For God commanded, saying
That he might not be thought to suggest this without any foundation, he gives them an instance, wherein a command of God was transgressed, by the observance of their tradition: the command he refers to, stands in ( Exodus 20:12 ) and is this;
Honour thy father and mother.
This was a plain command of God, written with his own hand, and delivered by Moses to them; it was of a moral nature, and of eternal obligation: and to be understood, not merely of that high esteem parents are to be had in by their children, and of the respectful language and gesture to be used towards them, and of the cheerful obedience to be yielded to them; but also of honouring them with their substance, feeding, clothing, and supplying them with the necessaries of life, when they stand in need thereof; which is but their reasonable service, for all the care, expense, and trouble they have been at, in bringing them up in the world: nor did the Jews deny this to be the duty of children to their parents, and own it to be the sense of the commandment: they say F16, that this is the weightiest commandment among the weighty ones, even this, the honouring of father and mother; and ask,
``What is this honour? To which is replied, he must give him food, drink, and clothing; buckle his shoes, and lead him in, and bring him out.''They indeed laid down this as a rule, and it seems a very equitable one F17; that,
``when a man's father has any money, or substance, he must be supported out of that; but if he has none, he must support him out of his own.''But then, as will be seen hereafter, they made void this command of God, and their own explications of it, by some other tradition. Moreover, Christ observes, that it is said, ( Exodus 21:17 )
And he that curseth father or mother, let him die the death;
temporal and eternal: and which is a positive command of God, made as a fence for the former; and is to be understood, not only of giving abusive language to parents, but of slighting, as the Hebrew word signifies, and neglecting them, taking no notice of them, when needy and in distress, to supply their wants. Now these commands of God, Christ shows the Jews transgressed by their tradition, as appears from the following verses.
F16 T. Hieros. Kiddushin, fol. 61. 2.
F17 Piske Toseph. ad T. Bab. Kiddushin, art. 61.