Honor your father and your mother: that your days may be long on the land which the LORD your God gives you.
The position of this Commandment among the others has important teachings. It is the centre, the heart of the whole law. Not only has God given us the power to love, but He has placed us in relationships which call this power into exercise and give it right direction, especially the relationship of parents and children. God says here to parents: "As you love your children, so I love you. As you yearn for their responsive love, so I yearn for yours. I am your Father." God says here to children: "Love your parents, and therein learn to love Me, your Father." The position of this Commandment among the others has a further teaching of great importance. The place of division into the Two Tables of the Law is somewhat indistinct. It is in this Commandment, but whether it belongs to the First Table, or to the Second, is not quite clear. It certainly treats of duties to man, and so must belong to the Second Table. But hold! May not the parents be regarded as the representatives of God? Then it belongs to the First Table. There is certainly a strong analogy in the relationships. The parents are the nearest cause to the child of its being, its continued existence and its welfare, and this through that wonderful thing God has given them, parental love, which allies them so closely to Himself. We need not try to determine what God seems purposely to have left indistinct. In the indistinctness is the lesson. We are apt to consider duties to man separately, but God joins them indissolubly with duties to Himself. The position of the Commandment in this indistinctness also shows its great importance. Considering it as the last of the First Table we see that in order that children shall become men and women worshipping God in spirit and in truth, they are to be taught and trained by honouring their parents. Considering it as the first of the Second Table, we see that in order that children shall become men and women fulfilling their duties in the various relations of life, they are to be taught and trained by honouring their parents. Both religion and morality have their foundations laid in the home life of children.
(F. S. Schenck.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.