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AND Moses called all Israel, and said to them: Hear, O Israel, the ceremonies and judgments, which I speak in your ears this day: learn them, and fulfil them in work.

Ver. 1.  All Israel: not one was wanting, C. xxix. 10.  God enabled all to hear the words of their lawgiver, (M.) by an evident miracle.  Jansen.  C.


2 The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.

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3 He made not the covenant with our fathers, but with us, who are now present and living.

Ver. 3.  Fathers, the ancient patriarchs, who were not favoured in such a signal manner.  M.

 

--- Though many of those who had heard the words of God at Horeb, were dead, and had not enjoyed the full benefit of the covenant, some still remained, and the children of the deceased were about to enter the land which had been there promised.  H.

 

--- God did not make a covenant with the Patriarchs only, but also with their posterity at Horeb.  D.


4 He spoke to us face to face in the mount out of the midst of fire.

Ver. 4.  To us.  Heb. and Sept. "to you."

 

--- Face to face, in such a manner that no doubt could be entertained of his presence.  S. Aug.

 

--- God addressed the decalogue to all the people, who saw no similitude.  But to Moses he delivered the rest of his ordinances, with as much familiarity and condescension as one friend would use in speaking to another.  Ex. xxxiii. 2.  C.


5 I was the mediator and stood between the Lord and you at that time, to shew you his words, for you feared the fire, and went not up into the mountain, and he said:

Ver. 5.  Mediator.  S. Paul acknowledges this title of Moses, (Gal. iii. 9,) who was a figure of Jesus Christ, the mediator of the New Testament.  Heb. viii. 6. ix. 15. xii. 24.  C.

 

--- Let not Protestants, therefore, reject this title with so much indignation, when it is applied in the like limited sense to the saints, to denote that they pray for us, as we pray for one another. Christ is the one mediator (1 Tim. ii.) of redemption.  H.


6 I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage

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7 Thou shalt not have strange gods in my sight.

Ver. 7.  Sight.  Chaldee, "Thou shalt not have any other god but me."  Elohim often designates the true God.  C.

 

--- See the decalogue explained, (Ex. xx.,) where we have observed, that pictures are only forbidden when they are the objects of sovereign worship, as the context here plainly shews, v. 9.  Other images God himself authorized, (W.) even in the old law, and in the most sacred place, where people were ordered to fall prostrate before the ark, to adore his footstool.  Ps. xcviii. 5.  If, therefore, a people so prone to idolatry as the Jews were, might have pictures in the temple of God without danger, how can any one suppose that the images of Jesus Christ, and of his saints, are necessary incentive to idolatry among Christians, who all know that God will allow of no rival!  H.


8 Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of any things, that are in heaven above, or that are in the earth beneath, or that abide in the waters under the earth.

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9 Thou shalt not adore them, and thou shalt not serve them. For I am the Lord thy God, a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon their children unto the third and fourth generation, to them that hate me,

Ver. 9.  Serve.  We must neither treat idols, nor their images, with the honour due to God alone.  S. Aug. q. 61. in Gen.

 

--- If we do, he will punish our infidelity.

 

--- Generation, for a long time, or as long as the remembrance of the parents' wickedness subsists, so as to have an influence upon others.  H.

 

--- God mercifully defers correction.  S. Jer. in Ezec. xvii.  He chastises those who imitate their wicked forefathers.



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10 And shewing mercy unto many thousands, to them that love me, and keep my commandments.

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11 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for he shall not be unpunished that taketh his name upon a vain thing.

Ver. 11.  In vain, by perjury.  See v. 20, where the same word is used, (D.) or by any irreverent speech.  M.



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12 Observe the day of the sabbath, to sanctify it, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee.

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13 Six days shalt thou labour, and shalt do all thy works. 14 The seventh is the day of the sabbath, that is, the rest of the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not do any work therein, thou nor thy son nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant nor thy maidservant, nor thy ox, nor thy ass, nor any of thy beasts, nor the stranger that is within thy gates: that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest, even as thyself.

