[FT] The fifth commandment [was RE: Virgin Birth]

Jose A. Fernandez jaf at kuriake.com
Sun Nov 6 12:01:26 PST 2005

Is there an authoritative (or at least well done) work on the meanings
and nuances of the fifth commandment:

    Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the
    land of the LORD your God is giving you.
        -- Exodus 20:12, NIV

Merriam-Webster Online defines honor as:

    1. a good name or public esteem
    2. privilege
    3. a person of superior standing
    4. one whose worth brings respect or fame
    5. the center point of the upper half of an armorial escutcheon
    6. an evidence or symbol of distinction
    7. chastity, purity
    8. <integrity>
    9. social courtesies or civilities extended by a host
    10. <certain playing cards>

Merriam-Webster's aren't very satisfying, and actual practice is even
less satisfying.  Some practice honor through obedience.  Some pratice
honor by public promotion or support.  Some practice honor by saying
nice things.  In this spectrum of practices, one can honor one's parents
by saying nice things about them while not obeying a single word.

What does "honor" really mean?

I am extremely skeptical of the notion I do not have to honor my parents
if their advice and example are an obstacle to God's will.  The fifth
commandment does not include conditions.

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Julia Ewen
    Sent: Friday, November 04, 2005 1:07 PM

    Yes, Vanessa, to "honor" someone was not to give them an award. It
    was to demonstrate one's respect and love.  It involved in the case
    of one's parents listening to their wisdom and following their
    example (providing of course that such was in line with God's will
    expressed through his law and his prophets).

    Where our parents' advice and example are an obstacle to God's will,
    we don't have to honor them, according to Jesus. When a man said he
    would follow Jesus after he had buried his father (one of the
    important ways one showed honor to one's parents), Jesus said, "Let
    the dead bury the dead".  Meaning that if you use obligations to
    parents as a way to defer work for God, it is not really the sort of
    "honor" that Moses's commandments have at heart.

    But Jews have always believed that both father and mother were to be
    treated with loving respect...

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