Summary: The Ninth Commandment talks about the Witnessing the Truth. Be faithful in your words. Lips should bring life and not destruction.
Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor-Ex 20:16
One poem reads:
“Who steals my purse, steals trash,
But he who filches from me my good name,
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
Yet leaves me poor indeed,”
Thou shall not bear false witnesses against thy neighbor.
Law cases are usually divided into two categories: criminal and civil cases. In Israel, criminal, civil, and religious violations were considered by the same “court.” Three components in Israel’s judicial system, First, there is a body of laws. Second, there are judges. Third, there are witnesses.
A witness is someone who has knowledge relevant to an event or other matter of interest, either oral or written. Eyewitness is one who testifies what they perceived through his or her senses (e.g. seeing, hearing, smelling, touching). Hearsay witness is one who testifies what someone else said or wrote. Expert witness is one who allegedly has specialized knowledge relevant to the matter of interest, e.g., a fingerprint.
1. Thou shall not bear false witness
The first falsehood was by Satan, “father of lies” (8:44). He assured Eve deathless life (Gen. 3:4). Cain lied to God, (Gen. 4:9). Jacob was a master of deceit (Gen. 27). Joseph’s brothers deceived Jacob, by telling lie that he was killed by a wild animal (Gen. 37:20, 32-33).
Benson Commentary says this commandment forbids Speaking falsely in any matter, lying, equivocating, devising, designing to deceive our neighbor, Speaking unjustly against our neighbor, slandering, backbiting, tale-bearing, to the prejudice of his reputation.
Mathew Henry says “Godliness and honesty must go together”. How often we all break this rule.
Gills Exposition says false witness means telling lies of him, detracting others character by insinuations, and evil suggestions, whereby he may suffer in his character, credit, and reputation, and in his trade and business.
One witness is not sufficient two judge(Nu. 35:30), More than two is needed(Dt. 19:15-19 & I Tim 5:19, Heb 10:28), Don’t follow the crowd to give false testimony( Ex. 23:1-3). “With his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor (Prov. 11:9). “Like a club and a sword and a sharp arrow Is a man who bears false witness against his neighbor” (Prov. 25:18).
2. “Christ is the faithful and true witness” (Rev. 1:5; 3:14).
Jesus taught that truthfulness should be habitual, and that oaths ought not be necessary for those who give testimony(Mt 5:33-37 & read Mt. 18:16 ). Jesus said “be my witnesses”(Ac 1:8). My witness is in the heavens (Job 16:19), The witness of the lord is so faithful (Ps 19:7).
3. Be a good witness
You are my witnesses (Ac 1:8, Is. 44:8), We are eye witnesses to him (I Jn. 3:11), Samaritan women witnessed to her relatives and natives (Jn. 4:39). Cornelius was a reputed man(Ac.20:22), Reputed man was Ananias (Ac.22:12). Timothy was a reputed man and he was appreciated by many reputed people (I Tim 6:12), Demetrius was well spoken by everyone and respectful man(III Jn.3:12),
Abel was commended as ‘righteous’ man (Heb.11:4), Enoch was commended as one who ‘pleased’ God (Heb. 11:5). David was testified by God as ‘Man after God’s own heart’(Ac. 13:22). Uriah the priest and the Zachariah Reliable witnesses (Is. 8:2). God testified that ‘Moses is faithful in my house’(Nu 12:7).