Thou shalt not take¹ the name²
of the LORD³ thy God⁴ in vain⁵;
for the LORD³ will not hold him guiltless⁶
that taketh¹ his name² in vain⁵.
¹) To lift, bear up, carry, take.
²) Reputation, fame, glory, or “the Name” as designation of God.
³) YHWH, the proper name of the one true God. Unpronounced except as Yahweh, or with the vowel pointings of Adonai (Jehovah). Lord is the title, spoken in place of YaHWeH in Jewish display of reverence.
⁴) Hebrew: elohiym, is plural. (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).
⁵) In emptiness of speech, lying.
⁶) To hold innocent, to leave unpunished.
Exod.20.7 - You shall not use or repeat the name of the Lord your God in vain [that is, lightly or frivolously, in false affirmations or profanely]; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. [AMP] "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. [ESV] No using the name of GOD your God, in curses or silly banter; GOD won't put up with the irreverant use of his name. [MSB] Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. [KJV] "You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. [NIV] "Do not misuse the name of the LORD your God. The LORD will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name. [NLT] "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. [NKJV]
Some further information:
Either by swearing falsely or rashly by his Name, or by condemning it.
This commandment concerns the manner of our worship, that it be done with all possible reverence and seriousness, We have here, a strict prohibition, and a severe penalty.
A strict prohibition:
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. It is supposed that, having taken Yahweh for their God, they would make mention of his name (for thus all people will walk every one in the name of his god ); this command gives a needful caution not to mention it in vain, and it is still as needful as ever.
We take God’s name in vain,
Making a profession of God’s name, but not living up to that profession. Those that name the name of Christ, but do not depart from iniquity, as that name binds them to do, name it in vain; their worship is vain (Matthew 15:7-9 ), their oblations are vain (Isaiah 1:11, 13 ), their religion is vain, James 1:26 .
If we make promises to God, binding our souls with those bonds to that which is good, and yet perform not to the Lord our vows, we take his name in vain (Matthew 5:33 ), it is folly, and God has no pleasure in fools (Ecclesiastes 5:4 ), nor will he be mocked, Galatians 6:7 .
By rash swearing,
Mentioning the name of God, or any of his attributes, in the form of an oath, without any just occasion for it, or due application of mind to it, but as a by-word, to no purpose at all, or to no good purpose.
By false swearing,
Which, some think, is chiefly intended in the letter of the commandment; so it was expounded by those of old time. Thou shalt not forswear thyself, Matthew 5:33.
One part of the religious regard the Jews were taught to pay to their God was to swear by his name, Deuteronomy 10:20 . But they affronted him, instead of doing him honour, if they called him to be witness to a lie.
By using the name of God lightly and carelessly, and without any regard to its awful significancy.
The profanation of the forms of devotion is forbidden, as well as the profanation of the forms of swearing; as also the profanation of any of those things whereby God makes Himself known, His word, or any of his institutions; when they are either turned into charms and spells, or into jest and sport, the name of God is taken in vain.
A severe penalty:
The Lord will not hold him guiltless; magistrates, who punish other offences, may not think themselves concerned to take notice of this, because it does not immediately offer injury either to private property or the public peace; but God, who is jealous for his honour, will not thus connive at it.
The sinner may perhaps hold himself guiltless, and think there is no harm in it, and that God will never call him to an account for it. To obviate this suggestion, the threatening is thus expressed, God will not hold him guiltless, as he hopes he will; but more is implied, namely, that God will himself be the avenger of those that take his name in vain, and they will find it a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
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