Exodus 20:14
You shall not commit adultery.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) Thou shalt not commit adultery.—Next to the duty of respecting a man’s life is placed that of respecting his domestic peace and honour. Adultery is an invasion of the household, a destruction of the bond which unites the family, a dissolution of that contract which is the main basis of social order. It was forbidden by all civilised communities, and in uncivilised ones frequently punished with death. The Mosaic enactments on the subject are peculiar chiefly in the absolute equality on which they place the man and the woman. Adulterers are as hateful as adulteresses, and are as surely to be put to death (Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22-24, &c.). The man who acts treacherously against “the wife of his covenant” is as great a sinner as the woman who breaks the marriage bond (Malachi 2:14-16). There is “no respect of persons” and no respect of sexes with God.

Exodus 20:14. Thou shalt not commit adultery — This commandment forbids all acts of uncleanness, with all those desires which produce those acts and war against the soul.20:12-17 The laws of the SECOND table, that is, the last six of the ten commandments, state our duty to ourselves and to one another, and explain the great commandment, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, Lu 10:27. Godliness and honesty must go together. The fifth commandment concerns the duties we owe to our relations. Honour thy father and thy mother, includes esteem of them, shown in our conduct; obedience to their lawful commands; come when they call you, go where they send you, do what they bid you, refrain from what they forbid you; and this, as children, cheerfully, and from a principle of love. Also submission to their counsels and corrections. Endeavouring, in every thing, to comfort parents, and to make their old age easy; maintaining them if they need support, which our Saviour makes to be particularly intended in this commandment, Mt 15:4-6. Careful observers have noted a peculiar blessing in temporal things on obedient, and the reverse on disobedient children. The sixth commandment requires that we regard the life and the safety of others as we do our own. Magistrates and their officers, and witnesses testifying the truth, do not break this command. Self-defence is lawful; but much which is not deemed murder by the laws of man, is such before God. Furious passions, stirred up by anger or by drunkenness, are no excuse: more guilty is murder in duels, which is a horrible effect of a haughty, revengeful spirit. All fighting, whether for wages, for renown, or out of anger and malice, breaks this command, and the bloodshed therein is murder. To tempt men to vice and crimes which shorten life, may be included. Misconduct, such as may break the heart, or shorten the lives of parents, wives, or other relatives, is a breach of this command. This command forbids all envy, malice, hatred, or anger, all provoking or insulting language. The destruction of our own lives is here forbidden. This commandment requires a spirit of kindness, longsuffering, and forgiveness. The seventh commandment concerns chastity. We should be as much afraid of that which defiles the body, as of that which destroys it. Whatever tends to pollute the imagination, or to raise the passions, falls under this law, as impure pictures, books, conversation, or any other like matters. The eighth commandment is the law of love as it respects the property of others. The portion of worldly things allotted us, as far as it is obtained in an honest way, is the bread which God hath given us; for that we ought to be thankful, to be contented with it, and, in the use of lawful means, to trust Providence for the future. Imposing upon the ignorance, easiness, or necessity of others, and many other things, break God's law, though scarcely blamed in society. Plunderers of kingdoms though above human justice, will be included in this sentence. Defrauding the public, contracting debts without prospect of paying them, or evading payment of just debts, extravagance, all living upon charity when not needful, all squeezing the poor in their wages; these, and such things, break this command; which requires industry, frugality, and content, and to do to others, about worldly property, as we would they should do to us. The ninth commandment concerns our own and our neighbour's good name. This forbids speaking falsely on any matter, lying, equivocating, and any way devising or designing to deceive our neighbour. Speaking unjustly against our neighbour, to hurt his reputation. Bearing false witness against him, or in common conversation slandering, backbiting, and tale-bearing; making what is done amiss, worse than it is, and in any way endeavouring to raise our reputation upon the ruin of our neighbour's. How much this command is every day broken among persons of all ranks! The tenth commandment strikes at the root; Thou shalt not covet. The others forbid all desire of doing what will be an injury to our neighbour; this forbids all wrong desire of having what will gratify ourselves.Matthew 5:21-32 is the best comment on these two verses.8. Remember the sabbath day—implying it was already known, and recognized as a season of sacred rest. The first four commandments [Ex 20:3-11] comprise our duties to God—the other six [Ex 20:12-17] our duties to our fellow men; and as interpreted by Christ, they reach to the government of the heart as well as the lip (Mt 5:17). "If a man do them he shall live in them" [Le 18:5; Ne 9:29]. But, ah! what an if for frail and fallen man. Whoever rests his hope upon the law stands debtor to it all; and in this view every one would be without hope were not "the Lord our Righteousness" [Jer 23:6; 33:16] (Joh 1:17). Here is mentioned one kind of uncleanness, as being eminently sinful, and unjust, and pernicious to human society. But under this are comprehended and forbidden all other kinds of filthiness, as bestiality, sodomy, whoredom, fornication, &c., and all means, occasions, and appearances of them; as it appears,

1. From other scriptures that forbid those things, which either belong to this command, or to none of the ten, which is very improbable.

