Summary: What does it mean not to bear false witness? Does this commandment have a larger scope?


Famous American Fibs

- The check is in the mail.

- I’ll start my diet tomorrow.

- We service what we sell.

- Give me your number and the doctor will call you right back.

- Money cheerfully refunded.

- One size fits all.

- This offer limited to the first 100 people who call in.

- Your luggage isn’t lost, it’s only misplaced.

- Leave your resume and we’ll keep it on file.

- This hurts me more than it hurts you.

- I just need five minutes of your time.

- Your table will be ready in a few minutes.

- Open wide, it won’t hurt a bit.

- Let’s have lunch sometime.

- It’s not the money, it’s the principle. (Bits & Pieces, December 9, 1993, pp. 12-13.)

• We are getting near the end of our series on the Ten Commandments. It has amazed me just how little mankind has changed over the centuries. All of the commandments we have looked has is still as relevant to us today as they were when they were first passed down to Moses on the mountain.

• Today we are going to explore the Ninth Commandment. This commandment is another one that hits us where we live. The Ninth Commandment says, "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Exodus 20:16

• Today we are going to look at what this command means along with how and why we break this commandment. We will finish up with some ways to protect ourselves from breaking the Ninth Commandment.



• This commandment deals with being truthful. In our society being truthful is becoming a lost art. In our nation we expect our leaders to be liars, we expect sales people to lie to us and honesty is not something that comes easy for many people.

• Lying seems to be a way of life for many people. We lie at the drop of a hat. The book The Day American Told the Truth says that 91 percent of those surveyed lie routinely about matters they consider trivial, and 36 percent lie about important matters; 86 percent lie regularly to parents, 75 percent to friends, 73 percent to siblings, and 69 percent to spouses.

• Let’s examine what this command prohibits.

• Technically, this commandment deals with testimony in a court of law and the impact on the judicial system, but there are clearly vast implications of not telling the truth in our everyday lives. While many of us do not worry about false testimony in a court of law, we should worry about what ramifications there are to the daily lies as well. (Dr. Laura, The Ten Commandments p. 275)

• Let’s look at the technical side first.

A. It is a prohibition against giving false testimony in legal proceedings

• God prohibits us from giving false testimony in court proceedings. The legal system of the Old Testament and of any society is based on the honesty and truthfulness of those who participate in the system. Just think what would happen if we could not trust people who testify. This yet happens today. We can all think of examples of people giving what appears to be false testimony.

• In the Old Testament, God had a way of dealing with a person who tied to convict another person with false testimony.


• This verse speaks for itself.

PROVERBS 19:5 says, “A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who tells lies will not escape.”

Exodus 23:1 tells us, “You shall not bear a false report; do not join your hand with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.

• There is a second way in which we can bear false witness against our neighbor. It is not he main meaning of the passage, but it is still covered.

B. It is a prohibition against damaging a person’s character with by lying about them.

• Adam Clarke in his commentary on Exodus states, Not only false oaths, to deprive a man of his life or of his right, are here prohibited, but all whispering, tale-bearing, slander, and (calumny) false accusations; in a word, whatever is deposed as a truth, which is false in fact, and tends to injure another in his goods, person, or character, is against the spirit and letter of this law. Suppressing the truth when known, by which a person may be defrauded of his property or his good name, or lie under injuries or disabilities which a discovery of the truth would have prevented, is also a crime against this law. He who bears a false testimony against or belies even the devil himself, comes under the curse of this law, because his testimony is false. By the term neighbor any human being is intended, whether he rank among our enemies or friends.

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