12 “HonorA your fatherB and your mother,C so that your daysD may be longE
Notes on verse 12a
A “honor” = kabad. To be heavy, weighty, or severe. It can also be positive abounding in, rich, or honorable. The Hebrew word for “glory,” kabod, is taken from this root. B “father” = ab. This is father, chief, or ancestor. It is father in a literal or figurative sense. C “mother” = em. This is a mother as binding a family together or a breeding female animal. It could be mother in a literal or figurative sense. D “days” = yom. Root may mean being hot. This is the day in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean birth, age, daylight, continually or other references to time. E “may be long” = arak. This is to continue, lengthen prolong, delay, or endure. It is being long or causing something to be long in a literal or figurative sense.
in the landF that the LordG your GodH is givingI you.
Notes on verse 12b
F “land” = adamah. From the same as adam (man, humankind); perhaps from ‘adom (to be red). This is ground, earth, soil as red, or land. G “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place. H “God” = Elohim. I “giving” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
J “murder” = ratsach. Properly, this is to dash something to pieces. It is to kill a person, but it is used particularly (though not exclusively) for murder. K “commit adultery” = naaph. This is to commit adultery or, figuratively, to be an apostate. L “steal” = ganab. This is to steal in a stealthy way rather than through violence. It can also mean to deceive. There is a Yiddish word ganef that derives from this root. It means thief or scoundrel.
16 “You shall not bearM falseN witnessO against your neighbor.P
Notes on verse 16
M “bear” = anah. This is answer, respond, announce, sing, shout, or testify. It means to pay attention, which implies responding and, by extension, starting to talk. Used in a specific sense for singing, shouting, testifying, etc. N “false” = sheqer. This is deception, lie, or disappointment. It can also be something that is vain or wrongfully. O “witness” = ed. From ud (to admonish, repeat, duplicate, testify, restore, record, relieve). This is a witness, testimony, or one who records testimony. It can also refer to a prince. P “neighbor” = rea. From raah (to associate with). This is the same as neighbor in Leviticus 19:18 “love your neighbor as yourself.” This is friend, companion, fellow, neighbor. It is someone with whom you associate, whether more or less close.
Image credit: “Flames of the Phoenix” by Brett Nickell, 2006.