Deuteronomy - Lesson 9
The Decalogue in Context
When Moses recites the Decalogue in Deuteronomy 5, there are parts that are similar to the passage in Exodus, and there are some significant differences. He begins with getting the attention of the people of Israel and appealing for covenant fidelity, restates the Decalogue, then ends with a document clause, using covenant language.
The Decalogue in Context
The Decalogue in Context
I. Preamble to the Recitation of the Decalogue
A. Moses’ summons to attention
B. Reference to Horeb
II. Recitation of the Decalogue
III. Distinctive Character of the Deuteronomy Version
A. First three similar to Exodus
B. Keep the sabbath holy
C. Honor your father and mother
D. Don't kill
IV. Document Clause
A. Patriarchal vs. patricentric
B. Covenantal ethic
VI. Response of the people
The book of Deuteronomy contains the gospel message. Even though there are some laws mentioned, the essence of the book is prophetic preaching. Your presuppositions and principles for interpretation that you use will make a difference in how you view the meaning and significance of the book of Deuteronomy.
Deuteronomy is primarily a collection of sermons but its structure is covenantal. The structure of the covenant was commonly used in other cultures in the Ancient Near East during this time period. God tells the people of Israel that he is their God and the people say that they are God’s treasured possession. (Note: Mt. Sinai and Mt. Horeb are referring to the same thing. They are used interchangeably)
God gave the Decalogue to Moses so they have authority as Scripture. The book of Deuteronomy as whole is also Scripture. It contains the speeches of Moses and narrative passages. It’s the lense through which we view the other books of the Pentateuch.
Moses begins by recalling events that happened during their wandering in the wilderness, then recent events as they have gotten closer to entering the promises land from the east. Moses is idealized in the Old and New Testaments and in the writings of historians. You get a different picture when you read his first address. It shows Moses as faithful but flawed.
The Law was given to the nation of Israel after they had been freed from Egypt as the way to respond to God’s grace. God gives them the boundaries for right and wrong and a process to restore relationship when it is broken.
With the privilege of salvation and covenant relationship comes the call for a righteous response, demonstrated in joyful obedience to the Savior and Lord. A covenant is a formally confirmed agreement between two or more parties that creates, formalizes, governs a relationship that does not exist naturally or a natural relationship that has disintegrated.
God’s people are a privileged people; they have been graciously redeemed, and set apart as his special treasure, his holy covenant people. God acts graciously to undeserving people and they respond joyfully with obedience. The is the end of the first speech of Moses, Deuteronomy 4:32-40.
The Decalogue is the bill of rights of the people of ancient Israel. It is the ten principles of covenant relationship. It creates a picture of covenant righteousness and provides a foundation for later revelation. The Decalogue contains the features of a typical covenant and conditional and unconditional laws. The addressee is the head of the household because they can be a threat to others.
When Moses recites the Decalogue in Deuteronomy 5, there are parts that are similar to the passage in Exodus, and there are some significant differences. He begins with getting the attention of the people of Israel and appealing for covenant fidelity, restates the Decalogue, then ends with a document clause, using covenant language.
The Shema is a call for whole-hearted, full-bodied commitment. This passage is a theological exposition and pastoral proclamation to impress on the minds of the people of Israel the special relationship they enjoyed with YHWH. The grace God showed them must be embraced with grateful and unreserved devotion to their redeemer and covenant Lord.
God chooses the covenant partner, sets the terms, declares the goal, identifies the sign and determines the consequences of disobedience of the covenant. After Moses explains the purpose of the Law, he explains to the children how the Law was given and that learning it and putting it into practice will bring them life.
Moses talks to the people of Israel as they are entering the land, about how they will respond to the external test of confronting and dispossessing the surrounding nations. He reminds them of their special status with God and the covenant that he offers them unconditionally. He challenges them with the theological, ethical and missional significance of the test.
How can you worship a God that asks the people of Israel to wipe out the Canaanites? The reason for Israel taking the land is so the people of Israel as a holy people will be preserved so the world will be preserved. God is fundamentally compassionate and gracious, he does what is right and God offers us grace and mercy.
When everything goes right, what do you do then? The message of this passage is, “don’t forget.” YHWH provided manna in the wilderness to feed the people of Israel. God was also teaching them in the wilderness that life comes from every word of the mouth of God, not just by eating physical food. Moses challenges the people to respond to prosperity by praising God, not by taking the credit themselves.
The enemies in the Promised Land are formidable. God promises to defeat them. Moses warns that people to acknowledge that God is responsible. Even though the Canaanites do not follow God, the reason God chose the people is not because they are morally superior to the Canaanites.
Israel’s covenant with YHWH is based entirely on his grace and they don’t deserve it. Moses interceded on behalf the of people of Israel to ask God to not judge them and God is described as, “changing his mind” and renewing his covenant with them.
