Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. All
Israel: not one was wanting, chap. xxix. 10. God enabled all to hear the words of their lawgiver, (Menochius) by an evident
miracle. (Jansenius) (Calmet)
Ver. 3. Fathers,
the ancient patriarchs, who were not favoured in such a signal manner. (Menochius) --- Though many of those who had heard
the words of God at Horeb, were dead, and had not enjoyed the full benefit of the covenant, some still remained, and the children
of the deceased were about to enter the land which had been there promised. (Haydock) --- God did not make a covenant with
the Patriarchs only, but also with their posterity at Horeb. (Du Hamel)
Ver. 4. To
us. Hebrew and Septuagint, "to you." --- Face to face, in such a manner that no doubt could be entertained of his
presence. (St. Augustine) --- God addressed the decalogue to all the people, who saw no similitude. But to Moses he delivered
the rest of his ordinances, with as much familiarity and condescension as one friend would use in speaking to another, Exodus
xxxiii. 2. (Calmet)
Ver. 5. Mediator.
St. Paul acknowledges this title of Moses, (Galatians iii. 9,) who was a figure of Jesus Christ, the mediator of the New Testament,
Hebrews viii. 6., ix. 15., and xii. 24. (Calmet) --- Let not Protestants, therefore, reject this title with so much indignation,
when it is applied in the like limited sense to the saints, to denote that they pray for us, as we pray for one another. Christ
is the one mediator (1 Timothy ii.) of redemption. (Haydock)
Ver. 7. Sight.
Chaldean, "Thou shalt not have any other god but me." Elohim often designates the true God. (Calmet) --- See the decalogue
explained, (Exodus xx.) where we have observed, that pictures are only forbidden when they are the objects of sovereign worship,
as the context here plainly shews, ver. 9. Other images God himself authorized, (Worthington) even in the old law, and in
the most sacred place, where people were ordered to fall prostrate before the ark, to adore his footstool, Psalm xcviii.
5. If, therefore, a people so prone to idolatry as the Jews were, might have pictures in the temple of God without danger,
how can any one suppose that the images of Jesus Christ, and of his saints, are necessary incentive to idolatry among Christians,
who all know that God will allow of no rival! (Haydock)
Ver. 9. Serve.
We must neither treat idols, nor their images, with the honour due to God alone. (St. Augustine, q. 61, in Gen.) --- If we
do, he will punish our infidelity. --- Generation, for a long time, or as long as the remembrance of the parents' wickedness
subsists, so as to have an influence upon others. (Haydock) --- God mercifully defers correction. (St. Jerome in Ezec. xviii.)
He chastises those who imitate their wicked forefathers.
Ver. 11. In
vain, by perjury. See ver. 20, where the same word is used, (Du Hamel) or by any irreverent speech. (Menochius)
Ver. 15. Therefore.
This is another reason why the Jews were to observe the sabbath with particular rigour. The institution of a day of rest every
week, (Haydock) was intended to preserve the memory of the creation. (Calmet) --- God also requires that his people should
be grateful on this day for the rest which he had granted to them, (Haydock) and preserve carefully all the monuments
of the true religion. (Calmet)
Ver. 18. Adultery.
Under this name God forbids every species of impurity. (St. Augustine, q. 71.) (Menochius)
Ver. 20. False.
Hebrew shave, "vain," is synonymous with sheker, "false," used [in] Exodus xx. 16.
Ver. 21. His.
Here the Samaritan copy inserts the order for erecting an altar upon Mount Garizim, which we have given, Exodus xx. 27. It
occurs below, chap. xxviii. 2., &c. (Calmet)
Ver. 22. More
to the people: the other precepts were communicated to Moses. The Chaldean and others gives a contrary turn to the Hebrew,
"and he ceased not" ever since to instruct us. (Calmet) --- Moses gives the sense, not the very words of the decalogue, in
which he is not guilty of any lie. (St. Augustine, q. 8.) (Du Hamel)
Ver. 23. You
said, by the mouths of your princes, Exodus xx. 19.
Ver. 25. Die.
Past experience did not entirely remove from them the fear which was so generally entertained, that the sight of the heavenly
beings would prove destructive. So Daniel (chap. x. 17) said on a similar occasion, my breath is stopped. (Haydock)
Ver. 29. A
mind. God speaks like men, and insinuates how agreeable to him is a disposition influenced by a salutary fear. He does
not mean that He cannot convert the heart of man. (Estius) --- God exerts his power over our will by persuasive invitations.
Ver. 32. Left:
a proverbial expression, to signify that no sort of transgression is to be allowed. (Menochius) --- It is of the same import
as, You shall not add, &c., chap. iv. 2. (Calmet)