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Bible Commentaries

Morgan's Exposition on the Whole Bible

Exodus 20

Verses 1-26

Here we have the Ten Words of the moral Law. They are introduced by a proclamation of God concerning Himself: first as to His name, "I am Jehovah"; second, as to His relation to them, "thy God"; and, third, the basis of relationship, His deliverance of them from bondage.

The Ten Words fall into two sections: the first, of four commandments dealing with the relationship between God and man; the second, of six commandments conditioning human interrelationships. The Ten Words constitute a philosophy of life as well as a law. Man's first business is with God. His every other relationship depends on that and, indeed, is created by it.

The effect produced on the people by these words was a sense of fear. They were made conscious of the holiness of God. Because they were sinners, the fear was both natural and necessary. Nevertheless Moses at once on divine authority said to them, "Fear not," which meant that they might "fear" and "sin not." The apparent paradox teaches that when man has the fear of God he need have no other fear.

Finally, the way of God's approach to them was provided. It was the way of the altar and sacrifice. The instructions concerning the altar are revealing. It must be of simple and unmade things, devoid of human workmanship, in which the heart of man might make its boast.

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Bibliographical Information
Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on Exodus 20". "Morgan's Exposition on the Bible". 1857-84.