“What does YHWH ask of you?” Moses answers this question, then gives a doxology to confirm it and an application to illustrate it. God wants you to have a soft heart toward him, to live in an attitude of trusting awe and to act in a way that honors the covenant that God has established with you.
Moses has given a profound theology of land. He gives the people of Israel instructions for what God wants them to do when they enter the land to confirm their covenant with God. This included using uncut stones and plastering them and writing the Torah on them and then praising God. The land is an integral part of the covenant. The people shout blessings on Mount Gerizim and curses on Mount Ebal.
As the people of Israel enter the land, God has instructions for them on how to live in relationship with him and worship him so that it may go well with them and their children. They are to reject the false worship practices of the surrounding nations and accept God’s invitation to come and worship him in the place and in the way he has designed for them.
The Levites represent a barometer on where the people of Israel are in their ethical religion. They are not given land as an inheritance so it is the responsibility of people in the other tribes to support them. Moses presents a theology of worship but doesn’t go into detail.
This is a warning to the people of Israel to not imitate the materialistic preoccupation and the brutal rituals associated with the worship practices of the surrounding nations when they worship YHWH. There are warnings against following false prophets, someone in your family or people in your community if they are promoting seditious religious practices. The apostle Paul uses similar language in the New Testament when warning people about following people who teach heresies.
In contrast to worship with the purpose of satisfying the gods, YHWH delights in fellowship with his people and for them to celebrate in his presence. YHWH encourages his people to eat in his presence and with other people. His guidelines about which foods are acceptable to eat set the people of Israel apart from other nations.
A main purpose of the national festivals was to keep alive the memory of God’s grace and maintain their faith in god and their covenant with him.
Moses describes the key offices and roles that keep the society going by providing political and spiritual structure. The primary concern is righteousness. The king is to be the embodiment of Torah righteousness. Moses outlines specific steps to achieve this and describes what it will look like.
Moses, in his role as prophet, is the commissioned envoy of righteousness to the people of Israel. Moses was a mediator between God and the people of Israel. He warned the people of Israel about false prophets and the danger of adopting the worship practices of the surrounding nations.
Moses provides a picture of covenant life and godliness in a way that you can apply it to every situation in life. It’s important to care for the poor and the resident alien and to show justice to them. The resident aliens were invited to participate in the feasts and covenant life.
The ideal for the people of Israel was a patricentric society but in often the reality was a patriarchal society. In a patricentric society, the male head of the clan will provide resources and security in a way that gives his family and the community opportunities to flourish. The vision for women in Deuteronomy is different than the world that is described in Israelite narratives.
Celebrating God’s goodness and grace in the Land. Bringing an offering from the firsfruits of the harvest is a time to remember how God has provided for the people of Israel in the past, both as individuals and as a community. There are lessons we can learn about worhship and living faithfully. This is the Deuteronomic creed.
Some people view the curses in Deuteronomy 28 as a stumbling block to accepting the Old Testament as Christian Scripture because they say it represents God as vengeful. However, this was a common way of writing covenants in the Ancient Near East, they follow a list of extraordinary blessings, they serve a pastoral function and there are similar curses articulated in the New Testament.
Deuteronomy 29 begins with Moses recounting how YHWH brought the people out of Egypt and gave them victory in the land east of the Jordan River. Then he describes the curses they will experience when they turn away from the Lord. Chapter 30 describes the eschatological restoration. Deuteronomy 29:29 refers to the mystery of divine grace. (The movie and book series that Dr. Block is referring to is Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien. The prequel to this series is The Hobbit.)
This is the final altar call of Moses to the people of Israel to appeal to them to choose life by living in covenant relationship with YHWH. The revelation of YHWH given through Moses is to be memorized, recited and used as a guide for conduct. It is understandable and doable.
The Torah that Moses has been preaching was written down. This is the introduction to the song of Moses and contains the commissioning of Joshua, who will take over after Moses dies. Part of the book of Deuteronomy is the death narrative of Moses.
This passage is a poetic witness to the people of Israel of the faithfulness of YHWH and the faithlessness of Israel. Moses was told to teach it to the people of Israel so they could pass it on to their descendants. People could sing it throughout the day and it could be presented as a musical drama at national celebrations.
At the end of the sermons of Moses, he pronounces a benediction by saying something specific for each tribe. Deuteronomy 33 and Genesis 49 have some similarities and differences in the way the sons of Jacob and their descendants are blessed. The exordium and the coda frame the blessings by describing YHWH’s care and provision for the people of Israel as their king.
This is the last narrative story about Moses in the Old Testament. God tells him to go up on Mt. Nebo where he is able to see the land. Joshua takes over as the leader of the people. There is a eulogy for Moses at the end.
