and at first seems intended only to enforce the extension of the Sabbath-law to slaves, remember thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt and Jehovah thy God brought thee out; but before it closes it bases the whole observance of the Sabbath on the deliverance from Egypt as if the S. were a memorial of that event—wherefore Jehovah thy God hath commanded thee to keep the S. day. This historical reference and the humanity enforced by it are characteristic of D. But Exodus 20:11, under the influence of P, recites as the motive for the observance of the S. God’s rest on the seventh day from the work of creation. The influence of P on Ex. proves the D form to be the more original. Note that while it enforces the philanthropic motive for Sabbath-observance it is as theological as the other, and, like it, refers to God’s action as the ultimate sanction of the Sabbath.
remember that thou wast a bondman] The same motive is expressed for the laws enforcing liberality to slaves, Deuteronomy 15:15; the duty of sharing the joy of the feasts with needy dependents, Deuteronomy 16:12; and justice and generosity to the poor, Deuteronomy 24:18; Deuteronomy 24:22.
a mighty hand and … a stretched out arm] See on Deuteronomy 4:34.
to keep] lit. to do or make, i.e. to carry into effect; used by D also of the Passover, Deuteronomy 16:1; more frequently in P: of the Sabbath, Exodus 31:16; of the Passover, Exodus 12:47 f.; Numbers 9:4-6, etc.
Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.16. The Fifth Commandment as in Exodus 20:12, with however two additions:
as Jehovah thy God commanded thee] See on Deuteronomy 5:12.
and that it may go well with thee] Cp. Deuteronomy 5:29.
giveth thee] is giving or about to give.
Thou shalt not kill.17–20. The Sixth to the Ninth Commandments, as in Exodus 20:13-16, except that for the simple not used there, we have here and not = neither, to introduce the Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Commandments; and that in the Ninth instead of sheḳer = false of Exodus 20:16 there is the wider term shav’ = vain, groundless, as in the Third Commandment. For this term see on Exodus 20:7; and cp. Exodus 23:1 (E), where it is applied to a report or rumour.
Neither shalt thou commit adultery.
Neither shalt thou steal.
Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour's wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour's.21. The Tenth Commandment, carrying the Law from the sphere of action into that of thought and feeling, and therefore not superfluous even in so brief a summary of the Law nor after the Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Commandments (cp. Calvin, in loco). How necessary the Commandment is not merely as an addition to these Commandments, but as focussing the spirit of them all is clear from the experience of St Paul, who selects the Tenth Commandment to illustrate the power of the whole Law: Romans 7:7-8; Romans cf.14, the law is spiritual. The nature of this Commandment renders it peculiarly susceptible of expansion (as the Sixth to the Ninth are not); details naturally offer themselves under so general a precept; and here the deuteronomists had the opportunity which they loved to use, and were upon their own ground? cp. Deuteronomy 7:25, where the desire for, as well as the actual appropriation of, unlawful silver and gold is forbidden. The two expanded editions of the Decalogue here exhibit the most interesting of the differences which distinguish them. Exodus 20:17, preserving the original form of the Commandment, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, and repeating the verb, simply details, as upon the same level, the constituents of the house: wife, slaves, animals, all that is thy neighbour’s. But this later edition in Deut. makes among these a fundamental distinction of far-reaching moral consequence; takes the wife first in a class by herself, then—under another verb, as if to emphasise the difference—gives the rest together; and, with the peculiar regard which D has for the rural life, adds to them the field of thy neighbour.
covet] the same Heb. verb as in Exodus 20:17. The rendering of the revisers is not a happy one, because though the English covet originally meant inordinate desire, it is now generally used with other objects than wife. The A.V. desire literally renders the Heb. verb, the meaning of which is neutral and has to be qualified by its object. In Exodus 34:24 of dishonest desire for land; in Deuteronomy 7:25 for silver and gold (cp. Joshua 7:21, JE); Micah 2:2 (cp. Ahab and Naboth’s vineyard) for fields and houses. But in Proverbs 6:25 it signifies lust after the beauty of women. So it should be rendered here, and so some of the older Eng. Versions render it. Similarly the ἐπιθυμεῖν of the LXX, always so in Greek when a person is the object; cp. Matthew 5:28. Kautzsch: ‘verlangen tragen,’ and in Joshua 7:21, ‘da gelüstete mich nach.’
