Thou knowest the commandments
Which God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai; these the Jews taught their children; so that this young man might reasonably be thought to know what, and how many they were, though he was ignorant of the extent and spirituality of them;
do not commit adultery, do not kill, do not steal, do not
witness, defraud not, honour thy father and mother.
In which may be observed, that the strict order in which the commandments stood is not kept; the seventh commandment, "thou shalt not commit adultery", is set before the sixth, "thou shalt not kill"; though the Arabic version places them in their order; and the fifth command, "honour thy father and thy mother", is placed last of all: but a Jew has no reason to object to this, when it is a rule with them, that (hrwtb) (rxwamw Mdqwm Nya) F3, there is no first nor last in the law; that is, order is not strictly attended to; but sometimes, that which is first is mentioned last, and the last first. There is one precept, "defraud not", wrong no man of his property, either by force or fraud, which none of the other evangelists have. Dr. Hammond, and others, think, that it is an explanation of the tenth command, "thou shalt not covet"; signifying, that a man should be so satisfied with his own condition, as not to desire another's goods, or, by any means, seek to lessen them to enlarge his own. A certain Jew F4 objects against our Lord Jesus, that he did not mention the other precepts in ( Exodus 20:3-11 ) ( Deuteronomy 5:6-15 ) , by which he seems to mean the precepts of the first table, which respect the unity of God, and his worship, which are of greater moment; to which may be replied, that our Lord does suggest the unity of the Divine Being, and his essential, infinite, and independent goodness, which are the ground and foundation of his fear and worship in the preceding verse; and besides, as Bishop Kidder observes F5, nothing is more common than to put some precepts for the whole; see ( Micah 6:8 ) ; yea, that Jesus may be justified from the Old Testament in this method, as from ( Psalms 15:1 ) , where a question, very like this of the young man, is put; and yet in answer to it we find nothing mentioned but obedience to the second table: to which reply of the learned prelate, may be added, that Christ instances in the commandments of the second table, as being more known, and better understood by this young man; "thou knowest the commandments"; that is, the following ones he mentions: and besides the argument runs strong from the lesser to the greater, which is implied, that if the commands of the second table, which respect the neighbour, are necessary to be observed, then much more those which concern God himself; and if men fail short in keeping the lesser commands, it can hardly be thought they should be perfect in the observance of greater ones; and so consequently, and which is our Lord's drift, eternal life is never to be obtained by the works of the law.