The Gospel according to Moses. This is a collection of sermons of Moses as the people of Israel are poised to enter the promised land after being in the wilderness for 40 years. Deuteronomy is a special book, calling God’s people to celebrate his grace and demonstrate covenant love for him with action that glorifies his name. Until we recognize the gospel in this book, we will not read this book. (Note: Mt. Sinai and Mt. Horeb are referring to the same mountain. They are used interchangeably)
The Gospel according to Moses
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Dr. Daniel Block
The Decalogue in Context
[00:00:00] All right. In our previous session, we talked about the Decalogue, almost in the abstract, as if it is an independent composition. But now we need to look at this document inserted into Moses address. What is it doing here? Why does he start here? And so we have to talk about the preamble to the his recitation of the Decalogue. And then at the end, we'll talk about is there such a thing as post amble? The epilog to this address and that will be the subject of this lesson. Well, the opening to to Moses second address divides into four parts. You have Moses interpretation of the significance of the Decalogue for this generation. Five 1 to 5 The recitation of the Decalogue 6 to 22. His recollection of the People's Response to the Decalogue. 23 to 33. And then Moses plea for a careful hearing of himself who is the authorized spokesman for God after the Decalogue. Six One, two, three. And that's where the Chapter division should come again. So the chapter division not helpful here. So let's talk about Moses first. SCHAMA Here or Israel. The preamble to the recitation, he begins by summoning the people to attention and appealing for fidelity Hero, Israel. The ordinances and the judgments that I declare in your hearing today. This is a call to attention and then learn them and keep them by putting them into practice, literally by doing them. But that's awkward in English. You don't do command. You don't do laws. Well, we do lunch. So in a way, it works. But putting them into practice is a couple of observations. One, this opening statement reminds us that Moses is not attempting to duplicate the narrative. We have an exodus. Or recite precisely what this is like the Gospel of John, where he doesn't attempt to retell the story that you have in Matthew, Mark and Luke.
[00:02:27] Rather, he gives us the theological significance implications of this, like impressionist art. He is trying to create a disposition. He is a preacher trying to reshape people's minds. In all that, what follows? Second, his goal in this address is not to offer an intellectually stimulating lecture on the Decalogue, but to change behavior. That's the point. Learn them and keep them by doing them. So that's that. Those are the first three verses. Then you have Moses rhetorical transformation of his audience back to horror. This is really weird. Yahweh, our God, made a covenant with us at Horeb. It was not with our fathers that Yahweh made this covenant, but the last with us. These here today, all of us who are alive, I mean, the Hebrew here is very awkward but is emphatic. It's you guys. We're at Horeb when it's alive. They weren't there when they've been born. And so you have to again, it's a matter of speech act theory. You've got the locution, which are the words people use and the elocution, the meaning intended with the words. And third per locution what people do with the words. When you first came in, you said, I didn't mean to interrupt. Really? Then why did you do it? Are you sleepwalking? This reminds me of I was teaching a course in Kentucky in the middle of summer, and it was hot as can be. And the air conditioner wasn't working. And suddenly the door opened and the maintenance guy stepped in and said. I didn't mean to interrupt, but. Really? Didn't he know what he was doing? Of course he meant to interrupt. But what was he actually saying? Excuse me. We knew what he meant. He said, I'm here to fix it. And we said, Fine, we'll go have coffee.
[00:04:58] You can fix it. In 10 minutes later, we were back in the room was cool. I was happy, he interrupted. But the words we use and the meaning we intend are often quite different. If I'm fumbling around and wanting to write something and I don't have I don't have a can't find my pencil. I say, Have you got a pen? How would you interpret that? You want to follow? Do you want to borrow one? I didn't say. I know it's a purely academic. Do you have a pen in your possession? Those are the words we're using. But the point we're making is often quite different from the words. This is very important for translation theory. What's the point being made in here? If you go by the literal translation, it's all a lie. Moses is saying God didn't make a covenant with our fathers. Yes, she did. They were there. They signed on. God made it with us. We were there. No, you weren't. It's all a lie. But he's playing a rhetorical game. He's trying to get them to a certain point in how they think about stuff. Guys with what is happening here today, with our covenant renewal rituals we're having here underlying the book of Deuteronomy. We are in effect, transported back to. Up. That's the outcome. That's the elocution God is doing for us. What he did to for them. Only they blew it. So this is important. Yahweh spoke with you face to face. I dropped that in the translation. Yahoo! Spoke with you face to face on the mountain out of the midst of the fire. No, we're not. We're on the plains of Moab. But it's it's odd. But it's not hard to get what he's doing. He's a preacher.
