Good Day to each of you reading about the Ninth Commandment on not bearing false witness against your neighbor. Does Romeo & Juliette, Hatfield’s and McCoy’s and other feuding neighbor families come to mind? One word, one gesture, one false report is the spark that starts the uncontrollable fire between people. Take a moment and read James 3:5.
Before we begin the second part of the lesson, do you remember when the McGuffey’s reader was around and used in schools? This comes from The Ten Commandments—Above all else love God alone; Bow down to neither wood nor stone. God’s name refuse to take in vain; The Sabbath rest with care and maintain. Respect your parents all your days; Hold sacred human life always. Be loyal to your chosen mate; Steal nothing, neither small nor great. Report with truth, your neighbor’s deed; And rid your mind of selfish greed. Just think, if this reader was used in every school?
A bit of laughter—A new pastor was visiting various members homes in the area and came upon a home that he thought someone was inside, but no answer came when he repeatedly knocked. He took out his business card and wrote ‘Revelation 3:20’ on the back of the card and stuck it in the door. The following Sunday, the pastor looked in the offering plate and his card was returned. On the back of the card, read ‘Genesis 3:10’. The pastor immediately opened his Bible and broke out in laughter. Now for the rest of the story, Revelation 3:20 begins ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock.’ Genesis 3:10 reads, ‘I heard your voice in the garden and I was afraid for I was naked.’
Upon further examination of the Ninth Commandment, the Bible goes into further detail of making false oaths, false witnessing in court, slander and gossip. God set up the perfect form of personal and civil government and the above are examples of what God knew that we would be dealing with since the time he created man and woman.
Turn with me to Genesis 23: 1-3 (FF) “You shall not make a false oath, You shall not set your hand to commit fraud. You shall not be a false witness. “You shall not go with the powerful to do wrong; and you shall not plead for the powerful to make excuse for their wrongdoing. And you shall not turn away from the poor man when he pleads.
When turning to the Wycliffe Commentary for a breakdown on the above verses, I find the following explanation—The duty to uphold truth and justice. The Israelites were to walk in integrity and consideration for all men. They were not to bear false witness (v.1), i.e., raise a false report (AV), nor be in any collusion with such as did. Unrighteous witness. Literally, witness of violence. Not follow a multitude (v.2). A classic condemnation of mob violence. Neither by action nor by word was justice to be perverted because of the pressure of a crowd. Countenance (v.3), To favor or be partial. Some think this is a scribal error and that “rich” and not “poor” man was meant. But there is need to warn against injustice due to wrongly directed sympathy as well as for other reasons.
God is omniscient—when setting up the human justice system, he knew man would make false oaths and bear false witnessing or raise a false report against his neighbor, friend, or family member. Judges and juries were set in place to safeguard against false reports along with each witness examined separately to minimize collaboration and escape detection of falsified testimony.
Judges were given the authority to make a thorough investigation of falsified testimony and if the person raised a false report, “Then shall ye do unto him as he had thought to have done unto his brother.” Simply put, if you do the crime, then you do the time.
The Lord take false reporting and slandering very personally for he says, “Thou shalt not raise a false report; put not thy hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.”
The Lord says, “Whoso privily slandereth his neighbor, him will I cut off. God is very explicit when it comes to slander for a tainted word is hurtful and untrue.
Gossip has been around for a long time—Harmless as it may seem—Look at the old shows like “The Andy Griffith Show” with Aunt Bee, Andy and the ladies and gents of Mayberry spreading tale tales about each other. Yes, it was in good fun, but there was always a lesson and that lesson, with its grand humor, hit home and that was “No Gossiping” for the tale said actually got larger and larger and larger when repeated.
The word, “talebearer” is found six times in the Bible, which coincidentally is the number for man. Hmmmm! Here is what Leviticus 19:16 (FF) “You shall not go about slandering your neighbor. “You shall not lie in wait for the blood of your neighbor. I am the EVER-LIVING.” Proverbs 18:8 (FF) A tale-bearer’s words like dainties, Go down to the stomach’s depths.
As we touched on in the last lesson, please review in James 3:3-10—The tongue—verse 8(FF): but no men have ever been able to tame the tongue! —an undisciplined evil, full of deadly poison. With it we praise the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, created in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brethren it is not right for these things to be so.
Jesus warns, “But I say unto you, that every idle word that men speak, they shall give account therof in the day of judgment.”
Rich or poor, slander and talebear, false oath and false witness, participate in mob violence, favor to be partial to social status, oppress those less fortunate and with it we praise the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, created in the likeness of God.
In closing, I am reminded of the Golden rule—Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you or as my wife says, just be nice.
May God Bless you and keep you safe and pray and talk to God—He loves to hear from us, and we should be so very thankful to talk to him.