thy neighbour’s wife] The way in which (in contrast to Ex.) the wife is placed here first, in a class by herself, may be compared with other laws of D which also seek the elevation of woman, Deuteronomy 21:10-14, Deuteronomy 23:13 ff., Deuteronomy 24:1 ff.
desire] Instead of the repetition in Ex. of the original verb, another verb is employed here of stronger meaning but apparently intended as only ‘a rhetorical variation’ (Driver) rather than as a climax. Of longing for water, 2 Samuel 3:15; for dainties, Proverbs 23:3.
field] The noun sadeh or sadai, which in Heb. poetry (e.g. Deuteronomy 32:13; Jdg 5:4) appears to have the meaning of mountain that it has in Assyrian, and which in earlier Heb. prose (JE) means pasture ground (so too in D, Deuteronomy 11:15 and probably in Deuteronomy 21:1, contrasted with city, Deuteronomy 22:25; Deuteronomy 22:27) uncultivated and the home of wild beasts (= beasts of the field), is to be taken here in its later sense of cultivated ground, and that as private property. It is so used by the prophets of the 8th cent.: Isaiah 5:8; Micah 2:2; Micah 2:4. See the present writer’s Jerusalem, i. 291.
These words the LORD spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me.22. The Close of the Ten Words and the writing of them.
your assembly] or congregation. The Heb. ḳahal, lit. gathering, technically used throughout the O.T. for any assembly of the people or its representatives for organised, national action: (a) In the earlier writings it is most usual of the solemn gathering before God of all capable of bearing arms, for consecration to war, Jdg 20:2; Jdg 21:5; Jdg 21:8; 1 Samuel 17:47; similarly in E, Numbers 22:4, where it is used by Balak of Israel ready for war against other nations; while in Ezekiel it is synonymous with army, Ezekiel 17:17, Ezekiel 38:4; Ezekiel 38:15. (b) Also of the people assembled to give their verdict or to execute justice, Jeremiah 26:17; Jeremiah 44:15; cp. Ezekiel 16:40; Proverbs 5:14. (c) Also of the whole organised commonwealth or congregation of Israel, Micah 2:5; and in the deuteronomic laws, Deuteronomy 23:1-3; Deuteronomy 23:8. But D specially applies the term to the gathering of Israel to the Covenant at Ḥoreb, so here (cp. the use of the verb in Deuteronomy 4:10), the assembly, the day of the a. Deuteronomy 9:10, Deuteronomy 10:4 (Pl.), Deuteronomy 18:16 (Sg.). In the laws Deuteronomy 23:1-3; Deuteronomy 23:8 (Sg.) it is called the a. of Jehovah. To this assembly P, which also uses ḳahal, applies his more favourite term ‘edah, congregation of the sons of Israel, Exodus 35:1; Exodus 35:4; Exodus 35:20 (a term never used in JE or D, but occurring over 100 times in P, which also sometimes combines the two, cp. Proverbs 5:14). Otherwise deuteronomic writers use ḳahal only of peaceful gatherings of the people; to hear the Song of Moses, Deuteronomy 31:30; to hear the Law read at Shechem, Joshua 8:35; and for the consecration of the Temple, 1 Kings 8:14; 1 Kings 8:22; 1 Kings 8:55 (1 Kings 12:3 is a doubtful instance; LXX omits it). For the post-exilic use of ḳahal and ‘edah see the present writer’s Jerusalem, i. 380 ff.
fire … cloud … darkness …] See on Deuteronomy 4:11. Sam. and LXX add darkness before cloud. The comparison of E, Exodus 20:18-21 is very instructive: thunderings, lightnings, mountain smoking.
with a great voice] E, the voice of the trumpet.
and he added no more] On this contradiction of E see above, p. 83.