[00:07:01] Preachers often use we use our words. This is what gets us into trouble. There are literalists in our crowd, Nicodemus says. You mean I have to crawl into my mummy's tummy again and be born again? He's a literalist. You must be born again. But. But you get the point, Nicodemus. You should know better what I'm talking about. Well, so that's what we have a couple of observations here. Moses announces the significance of the events that home on that day. Yeah. We made a covenant with Israel at Horeb. Two. Rhetorically, Moses transports this generation his immediate audience back to their. Obviously, contrary to fact, he declares that Yahweh didn't make the covenant with their fathers. That is the Exodus generation, but with the people standing in front of him. Obviously, it's not true, literally. Since most of these hadn't been born. Oh, there were some those who were under 20 at Sinai. They were here. But the rest of them, that's a brand new generation, which is remarkable. Think about it. The people that bore the external marks of the covenant circumcision. Now we're going to Galatians and Romans. They came out of Egypt, the circumcised people. They experienced the exodus. They had met Yahweh at the mountain. They are dismissed as irrelevant. While this generation, which was uncircumcised. They're the true covenant people. It's a shocker. It's a shocker. If only Paul's detractors would have picked this up. Third, Moses highlights how intimate and direct the original encounter with Yahoo! Was. Yeah, we had invited the people into his presence for an audience with himself. That's what worship involves. Entrance into the presence of God that he might speak to us. It's not about us speaking to him. It's about him speaking to us. And that's what this is an awesome moment.
[00:09:10] And then he talks about his own role at that time. Oh, by the way, I was standing between Jacqui and you to declare to you the word of God, Yahweh, because you were afraid of the fire and would go up the mountain. So he's already hinting at what happened at the end of the Lord, speaking as we'll have more detail in verse 23 and following an observation here in recalling the people's response, he alludes to the moment Yahweh officially installed him as mediator of Divine Revelation. From that point on, he will say more on this later, but that's the authority that underlies this address. Listen. I am the authorized spokesman. You saw it with your own eyes. How the Lord authorized me. In most instances, the call of prophets happened privately. But the call of Moses to prophetic ministry happened publicly. In the eyes of all the people. And so he's alluding to that. Well, that sets the stage then for verses 6 to 22, which is the recitation of the Decalogue. And notice how he begins, he said. Which reminds us that what follows is presented as a citation of God's own speech. The Decalogue may be the most familiar text in Deuteronomy, but it's often sorely misinterpreted. Interpreted? I've already hinted at that, but it presents us with a rare opportunity to observe a particular text in two versions for what Moses recites or relate. Largely repeats what we find in Exodus. But you do have other references or examples of this that come very, very early. Here is a papyrus, which is in the Cambridge University Library. It's a nice little papyrus piece, but it was found in Egypt and it is dated to 152 200 B.C.. So this is older than any Hebrew manuscripts that we had until they discovered some of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
[00:11:38] So it's very old. It's bc2 centuries before Christ. Well, this is an interesting document because on it you find the Decalogue and we'll come back to it later. The shimmer is at the bottom. Right after. So this was presumably a text that was used for private liturgical exercises, devotional exercises, presumably. It doesn't tell us what it is, but it's an eclectic text when it has the Decalogue, sometimes that follows Exodus. And sometimes it's like Deuteronomy. So whoever produced this document says, let's catch the best of both worlds. And so it's that it also has some features that were unique to the Septuagint translation. So even there it goes off the Hebrew and sounds like the Alexandrian version that was used in Egypt. We also have this is a Dead Sea scroll of the Decalogue from 100 years later, about 50 B.C.. So there is a version and you can see how they were writing it. No, if you look closely without vowels, it's always only continental text without vowels, and then the spacing usually becomes significant, but not always. Four or five years ago, I was in Bologna to celebrate the rediscovery of a scrolled Torah scroll that had been in the Bologna library for hundreds of years. It everybody always thought this was a set, an 18th century, poorly produced scroll, until the professor, Mauro Perrone, discovered it and devoted his attention to this scroll and discovered, No, this is not a late document. In fact, it is the earliest complete Torah scroll that we have. The whole thing is there from 1155 to 1225. This is the Torah scroll and we have the Decalogue. Well, here is the Decalogue from. What did I want to write about 1200 B.C.. This is how we have the Decalogue here.
[00:14:15] This is interesting for us when we're trying to figure out where do we divide the commands and everything, the spacing that they have. But in any case, this is the Deuteronomy version, and this is the Exodus version. They're both in this whole big. It's a massive scroll. One person can hardly lift the whole thing. And you could see from from this how big it is. Made of sheepskin leather. Well, it's very heavy. It's heavier than paper. Well, what else can we say about this? He declared to you, is a covenant which he commanded you to perform the Greek words. That is the ten words. And he wrote them on two tablets of stone. We've seen all of this. But why? Ten words we've emphasized. So you can memorize it so that you don't have to have the document in front of you when you're having covenant renewal sermons. In fact, to this day, the Festival of Pentecost, in Jewish tradition, 50 days after Passover, the Festival of Pentecost celebrates the covenant, God making the covenant at Sinai, and they recite the Decalogue. As part of the covenant rituals. So these are the word Devery. The ten words could be words, objects, events, statements. I prefer in terms of meaning ten foundational principles or covenant relationship. But let's look at the distinctive character of Deuteronomy, because this we're studying Deuteronomy, we're not studying Exodus. So what we want to do is ask what is due to Runnymede doing with this thing that is uniquely Deuteronomy, or should we now say Mosaic? We we mentioned this before the first two commands by my numbering you. You've got the Prolog. The front part I am your for your God which in Jewish tradition is part of the first word.
