Exodus 20:12
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.

King James Bible
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

American Standard Version
Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Honour thy father and thy mother, that thou mayest be longlived upon the land which the Lord thy God will give thee.

English Revised Version
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Webster's Bible Translation
Honor thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Exodus 20:12 Parallel
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

"Thou shalt not pray to them and serve them." (On the form תּעבדם with the o-sound under the guttural, see Ewald, 251d.). השׁתּחוה signifies bending before God in prayer, and invoking His name; עבד, worship by means of sacrifice and religious ceremonies. The suffixes להם and - ם (to them, and them) refer to the things in heaven, etc., which are made into pesel, symbols of Jehovah, as being the principal object of the previous clause, and not to כּל־תּמוּנה פּסל, although פּסל עבד is applied in Psalm 97:7 and 2 Kings 17:41 to a rude idolatrous worship, which identifies the image as the symbol of deity with the deity itself, Still less do they refer to אחרים אלהים in Exodus 20:3.

The threat and promise, which follow in Exodus 20:5 and Exodus 20:6, relate to the first two commandments, and not to the second alone; because both of them, although forbidding two forms of idolatry, viz., idolo-latry and ikono-latry, are combined in a higher unity, by the fact, that whenever Jehovah, the God who cannot be copied because He reveals His spiritual nature in no visible form, is worshipped under some visible image, the glory of the invisible God is changed, or Jehovah changed into a different God from what He really is. Through either form of idolatry, therefore, Israel would break its covenant with Jehovah. For this reason God enforces the two commandments with the solemn declaration: "I, Jehovah thy God, am קנּא אל a jealous God;" i.e., not only ζηλωτής, a zealous avenger of sinners, but ζηλοτύπος, a jealous God, who will not transfer to another the honour that is due to Himself (Isaiah 42:8; Isaiah 48:11), nor tolerate the worship of any other god (Exodus 34:14), but who directs the warmth of His anger against those who hate Him (Deuteronomy 6:15), with the same energy with which the warmth of His love (Sol 8:6) embraces those who love Him, except that love in the form of grace reaches much further than wrath. The sin of the fathers He visits (punishes) on the children to the third and fourth generation. שׁלּשׁים third (sc., children) are not grandchildren, but great-grandchildren, and רבּעים the fourth generation. On the other hand He shows mercy to the thousandths, i.e., to the thousandth generation (cf. Deuteronomy 7:9, where דּור לאלף stands for לאלפים). The cardinal number is used here for the ordinal, for which there was no special form in the case of אלף. The words לשׂנאי and לאהבי, in which the punishment and grace are traced to their ultimate foundation, are of great importance to a correct understanding of this utterance of God. The ל before שׂנאי does not take up the genitive with עון again, as Knobel supposes, for no such use of ל can be established from Genesis 7:11; Genesis 16:3; Genesis 14:18; Genesis 41:12, or in fact in any way whatever. In this instance ל signifies "at" or "in relation to;" and לשׂנאי, from its very position, cannot refer to the fathers alone, but to the fathers and children to the third and fourth generation. If it referred to the fathers alone, it would necessarily stand after אבת. וגו לאהבי is to be taken in the same way. God punishes the sin of the fathers in the children to the third and fourth generation in relation to those who hate Him, and shows mercy to the thousandth generation in relation to those who love Him. The human race is a living organism, in which not only sin and wickedness are transmitted, but evil as the curse of the sin and the punishment of the wickedness. As children receive their nature from their parents, or those who beget them, so they have also to bear and atone for their fathers' guilt. This truth forced itself upon the minds even of thoughtful heathen from their own varied experience (cf. Aeschyl. Sept. 744; Eurip. according to Plutarch de sera num. vind. 12, 21; Cicero de nat. deorum 3, 38; and Baumgarten-Crusius, bibl. Theol. p. 208). Yet there is no fate in the divine government of the world, no irresistible necessity in the continuous results of good and evil; but there reigns in the world a righteous and gracious God, who not only restrains the course of His penal judgments, as soon as the sinner is brought to reflection by the punishment and hearkens to the voice of God, but who also forgives the sin and iniquity of those who love Him, keeping mercy to the thousandth generation (Exodus 34:7). The words neither affirm that sinning fathers remain unpunished, nor that the sins of fathers are punished in the children and grandchildren without any fault of their own: they simply say nothing about whether and how the fathers themselves are punished; and, in order to show the dreadful severity of the penal righteousness of God, give prominence to the fact, that punishment is not omitted-that even when, in the long-suffering of God, it is deferred, it is not therefore neglected, but that the children have to bear the sins of their fathers, whenever, for example (as naturally follows from the connection of children with their fathers, and, as Onkelos has added in his paraphrase of the words), "the children fill up the sins of their fathers," so that the descendants suffer punishment for both their own and their forefathers' misdeeds (Leviticus 26:39; Isaiah 65:7; Amos 7:17; Jeremiah 16:11.; Daniel 9:16). But when, on the other hand, the hating ceases, when the children forsake their fathers' evil ways, the warmth of the divine wrath is turned into the warmth of love, and God becomes חסד עשׂה ("showing mercy") to them; and this mercy endures not only to the third and fourth generation, but to the thousandth generation, though only in relation to those who love God, and manifest this love by keeping His commandments. "If God continues for a long time His visitation of sin, He continues to all eternity His manifestation of mercy, and we cannot have a better proof of this than in the history of Israel itself" (Schultz).

(Note: On the visitation of the sins of the fathers upon the children, see also Hengstenberg, Dissertations, vol. ii. p. 446ff.)

Exodus 20:12 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


Exodus 21:15,17 And he that smites his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death...

Leviticus 19:3,32 You shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths: I am the LORD your God...

1 Kings 2:19 Bathsheba therefore went to king Solomon, to speak to him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her, and bowed himself to her...

2 Kings 2:12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more...

Proverbs 1:8,9 My son, hear the instruction of your father, and forsake not the law of your mother...

Proverbs 15:5 A fool despises his father's instruction: but he that regards reproof is prudent.

Proverbs 20:20 Whoever curses his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.

Proverbs 23:22-25 Listen to your father that begat you, and despise not your mother when she is old...

Proverbs 28:24 Whoever robs his father or his mother, and said, It is no transgression; the same is the companion of a destroyer.

Proverbs 30:11,17 There is a generation that curses their father, and does not bless their mother...

Malachi 1:6 A son honors his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is my honor? and if I be a master, where is my fear?...

Matthew 15:4-6 For God commanded, saying, Honor your father and mother: and, He that curses father or mother, let him die the death...

Luke 18:20 You know the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness...

Ephesians 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Ephesians 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right...

Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing to the Lord.

that thy

Deuteronomy 4:26,40 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day...

Deuteronomy 25:15 But you shall have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shall you have...

Deuteronomy 32:47 For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this thing you shall prolong your days in the land...

Proverbs 3:16 Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honor.

Cross References
Matthew 15:4
For God commanded, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.'

Matthew 19:19
Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Mark 7:10
For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.'

Mark 10:19
You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'"

Luke 18:20
You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.'"

Ephesians 6:2
"Honor your father and mother" (this is the first commandment with a promise),

Leviticus 19:3
Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and you shall keep my Sabbaths: I am the LORD your God.

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