November 29, 2022 – Tuesday
Exodus 20:12 NIV
12 Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
Deuteronomy 5:16 NIV
16 Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
The fifth commandment as handed down from God through Moses. In Exodus above, these are the words God spoke directly to Moses which he shared with the people of Israel. In Deuteronomy above Moses spoke again to all of Israel. In both cases Moses repeats God’s introductory statement to the ten commandments, I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
It is interesting that the commandment is simply Honor your father and your mother with additional information added. In Deuteronomy this is made explicit when Moses says, Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, before providing the additional information.
In Exodus the additional information is that the result of honoring your father and your mother, you may live long in the land the Lordyour God is giving you. The long life is to be in the land God is giving them. However, in Deuteronomy, it is different as the result or benefits of honoring your father and your mother is twofold; first so that you may live long and second that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you. When I checked at BibleGateway.com here all the versions had the word and between the two benefits.
I was very curious about the Hebrew word used as a verb in Honor your father and your mother and found a myriad of different uses of the word translated as honor from the Hebrew 3513 in Strong’s Definitions כֹּבֶד kabed or kabad. However, it shows the most frequent translation is honor (34x). Still, in its initial definition we have, to be heavy, i.e. in a bad sense (burdensome, severe, dull) or in a good sense (numerous, rich, honorable). To make sense of this I downloaded a pdf version of the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (TWOT) and found the following on pages 426-427, The reputation of an individual is of central importance in these usages. Thus the person of high social position and accompanying wealth was automatically an honored, or weighty, person in the society. Such a position, its riches, and long life were commonly assumed to be the just rewards of a righteous life. While one would be honored automatically if one attained this stature, it is also clear that one was expected to merit the honor and the glory. Clearly that is not true today in what we observe. Then it continued, Likewise persons in positions of responsibility and authority were deserving of honor giving the example of Exodus 20:12.
Matthew Henry nailed it when he wrote, 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. Cole notes unsurprisingly that, This is not a popular doctrine in our modern world, where youth is worshipped, and old age dreaded or despised. The result is the folly by which men or women strive to remain eternally youthful, only to find it an impossible task.
Bottom Line: Esteeming our parents and listening to them with respect and love is key to honoring them.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Such an important Command You have given us concerning our parents ensuring they will have the respect and care they deserve for all they have done for us. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton