“Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land which Adonai your God is giving you.”-Exodus 20:12
One of the main points I’ve been trying to get across is that although God gave the principles contained in the Covenant of Moses to Israel, these foundational teachings are NOT just for native-born Hebrews.
In fact, God’s laws and commands are about how the universe God created is supposed to operate.
They are a perfect reflection of God’s eternal nature and character.
Thus, they are for ALL believers, regardless of one’s national background.
The Laws that God gave to Moses are not something that God just willy nilly all of a sudden cooked up on the spot and then gave to Israel.
The Sinai Covenant is a reflection of God’s ETERNAL character and nature.
I stress the word “eternal” for a good reason.
For example, in God’s eyes, “adultery” has ALWAYS been wrong.
It didn’t just suddenly become wrong the instant God made its prohibition a legal precept.
And “Murder” has ALWAYS been wrong.
It didn’t just become wrong the instant God created a law against it.
The same goes for “stealing”, and especially the “Sabbath”.
Fortunately with the Sabbath, we don’t have to guess, because we are told in Genesis 2:3 that not only did God sanctify the 7th day but that He Himself also rested on that day.
As a loving Father, He was serving as a perfect model for His children, demonstrating how those who are His are to live.
Now with regards to the 5th Word, God says that the reason children are to honor their father and mother is so “they will live long in the land”.
“Wow, that sounds really Jewish MAN!” is what some of you may be thinking.
The reasoning is because God is obviously referring to the land of Israel here when He says “land”.
Well, not so fast.
That is certainly one aspect of the meaning here because God clearly states this is “the land which Adonai your God is giving you“.
However, when one examines the original Hebrew, a different meaning also seems to arise.
The Hebrew word being used here for land in verse 12 is ADAMAH.
And yes it is the root word for the first created man who God placed in the Garden of Eden.
Usually ADAMAH means earth as in “soil”, “ground” or “dirt”.
Although it is sometimes translated into “country” or “land”, that is really not the correct impression of the word.
The correct impression is more like a plot of dirt or ground.
For example, do you remember that scene when God told Moses to remove his slippers because he was standing on holy “ground”.
In Hebrew, he was standing on “holy ADAMAH”.
In general ADAMAH is NOT to be taken as a reference to a specific region or country.
Actually, when Israelites in the Bible refer to Israel as just “the land”, a totally different Hebrew word is used.
That word is ERETZ.
The primary point I’m trying to make here is that here God is saying that His people (whether native born Hebrew or the grafted in gentile) will receive the blessing of a prolonged and more abundant life on earth if they treat their parents with love and respect.