two tables of stone] So Deuteronomy 4:13; Deuteronomy 9:9-11; Deuteronomy 10:1; Deuteronomy 10:3; the tables of the covenant, Deuteronomy 9:9; Deuteronomy 9:11; Deuteronomy 9:15; J, two tables of stone, Exodus 34:1; Exodus 34:4; E, tables of stone, Exodus 24:12; Exodus 31:18 b, P, two tables of the testimony, Exodus 31:18 a, Exodus 32:15 a, Exodus 34:29. The statement of the writing of the tables is not really an anticipation of Exodus 9:9 ff. and therefore to be deleted as secondary (Steuernagel), but is necessary here for the completion of the record of the Decalogue. See on Exodus 9:9 ff.
And it came to pass, when ye heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, (for the mountain did burn with fire,) that ye came near unto me, even all the heads of your tribes, and your elders;23. ye came near unto me] Deuteronomy 1:22.
even all the heads of your tribes, and your elders] Perhaps a gloss (so Dill., Steuern., Berth.), for Deuteronomy 5:24 continues and ye (not they), and through the rest of the section the people as a whole are addressed.
23–27. The people, fearing the fatal effect of hearing God’s voice directly, request Moses to act as mediator. See Exodus 20:19-21, E, a much simpler form of the narrative, but containing in Deuteronomy 5:20 a saying of Moses not repeated here.
And ye said, Behold, the LORD our God hath shewed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth.24. his greatness] See Deuteronomy 3:24.
24–26. See on Deuteronomy 4:33. It was contrary to expectation that the people survived the voice of God: they would not repeat the risk.
Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, then we shall die.
For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived?26. flesh] Emphatic; it cannot endure immediate contact with spirit (Isaiah 31:3).
the living God] Rather, a living God, cp. Deuteronomy 4:33. The phrase always occurs in the O.T. without the article even when as in 1 Samuel 17:26; 1 Samuel 17:36, and Jeremiah 23:36 it is the living God who is meant. In Jeremiah 10:10 it is indefinite as here. These are all the instances of this form. Kindred forms in Joshua 3:10 indefinite; Hosea 2:1, 2 Kings 19:4; 2 Kings 19:16 definite.
Go thou near, and hear all that the LORD our God shall say: and speak thou unto us all that the LORD our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear it, and do it.27. Go thou near] The technical term for approach to the Deity, and to His representatives (Deuteronomy 5:23 and Deuteronomy 1:22). E, using another verb, has and Moses drew near (Exodus 20:21). For the rest of the verse E has simply Speak thou with us and we shall hearken (Exodus 20:19).
And the LORD heard the voice of your words, when ye spake unto me; and the LORD said unto me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people, which they have spoken unto thee: they have well said all that they have spoken.28. And Jehovah heard the voice of your words] Deuteronomy 1:34.
they have well said] Deuteronomy 18:17. Yet—
28–30. Jehovah approves the people’s request and dismisses them to their tents. E simply, the people stood afar off (Exodus 20:21).
O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!29. Oh that there were such an heart in them, etc.] heart is in antithesis to the said and spoken of the previous verse. Approving their present mood as evinced in their words, God doubts its constancy.
all my commandments] Sam. and LXX omit all.
always] Heb. all the days. One of the many points of similarity between Hosea and Deut. is doubt, if not of the sincerity, yet of the constancy, of the nation’s feeling of repentance or obedience; cp. Hosea 5:15 to Hosea 6:3, Israel’s repentant prayer, with Deuteronomy 6:4-6, God’s rejection of it: your goodness is as a morning cloud and as the dew that goeth early. See on Deuteronomy 1:41. Both the prophet and D insist upon heart in religion.
that it might be well with them] Deuteronomy 5:16; Deuteronomy 5:33, Deuteronomy 4:40.
Go say to them, Get you into your tents again.
