Matthew Poole on the Ninth Commandment

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VirginiaHuguenot

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From Poole's English Annotations on Ex. 20.16:

Exod 20:16. Heb. not answer, viz. when thou art asked in judgment, Lev 5:1; Lev 19:16; or, not speak a false testimony, or as a false witness; which doth not only forbid perjury in judgment, but also all unjust censure, slander, backbiting, scorning, false accusation, and the like; and also requires a just and candid judgment of him, and of his words and actions, speaking well of him, as far as truth and justice will permit, and defending his good name against the calumnies and detractions of others. Against thy neighbour; no, nor for thy neighbours; but he saith against, both because such perjuries, slanders, etc. are most commonly designed against them, and because this is a great aggravation of the sin, when a man not only speaks evil and falsehood, but doth this from malice and ill-will. But under this kind are contained other sins of a like, though less sinful, nature, as in the other commands.

A man's neighbour here is not only the Israelite, as some would have it, but any man; as plainly appears, 1. Because that word is frequently used in that sense, not only in the New, as all agree, but also in the Old Testament, as Gen 11:3; Lev 20:10; Esther 1:19; Prov 18:17. 2. Because it is so explained, Luke 10:29,36; Rom 13:9, compared with Matt 22:39. 3. From the reason of the thing, which is common to all; unless a man will be so hardy to say that he may bear false witness against a stranger, though not against an Israelite; and, in like manner, that when God forbids a man to commit adultery with his neighbour's wife, Lev 20:10, he may do it with a stranger's wife; and that though a man be commanded to speak the truth to his neighbour, Zech 8:16, he may tell lies to a stranger. 4. Because the great law of love and charity, which is the life and soul of this and all the commands, and binds us to all; binds us, and bound the Israelites, to strangers, as appears from Exod 23:4; Lev 19:33-34.

From Poole's English Annotations on Ps. 51.19-20:

Ps 50:19. Thou givest, Heb. thou sendest forth, to wit, free; for the word is used of men's dismissing their wives or their servants, whom they left to their freedom. Thou hast an unbridled tongue, and castest off all restraints of God's law, and of thy own conscience, and givest thy tongue liberty to speak what thou pleasest, though it be offensive and dishonourable to God, and injurious to thy neighbour, or to thy own soul; which is justly produced as an evidence of their hypocrisy. To evil; either to sinful or mischievous speeches. Frameth deceit, i.e. uttereth lies or fair words, wherewith to circumvent those who deal with them.

Ps 50:20. Thou dost not only speak evil in a sudden passion, or upon some great provocation, but this is thy constant and deliberate practice and business, which thou dost pursue with great facility and complacency; all which this phrase implies. Thy brother; strictly so called, as the next clause explains it; which is a great aggravation of the sin, and a proof of his inveterate and obstinate wickedness. Thou slanderest; takest away his good name, which is better than all riches; yea, than life itself; which is contrary to my express and oft-repeated commands.

Poole's Cripplegate Sermon on Ps. 15.3 entitled How May Detraction Be Best Prevented or Cured?:

Links and Downloads Manager - Christian Walk Links - How May Detraction Be Best Prevented or Cured? -- Matthew Poole - The PuritanBoard
 
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