I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)I am the Lord thy God.—It should never be forgotten that this sentence is an integral part of the Decalogue, and also the first part. The declaration of Divine relationship, with all that it implies—the covenanted adoption of Israel by Jehovah—precedes all the requirements of the Law. The Law is, therefore, primarily a covenant in the strictest sense.Deuteronomy 5:6. I am the Lord thy God — The ten commandments, delivered Exodus 20., are here repeated, with some small difference of words, but the sense is perfectly the same. There being little said concerning the spiritual meaning of the ten commandments in the notes there, it may not be improper to add a few inquiries here, which the reader may answer between God and his own soul.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.Exo 20, are here repeated with some small difference of words, but the sense is perfectly the same, and therefore the explication of them must be fetched thence. 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. I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)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.Verse 6. - I am Jehovah thy God. "The Law, the establishing rule for men, can proceed only from him who alone and over all stands fast; i.e. from God, specially as Jehovah. The eternal, unchangeable One, since he demands the obedience of faith (is not merely the moral imperative), must not only reveal himself, but in revealing himself must claim Israel as loyal and faithful; thy God" (Schroeder). Deuteronomy 4:44, we have the general notice in the form of a heading: "This is the Thorah which Moses set before the children of Israel;" and then, in Deuteronomy 4:45, Deuteronomy 4:46, a fuller description of the Thorah according to its leading features, "testimonies, statutes, and rights" (see at Deuteronomy 4:1), together with a notice of the place and time at which Moses delivered this address. "On their coming out of Egypt," i.e., not "after they had come out," but during the march, before they had reached the goal of their journeyings, viz., (Deuteronomy 4:46) when they were still on the other side of the Jordan. "In the valley," as in Deuteronomy 3:29. "In the land of Sihon," and therefore already upon ground which the Lord had given them for a possession. The importance of this possession as the first-fruit and pledge of the fulfilment of the further promises of God, led Moses to mention again, though briefly, the defeat of the two kings of the Amorites, together with the conquest of their land, just as he had done before in Deuteronomy 2:32-36 and Deuteronomy 3:1-17. On Deuteronomy 4:48, cf. Deuteronomy 3:9, Deuteronomy 3:12-17. Sion, for Hermon (see at Deuteronomy 3:9).
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