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The Fifth Commandment: Parents Exclusive Right to Respect





The Ten Commandments contain 297 words, the Bill of Rights 463 words, and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address 266 words. A recent federal directive regulating the price of cabbage contains 26,911 words.

New York Times[1]


Don’t you wish the Sunday School Teacher could be as brief as the Bill of Rights!


Exodus 20:12 (ESV)

12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.


The Bridge between the Two Tablets of Stone:

·        We showed you, previously, that the Ten Commandments were written on two tablets. There was the Loving God tablet (first 4 commandments) and Loving Man  tablet (next 6 commandments).

·        The tablets are a pair – it was not enough to just have one tablet – it is not enough to just love God – it is not enough to just pray, to just read your Bible, to just go to church!

o   It is not enough to just and only center on God

o   It is not enough to live a monkish life.

·        According to the New Testament, you have to have a set of loving man commandments because of the following principle.


1John 4:20

20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.


·        This principle (you cannot love a God you cannot see if you do not love man whom you can see) differentiates us from radical religions who teach that loving God could mean killing those who do not believe their teachings

o   False religion splits the tablets!

o   False religion disconnects the tablets!

o   What God has joined together let not man put asunder… or disconnect.


James 2:10 (KJV 1900)

10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.


·        It is a ‘whole’ law – a set if you will.

o   Loving man is part of the set

§  If you break commandments 5-10, you are just as guilty as breaking 1-4.

o   You cannot pick and choose the ones that suit you, if you are a keeper of the law.

o   We, as believers in Christ, are not keepers of the law, but fulfillers of it, because the law has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ. But, we are trying to endeavor to understand some of the principles in back of these individual commandments because those principles are eternal.


So, what is eternal about the fifth commandment?


The Fifth Commandment: Parents Exclusive Right to Respect

The 1st of the loving man commandments starts with family


·        It does not start with your next door neighbor or the people at your job. The first of the loving man commandments starts at home.


·        What is family?

o   “Family: A social unit where the father is concerned with parking space, the children with outer space, and the mother with closet space.[i] J

·        Strong family, as God defines it  (not as government tries to define it), is essential to the core of any nation

o   It is the basic building block of a nation

o   Strong families make for strong churches

o   Strong churches make a strong nation

·        Do you remember what Jesus told us, when He was asked about what is the great commandment in the law?

o   You remember how He answered that – you remember He said the second commandment is like the first and it had to do with “Loving your neighbor”.

o   Loving your neighbor is part of the great commandment”

o   Loving your neighbor starts at home with the parents. It starts with the 5th commandment and it starts with a simple 5 letter word.

o   If you want to remember the 5th commandment remember this 5 letter word – H-O-N-O-R –

o   You love your parents properly by showing them honor.


Luke 2:51 (KJV 1900)

51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.

·        Jesus demonstrated honor for His parents


The Idea of Honor

·        DEFINITION: ‘Honor’ – to be heavy, to be weighty,  to be glorious, to honor

o   Same class of word as the glory of God


§  The Hebrew word for ‘honor’ is כבד  or kbd

§  The Hebrew word for glory is  כָּבוֹד  or kbwd

o   Honor and glory are a matched pair!

o   In fact, the Hebrew word for Glory has as its first definition heaviness.

o   When you honor someone, you give weight to their position.

o   When you honor someone you give heaviness to their stature

§  The song writer said, ‘He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother’

§  In this case, ‘He ain’t heavy, he’s my parent, he’s my mom, he’s my dad’.

o   This honor would also extend to the elderly in general and also to spiritual leaders – those who are over us in the Lord.

o   To honor your pastor, is to give weight to his position or heaviness to his stature.


·        Honor is a serious matter in the Bible

o   Let us look at some Bible examples that illustrate this point.

o   Let us look at some cases of dishonor.


·        Elisha and the children who mocked him


2 Kings 2:23–24 (KJV 1900)

23 And he went up from thence unto Beth-el: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. 24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.

o   If you think what happened to these children is too hard and unequal and that you would never do this if it was you, your mind is not renewed to the idea of honor.


·        Is your mind renewed to the idea and importance of honor?


Leviticus 20:9 (KJV 1900)

9 For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.


·        Dishonor was a ‘death penalty’ violation – same class of sin as a serial killer or child molester!

