Deuteronomy 6:20
And when your son asks you in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD our God has commanded you?
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(20) What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments.—These three words appear for the first time together in the introduction to this discourse (Deuteronomy 4:45). The Law, or Torah, includes charges, and institutions, and requirements. The Decalogue itself is primarily the Torah; the charge which follows may come under the head of “testimony.” The “statutes” and “judgments” more properly describe the contents of the chapters from Deuteronomy 11-26 inclusive.

6:17-25 Moses gives charge to keep God's commandments. Negligence will ruin us; but we cannot be saved without diligence. It is our interest, as well as our duty, to be religious. It will be our life. Godliness has the promise of the continuance and comfort of the life that now is, as far as it is for God's glory. It will be our righteousness. It is only through the Mediator we can be righteous before God. The knowledge of the spirituality and excellency of the holy law of God, is suited to show sinful man his need of a Saviour, and to prepare his heart to welcome a free salvation. The gospel honours the law, not only in the perfect obedience of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ; but in that it is a plan for bringing back apostate rebels and enemies, by repentance, faith, forgiveness, and renewing grace, to love God above all things, even in this world; and in the world above, to love him perfectly, even as angels love him.The command "to swear by His Name" is not inconsistent with the Lord's injunction Matthew 5:34, "Swear not at all." Moses refers to legal swearing, our Lord to swearing in common conversation. It is not the purpose of Moses to encourage the practice of taking oaths, but to forbid that, when taken, they should be taken in any other name than that of Israel's God. The oath involves an invocation of Deity, and so a solemn recognition of Him whose Name is made use of in it. Hence, it comes especially within the scope of the commandment Moses is enforcing.20-25. when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying—The directions given for the instruction of their children form only an extension of the preceding counsels. No text from Poole on this verse. And when thy son asketh thee in time to come,.... Or "tomorrow" (x); that is, in later times, as Jarchi interprets it; any time after this, and particularly after they were come into the land of Canaan, when the several laws, statutes, and ordinances appointed, would take place and be obeyed:

what mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord our God hath commanded you? what is the reason of the various rites, customs, and usages, the observance of which is directed to, such as the feasts of passover, pentecost, tabernacles, sacrifices, and other duties of religion?

(x) "cras", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus.

And when {i} thy son shall ask thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD our God hath commanded you?

(i) God not only requires that we serve him all our lives, but also that we see that our posterity sets forth his glory.

20. When, etc.] Read, with Sam. and LXX, And it shall be when, as in the opening of Deuteronomy 6:10 and in Exodus 13:14 (J), which the rest of this clause follows.

the testimonies … the statutes, and the judgements] as in Deuteronomy 4:45 q.v. With Sam. omit and before the statutes; the statutes and the judgements are the contents of the testimonies.

our God] For the reason of this instead of the usual Sg. thy God see on Deuteronomy 5:24.

hath commanded you] The perfect is natural to the time of the questioners’ generation, when the laws would already have been published. You (so Sam., but LXX us) is, of course, the older generations; this, therefore, is not an instance of the Pl. address.

20–25. These verses return to a favourite theme of Deut.: the close relation between Jehovah’s Laws and His Deeds. When a future generation shall ask the meaning of the Laws it shall be referred to the Lord’s deliverance of the nation from bondage in Egypt and His conduct of them to the land He promised. Having thus made them a nation, He would now preserve them as such by the Laws which He commands. These vv., throughout in the Sg., expand Deuteronomy 6:7 a, and contain nothing which leads us to doubt their originality. See on Deuteronomy 6:24.Verses 20-25. - The injunction to teach the words of the Lord to the children (ver. 7) is here more largely explained. When asked by their sons the meaning and reason of the commandments and institutes which they observed, they were to show them what the Lord had done for his people in bringing them out of Egypt and establishing them in Canaan, and how he had enjoined on them all these statutes that they might fear Jehovah their God for their good always, and for their preservation and safety. The worship of Jehovah not only precludes all idolatry, which the Lord, as a jealous God, will not endure (see at Exodus 20:5), but will punish with destruction from the earth ("the face of the ground," as in Exodus 32:12); but it also excludes tempting the Lord by an unbelieving murmuring against God, if He does not remove any kind of distress immediately, as the people had already sinned at Massah, i.e., at Rephidim (Exodus 17:1-7).
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