But as for thee, stand thou here by me, and I will speak unto thee all the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which thou shalt teach them, that they may do them in the land which I give them to possess it.31. Moses is commanded to stand by God in order to receive other laws (than the Ten Words) to teach the people subsequently.
all the commandment] or charge; Heb. miṣwah. ‘ “The (or this) commandment “recurs Deuteronomy 6:1, Deuteronomy 7:11, Deuteronomy 30:11; with “all,” Deuteronomy 6:25, Deuteronomy 8:1, Deuteronomy 9:8; Deuteronomy 9:22, Deuteronomy 15:5, Deuteronomy 19:9, Deuteronomy 27:1 (of a special injunction), Deuteronomy 31:5. As Deuteronomy 11:22, Deuteronomy 19:9 show, it denotes the deuteronomic legislation generally (esp. on its moral and religious side) viewed as the expression of a single principle, the fundamental duty of Deuteronomy 6:5’ (Driver); yet it is also possible to interpret it here, as in Deuteronomy 11:22, Deuteronomy 19:9, of the principles underlying the laws and expounded in this discourse. See below on Deuteronomy 6:1.
the statutes, and the judgements] With Sam. omit the preceding and. The statutes and judgements (the usual deuteronomic phrase) are thus the contents or detailed applications o (the miṣwah, the separate laws to be subsequently given in Moab on the eve of the people’s entrance to the promised land (as the rest of the verse declares), and which are contained in chs. 12–26.
the land which I give them] Rather, am about to give them. So without addition Deuteronomy 4:1, Deuteronomy 11:17, in the Pl. address, and Deuteronomy 15:7, Deuteronomy 18:9, Deuteronomy 26:2, Deuteronomy 27:2-3, Deuteronomy 28:8; Deuteronomy 28:52, all passages in the Sg. address. With the addition to possess it as here, Deuteronomy 3:18 (hath given), Pl.; Deuteronomy 9:6, Deuteronomy 12:1, Deuteronomy 17:14 (shalt possess), Deuteronomy 19:14, all Sg. (except perhaps Deuteronomy 12:1, which is doubtful). With the addition for an inheritance, Deuteronomy 4:21, Deuteronomy 15:4 (+ to possess it), Deuteronomy 19:10, Deuteronomy 24:4, Deuteronomy 25:19, Deuteronomy 26:1, all Sg. Cp. Deuteronomy 12:10 causeth you, Deuteronomy 19:3 causeth thee, to inherit.
Ye shall observe to do therefore as the LORD your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.32, 33. Exhortations to obey this new charge: a number of characteristic deuteronomic formulas. Because of this and specially because of the phrase which Jehovah your God has commanded you, these verses are taken by some to be a later addition. Yet it was surely quite logical for the writer of the rest of the chapter to put the phrase in Moses’ mouth in Moab, because God had already at Ḥoreb charged him with these laws; the phrase does not imply their previous publication.
ye shall not turn aside, etc.] Deuteronomy 17:11; Deuteronomy 17:20, Deuteronomy 28:14, and in deuteronomic passages in other books; cp. Deuteronomy 9:2.
the way which Jehovah your God has commanded you] that is through me and which I am now about to show you. The phrase is also found Deuteronomy 9:12; Deuteronomy 9:16, Deuteronomy 11:28, Deuteronomy 31:29 (all pl.), and in Deuteronomy 13:5 (Sg.). To walk in His ways, Deuteronomy 8:6 (Sg.), Deuteronomy 11:22 (Pl.). Buhl (Sozial. Verhältn. der Isr. 9) remarks on the suitability to nomads of this metaphor; but surely it was equally suitable for peasants. No inference as to date can therefore be drawn from it. Cp. in the N.T. ἡ ὀδός Acts 9:2; Acts 19:9; Acts 19:23; Acts 22:4, and the Ḳoran Sur. 1.
live] Deuteronomy 4:1.
may be well with you] Deuteronomy 5:16; Deuteronomy 5:29, Deuteronomy 4:40.
prolong … days] used both in Pl. here and in Deuteronomy 4:26 (cp. Deuteronomy 30:18), Deuteronomy 11:9, Deuteronomy 32:47, and in Sg. Deuteronomy 4:40; that thy days may be long, Deuteronomy 5:16, Deuteronomy 6:2, Deuteronomy 25:15; cp. Deuteronomy 22:7.
Ye shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess.