Law 6: Yahweh’s Laws
Law 7: Yahweh’s Laws
Matthew Henry Commentaries
Law 6: Yahweh’s Laws
We are here most plainly directed in our duty to Yahweh, to our neighbour, and to ourselves. We are here taught our duty to Yahweh, both in the dispositions and affections of our souls and in the actions of our lives, our principles and our practices.
(1.) We must reverence (fear) Yahweh our Sovereign, Deu_10:12, and again Deu_10:20. We must adore His majesty, acknowledge His authority, stand in awe of His power, and dread His wrath. This is gospel duty, Rev_14:6, Rev_14:7.
(2.) We must love Him, be well pleased that He is, desire that He may be ours, and delight in the consideration of Him and in communion with Him. Reverence (fear) Yahweh as our Sovereign, love Him as a benevolent Sovereign and our Father and Benefactor (provider).
(3.) We must walk in His ways, that is, the ways which He has appointed us to walk in. The whole course of our conversation must be conformable to His holy will.
(4.) We must serve Him (Deu_10:20), serve Him with all our heart and soul (Deu_10:12), devote ourselves to His honour, put ourselves under His government, and lay out ourselves to advance all the interests of His kingdom among men.
And we must be hearty and zealous in His service, engage and employ our inward man in His work, and what we do for Him we must do cheerfully and with an earnest will.
(5.) We must keep His commandments and his statutes, Deu_10:13. Having given up ourselves to His service, we must make His revealed will, our rule in every thing, perform all He prescribes (recommendations) forbear all the forbids (all that is forbidden), firmly believing that all the statutes (actions) He commands us are for our benefit.
Besides the reward of obedience, which will be our unspeakable gain, there are true honour and pleasure in obedience. It is really for our present benefit to be meek and humble, chaste and sober, just and charitable, patient and contented; these make us easy, and safe, and pleasant, and truly great.
(6.) We must give honour to Yahweh, in swearing by His name (Deu_10:20); so give Him the honour of His omniscience, His sovereignty, His justice, as well as of His necessary existence.
Swear by His name, and not by the name of any creature, or false god, whenever an oath for confirmation is called for.
(7.) To Him we must cleave, Deu_10:20. Having chosen Him for our Sovereign, we must faithfully and constantly abide with Him and never forsake Him. Cleave to Him as one we love and delight in, trust and confide in, and from whom we have great expectations.
We are here taught our duty to our neighbour (Deu_10:19): Love the stranger; and, if the stranger, much more our brethren, as ourselves.
If the Hebrews (Israelites) that were such a peculiar people, so particularly distinguished from all people, must be kind to strangers, much more must we, that are not enclosed in such a pale; we must have a tender concern for all that share with us in the human nature, and as we have opportunity; (that is, according to their necessities and our abilities) we must do good to all men.
Two arguments are here urged to enforce this duty: –
(1.) Yahweh’s common providence, which extends itself to all nations of men, they being all made of one blood. Yahweh loveth the stranger (Deu_10:18), that is, He gives to all life, and breath, and all things, even to those that are Gentiles, and strangers to the commonwealth of Israel and to the Hebrew’s of Yahweh.
He knows those perfectly whom we know nothing of. He gives food and raiment even to those to whom He has not shown His word and statutes. Yahweh’s common gifts to mankind oblige us to honour all men.
Or the expression denotes the particular care which Providence takes of strangers in distress, which we ought to praise Him for (Psa_146:9, Yahweh preserveth the strangers), and to imitate Him to serve Him, and concur with Him therein, being forward to make ourselves instruments in His hand of kindness to strangers.
(2.) The afflicted condition which the Israelites themselves had been in, when they were strangers in Egypt. Those that have themselves been in distress, and have found mercy with Yahweh, should sympathize most feelingly with those that are in the like distress and be ready to show kindness to them.
The people of the Hebrews, notwithstanding these repeated commands given them to be kind to strangers, conceived a rooted antipathy to the Gentiles, whom they looked upon with the utmost disdain, which made them envy the mercy of Yahweh and the gospel of Yahshua, and this brought a final ruin upon themselves.
