Exodus 20:16
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

The false witness which was born against the Puritans by the profligate wits of the court of Charles II., produced in the mind of this country a strong antagonism to the great principles for which the Puritans contended. The calumnies which, during the first two centuries, were flung at the Christians, made many upright heathen believe that Christianity itself was an execrable superstition. Slander a clergyman and you help to make the principle of an Established Church odious, and you try to win the cause of ecclesiastical freedom before the tribunal of public opinion by "false witness" against your neighbour. Slander a Nonconformist and you help to make Nonconformity odious, and you try by "false witness "against your neighbour to induce the tribunal of public opinion to pronounce in favour of religious establishments. Pick up and circulate any scandal you may happen to hear — no matter how untrustworthy the authority for it — to the dishonour of a religious man, and you do what lies in your power to create a conviction in the public mind that all religious men are hypocrites, and that religion itself is an imposture. It is by the opinion which society forms on individuals that its general opinions on all questions, moral, religious, and political, are to a very large extent created; and to bear "false witness" either for or against any man is to attempt to deceive and to mislead that great Tribunal — whose decisions affect not merely the happiness and the reputation of particular men, but the formation of the conscience and the judgment of the whole nation.

(R. W. Dale, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

WEB: "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

Top of Page
Top of Page