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Thursday, 10 February 2022
What about the Thrrd Commandment?

The Hebrew text of the 3rd Commandment is from Exodus 20:7(6), but before we get into that, I want to deal with one unspoken issue in verse 6(5). Exodus 20:6 ... but showing lovingkindness to the thousands of generations of those who love Me and keep My mitzvot. What is the Hebrew word translated as "lovingkindness?" Yes, it is Chesed! We call it grace. The conclusion of the second commandment (the commandment to have no other gods) is God's promise of grace (to thousands of generations) to those who love and obey God.

And, how is His grace poured out for us? Galatians 4:4-7 But when the fullness of time came, God sent out His Son, born of a woman and born under law - to free those under law, so we might receive adoption as sons. Now because you are sons, God sent the Ruach of His Son into our hearts, who cries out, "Abba! +Father!" So you are no longer a slave but a son - and if a son, also an heir through God.

It's been about (give or take) six thousand years since Adam. How many generations is that? It depends on how you measure a generation. Estimates range from 30 years to 100 years, so depending, there have been between 200 and 60 generations since Adam. That is certainly much less than the thousands of generations God promises to love. To God, all covenants are grace covenants, even the Mosaic covenant is based on grace.

Now to the third commandment ... Exodus 20:6 in Hebrew and verse 7 otherwise.

Lo Tisa Et-Shem-Adonai(YHVH) Elohecha, Lashav. Ki Lo Y'na'qeh Adonai(YHVH), Et Asher-Yisa Et-Sh'mo Lyshav.

Exodus 20:7 You must not take the Name of Adonai your God in vain, for Adonai will not hold him guiltless that takes His Name in vain.

My first comment is on the Hebrew word "Tisa," which means "you will lift up." It is the first word of the 3rd phrase of the Aaronic Benediction ("May the Lord lift up His countenance ..."). As it is used here, we must NOT lift up the name of the Lord in vain. The Hebrew word translated as "vain" is Shav +(Shin-Vav-Aleph) which means broken, destruction, empty, false (especially false visions), and worthless. It is the same Hebrew letters that make up the word Shoah which is Hebrew for the Holocaust.

Rather than a prohibition on cussing (as many believe), the third commandment is actually a prohibition against lifting up the name of the Lord so as to destroy His reputation (His name is His reputation). To break God's reputation is a serious offense connected to telling the truth (which is a theme in many of the other commandments). No one should destroy the reputation of God, especially the people of God. There is grace for forgiveness, but there are also consequences. Let that be a warning to us all.

Posted By Rabbi Michael Weiner, 11:00am Comment Comments: 0