[00:16:26] So it's it's not a separate preamble. But here, command number one, you shall have no other gods. In the two versions, they are virtually identical. So if you know the Exodus one, you know the meaning of this one. But notice that when we look at this command about no other gods, it has fragments of blessings and curses. Intrigue, documents, blessings and curses were regularly separated out into a section at the back. We'll have this in chapter 28. We'll see it there. But here you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a sculptured image in the form of anything in heaven above or on earth, below or in the waters below the earth. You shall not prostrate yourself before them or serve them. For I, Yahweh, your God am, and I'm impassioned ale impassioned God. Remember our discussion of jealous. I treasure this relationship. And that's why you don't go make other gods, because I have exclusive right to your allegiance. So that's where he starts. But then look at this. Who holds fathers who reject me accountable for the guilt they impose on their children to the third and fourth generations? But who demonstrates unfailing love to a thousandth generation? To those who demonstrate love for me and to those who keep my commands? Well, what are we going to do with this? These are fragments of a curse and a blessing. I hold accountable those who. Are guilty and make other idols, and I hold the whole family responsible or infected by what the head of the household has done. This is the problem. This is the problem here. If the head of a household makes an image, all the household is contaminated by that image. Which is why you have the injunction to the head of the household.
[00:18:35] Don't do this because other people's lives are at stake. It's out of respect for God. Yes, but it's also out of respect for the well-being of your household. Don't go there. And so you have a virtual curse. They will suffer. Remember Aiken, when they took Jericho, Aiken said, It's a shame to destroy all this gold, silver and gold and whatever. And he kept a little bit. The interesting thing is when they dealt with Aikin Waddell, with whom else did the Dale deal? We'll come to this in chapter eight, where he says, or chapter seven, if you touch that defiled object, you become defiled like it and subject to the same law. So that's what it means for as a head of a household, brings an idol into the house. The whole place is contaminated. That's the point. Watch it. That's the curse. But the other side of it is that to the third and fourth generation. But who demonstrates unfailing love? There's not a word has said my favorite word on the Bible. It's it's on my license plate has said it. It captures all the positive attributes of God in one word mercy, grace, faithfulness, love, kindness, which is why we regularly render it with two English words. We have no English word in one word captures passage, and so a loving kindness is better than life. That's the old King James loving kindness, love and kindness, or I think an IV, his unfailing love, something like that. That's what I do with this one. It's loyal love or unfailing love because it's covenantal commitment enacted. That's this word. But the interesting thing is where as he visits the sins of fathers to the third and fourth generation, he visits with unfailing love to a thousandth generation of those who demonstrate love for me and to those who keep my commands.
[00:20:50] So you can see in this one that the Lord doesn't delight in death, He doesn't delight in punishment, He delights in lavishing has said on people 2000 generations. The proportion here is unbelievable. And we need to capture this. Though lots of people don't like the God of the First Testament or the Old Testament and wrath. But if they all read something like this, that should solve it. But notice how I'm translating love. But to those who love me and keep my commands. Malamud says you use two words. Who demonstrate love for me. That is by keeping my commands. Jesus says, If you love me. Tell me. No, he doesn't. He says, if you love me, keep my comments. That's what the word means. All right. Those are the first ones. But now we come to the second group of commands, the Sabbath command, which is a long one. In both cases, three verses. Eight, nine, ten, 11 for an exodus and and have four in and Deuteronomy as well. Now, the changed between remember the Sabbath all. There's a reason why that's remember and Deuteronomy has observed. It wouldn't make sense in the order. Because the first is about the original creation. Remember how God kept the Sabbath. That becomes the ground for how you keep the Sabbath in Exodus. But in this one, it's observe the Sabbath. It's not so much about memory. It's about doing observing here. Shamir means to keep to guard. But the interesting thing here is, as pastor, he can keep reminding the people. These are not my words. He says, As Yahweh, your God commands you. That's Moses, the preacher talking. This is not my command. It's God's word. As the Alpha commander, you six is your labor. But then he highlights the importance of this command by fleshing it out.
