The 1689 Confession on Lawful Oaths and Vows
Chapter XXIII of the Second London Confession (2LC) of 1689 contains what may be arguably the most unusual subject in a Baptist statement expressly designed to convey the “fundamental articles of the Christian religion.”1 Unusual because the matter addressed there, lawful oaths and vows, is rarely addressed today, either in confessions or from the pulpit. Many people do not think much about this issue. In my own experience, I have consulted this chapter of the 2LC least of any other chapter; neither can I remember when last I heard a sermon touch on the scriptural position on oaths and vows in an explicit manner. But this is not meant to be a critique leveled at pastors faithfully expositing the Word; take off the shelf virtually any modern systematic theology, compiled from years of study, published to assist those faithful pastors, and search in vain for an exposition of the words “oath” and “vow”; few theological writings give them direct attention.
Considering this, one may ask, as did I when first writing this article, why is this chapter here? Furthermore, of what value does this chapter present for Baptists of the 21st century? Chapter XXIII finds its origin in the legacy of sacralism the English Protestant world inherited from the medieval church, and in the Reformation’s implicit yet fundamental challenge to the union of church and state in Europe that had existed for the better part of a millennium. That sacralism has faded into history. Yet, far from being a mere anachronism, Scripture has important words on this topic, and Chapter XXIII taps into an important belief Christians hold about our attitude toward God and the significance of Scripture’s teachings that is timeless in application.
A Historical Brief on Sacralism in the Reformation
Before discussing the 2LC’s presentation of lawful oaths and vows, it would be useful briefly to review the historical circumstances of their relevance in the 16th and 17th century; it should be made evident, not only how pertinent oaths and vows were, but how courageous the early English Baptists proved in maintaining a thoroughly Biblical position in the face of intense persecution between secular opponents and theological allies.
In contrast to the Magisterial Reformation,2 the Radical Reformation took earlier cues from people like Luther and Zwingli to extremes even they weren’t willing to go, rejecting not only theological errors of Rome, but questioning ecclesiological aspects as well, including the close cooperation between Church and State that had been in place for the better part of a millennium. Protestant leaders like Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli argued that cooperation was imperative to maintain a Christianized society under biblical authority. In fairness, the Magisterial Reformers did not hold this position uniformly.3 The same lack of uniformity existed among the Radical Reformers: some were generally orthodox and peaceful – men like Balthasar Hubmaier, Conrad Grebel, Felix Mantz, and Michael Sattler – while others were less orthodox and more violent in pursuit of their goals. Regardless, in attempting to establish a purified church according to their interpretation of the Scriptures, the Radicals came under intense persecution from both Catholics and Protestants. The locus of contention between them and the Magisterial Reformers was their position on baptism and their relation to secular society at large. On the issue of baptism, the Radicals accepted credobaptism, the baptism of believers, as the only legitimate form of baptism. Consequently, their enemies assigned them the label of Anabaptist, due to their practice of “re-baptizing” adults on profession of faith.4
Concerning the Radical/Anabaptist relationship to society, the Radicals argued that every Christian was to separate himself from society into God’s kingdom. Hence, “true believers must not participate in an activity connected with either the sword or oaths – meaning war, civil service, oaths to rulers or magistrates, and so on.”5 An early but loose confession of faith among Anabaptists, the Schleitheim Confession of 1524, largely the work of Michael Sattler, clearly articulated their opposition to the giving of oaths:
“We are agreed as follows concerning the oath…Christ, who teaches the perfection of the Law, prohibits all swearing to His [followers], whether true or false…it is for this reason that all swearing is forbidden: we cannot fulfill that which we promise when we swear, for we cannot change [even] the very least thing on us.”6
These dual ideas, rejecting both infant baptism and the giving of oaths, was viewed as a dangerous combination in the eyes of Roman Catholics and the Magisterial Reformers. By rejecting oaths, the Radicals were questioning the fundamental issues of patriotism and Christian civic duty; by abjuring infant baptism, the Radicals were laying the axe to the root of Christendom as a concept, since every person born in a given kingdom was considered a subject as well as a covenant participant by virtue of their baptism as an infant. Hence, the Radicals could not be relied on for legal witness in disputes – and more importantly for service in war, a prospect that was pregnant with danger, given the increasing religio-political strife between Catholic and Protestant kingdoms. The Radicals were in turn accused of heresy, a crime punished by the secular government, and generally imprisoned and killed.
