Mother's Day 2017
When mothers thrive, we all thrive.
Honor your father and mother means more than simply to obey your parents. This commandment was addressed primarily to adults, and the word for honor means “to give weight or dignity to,” in the sense of “Respect” (20:12 TEV). It is significant that both father and mother are listed here, for the Israelite culture was male oriented. Since this gives equal importance to the mother, one should not translate “parents.”
That means “so that,” or “in order that.” This introduces a promise rather than a reason, as in the preceding commandment. (See Eph 6:2–3.) That your days may be long is literally “so that your [singular] days will lengthen.” This means “so that you may live a long time” (20:12 TEV) or “may live a long life” (NAB). This expression is used repeatedly in Deuteronomy in the sense of enjoying
“Honour thy father,” the commandment says, but only if he does not separate you from your true Father. Recognize the tie of blood but only so long as your parent recognizes his Creator. Should he fail to do so, David will sing to you: “hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people and thy father’s house. So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty, for he is thy Lord.”6 Great is the prize offered for the forgetting of a parent, “the king shall desire thy beauty.” You have heard, you have considered, you have inclined your ear, you have forgotten your people and your father’s house; therefore the king shall desire your beauty and shall say to you:—“thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.” What can be fairer than a soul which is called the daughter of God,8 and which seeks for herself no outward adorning. She believes in Christ, and, dowered with this hope of greatness10 makes her way to her spouse; for Christ is at once her bridegroom and her Lord.
This commandment is thus like the one that precedes it in linking the requirement to an action of God: As God rested on the creation Sabbath, so individual Israelites must do so each week in their own families; as God promises to take care of his dependents, Israel, for a long time in the promised land, so individual Israelites must take care of their dependent parents for a long time, as necessary, in their own families. The prior commandment looks back on the creation Sabbath, whereas the present commandment looks forward to the nation’s tenure in the land of promise. There is not promise here of individually long life spans. Rather the promise refers to God’s protection of his covenant people if and as long as they keep his covenant.