And you shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shall you profane the name of your God: I am the LORD.
All nations have severely punished perjury. The Egyptians with dentil or mutilation; the Greeks with heavy fines and ultimate loss of all civil rights; the Romans visited it with the penalty of death. These ancient nations all held that the gods were especially incensed by this crime, and that a Divine Nemesis pursued the perjurer.
I. WHAT SWEARING BY GOD'S NAME ENTAILS.
1. Acknowledgment of His Omniscience. It calls Him to witness, and imprecates Him as the avenger of falsehood.
2. Acknowledgment of His righteousness. He is to be the umpire and arbitrator. We call in as a witness to our fidelity only such a one as is himself faithful and true, and will act a right part. Such is God. Man's use of His name is an appeal to the certainty that He will judge aright.
II. WHAT PERJURY IN GOD'S NAME ENTAILS.
1. An insolent affront upon God's character. It is infamy, daring insolence, the degradation of His most holy name for unholy ends. It invokes Him to act as a witness that a lie is true. Yet He loathes falsity. It is defiant trifling, an affront to the God of truth. It "profanes His name."
2. A certain visitation of judgment. He "will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain" (Exodus 20:7). Certainly, therefore, He will punish lying and profanity. Having been called in as a witness to a lie, He will prove that He witnessed it. Thus to insult His love of truth and defy His power to vindicate it, and trail the purity of His character in the mire — before whom the very angels veil their faces as they adore Him — will ensure a just requital (Hebrews 10:30). And "there shall in no wise enter the heavenly city any who loveth and maketh a lie" (Revelation 21:27).
(W. H. Jellie.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.