That you might fear the LORD your God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, you, and your son…
I. CHILDREN WITH THEIR PARENTS ARE INCLUDED IN THE COVENANT. This has been a general principle in God's dealings with his servants. We have it affirmed, both in the covenant with Abraham (Genesis 17:7-15) and in the later covenant with Israel (Deuteronomy 29:10-12). It was signified in the rite of circumcision. The Israelitish child was regarded as within the covenant, a genuine member of the theocracy, till by a personal act of apostasy - if unfortunately it should be so - he severed himself from its blessings. Similar language is used of the children of Christian believers (Acts 2:39; 1 Corinthians 8:14). Received into the Church by baptism, they are recognized with their parents as interested in the promise; they are expected, on coming to years of discretion, freely to appropriate the obligations of the Christian life; and they are, in case of refusal, justly regarded as apostates from Christ.
II. THE STANDING OF CHILDREN IN THE COVENANT ENTAILS SERIOUS OBLIGATIONS ON THE PARENTS.
1. Religious instruction (vers. 6, 7, 20; Exodus 13:8, 14, etc.). The children had not been personally at Horeb. They had not seen the mighty works of God in Egypt and the desert. It was the duty cf. parents to acquaint them with the history, and to instruct them in their duties.
2. Religious training, which is education in act, as instruction is education in word (Genesis 18:19; Deuteronomy 21:18; Proverbs 29:15, etc.).
3. Religious example. The parent is to be one who loves the Lord for himself (ver. 5). The Word is to be in his own heart (ver. 6). Only thus will he teach with effect. All this has its counterpart in the duties of Christian parents (Ephesians 4:4; 1 Timothy 3:4; 2 Timothy 3:15, etc.).
III. THE STANDING OF CHILDREN IN THE COVENANT ENTAILS SERIOUS OBLIGATIONS ON THE CHILDREN. Where parental duties had been fulfilled, the Israelitish child was under the most sacred obligations to choose and adhere to the God of his fathers, and to serve him in the way prescribed. There was in this no interference with freedom, for when God proposes covenant relations to a human being, while it is his privilege, it can never be aught else than his duty to accept them. In the Christian Church, a like obligation rests on the children of believers. The baptized child is bound to serve God, and, if properly instructed (Matthew 28:19), it cannot evade the responsibilities thus laid upon it. Great is the guilt of a child brought up in a Christian home if wantonly it apostatizes. - J.O.
Parallel VersesKJV: That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.
WEB: that you might fear Yahweh your God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, you, and your son, and your son's son, all the days of your life; and that your days may be prolonged.