[00:23:03] Neither you or your son or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock. I guess then we could conclude sheep. Except we don't. We don't use them for work. But I guess the thing is, if you're going to use any other language animals for this kind of work, they're all covered. They're all covered. He's not leaving any part unaffected by this. But then look at this. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and Yahweh. Your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand or something. So keep the Sabbath. And of course, it's not about just the head of the household. Keep the Sabbath. This is all singular, are you? You head of the house will keep the Sabbath. He keeps the Sabbath by insisting that everybody gets the Sabbath. It's not only that he doesn't work on Sunday, Saturday. It's that nobody in this household, they're all really being refreshed. So this is Deuteronomy at his office. All right. Let's go to honor your father and your mother. And here, as if your God commanded you, I'm not telling you. Now, we have to talk a little bit about this. But remember, this is addressed to an adult male. It is not addressed to a teenager. You know, we often abuse scripture by quoting it in the wrong contexts. If I. If my son, teenage son is passing me. I have no business quoting this text. It's written to me. I need to hear it. What my sassy teenage son needs to hear is or needs to witness is me honoring my father and my mother. On the other hand, if my kids sass their mother. I will use this.
[00:25:24] I will. Not to protect me. It's not self-interest. It's to protect the right of my wife to the respect of the church of the children. And, you know, we're all guys in this room. We do this with Paul and, you know, be subject to one another. Husbands love your wives and wife. Be submissive to your husbands. When I preach first Peter, is it first Peter? Chapter five, where he talks about how women should behave and then how men should behave. When I preach that text, I tell the men in the initial part two to tune out, This is none of your business. They shouldn't even need to know that that's in the Bible if it's written for the other group. They have enough to deal with that Their own text will get to you. And that's in the. I've forgotten which order it is. But in any case, texts like this should be used discreetly, not in self-interest. That's abuse. You've got to respect me. The Bible tells you to respect me. That is off track completely. The Bible tells me to respect my mother and my father, and that's what my kids need to see in me. And so or if if I am the youth leader and I see some of these kids smashing their parents as youth leader, I can say to them, stop it. Stop it. Have you been brought out of Egypt? That's not a part of the redeemed people's character. We don't behave that way. We honor the rights of our parents to do so. But in any case, that's. Honor your father. You shall not kill. You asked. What does this mean? Of course, it doesn't mean any kind of killing. God authorized sacrifices. You shall kill. You shall kill.
[00:27:28] But the word here involves the willful taking of another human being's life in self-interest. This is I mean, there are lots of occasions in the Scripture where God tells people to kill other people in battle, whatever else, if you wipe out the Canaanites. This is not a contradiction to that. Remember, we're talking to the head of the household. He is not to go around cheapening other people's lives by taking their lives in his own self-interest so that the willful taking out of another person's life. This is this is this is taboo here. Don't you go doing that. Of course you can slaughter an ox to eat it or offer a sacrifice, but you don't take another person's life who is made in the image of God as you are yourself. This is putting you're making Pharaoh out of yourself. Self-interest. You shall not steal. You shall testify falsely. This is interesting. Testifying falsely means to tell an untruth in a court of law. Testifying uselessly is in the course of the proceedings. Talk about stuff that gets people off track. And of course, the famous one is it depends what is is. Some of us remember that. It's pathetic. This is about making comments in legal proceedings that don't lead to justice. But lead you off track. The guilt. You should always be punished. And the innocent should always be set free. And any legal system that tries to make a guilty person look innocent is a faulty system. But we have people who earn a living doing that, making right look wrong and wrong, look right. And we do it all the time. That's not justice. That's not righteousness. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife. Oh, now look what he's done with that one.
[00:29:46] Exodus head. You shall not covet your neighbor's house. And then you shall not covet your neighbor's wife or his male servant or female servant or the donkey. Interpret the function of this first statement. You shall not covet your neighbor's house. What does house mean? Household household. On the surface, that's how an exploitative husband head of the household could interpreted household. And then he talks about the other. What follows that means coveting your neighbor's wife, male, certain female servant when you do it that way. What's the status of the woman in the neighbors household? To be part of the belong. She's just property like everybody. And of course, this is where this is where the literature is. In the First Testament, in ancient Israel, it was a patriarchal world in which men and women were nothing more than property of their husbands. But you've got to distinguish very quickly between the picture painted in the narratives of Scripture and the picture painted in the constitutional documents. These are two different things. Abraham went off track when he when he gave his wife to the aliens and said, Have however you can have or just spare my skin. This is abuse of the first order. What's wrong with you, Abraham? But he said of the house. Yes, you can do that. No, you don't do that. You shall not cover you. But what does Moses do here? He reverses the order. Housewife. He has a wife first, and then you shall. Which means and in budgeting, I know nothing about finance, but in budgeting we have line items. In this new budget. He gives the woman her own line item. He isolated her from the household and makes her a point herself. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, period.
