You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Take . . . in vain.—Literally, Thou shalt not put the name of Jehovah thy God to vanity: i.e., to anything that is false, or hollow, or unreal. Primarily, it is false swearing that is forbidden here; but the extension of the principle to vain and rash swearing, or the light use of the Name without real cause, is sufficiently obvious.Deuteronomy 5:11. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain — Hast thou never used the name of God unless on solemn and weighty occasions? Hast thou then used it with the deepest awe? Hast thou duly honoured his word, his ordinances, his ministers? Hast thou considered all things as they stand in relation to him, and seen God in all? Hast thou looked upon heaven as God’s throne? Upon earth as God’s footstool? On every thing therein as belonging to the great King? On every creature as full of God?Exodus 20 and notes.
Moses here adopts the Ten Words as a ground from which he may proceed to reprove, warn, and exhort; and repeats them, with a certain measure of freedom and adaptation. Our Lord Mark 10:19 and Paul Ephesians 6:2-3 deal similarly with the same subject. Speaker and hearers recognized, however, a statutory and authoritative form of the laws in question, which, because it was familiar to both parties, needed not to be reproduced with verbal fidelity.Exodus 20:2; see Gill on Exodus 20:2, and those commands are here delivered in the same order, and pretty near in the same words, with a little variation, and a few additions; which I shall only observe, and refer to Exodus 20:1 for the sense of the various laws. 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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)11. The Third Commandment exactly as in Exodus 20:7. On the need for this in Israel see on Deuteronomy 6:13.Verse 11. - Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; literally, Thou shalt not take [or lift] up the Name of Jehovah thy God to vanity. This commandment forbids not only all false swearing by the Name of God, but all profanation of that Name by an irreverent or light use of it (Leviticus 19:12). Exodus 33:11 with reference to God's speaking to Moses (cf. Deuteronomy 34:10, and Genesis 32:31), and expresses the very confidential relation in which the Lord spoke to Moses as one friend to another; whereas the former simply denotes the directness with which Jehovah spoke to the people. - Before repeating the ten words which the Lord addressed directly to the people, Moses introduces the following remark in Deuteronomy 5:5 - "I stood between Jehovah and you at that time, to announce to you the word of Jehovah; because ye were afraid of the fire, and went not up into the mount" - for the purpose of showing the mediatorial position which he occupied between the Lord and the people, not so much at the proclamation of the ten words of the covenant, as in connection with the conclusion of the covenant generally, which alone in fact rendered the conclusion of the covenant possible at all, on account of the alarm of the people at the awful manifestation of the majesty of the Lord. The word of Jehovah, which Moses as mediator had to announce to the people, had reference not to the instructions which preceded the promulgation of the decalogue (Exodus 19:11.), but, as is evident from Deuteronomy 5:22-31, primarily to the further communications which the Lord was about to address to the nation in connection with the conclusion of the covenant, besides the ten words (viz., Exodus 20:18; Exodus 22:1-23:33), to which in fact the whole of the Sinaitic legislation really belongs, as being the further development of the covenant laws. The alarm of the people at the fire is more fully described in Deuteronomy 5:25. The word "saying" at the end of Deuteronomy 5:5 is dependent upon the word "talked" in Deuteronomy 5:4; Deuteronomy 5:5 simply containing a parenthetical remark.
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