·        DEFINITION: ‘curse’ – in Hebrew the word is ‘yekallel’ and it signifies:

o   – to curse

o   – to speak contemptuously

o   –to speak disrespectfully

o   – to make light of a person:

o   All speeches which have a tendency to lessen our parents in the eyes of others, or to render their judgment, piety, etc., suspected or contemptible, is here included; (New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge)

·        According to the Bible, if you curse your parents, if you speak of them disrespectfully, your blood is on your own head.

o   What does that phrase ‘your blood is on your own head’ mean?

o   Look at these next four verses to see.


Exodus 21:17 (KJV)

17 And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.


Deuteronomy 27:16 (KJV)

16 Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen.


Proverbs 20:20 (KJV)

20 Whoso curseth his father or his mother, His lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.


Proverbs 30:17 (KJV)

17 The eye that mocketh at his father, And despiseth to obey his mother, The ravens of the valley shall pick it out, And the young eagles shall eat it.


·        The Pharisees dishonored their own parents


Matthew 15:1–9 (ESV)

1 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” 3 He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 5 But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” 6 he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. 7 You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: 8 “ ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 9 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”


·        What Jesus is talking about here is the idea of Corban

o   Corban is Hebrew for ‘an offering dedicated to God.’

o   The Pharisees claimed that property someone owned, that could be used to help take care of parents in their older age, can instead be designated as Corban.

o   Thus Corban became a religious loophole to get around the fifth commandment.

§  They could keep their property, leave their parents out in the cold, and still think they were spiritual.

§  Of course the Pharisees also loved the idea of teaching Corban, because anyone who gave gifts dedicated to God via the Temple would enhance the Temple Treasury. And the Pharisees had their hands in that till!

o   You can tell from Jesus tone that He was not especially happy with this loophole. The parents should have been honored.

o   But, you may say that that was Old Testament


The New Testament Connection!

·        Honor is an eternal forever principle – proven by its inclusion in the New Testament


Ephesians 6:1–3 (KJV 1900)

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.


Colossians 3:20 (KJV 1900)

20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.

·        The point!

·        What does it means to honor our parents?

·        Since ‘honor’ carries the idea of weight, to honor one’s parents is to give proper weight to their position of authority and their position on issues.

o   It means the opposite of the Hebrew word curse – it means to:

§  – bless them

§  – to speak well of them

§  –to speak respectfully

§  – to never make light of them

§  Use all speeches which have a tendency to magnify our parents in the eyes of others, or to render their judgment, piety, etc., as a trusted or important source, is here included;


ILLUSTRATION: honoring parents is not as Mark Twain said

·        “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

o   Mark Twain was being comical in his own way here but there actually are children and a lot of them that feel that their parents are ignorant.

·        For children to view or look down upon their parents as ignorant, and out of touch, because they don’t know the latest slang expression, or fashion trend, or because they don’t understand computers, or the latest technology is ungodly.


The Age Old Issue of Youth versus ‘Old Age’

·        How do we know that it is an ‘age old’ issue?

·        One man complained: “Youth today love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority, no respect for older people, and talk nonsense when they should work. Young people do not stand up any longer when adults enter the room. They contradict their parents, talk too much in company, guzzle their food, lay their legs on the table, and tyrannize their elders.”

o   You would think by this description that we were talking about youth today when in fact that man who uttered these words was…  

§  Socrates, the philosopher who lived 400 years before Christ!

§  His words describe what young people are still like today because it is an age old problem.

§  This problem God addressed with the 5th commandment.

·        This next verse should be our response to those who over us in age.

o   It happens to be one of my favorite verses along this line.


Leviticus 19:32 (KJV)

32 Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face

of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.


·        DEFINITION: ‘hoary head’ – gray hair, advanced age

o   TNIV has it as follows…


Leviticus 19:32 (TNIV)

32 “ ‘Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.



·        These verses are rich in God’s promises and provisions because God promises ‘long life’ to those who obey them.

·        The way to have a long life is to honor those who have already lived a long life ahead of you!


[1] Water, M. (2000). The new encyclopedia of Christian quotations (144). Alresford, Hampshire: John Hunt Publishers Ltd.

[i] Evan Esar  – Read more about Funny Family Quotes by Famous People by http://www.poemofquotes.com