We are here taught our duty to ourselves (Deu_10:16): Circumcise the foreskin of your hearts. that is, “Cast away from you all corrupt affections and inclinations, which hinder you from fearing and loving Yahweh. Mortify the flesh with the lusts of it.
Away with all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, which obstruct the free course of the word of Yahweh to your hearts.
Rest not in the circumcision of the body, which was only the sign, but be circumcised in heart, which is the thing signified.” See Rom_2:29.
The command of Yahshua goes further than this, and obliges us not only to cut off the foreskin of the heart, which may easily be spared, but to cut off the right hand and to pluck out the right eye that is an offence to us; the more spiritual the dispensation is the more spiritual we are obliged to be, and to go the closer in mortifying sin.
And be no more stiff-necked, as they had been hitherto, Deu_9:24. “Be not any longer obstinate against divine commands and corrections, but ready to comply with the will of Yahweh in both.” The circumcision of the heart makes it ready to yield to Yahweh, and draw in his yoke.
II. We are here most pathetically persuaded to our duty. Let but reason rule us, and religion will.
1. Consider the greatness and glory of Yahweh, and therefore reverence (fear) Him, and from that principle serve and obey Him.
What is it that is thought to make a man great, but great honour, power, and possessions? Think then how great Yahweh our Sovereign is, and greatly to be reveranced (feared).
(1) He has great honour, a name above every name. He is a Sovereign of sovereigns, and Sovereign of sovereign, Deu_10:17. Angels are called gods, so are magistrates, and the Gentiles had gods many, and lords many, the creatures of their own fancy; but Yahweh is infinitely above all these nominal deities.
What an absurdity would it be for them to worship other gods when the Yahweh to whom they had sworn allegiance was the Sovereign of sovereigns!
(2.) He has great power. He is a mighty Sovereign and terrible (Deu_10:17), who regardeth not persons. He has the power of a conqueror, and so He is terrible to those that resist Him and rebel against Him. He has the power of a judge, and so He is just to all those that appeal to Him or appear before Him. And it is as much the greatness and honour of a judge to be impartial in His justice, without respect to persons or bribes, as it is to a general to be terrible to the enemy.
Our Sovereign is both.
(3.) He has great possessions. Heaven and earth are his (Deu_10:14), and all the hosts and stars of both. Therefore He is able to bear us out in His service, and to make up the losses we sustain in discharging our duty to Him.
And yet therefore He has no need of us, nor any thing we have or can do; we are undone without Him, but He is joyous without us, which makes the condescensions of His mercy, in accepting us and our services, truly admirable. Heaven and earth are His possession, and yet Yahweh’s portion is His people.
Consider the greatdness and mercy of Yahweh, and therefore love Him, and from that principle serve and obey him. His greatness is His glory as much as his greatness.
(1.) He is loving to all. Whomsoever He finds miserable, to them He will be found merciful: He executes the judgment of the fatherless and widow, Deu_10:18. It is His honour to help the helpless, and to succour those that most need relief and that men are apt to do injury to, or at least to put a light upon. See Psa_68:4, Psa_68:5; Psa_146:7, Psa_146:9.
(2.) But truly Yahweh is loving to Israel in a special obligations to him: “He is they praise, and He is thy Sovereign, Deu_10:21. Therefore love Him and serve Him, because of the relation wherein He stands to thee.
He is thy Sovereign, a Sovereign in covenant with thee, and as such He is thy praise,” that is
[1.] “He puts honour upon thee; He is the Sovereign in whom, all the day long, thou mayest boast that thou knowest Him, and art known of Him. If He is thy Sovereign, He is thy glory.”
[2.] “He expects honour from thee. He is thy praise,” that is “He is the Sovereign whom thou art bound to praise; if He has not praise from thee, whence may He expect it?” He inhabits the praises of Israel.
First, The merciful choice he made of Israel, Deu_10:15. “He had a delight in thy fathers, and therefore chose their seed.” Not that there was any thing in them to merit His favour, or to recommend them to it, but so it seemed benefical in His eyes. He would be kind to them, though He had no need of them.
