9. Do Not Bear False Witness

9. Do Not Bear False Witness

9. Do Not Bear False Witness


1242 Posts



Lying Is the Root of Evil

The most important ingredient to building a moral society is truth, both inside and outside a courtroom. The prohibition against “bearing false witness” does not only demand that truth reigns supreme in a trial, but that it is a societal value throughout the culture. Bad things happen when people believe lies. With truth, we can build a decent society. Without it, even the other nine commandments won’t help.
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The Ninth of the Ten Commandments is “You shall not give false witness against your neighbor.” This means two things: “Do not lie when testifying in court.” And, “Do not lie.” Period. Remember, in order for an action to be prohibited or demanded in the Ten Commandments it has to be fundamental to making civilization. As important as donkey riding might have been when the Ten Commandments were given, the Ten Commandments contains no commandment to ride your donkey responsibly. A society can survive bad donkey drivers. But it cannot survive contempt for truth — whether inside or outside a courtroom. If people testify falsely in a courtroom, there can be no justice. And without even the hope of justice, there can be no civilization.

The Hebrew Bible was so adamant on this subject that the punishment imposed on a witness who gave false testimony was the same as the punishment that would have been meted out to the accused had the false testimony been believed. In the case of a crime that would be punishable by death, therefore, the false witness was liable to be put to death. But the commandment is clearly concerned with truth generally, not only in a courtroom.

Both the great twelfth century Jewish commentator, Ibn Ezra, and one of the most influential biblical scholars of the 20th century, Brevard Childs of Yale University, agreed that the commandment was about truth-telling generally. As Childs pointed out, if the Ten Commandments were solely concerned with truth and falsehood in a courtroom, it would have added words such as “in court.”

There are many important values in society, but truth is probably the most important. Goodness and compassion may be the most important values in the micro, or personal, realm. But in the macro, or societal, realm, truth is even more important than compassion or kindness. Virtually all the great societal evils, such as African slavery, Nazism and Communism, have been based on lies.

There were slavetraders, Nazis and Communists who were compassionate in their personal lives, but all of them told, and most of them believed, some great lie that enabled them to participate in a great evil. Black slavery was made possible in large measure by the lie that blacks were innately inferior to whites. The Holocaust would have been impossible without tens of millions of people believing the lie that Jews were inherently inferior to so-called Aryans. And Communist totalitarianism was entirely based on lies. That’s why the Soviet Union’s Communist Party newspaper was named Pravda, the Russian word for “Truth” — because the Party, not objective reality, was the source of truth.

There is only so much evil that can be done by individual sadists and sociopaths. In order to murder millions, vast numbers of otherwise normal, even decent, people must believe lies. Mass evil is committed not because a vast number of people seek to be cruel, but because they are fed lies that convince them that what is evil is actually good. However, one big obstacle to truth-telling is that believers in causes, including good causes, that don’t place truth as a central value, will be very tempted to lie on behalf of their cause.

For the complete script, visit https://www.prageru.com/videos/do-not-bear-false-witness


33 thoughts on “9. Do Not Bear False Witness

  1. Cashman Drummer

    Jesus loves you so much that he gave his life for you because you sinned against him! Repent and trust in him and be saved! Have a good day:)

    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  2. Christopher Sedlak

    God bless!

    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  3. Henry Choi

    Does it mean that our society is doomed to fail (and soon)?

    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  4. OutlawDavey

    If only the political party that controls big tech, big government, and the media, followed this commandment…

    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  5. Zicong Huang

    Interesting how Prager refer to slavery as "African slavery" not "American slavery".

    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  6. Gabriel

    because of free will, we can lie, for example if a child looks ugly and we tell them that they are very very beautiful , of course we did that to make people feel good

    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  7. TigerArmy 13

    This goes for Trump!! Lying saying the election was stolen when he knows it was not

    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  8. faithwilbur

    Excellent. We've been watching 1 each evening during family devotions…very interesting getting a Dennis Prager view vs a Ray Comfort view. 🙂

    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  9. Terrence Milton

    Now what about the people who gave to that charity. Breast cancer.

    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  10. Novaxperto

    4:45 WOW this is one of the best lesson I learn thanks to you 🤔❤️

    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  11. Richard Wieder

    This commandment honestly is one I take to heart when it comes to self improvement. We all have shortcomings, and to fundamentally lie to ourselves about our strengths and weaknesses keep us from getting better.

    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  12. Eldritch Mosaic

    Pargeru is breaking this commandment

    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  13. Richard Koen

    Without truth all the other commandments fall.

    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  14. Robert Berg

    So please tell the American people how it is you continue to support the biggest liar in the history of politics, Donald Trump. Prager University is about as credible As Trump University!

    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  15. Bruce Foye

    Don't lie anymore
    Angels in the trees EVERYWHERE

    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  16. Fire_Rice

    Didn't a priest lie about being an injured solder in the presence of a king? Didn't Jesus once pretend he was going to to walk farther than his disciples? Unless you're saying Jesus broke the ten commandment and thus sinned, the commandment can not be about lying in general.

    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  17. Thecatnipproject

    oh yeah i know all too well how dangerous sociopahts are

    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  18. Héctor Lorenzo

    Perhaps many also lied on behalf of a good cause: perpetuating god and the values attached to him

    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  19. Dennis

    1) Lie for a good cause
    2) People realize you lie
    3) Society no longer trusts any information
    4) Society is might as well be blind
    5) Society metaphorically hits a brick wall because its metaphorically driving blind

    Speaking an atheist, I don't think any value has been desecrated more in recent times than honesty.

    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  20. Dennis

    Truth is where all others values begin, so as an atheist I think the pursuit of truth is the most important value any society can have.

    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  21. Billy Reed Music

    When Trump wrote in 'The Art of the Deal', that he was Swedish, when he's really German, so that he wouldn't risk losing his Jewish clients, was that considered lying for a good cause? Or did he lie on behalf of his cause, to keep his green from getting lean? Also, when he lies about not knowing people, when he actually did know them, from his friend, Paedophile Epstein to his Chief of Staff, Miles Taylor. What is type of lie is that categorized as? Great video, PragerU. Thanks for sharing it. Truth, justice and the American way! https://www.businessinsider.com/people-trump-said-he-didnt-know-but-did-photos

    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  22. Sweet Williams

    I fully platonically love Mr. Dennis Prager, he is an amazing man. I would feel honored just to shake his hand.

    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  23. kill me

    even if it was about truth in only a courtroom, its still good practice to speak truth in any situation

    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  24. wanasilini


    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  25. Kevin VN

    What happened to Native Americans?

    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  26. Bruce DAVID Foye 333


    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  27. Thecatnipproject

    I have at some points in my life but certainly not to the police or in court when I was on jury duty. I'm not proud of what I've done. But I've made up for what I've done turned my life around and got to where I am today. Hard working middle class kid working 6 days a week rolling in a slick ford escape and alot of other great things

    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  28. Toni Ywaya

    After love… there is truth…these 2 things if observed can make this world a paradise

    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  29. Toni Ywaya

    Why wasn't it just:
    9. Do not lie

    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  30. Rickard Bergelius

    People in general can’t handle the truth. “How does my hair look today?” Almost no one ever answers “Awful”. Lies are needed as social lubrication.

    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  31. Matrix Master

    The Root of Good Family Values: 9/0.0625 = 12 Tribes and 12 Apostles^^

    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply
  32. Patricia Wallace

    Tell that to the democrat party politicians who have no limits.

    March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am Reply

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