Exodus 20:16
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
"You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

New Living Translation
"You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.

English Standard Version
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Berean Study Bible
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

New American Standard Bible
"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

King James Bible
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Christian Standard Bible
Do not give false testimony against your neighbor.

Contemporary English Version
Do not tell lies about others.

Good News Translation
"Do not accuse anyone falsely.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Do not give false testimony against your neighbor.

International Standard Version
"You are not to testify falsely against your neighbor.

NET Bible
"You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

New Heart English Bible
"Do not give false testimony against your neighbor.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"Never lie when you testify about your neighbor.

JPS Tanakh 1917

New American Standard 1977
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Thou shalt not give false testimony against thy neighbour.

King James 2000 Bible
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

American King James Version
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

American Standard Version
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Darby Bible Translation
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

English Revised Version
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Webster's Bible Translation
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

World English Bible
"You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

Young's Literal Translation
'Thou dost not answer against thy neighbour a false testimony.
Study Bible
The Ten Commandments
15You shall not steal. 16You shall not bear FALSE witness against your neighbor. 17You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, or his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.…
Cross References
Matthew 19:18
"Which ones?" the man asked. Jesus answered, "'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness,

Luke 3:14
Then some soldiers asked him, "And what should we do?" "Do not take money by force or false accusation," he said. "Be content with your wages."

Exodus 23:1
You shall not spread a false report. Do not join the wicked by being a malicious witness.

Exodus 23:7
Stay far away from a false accusation. Do not kill the innocent and the just, for I will not acquit the guilty.

Leviticus 19:11
You must not steal. You must not lie or deceive one another.

Leviticus 19:18
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against any of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

Deuteronomy 5:20
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Proverbs 25:18
Like a club or sword or sharp arrow is a man who bears false witness against his neighbor.

Treasury of Scripture

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Exodus 23:6,7 You shall not wrest the judgment of your poor in his cause…

Leviticus 19:11,16 You shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another…

Deuteronomy 19:15-21 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or …

1 Samuel 22:8-19 That all of you have conspired against me, and there is none that …

1 Kings 21:10-13 And set two men, sons of Belial, before him, to bear witness against …

Psalm 15:3 He that backbites not with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, …

Psalm 101:5-7 Whoever privately slanders his neighbor, him will I cut off: him …

Proverbs 10:18 He that hides hatred with lying lips, and he that utters a slander, is a fool.

Proverbs 11:13 A talebearer reveals secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit …

Matthew 26:59,60 Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false …

Acts 6:13 And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceases not to speak …

Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, …

1 Timothy 1:10 For fornicators, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for …

2 Timothy 3:3 Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, …

James 4:11 Speak not evil one of another, brothers. He that speaks evil of his …

(16) Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.--Our fourth duty to our neighbour is not to injure his character. Our great poet has said--

"Who steals my purse, steals trash,

But he who filches from me my good name,

Robs me of that which not enriches him,

Yet leaves me poor indeed,"--

Thus indicating the fact that calumny may injure a man more than robbery. False witness is, of course, worst when given in a court of justice; and this offence has generally been made punishable by law. It was peculiar to the Hebrew legislation that it not only forbade and punished (Deuteronomy 19:16-20) false testimony of this extreme kind, but denounced also the far commoner, yet scarcely less injurious, practice of spreading untrue reports about others, thus injuring them in men's esteem. The ninth commandment is broad enough in its terms to cover both forms of the sin, though pointing especially to the form which is of the more heinous character. Lest its wider bearing should be overlooked, the Divine legislator added later a distinct prohibition of calumny in the words. "Thou shalt not raise a false report" (Exodus 23:1).

Verse 16. - Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. False witness is of two kinds, public and private. We may either seek to damage our neighbour by giving false evidence against him in a court of justice, or simply calumniate him to others in our social intercourse with them. The form of the expression here used points especially to false witness of the former kind, but does not exclude the latter, which is expressly forbidden in Exodus 23:1. The wrong done to a man by false evidence in a court may be a wrong of the very extremest kind - may be actual murder (1 Kings 21:13) More often, however, it results in an injury to his property or his character. As fatal to the administration of justice, false witness in courts has been severely visited by penalties in all well-regulated states. At Athens the false witness was liable to a heavy fine, and if thrice convicted lost all his civil rights. At Rome, by a law of the Twelve Tables, he was hurled headlong from the Tarpeian rock. In Egypt, false witness was punished by amputation of the nose and ears (Records of the Past, vol. 8. p. 65). Private calumny may sometimes involve as serious consequences to individuals as false witness in a court. It may ruin a man; it may madden him; it may drive him to suicide. But it does not disorganise the whole framework of society, like perjured evidence before a tribunal; and states generally are content to leave the injured party to the remedy of an action-at-law. The Mosaic legislation was probably the first wherein it was positively forbidden to circulate reports to the prejudice of another, and where consequently this was a criminal offence. Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Neither publicly in a court of judicature, by laying things to his charge that are false, and swearing to them, to his hurt and damage; nor privately, by whispering, tale bearing, backbiting, slandering, by telling lies of him, traducing his character by innuendos, sly insinuations, and evil suggestions, whereby he may suffer in his character, credit, and reputation, and in his trade and business; Aben Ezra thinks the words describe the character of the person that is not to bear witness in any court, and to be read thus, "thou shall not answer who art a false witness": or, "O thou false witness": meaning that such an one should not be admitted an evidence in court, who had been convicted already of being a false witness; his word and oath are not to be taken, nor should any questions be put to him, or he suffered to answer to any; his depositions should have no weight with those before whom they were made, nay, even they should not be taken, nor such a person be allowed to make any; but this is to put this precept in a quite different form from all the rest, and without any necessity, since the word may as well be taken for a testimony bore, as for the person that bears it: this is the ninth commandment. 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.
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