Secondly, The great things He had done for Hebrews (Israel), Deu_10:21, Deu_10:22. He reminds them not only of what they had heard with their ears, and which their fathers had told them of, but of what they had seen with their eyes, and which they must tell their children of, particularly that within a few generations seventy souls (for they were no more when Yacob (Jacob) went down into Egypt) increased to a great nation, as the stars of heaven for multitude.
And the more they were in number the more praise and service Yahweh expected from them; yet it proved, as in the old world, that when they began to multiply they corrupted themselves.
When I was a practicing Christian . . . every ministry from African Methodist Episcopal Church, Baptist Churches, Church of God in Christ, Cathlic, Churches of Christ, Episcopal, Lutheran, tthe Quakers, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Methodist, Mormon Church, and Holiness, along with a host of hundreds, if not thousands of churches and assemblies . . . said indubitably that the Torah (Old Testaments) were done away because Yahshua’s death.
But “Yahshua” Himself said,
Mat_5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy (do away with, cause the destruction or undoing of) the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil (live up to, conform to).
Ecc_12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Reverece (fear) Yahweh, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
Matthew Henry Commentaries
Law 7: Yahweh’s Laws
1. What we are here taught to believe concerning Yahweh: that Yahweh our Sovereign is one Sovereign.
(1.) That the Sovereign whom we serve is Yahweh, a Being infinitely and eternally perfect, self-existent, and self-sufficient.
(2.) That He is the one only living and true Sovereign; He only is Sovereign, and He is but one. The firm belief of this self-evident truth would effectually arm them against all idolatry, which was introduced by that fundamental error, that there are gods many.
It is past dispute that there is one Sovereign, and there is no other but He, Mar_12:32. Let us therefore have no other, nor desire to have any other.
Some have thought there is here a plain intimation of the trinity of persons in the unity of the Sovereignhead; for here is the name of Yahweh three times, and yet all declared to be one.
Joyous are they that have this one Sovereign for their Sovereign; for they have but one Master to please, but one Benefactor to seek to.
It is better to have one fountain that a thousand cisterns, one all-sufficient Sovereign than a thousand insufficient ones.
2. What we are here taught concerning the duty which Yahweh requires of man. It is all summed up in this as its principle, Thou shalt love Yahweh thy Sovereign with all thy heart.
He had undertaken (Deu_6:2) to teach them to reverence (fear) Yahweh; and, in pursuance of His undertaking, He here teaches them to love Him, for the warmer our affection to Him the greater will be our veneration for Him; the child that honours his parents no doubt loves them.
Did ever any prince make a law that his subjects should love him?
Yet such is the condescension of the divine grace that this is made the first and great commandment of Yahweh’s law, that we love Him, and that we perform all other parts of our duty to Him from a principle of love.
My son, give me thy heart. We must highly esteem Him, be well pleased that there is such a Being, well pleased in all His attributes, and relations to us: our desire must be towards Him, our delight in Him, our dependence upon Him, and to Him we must be entirely devoted.
It must be a constant pleasure to us to think of Him, hear from Him, speak to Him, and Him him. We must love Him,
(1.) As the Sovereign, the best of beings, most excellent and amiable in Himself.
(2.) As our Sovereign, a Sovereign in covenant with us, our Father, and the most kind and bountiful of Friends and Benefactors. We are also commanded to love Yahweh with all our heart, and soul, and might; that is, we must love Him,
[1.] With a sincere love; not in word and tongue only, saying we love Him when our hearts are not with Him, but inwardly, and in truth, solacing ourselves in Him.
[2.] With a strong love; the heart must be carried out towards Him with great ardour and fervency of affection.
Some have hence though that we should avoid saying (as we commonly express ourselves) that we will do this or that with all our heart, for we must not do any thing with all our heart but love Yahweh ; and that this phrase, being here used concerning that sacred fire, should not be unhallowed. He that is our all must have our all, and none but He.
[3.] With a superlative love; we must love Yahweh above any creature whatsoever, and love nothing besides Him but what we love for Him and in subordination to Him.
[4.] With an intelligent love; for so it is explained, Mar_12:33. To love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, we must know Him, and therefore love Him as those that see good cause to love Him.
[5.] With an entire love; He is one, and therefore our hearts must be united in this love, and the whole stream of our affections must run towards Him. O that this love of Yahweh may be shed abroad in our hearts!