The Ten Commandments Examined: Part Four

Finshing Up

Our look at the Ten Commandments concludes:

Commandment #9

You shall not bear false witness…
(Exo. 20:16, NASU)

From this prohibition we can see that perjury has been a serious crime for many years. In order for justice to remain equitable and “blind”, the information presented must be reliable. As the Law of Moses required the evidence of two or three witnesses in order to establish proof of a crime, this placed a great amount of power with those witnesses. A person making testimony may literally hold the fate of their brother in their very hand. The Law of Moses was severe in dealing with false witnesses. For instance, if a person is proven to have committed perjury, than the punishment which they falsely sought for the accused was brought upon them (Deu. 19:16-21).

This prohibition has special meaning for Christians when remembering the trial of Christ before the Sanhedrin. He was guilty of no crime against the Law (something no other man present could truly claim) and false witnesses had to be used in order to create a guilty verdict. The only “provable” crime of blasphemy should have been dismissed with Christ’s proof (through miracles, teaching, etc.) of who He truly was. It is sad to note that the Jewish leaders facilitated the breaking of this commandment so they could achieve their goal of breaking another (murder).

Commandment #10

You shall not covet…
(Exo. 20:17)

This last prohibition describes a problem found in men which can be a root cause for the breaking of several other commands. Covetousness leads to all forms of evil, including jealousy, theft, derision, insults, etc. The desire to have what another owns is a major cause for wars, political malfeasance, and other forms of forced coercion of property.

This prohibition has in mind the important reality that all we have comes from One source: God. While owning possessions is not sinful, the desiring of the possessions of others can be. One could argue that Cain was covetous of Abel’s approval, leading to the world’s first murder. In Jewish culture this was even more important, as one’s land and much of one’s property were given by inheritance in the Law. It was not “earned” but rather given by God and should have been sufficient for one’s family.


The Ten Commandments provide the bedrock for the Law of Moses, and provide strong commands in simple terms easily understood. However, even these Ten Commandments find their place underneath the greatest of commands: To love the Lord God, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself (Deu. 6:5; Mat. 22:37-39). If one always loves God and his neighbor, he will never break the Law.

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