2. From the large extent of the other commands, noted before.

3. From our Saviour’s explication, Matthew 5:27. And contrariwise, all chastity and sobriety in thoughts, affections, words, habits, and gestures, is here prescribed. See 1 Thessalonians 4:3,4 Heb 13:4. Thou shall not commit adultery, Which, strictly speaking, is only that sin which is committed with another man's wife, as Jarchi observes; but Aben Ezra thinks the word here used signifies the same as another more commonly used for whoredom and fornication; and no doubt but fornication is here included, which, though it was not reckoned a crime among some Heathens, is within the reach of this law, and forbidden by it, it being an impure action, and against a man's body, as the apostle says, 1 Corinthians 6:18 as well as sins of a more enormous kind, as unnatural lusts and copulations, such as incest, sodomy, bestiality, &c. and even all unchaste thoughts, desires, and affections, obscene words, and impure motions and gestures of the body, and whatever is in itself unclean or tends to uncleanness; as it also requires that we should, as much as in us lies, do all we can to preserve our chastity, and the chastity of others, pure and inviolate, see Matthew 5:28, this is the seventh commandment. Thou shalt not {k} commit adultery.

(k) But be pure in heart, word and deed.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
14. The seventh commandment. The purity of the married state to be maintained (cf. Genesis 2:24 J). Cf. Leviticus 18:20 (H), Job 31:9-12, and Matthew 5:27-32. For the penalty for adultery, see Leviticus 20:10 (H), Deuteronomy 22:22. In LXX. (B, and several cursives,—both here and in Dt.), and the Nash papyrus, the seventh commandment comes before the sixth: the same order is found in Mark 10:19 (Text. Rec.), Luke 18:20, Romans 13:9, James 2:11, in Philo, and in many of the Fathers (Kn.).Verse 14. - Thou shalt not commit adultery. Our second duty towards our neighbour is to respect the bond on which the family is based, and that conjugal honour which to the true man is dearer than life. Marriage, according to the original institution, made the husband and wife "one flesh" (Genesis 2:24); and to break in upon this sacramental union was at once a crime and a profanity. Adulteresses and their paramours were in most ancient nations liable to be punished with death by the injured party; but the adultery of a married man with an unmarried woman was thought lightly cf. The precept of the Decalogue binds both man and woman equally. Our Lord's expansion of this commandment (Matthew 5:27-32) is parallel to his expansion of the preceding one (ib, 21-26). He shows that there are adulterous marriages in countries where the law gives a facility of divorce, and that without any overt act adultery may be committed in the heart. The Fourth Word, "Remember the Sabbath-day, to keep it holy," presupposes an acquaintance with the Sabbath, as the expression "remember" is sufficient to show, but not that the Sabbath had been kept before this. From the history of the creation that had been handed down, Israel must have known, that after God had created the world in six days He rested the seventh day, and by His resting sanctified the day (Genesis 2:3). But hitherto there had been no commandment given to man to sanctify the day. This was given for the first time to Israel at Sinai, after preparation had been made for it by the fact that the manna did not fall on the seventh day of the week (Exodus 16:22). Here therefore the mode of sanctifying it was established for the first time. The seventh day was to be שׁבּי (a festival-keeper, see Exodus 16:23), i.e., a day of rest belonging to the Lord, and to be consecrated to Him by the fact that no work was performed upon it. The command not to do any (כּל) work applied to both man and beast without exception. Those who were to rest are divided into two classes by the omission of the cop. ו before עבדּך (Exodus 20:10): viz., first, free Israelites ("thou") and their children ("thy son and thy daughter"); and secondly, their slaves (man-servant and maid-servant), and cattle (beasts of draught and burden), and their strangers, i.e., foreign labourers who had settled among the Israelites. "Within thy gates" is equivalent to in the cities, towns, and villages of thy land, not in thy houses (cf. Deuteronomy 5:14; Deuteronomy 14:21, etc.). שׁער (a gate) is only applied to the entrances to towns, or large enclosed courts and palaces, never to the entrances into ordinary houses, huts, and tents. מלאכה work (cf. Genesis 2:2), as distinguished from עבדה labour, is not so much a term denoting a lighter kind of labour, as a general and comprehensive term applied to the performance of any task, whether easy or severe. עבדה is the execution of a definite task, whether in field labour (Psalm 104:23) and mechanical employment (Exodus 39:32) on the one hand, or priestly service and the duties connected with worship on the other (Exodus 12:25-26; Numbers 4:47). On the Sabbath (and also on the day of atonement, Leviticus 23:28, Leviticus 23:31) every occupation was to rest; on the other feast-days only laborious occupations (עבדה מלאכת, Leviticus 23:7.), i.e., such occupations as came under the denomination of labour, business, or industrial employment. Consequently, not only were ploughing and reaping (Exodus 34:21), pressing wine and carrying goods (Nehemiah 13:15), bearing burdens (Jeremiah 17:21), carrying on trade (Amos 8:5), and holding markets (Nehemiah 13:15.) prohibited, but collecting manna (Exodus 16:26.), gathering wood (Numbers 15:32.), and kindling fire for the purpose of boiling or baking (Exodus 35:3). The intention of this resting from every occupation on the Sabbath is evident from the foundation upon which the commandment is based in Exodus 20:11, viz., that at the creation of the heaven and the earth Jehovah rested on the seventh day, and therefore blessed the Sabbath-day and hallowed it. This does not imply, however, that "Israel was to follow the Lord by keeping the Sabbath, and, in imitation of His example, to be active where the Lord was active, and rest where the Lord rested; to copy the Lord in accordance with the lofty aim of man, who was created in His likeness, and make the pulsation of the divine life in a certain sense his own" (Schultz). For although a parallel is drawn, between the creation of the world by God in six days and His resting upon the seventh day on the one hand, and the labour of man for six days and his resting upon the seventh on the other; the reason for the keeping of the Sabbath is not to be found in this parallel, but in the fact that God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because He rested upon it. The significance of the Sabbath, therefore, is to be found in God's blessing and sanctifying the seventh day of the week at the creation, i.e., in the fact, that after the work of creation was finished on the seventh day, God blessed and hallowed the created world, filling it with the powers of peace and good belonging to His own blessed rest, and raising it to a participation in the pure light of His holy nature (see Genesis 2:3). For this reason His people Israel were to keep the Sabbath now, not for the purpose of imitating what God had done, and enjoying the blessing of God by thus following God Himself, but that on this day they also might rest from their work; and that all the more, because their work was no longer the work appointed to man at the first, when he was created in the likeness of God, work which did not interrupt his blessedness in God (Genesis 2:15), but that hard labour in the sweat of his brow to which he had been condemned in consequence of the fall. In order therefore that His people might rest from toil so oppressive to both body and soul, and be refreshed, God prescribed the keeping of the Sabbath, that they might thus possess a day for the repose and elevation of their spirits, and a foretaste of the blessedness into which the people of God are at last to enter, the blessedness of the eternal κατάπαυσις ἀπὸ τῶν ἔργων αὐτοῦ (Hebrews 4:10), the ἀνάπαυσις ἐκ τῶν κόπων (Revelation 14:13). See my Archaeologie, 77).