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15 Remember that thou also didst serve in Egypt, and the Lord thy God brought thee out from thence with a strong hand, and a stretched out arm. Therefore hath he commanded thee that thou shouldst observe the sabbath day.

Ver. 15.  Therefore.  This is another reason why the Jews were to observe the sabbath with particular rigour.  The institution of a day of rest every week, (H.) was intended to preserve the memory of the creation. C.

 

--- God also requires that his people should be grateful on this day for the rest which he had granted to them, (H.) and preserve carefully all the monuments of the true religion.  C.




16 Honour thy father and mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee, that thou mayst live a long time, and it may be well with thee in the land, which the Lord thy God will give thee.

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17 Thou shalt not kill.

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18 Neither shalt thou commit adultery.

Ver. 18.  Adultery.  Under this name God forbids every species of impurity.  S. Aug. q. 71.  M.



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19 And thou shalt not steal. 20 Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Ver. 20.  False.  Hebrew shave, "vain," is synonymous with sheker, "false," used Ex. xx. 16.


21 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife: nor his house, nor his field, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is his.

Ver. 21.  His.  Here the Samaritan copy inserts the order for erecting an altar upon Mount Garizim, which we have given, Ex. xx. 27.  It occurs below.  C. xxviii. 2, &c.  C.



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22 These words the Lord spoke to all the multitude of you in the mountain, out of the midst of the fire and the cloud, and the darkness, with a loud voice, adding nothing more: and he wrote them in two tables of stone, which he delivered unto me.

Ver. 22.  More to the people: the other precepts were communicated to Moses.  The Chaldee and others give a contrary turn to the Heb. "and he ceased not" ever since to instruct us.  C.

 

--- Moses gives the sense, not the very words of the decalogue, in which he is not guilty of any lie.  S. Aug. q. 8.  D.


23 But you, after you heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, and saw the mountain burn, came to me, all the princes of the tribes and the elders, and you said:

Ver. 23.  You said, by the mouths of your princes.  Ex. xx. 19.


24 Behold the Lord our God hath shewn us his majesty and his greatness, we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire, and have proved this day that God speaking with man, man hath lived.
25 Why shall we die therefore, and why shall this exceeding great fire consume us: for if we hear the voice of the Lord our God any more, we shall die.

Ver. 25.  Die.  Past experience did not entirely remove from them the fear which was so generally entertained, that the sight of the heavenly beings would prove destructive.  So Daniel (C. x. 17,) said on a similar occasion, my breath is stopped.  H.


26 What is all flesh, that it should hear the voice of the living God, who speaketh out of the midst of the fire, as we have heard, and be able to live? 27 Approach thou rather: and hear all things that the Lord our God shall say to thee, and thou shalt speak to us, and we will hear and will do them. 28 And when the Lord had heard this, he said to me: I have heard the voice of the words of this people, which they spoke to thee: they have spoken all things well. 29 Who shall give them to have such a mind, to fear me, and to keep all my commandments at all times, that it may be well with them and with their children for ever?

Ver. 29.  A mind.  God speaks like men, and insinuates how agreeable to him is a disposition influenced by a salutary fear.  He does not mean that He cannot convert the heart of man.  E.

 

--- God exerts his power over our will by persuasive invitations.  Maimonides.


30 Go and say to them: Return into your tents. 31 But stand thou here with me, and I will speak to thee all my commandments, and ceremonies and judgments: which thou shalt teach them, that they may do them in the land, which I will give them for a possession. 32 Keep therefore and do the things which the Lord God hath commanded you: you shall not go aside neither to the right hand, nor to the left.

Ver. 32.  Left: a proverbial expression, to signify that no sort of transgression is to be allowed.  M.

 

--- It is of the same import as, You shall not add, &c.  C. iv. 2.  C.


33 But you shall walk in the way that the Lord your God hath commanded, that you may live, and it may be well with you, and your days may be long in the land of your possession.
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