The Ninth Commandment – The World of the Text

Today we are going to look at the world of the text of the Ninth Commandment, as found in Exodus 20:16:

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

rootedchristIn our text today, we see this commandment against bearing false witness.  When you look at the Hebrew of this passage, you will see that both the words “bear” and “false witness” are expressly legal terms. This commandment is legal, this is talking about what one would do in a court of law.  You are not to bear false witness against your neighbor.  You are not to lie.  Remember these commandments are about the foundation of the Israeli society. This is how they were to live, this is how they were to act, this is their foundation.

One of the foundations is this – you must tell the truth.  You must not bear false witness.  If your word can’t be counted on, then you have very little that can be counted on.  Your word is your bond.  A society cannot hold together when you can’t trust the word of your neighbor.

For us as Christians, we must be truth-tellers.  Seriously. We have to be.  This is who we are, who we are called to be. We must speak the truth.  Because only then can a society stand.

I hope you see as you dig deeper into these passages how the foundation of respect and love for other persons is always at the foundation of the commandments. We are called to love our neighbor. So, we don’t lie. We don’t murder. We want to do the best for them. That is how a society stands.

And that is our job as Christians. Today, may we never, ever bear false witness against our neighbor. May we always speak truth.

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