[00:32:23] But then look at what he does to the next. You shall not desire to be sure that you're treating these as two separate commands. He changes the verb. They're virtual synonyms. It's stylistic. But look at what he does. You shall not desire your neighbor's house. And he adds his field. Now, what does House mean? Also, there's not household anymore physical. It's. It's the home. As opposed to the field where you do your work. It's the house, the actual house, the building. Don't covet your neighbor's house home. It's not household. And then he says that the rest of it you shall not desires, desire your neighbor's house or his field, his male servant or female servant, officers, donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor. What he's done is he has taken the wife completely out of the household so that if you're inclined, as men often are. To treat everybody around you like property. He says, We're not going there. If you are the king in this household, she's queen. And we're isolating her for that sort of respect. Honor your father and your mother. They're both in that. But you see, again, what Moses is doing. He's a pastor. He knows how men are. He knows that we can be literalist. And if you take that Exodus version that she's part of the household word ring, which means she's property. That is, in fact, how they often treated women. And that's the problem. The narrators, the narratives expose the problems of Israel rather than describe the ideals. In most instances, they are flawed characters. So this is this is what's happening here in the Decalogue. You notice what's happening is that he is protecting potential victims of male abuse. In our culture. We need to hear those guys.
[00:34:47] I am the biggest threat to my kids and my family's well-being. And it's me, the person with power who needs to be reined in. It ain't about power. It's about securing the well-being. So this is what we have. And then, of course. This text ends with the document clause of verse 22. In my Bible, the heading Moses interceded. This is new American standard comes before verse 22. Wrong that whoever did this, the editors didn't know what they were doing. Verse 22 belongs with verse 21 and then you have the break these words. It's a call ofone. It's a title at the end. Reminding us what's happened. These words. The Lord spoke to the assembly at the mountain, from the midst of the fire and the cloud and the thick gloom. He added, No more, period. He wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me. Now it's closed. This is the document clause in a covenant procedure. God has provided the Israelites with a document confirming that this is this covenant is real in keeping with ancient Christian tradition. He provided the Israelites with a copy of the basic document and reassured Israel of his commitments by creating a copy for himself. I know your commitments. I got it. But I also know mine. I've got that too. Again, I remind you, these two tablets have nothing to do with vertical and horizontal dimensions of covenant life. Nothing to do with that. That's fiction. It may be humble, ethically edifying, but it's exegetical without foundation. Don't go there. The significance is far bigger than that. Concluding comments. The Decalogue seeks to create a domestic environment in which the head of the household servo serves those in his charge. I don't use that word very intentionally.
[00:37:02] Serves those in his charge as a responsible and compassionate husband and father. This has profound ethical implications for the role of the head of household. This picture from King and Sager illustrates what a household looks like. It's a compound. Which has multiple dwellings. And presumably Papa and Mama are there. And you've got the kids and they got the grandkids. You could have four generations in a place like this. And theoretically, the head of the household is the oldest person. But by the time you get to my age, then I am literally the oldest person. But I'm not the functioning head anymore. You've left it to the next generation. That's one he's talking to. The ones who are exercising the authority in this family unit. And you're you are to keep everybody's well-being in mind in the way you run that outfit. This is an economic unit in which they had. Now, let's talk about the difference between patriarchal structures and Tetra centric structures. In patriarchal structures. Our corn rule is the problem. This is this is how it works. It's that it is called the Hebrew word for family is House of the Father. Through two or three times in scripture, you have House of the Mother. But in those cases, it always refers to the wife who or a daughter who goes back to the house of her mother. It is not about administer severe administration of the household. It's the house of the mother, because that's where our daughter finds security if the marriage isn't working out very well. And so Naomi tells Ruth, don't come with me. We're going to a threatening world for you. You'll be an alien. It's a different land. It's a different country, different God, everything. Go back to your mother's house.
[00:39:20] You'll be at home there. She'll welcome you back. Once a mother, always a mother. So that's what. But here, the assumption here is Papa is forgetting about mama. That's what the word means. It's the house of the Father. And this is the word for family. The problem happens when the father becomes the center of the universe so that all of the economy functions to maintain the status of the male head. This is where David Klein's was off track. He thinks that's what it's doing. Functioning as the bolstering? No, it's doing the opposite. This is the problem in Petrie. Our whole world. What's the alternative? That's the alternative. This is Patrick centrism. It is the house of the Father. But the father is not the center of the universe here. Thus, the father is the chief servant of all. So that his energies are expended in the interests of the other people rather than him seeing to it, then all the energies are there to make him happy or whatever, sustain him, make support his. This is my way of representing a regenerate world. In Egypt. They've got the patriarchal world in Israel, we've got Petra centric and it's a responsible Petra centrism where the husbands view themselves as God's agent of mercy and grace to all those in their charge. It's not a power position. It's a it's a it's a privilege, but not power. It is a position of responsibility. Concluding Comments. The Decalogue seeks to create a domestic environment in which the head of the household serves those in his charge as a responsible, compassionate hubby, husband and father ethical. This has ethical implications for the role of the head of the household, for the nature of covenant ethic. Remember, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your being and your neighbor as yourself.