But instead of this objective ground for the sabbatical festival, which furnished the true idea of the Sabbath, when Moses recapitulated the decalogue, he adduced only the subjective aspect of rest or refreshing (Deuteronomy 5:14-15), reminding the people, just as in Exodus 23:12, of their bondage in Egypt and their deliverance from it by the strong arm of Jehovah, and then adding, "therefore (that thou mightest remember this deliverance from bondage) Jehovah commanded thee to keep the Sabbath-day." This is not at variance with the reason given in the present verse, but simply gives prominence to a subjective aspect, which was peculiarly adapted to warm the hearts of the people towards the observance of the Sabbath, and to render the Sabbath rest dear to the people, since it served to keep the Israelites constantly in mind of the rest which Jehovah had procured for them from the slave labour of Egypt. For resting from every work is the basis of the observance of the Sabbath; but this observance is an institution peculiar to the Old Testament, and not to be met with in any other nation, though there are many among whom the division of weeks occurs. The observance of the Sabbath, by being adopted into the decalogue, was made the foundation of all the festal times and observances of the Israelites, as they all culminated in the Sabbath rest. At the same time, as an ἐντολὴ τοῦ νόμον, an ingredient in the Sinaitic law, it belonged to the "shadow of (good) things to come" (Colossians 2:17, cf. Hebrews 10:1), which was to be done away when the "body" in Christ had come. Christ is Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8), and after the completion of His work, He also rested on the Sabbath. But He rose again on the Sunday; and through His resurrection, which is the pledge to the world of the fruits of His redeeming work, He has made this day the κυριακὴ ἡμέρα (Lord's day) for His Church, to be observed by it till the Captain of its salvation shall return, and having finished the judgment upon all His foes to the very last shall lead it to the rest of that eternal Sabbath, which God prepared for the whole creation through His own resting after the completion of the heaven and the earth.

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