The Seventh Commandment


Justice-Seeking: The 7th Commandment. Broken Promises


Saying the memory verse together at suppertime will imprint it on the hearts of your children forever.

Exodus 20:14

Do not commit adultery.


How do you talk to kids about the seventh commandment? That's a tough one-but in a way, parents teach kids about this everyday by how they conduct themselves with their spouse and with any person who is not their spouse. Do they treat their spouse with respect? Do they honor their spouse with their talk and with their behavior? Do they put the needs of their spouse before their own needs or wants? Do they maintain a protective barrier around their marriage that lets other people know that this is a "no trespassing" zone? (See Hebrews 13:4.)

Jesus addresses the issue of adultery in Matthew 5:27-30. Here He says that we can also commit adultery with our eyes. That says a lot about how we handle the images that are so easily accessible to us in magazines and on the web. What He says also demonstrates how seriously God takes this issue-so seriously that He says by way of hyperbole that it is better to lose an eye or a hand than to risk breaking your marriage promise with what you see and do. In the story of David and Bathsheba, the adultery started with David's eyes. First, he saw Bathsheba, then he summoned her to the palace, and to his bed.

Basically, this commandment is about keeping your promises-to your spouse and to God. When you marry you promise to "leave and to cleave." Genesis 2:24 in the King James Version says, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." Cleave is an old-fashioned word, but it offers depth to our understanding of what it means to be united to someone in marriage. To cleave means to adhere firmly, closely, loyally, and unwaveringly. To marry is to promise to cleave to your spouse. Adultery breaks that promise. Children can understand broken promises, even if they cannot understand all the implications of adultery.


How well did you listen to the story?

Q. Where was King David while his troops were fighting?
A. He stayed back at the palace.

Q. Who was Uriah?
A. Bathsheba’s husband.

Q. How did he die?
A. Commander Joab placed him at the front line of the battle, where he was killed.

Q. Who came to see King David and tell him a story?
A. Nathan, the prophet.


This question is meant to help the children develop a biblical understanding of God, who He is and what He does. The "answer" is not meant for parents to read to their children. Rather its purpose is to assist parents in guiding the conversation to this biblical understanding. We encourage you to use an open Bible in this conversation, building biblical literacy and well as a biblical theology.


Why do you think it is important that husbands and wives keep their promises to each other?


Just listen to your children here and take your cues from them as to what and how much they are ready to talk about this issue. Maybe you can use this occasion to tell them your story—how you met, how you got married, how you are committed to keep your promises to God, to each other, and to them—to provide them with a stable home that is a safe place where promises made are promises kept.


Can you think of a promise that you've made lately? Have you been a good promise-keeper? What can you do to keep that promise this week?
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