[00:41:45] And that supplied, first of all, to the head of households. You shall demonstrate love. And as this is what drives us. It will be a healthy world again. We understand now Jesus reduction of all of the commands to simple. If we lived according to this, you wouldn't need any of the other commands that I'll be taken care of. You wouldn't need any commands on on abusing animals or abusing other people or stealing or murder or whatever. Because in cases of conflict, we always defer to one another. Your rights are more important than mine. And I'm here for you rather than you here for me. This is where we've got it. Our. Our culture of individual. The individual as the center of the universe is so faulty. Love. Covenant commitment demonstrated an action in the interest of the other person. That's what we have happening here. The relationship of the Decalogue to the other constitutional documents. And this is responding to many theologians and New Testament scholars especially, who try to salvage the Decalogue as a Christian document. We don't have to do anything with arrests. And I've heard so many sermon series by preachers on the Decalogue. I've never heard any on Deuteronomy seven, eight or nine or ten or 11, never, not once, haven't heard any sermons on that. But The Decalogue We will. But you will usually preach the Exodus version. When we should be preaching to your enemy version because it addresses more explicitly the issues that are problematic. But the relationship, the world view of the Decalogue is not one bit different from the worldview of all the rest of the Torah. Now, speaking of Pentateuch. This is the world of the covenant, where he is creating a picture of the world in which love governs not as an emotion.
[00:43:57] Why can't we just love each other and get along? It's not that. But where we all live in the interests of the other person rather than in self interest? Well, the account ends with the people's response to the revelation. We've talked about this before. They said, Stop, stop. We can't handle any of this. We'll all die. He reviews it here in frightening detail. They beg Moses to come and you be the lightning rod. You go into the presence of the Lord, you take the shock and then relay to us what He does. And Yahweh approves their response. It's interesting. I've heard so many people say that, you know, the Israelites should never have done this. This was an act of unbelief. But Moses interpretation here is quite different. Verse 28 The Lord heard the voice of your words when you spoke to me in the Lord. I've heard the voice of the people on this matter and they've. That's a good idea. He approves. They've done well in everything they've said. But then he says, if all this, this position would prevail, and of course, God knows this crew it and he anticipates it won't always be this positive, but in this moment. That's right. That's a good idea. And that's why Moses is then inducted into the position of prophets, the mouthpiece of God. Which leads then to six verses 2 to 3, which sets the stage for him now, unpacking the Decalogue. And the rest of this document is document that is this sermon. He won't get past the first command or the second command, but he unpacks. He sets the stage. This is the command, the start, the ordinances and the stipulations that the Lord has commanded me to teach you that you might do them in the land so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God.
[00:46:15] Keep all his ordinances, his commands, that I command you all the days of your life. O is wrong. Here's another Shamar. He ends you with a symbol. O is wrong. You should listen. Be careful to do it that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly just as Yahweh, the God of your father's is promised you in the land flowing with milk and honey. This is the dream, people. Here it is. I've laid. We're laying it out before you. The land's over there. Enjoy. But keep the covenant. Because God has graciously called you to relationship with himself. Well, I think that's as much as we should we have to say about this. The Decalogue is a to me, a very precious document. When I was young, we had somebody came around to our churches, often the country schools of Saskatchewan. He was from the other side of the river, but he went around to the schools encouraging people to memorize scripture. You could do that in those days. And he came to our school, and if you would memorize 200 verses of Scripture, then you would either get a free Bible or whatever else. There was a reward for memorizing. And you had to affirm to the teacher that you had memorized 200 verses of Scripture. And our teachers weren't necessarily Christian. But they they were part of this and they supported it. And my first encounter with this document seriously was I memorized this as a kid. But I learned to hate this text. Because I memorized it while I was in an unfree, generous state. And my reason for memorizing it was all wrong. To get a reward, even if it was a Bible. I mean, I grew up on a Christian home and you got to have a Bible.
[00:48:22] I'd have a new Bible, not just a hand-me-down from one of my old, old nine or older brothers. Eight older brothers. So not just a hand. I have my own new Bible, so that's why I did it. But I did it when I hadn't. I hadn't left Egypt. No, I hated this text. But not until after. Long after I left Egypt, I rediscovered this text and I discovered the glorious gospel that is here. This is not legalism. It's anything but God doesn't. God is not into a legalistic worldview. Never has been. He's into a covenantal worldview where everybody exists for the sake of everybody else. To the praise of his glory.