HEBREWS – Commandment(s)


miswāh [and] sāwāh


The fifth term we meet in Scripture in reference to itself is commandment. This noun’s related verb is sāwāh (H6680), a general word that denotes a superior verbally ordering or commanding a subordinate. In its first occurrence, God verbally “commanded” Adam that he could “freely eat” of every tree in the garden except “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Gen_2:16-17). It is also commonly used of people commanding other people (e.g., Gen_18:19; Exo_1:22; Jdg_4:6; 1Ki_5:17).


The feminine noun miswāh (H4687), however, is especially significant. Appearing some 181 times, it speaks more of official edicts or decrees. While it is used at times of the commands of men (e.g., Est_3:3; Pro_6:20; Isa_29:13), all sixty-three of its occurrences in the Pentateuch are of God’s commands, as are all twenty-two in Psalms 119 and, of course, others throughout the OT. Further, it appears quite often in reference to the entire body of divine law and instruction (Gen_26:5; Exo_16:28; Deu_6:2; 1Ki_2:3).


The common expression of our day that someone is “searching for truth” is actually a misnomer. Truth is not hidden; it has not been lost. As Deu_30:11 declares, “This commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.” Truth, in fact, is quite easy to see if one simply opens one’s eyes. As Paul declares, even nature itself declares that there is a God of Creation (Rom_1:20), and as David adds, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork” (Psa_19:1).


Let us meditate today on three attitudes we should have toward God’s commandments. First, let us remember them as true. As the psalmist challenges, we will “remember his commandments to do them” (Psa_103:18) simply because His “commandments are truth” (Psa_119:151). Second, let us regard them as valuable. When we truly see their value, even “above gold; yea, above fine gold” (Psa_119:127), we will “not wander from” or “err from” them but rather “learn” them (Psa_119:10; Psa_119:21; Psa_119:73). Third, let us revere them as holy. “Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments” (Psa_112:1) and that has “respect unto all [His] commandments” (Psa_119:6).


Scriptures for Study: What should fathers do with God’s commandments (Deu_6:6-9)? What does Deu_12:32 then declare (cf. Rev_22:18-19)?




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