Partner with as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

Exodus 20

Verse 1


The former Chapter was preparatory to this. In that, we saw the very solemn and awful manner in which Jehovah was pleased to manifest the tokens of his presence, on Mount Sinai. And in this, we have the declarations he made, in the delivery of the Ten Commandments to the people. The effect this discourse, accompanied with the awful signs, had upon the people. Their request to Moses, to act as their Mediator upon this occasion; and the will of God communicated unto them by Moses, are also related in this Chapter.

Verses 1-2

Observe the argument the Lord is pleased to make use of, for more strongly enforcing the divine precepts that follow in this Chapter. He saith I am the Lord. The Lord, the Creator, the first self-existing cause of all. His authority therefore is indisputable, to command. But this is not all. I am the Lord that God; that is, thy God in a covenant way; the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in Exodus 9:25 . Neither is this all. He asserts his authority not merely by right of Creation, and covenant engagements, but also by redemption: that brought thee out of Egypt. Reader! See whether you know God under these precious characters also: for then your language will be like that of the Psalmist, Psalms 116:16 .

Verse 3

This is the first of the four first commandments, which belong to the first table of the law, concerning our duty to God. Our blessed Lord is the great Commentator upon it. Matthew 22:36-38 .

Verses 4-6

These verses contain the second commandment, in which the ordinances of divine worship are pointed out, the prohibition of all creature adoration, and the reasons on which the worship of God alone is enjoined. Isaiah 40:18 ; Deuteronomy 4:15 .

Verse 7

This is the third commandment. It were to be devoutly wished, that it were written in the heart by the Spirit of the Lord. Then should we not have so much occasion to lament the profanation of it, as we now have, by the rash use of the tremendous name of the Lord in ordinary discourse; anti in the solemn appeal that is too often made to it, m oaths and the like, without a just occasion. Reader! let me beg of you to pause over the perusal of this commandment; then look into the world; and then read what the prophet saith, Hosea 4:1-3 .

Verses 8-11

These verses contain the fourth commandment. This is among the earliest precepts of God. Genesis 2:3 . And how much more ought its observance to be endeared to us, since the resurrection of the Lord Jesus! Matthew 28:1 ; Luke 24:1 . I detain the Reader just to add, how highly the due observance of this holy day is esteemed of God, may be seen, Isaiah 58:13-14 . How sweet the thought of the everlasting sabbath above! Hebrews 4:9 ; Revelation 4:11; Revelation 4:11 .

Verse 12

This is the fifth commandment: and the first of the second table of the law concerning our duty to our neighbour. The apostle calls this the first commandment with promise. Ephesians 6:2 .

Verse 13

This is the sixth commandment. Our Lord explains the extent of it, Matthew 5:21-26 .

Verse 14

This is the seventh commandment. Jesus is the great Commentator again here, Matthew 5:28; Matthew 5:28 .

Verse 15

This is the eighth commandment. The apostle points out the extent of this precept, Ephesians 4:28 ; 1 Thessalonians 4:6 .

Verse 16

This is the ninth commandment. This is violated as well by speaking falsely and unjustly of our neighbour, as by witnessing to such things. What a beautiful picture is drawn of the man that hath grace to live up to this precept. Psalms 15:0 .

Verse 17

This is the tenth commandment. This points to the very root of evil in the desire of the heart, and shows how that by thinking, as well as by doing evil, we break the law of God. Paul shows the spirituality of this, and thereby, of all the other precepts of God, in his own experience. Romans 7:7 .

Verse 18

Reader! observe here once again, the awful signs with which the Lord proclaimed his law. And doth not the Holy Ghost even now, in bringing home to the sinner a deep sense of transgression, accompany his word to the soul with the same? Gal_3:10-12; Gal_3:24 .

Verse 19

Reader! pause over this verse, and consider your happy privilege in having Jesus to speak for you to God, and to you from God. 1 John 2:1-2 . The apostle observes upon this, Hebrews 12:19 .

Verse 20

Deuteronomy 8:2

Verse 21

How delightful in this view of Moses is it to discover the type of Christ! Jeremiah 30:21 .

Verses 22-23

Reader! observe how earnest the Lord is to guard the people from every species of idolatry. Deuteronomy 4:15-16 .

Verses 24-26

Is not this altar of earth intended to shew, that as the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof, and nothing of creature property is to be mixed with it, so salvation is all the Lord's; nothing of human merit or work composing any part of it? Isaiah 63:5 . Is not the presence of the Lord here promised, the grand cause intimated wherefore sacrifices, or offerings, are accepted? 2 Samuel 6:11 with Matthew 28:20; Matthew 28:20 . And doth not the prohibition of lifting up a tool upon the altar, imply that nothing can be offered of ours upon that Altar, (which is Christ himself,) that sanctifieth the gift, without polluting it? Revelation 22:18 .

Verse 26


BLESSED God! do thou enable me to reverence thine holy law, and never to lose sight of that solemn truth, that rather than one jot, or tittle, of thy law should fail; thou hast given that glorious, all-sufficient Surety, to be made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

And Oh! thou adored Redeemer, may every renewed view, and every repeated hearing of thy Father's law, still serve to endear thee the more to my heart. May I be led therefrom to behold thee as becoming one with our nature, for the express purpose of fulfilling the whole will and law of God, for us, and for our salvation. And as thou didst undertake so hast thou graciously answered the demand, both in obedience and suffering, of all that was owing to divine justice. Yes ! thou clearest Jesus, thou didst take the whole debt upon thyself, and when we had nothing to pay, either in doing or in suffering, then it was thou didst say, I will be surety for them: at mine hand, Father, thou shalt require it. Lord, help me, by the sweet influences of thy Holy Spirit, to accept thy sacred person, under this complete character, as my Justifier before God. Do thou blessed Spirit of all truth, guide my soul to Jesus, and never suffer me to have more than an altar of earth, or to lift up a tool of my own, to pollute the sweet sacrifice of Jesus' blood and righteousness. Never let me go about to establish mine own righteousness, but most thankfully bless God for the covenant righteousness of God my Savior; blessing and praising the divine mercy, that when by sin I had destroyed myself, and the terrors of a broken law stood forth against me, Jesus was made of God to my soul, wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, that all my glorying might he in the Lord.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Exodus 20". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". 1828.