By Jim Murriner

Ex 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

This particular commandment, the one on what we would call, lying, extends from the concept or stealing. We are to protect one another’s property and not to deal lightly or frivolously with that which belongs to another.

This concept as all of the commandments of our All Sovereign God, is a very broad concept, in that it deals not only with lying but it extends itself into an impression that we are to care for each other in a truthful relationship. 

We need to understand the language used here in this particular commandment, because the words used here by an All Sovereign God as He gave commandments unto fHis people are very significant. 

In our King James Version, it is translated “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” 

The word “BEAR” here carries the thought of concentrating or thinking about something carefully. This is a term that is almost always used with the negative connotation. The thought also could be to “brow beat” or “to look down on”. It is a connection very frequently when the person is thinking very seriously about a concept or an answer, but the thinking procedure is to get advantage of or to injure. 

The same Hebrew word, which is translated “bear” here is used in the early chapters of Job.

8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?
9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?

Here it is translated “answered” in verse nine, where we see Satan replying in a snide way.

Thou shalt not “Answer”. The whole concept is a very serious thinking process of carefully studying to answer, in a negative way in trying to injure or trying to hurt. 

Thou shalt not bear false witness, the idea of false is more the idea of cheating or planned deception. It is not necessarily just something that is untrue, but the conscience thinking process of planning to deceive. 

Jeremiah used the same term an awful lot when he talks of the false prophets which spoke lies.

Jer 14:14 Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.

Jer 23:32 Behold, I [am] against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD. 

Jer 37:14 Then said Jeremiah, [It is] false; I fall not away to the Chaldeans. But he hearkened not to him: so Irijah took Jeremiah, and brought him to the princes.

These were the prophets who were consciously planning to deceive the people.

Thou shalt not bear false “witness”.

Witness means to repeat, or testify. It is a word that is constantly used through the scripture with the legal meaning.

De 17:6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; [but] at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.

The same word is used here meaning to giving testimony or verifying testimony.

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

A neighbor is any close associate, friend, or companion, and is quite frequently used of relatives. It would always be someone who you know rather well..

When we look into the language here we see that we are not to plan or to think an untrue thing in an effort to injure someone which we know closely.

Deut. 5:20 uses a different Hebrew which is translated “false” witness, and it carries the thought of a “destructive” witness. 

De 5:20 Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Thou shalt not use “destructive” witness which, you are not to do that which injures or hurts someone.
Pr 25:18 A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour [is] a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow.

A man that bears an injurious testimony against his close associate, is like a “maul” or like a long piece of iron with a ball on the end with a spike sticking out, a weapon that they used back in those days. It was a destructive weapon, a very injurious weapon.

A person who bears destructive testimony against a close associate is like one of those big mauls or a sword or a sharp arrow. 

This ninth commandment is a forbidding or any injurious testimony, NOT JUST A LIE, but anything that would injure or hurt physically or spiritually or mentally someone whom we know.

Zech. 8:16 – 17 We are to speak truth.

16 These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates:
17 And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the LORD.

Eph. 4:17 25 Because we are not dominated by this old evil, nature, and since you should be controlled by the righteousness of the new creation, we should speak truth.

17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
20 But ye have not so learned Christ;
21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

This is the commandment form of the observation that Zechariah made in chapter eight.

We are to execute the judgment of truth and peace with in our gates. We are to promote that which is just. Both truthful justice, and peaceful justice. This is to be justly carried out.

I Corinthians 6: 1 – 8 tells us of this. 

1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?
2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.
5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?
6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.
7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?
8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.

This is how we as the Lord’s churches are to do that which is truthful within our business meetings and in dealing with brothers and sisters within our churches.

Zech. 8:17 tells us to let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbor. On the positive side, we are to think truth, promote justice. On the negative side, we are to not even begin to imagine or to think or conjure up evil things in your heart against your neighbor.

I Cor. 13: 5 - 6

5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Ro 12:11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

We are to be conscientiously oriented to that which is positively right rather than injurious, hurtful or evil.

We are to not love the false oath. We are to not like a lie.

Pr 12:22 Lying lips [are] abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly [are] his delight. 

We are told here that lying is an abomination to the Lord. That means lying is exceedingly sinful. It makes God sick at His stomach.

Thinking in an effort to injure or to distort truth, or demote justice and peace and truth is a thing which makes God vomit, because it becomes a part of all of the relationships that we are involved in.

The more we look at the definitions of these words, the more we realize how easily we violate this commandment.

Psm. 12:1 - 3

To the chief Musician upon Sheminith, A Psalm of David.>> Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.
2 They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.
3 The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things:

There aren’t any Godly, because everyone is trying to beat his neighbour with empty words and flattering lips. 

Flattery is a breaking of the ninth commandment.

Pr 29:5 A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet.

Pr. 26:18 – 19 tells us that practical jokes and frivolousness and jesting are a breaking of this ninth commandment

18 As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death,
19 So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?

We see this also in Eph. 5: 1 -4

1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

We are not to plan to deceive for a purpose of injury or mockery, physically or spiritually.

Pr. 3: 27 – 29 tells us we are responsible to help.
27 Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.
28 Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.
29 Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee.

Withholding that which is good from those whom we can help is also a violation of the ninth commandment.

Jas 2:15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be [ye] warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what [doth it] profit? 

Privately gossiping, privately telling a deceptive story about his close associate, and thereby injuring or hurting him in any way is a violation of this ninth commandment.

Ps 101:5 Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.

Pr 18:8 The words of a talebearer [are] as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.

Pr 26:20 Where no wood is, [there] the fire goeth out: so where [there is] no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.

Pr 26:22 The words of a talebearer [are] as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly. 

A talebearer and a false witness who would cause the death of his brother are seen as equals in Lev. 19:16

Le 19:16 Thou shalt not go up and down [as] a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I [am] the LORD.

We who are children of God, have been given a tremendous privilege. Now because we have been made to have a new nature can have our thoughts, our love, and our affections on things that belong to Christ.

Colossians 3:1 -4

1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

Since this is so, there are some things of the flesh that we are to do away with. 

Col 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

There are some things which we are to put off, or away from us. 

Col 3:8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

Don’t plan to injure or to hurt by untrue thoughts or statements, someone who is your close associate. 

James 3:13 – 17 tells us to not live or act a lie. 

13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

The whole reason that God hates this kind of activity and speaking is because the concept of lying originated with Satin.

Joh 8:44 Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 

Ro 6:23 For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The wages of breaking this ninth commandment and any other sin is death in hell, the second death.

However the gift of God even for sinners is eternal life.

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.