About 50 years before Yeshua’s time, R. Hillel (R. Gamliel’s grand-father) was asked to teach the entire Torah while standing on one foot. Hillel’s answer was to give the Golden Rule.
“A certain gentile once came to Hillel and said, ‘I’m ready to become a Jew, but only if you can teach me the whole Torah while I stand here on one foot.’ Hillel answered him, ‘What is hateful to you, don’t do to your fellowman; that is the whole Torah, and the rest . . . is just commentary. Go then and learn it!’ (Shabbat 31a)” – The Life and Teachings of Hillel , by Yitzhak Buxbaum
Matt. 22:34-40 – Here Yeshua refers to Deut. 6:5 and then to Lev. 19:18b, and He states that these two commandments sum up the entire Torah and the Prophets.
Neither of these two commandments are a part of the 10, or are they? What is the relationship between the 2, the 10, and the 613? As we read Exodus 20 we will notice that the first 5 words/commandments concern our relationship with God and the next 5 show our relationship to each other.
The first thing we see is that the commandments are interrelated. 1 John 4:20-21 says that we cannot love God without loving our brother. Also when we break the commandments we very rarely break only one. In fact, when one command against our fellow man is broken, the corresponding command against the L-rd is also often broken.
Let’s go through each command individually and see what pearls we can find.
- 2“I am Adonai your God . . .” – Even though the L-rd was speaking to the entire Children of Israel, the Hebrew word for “your God” Eloheycha is actually singular. This shows that the L-rd’s desire is to be our God, individually. It is not enough to simply follow the L-rd whom your parents believe, but we must have a personal relationship with the L-rd.
- 3 “You shall have no other gods before Me. 4 Do not make for yourself a graven image . . .” – Worship is always intentional, never accidental. While we do not live in a culture that bows down to stone and wood, we have most certainly created god in our own image. Whether it is through evolution putting man in God’s position as the ultimate being in creation, or plastering images of our favorite movie star or sports hero all over our walls, or defining God by our own experience instead of how He has revealed Himself. Whatever takes the “adoring reverence or regard” of the L-rd will arouse the jealousy of the L-rd. In Exodus 32:31-33 and Romans 11:19-21 we see that it is possible to be cut off from the L-rd, this occurs when we deliberately choose not to believe or obey the L-rd. So can we “fall” out of God’s hand? No. But can we intentionally prefer other things to God so that when push comes to shove, we will actually deny the L-rd? Absolutely! I will mention that Peter, denied Yeshua at His trial (Matt. 26:75), and did have another opportunity because of the mercy of the L-rd, whereas Judas did not receive another chance.
- 7 “You must not take the Name of Adonai your God in vain . . .” – Notice that it is “take” not just “use.” This word points to an elevating of ourselves, by attaching ourselves to the name of the L-rd. Taking the L-rd’s name in vain is the misrepresenting of the L-rd through our actions and words. R. Shaul (Apostle Paul) says in Romans 2:23-24, “You who take pride in the Torah, through your violation of the Torah, do you dishonor God? For as it is written, ‘the name of God is slandered among the nations because of you.’ [Is. 52:5]” Ezekiel also talks of this in Eze. 36:16-23. And Peter talks about this in 2 Pet. 2:1-3.
- 8 “Remember Yom Shabbat, to keep it holy . . .” – Shabbat has been given to us to be a restful blessing and a time for remembering the L-rd. Yeshua had much to say on the keeping of Shabbat. (Mark 2:23-3:6, Matt. 12:1-13) A summary would be: man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath was made for man; it is permissible to do good on the Sabbath; and that Yeshua is the L-rd of the Sabbath.
- 12 “Honor your father and your mother . . .” – Honoring our parents includes, living honorably, but also taking care of them as they age. See Mark 7:5-13; we must remember that all these commandments are done as a demonstration of our love for the L-rd.
- 13 “Do not murder.” – This includes the murder of the tongue which Yeshua directly taught on in Matt. 5:21-22
- 14 “Do not commit adultery.” – Not only does this include the adultery of the heart and mind, it also includes all other forms of relationships that the L-rd considers illicit. Matt. 5:27-31
- 15 “Do not steal.” – R. Shaul (Paul) tells the congregation in Ephesus that we must not follow our former lifestyle, but also we must produce fruit of righteousness. We must also die to the old desires and allow the L-rd to renew the spirit of our mind, our inclinations and our attractions. Eph. 4:17-32
- 16 “Do not bear false witness against your neighbor.” – Proverbs 19:9 relates bearing false witness with breathing out lies. “A false witness will not go unpunished, and one who breathes lies will perish.” Yeshua says of lying, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks lies he is just being himself—for he is a liar and the father of lies.” [Jn. 8:44]
- 17 “Do not covet . . .” – R. Shaul (Paul) says to the congregation in Rome, “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the Torah. For the commandments—“You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet,” and any other commandment—are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fullness of the Torah.” [Rom. 13:8-10]
These Ten Words are like the chapter headings of 2 volumes. These are therefore the summary of all other commandments. But if this is the standard what hope is there for any of us? Have we always told the truth? Have we never lusted? Have we always honored the L-rd in all we do? Have we never made His name look bad through our words and actions? Is there anyone who is righteous before God? Of course none of us is righteous on our own as it says in Romans 3: 10-26 and again in 1 Cor. 6:9-11 and in 1 John 2:1-6. So then let us trust in the one whom the L-rd has sent, and let us walk even as he walked!