Yet, the opinion of the Anabaptists at large was to devolve even further when other Radicals, unlike the largely peaceful groups around Sattler, Hubmaier, and Mantz, took wilder measures in pursuit of their goals. The most extreme example of this was to occur in the Münster Rebellion of 1534-1535. Two Dutch laymen, Jan Mathys and Jan (Beukels) of Leiden, claiming to receive direct revelation from God, in February 1534 seized control of city of Münster in the Holy Roman Empire. Mathys and Leiden exiled the nominally Catholic Prince-Bishop and the largely Lutheran populace, declared Münster to be the New Jerusalem prophesized in the Old Testament, and sought to establish an Anabaptist theocratic government. For a year, the Prince-Bishop besieged the city, while the Radicals within declared themselves the successors to King David and instituted a communistic and polygamous society. In June 1535, the city was retaken, and the leaders of the rebellion were tortured and executed for insurrection, their bodies placed on display in cages that exist to this day. So strong was the opposition toward Anabaptists that the Lutherans and Catholics, long before the Peace of Augsburg, cooperated in overthrowing the Radical Münsterites.7 From this point onward, all Radicals were considered inherently dangerous to both the religious and social life of the realms in which they dwelled, and “Anabaptist” became synonymous with religious heresy and social degeneracy. This stigma would extend to virtually anyone who argued for believer’s baptism even a century later.
As a result, the Calvinistic Particular Baptists in England during the mid-17th century were caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, they had to endure the accusations of “Anabaptism” from Protestants in the kingdom for professing credobaptism. This can be seen from the fact that the First London Baptist Confession of 1644 was specifically crafted in part to defend the churches “commonly (though falsely) called Anabaptists.”8 Coming out of the Puritan Separatist movement, they held to theology that was decidedly Reformed in nature. On the other hand, as Baptists they did not believe that the church should utilized the state in enforcing specific denominational beliefs. Consequently, when the 2LC was drafted in 1677 and published anonymously (to openly publish it would have been illegal), it retained the clear influence and structure of the Westminster Assembly’s confession of 1646, but modified the articles in several places, including that on lawful oaths and vows, to reflect their convictions that differed from the rest of Protestantism. Following the Act of Toleration of 1689 passed subsequent to the Glorious Revolution, and the development of religious liberty over the following centuries in Great Britain and the United States, these issues of sacralism, of the union of church and state, waned into general desuetude, and Baptists to the present enjoy worship of God largely free of legal interference.
An Abiding Issue
From this brief overview, the confessionally conscious Baptist pastor might be forgiven to wonder if this inclusion of oaths and vows be an anachronistic subject imported to the present merely through documentary fidelity; valid to weighty matters of the day, but dubious as to its timeless significance. After all, it is more likely that the devoted pastor in question will be dealing with hospital visits, comforting the sick and their relatives with God’s providence and goodness over suffering; or counselling a newly married couple on the Bible’s application toward qualms undiscovered before the “I dos”; or counselling parents struggling with an overwhelming sense of grief and failure from a now-adult son recalcitrant in unbelief, despite years of godly, faithful rearing. A section on valid and invalid oathtaking might, by comparison, seem far less momentous; a chapter to be skimmed over during weekly study in favor of more pressing doctrinal and practical concerns.
However, I do not believe Chapter XXIII to be merely historical in terms of relevance to its audience. In fact, the framers of the Confession have touched upon a serious matter of Christian living and discipleship: the use of the tongue and how Christians are to think and speak about God Himself. After all, the first thing the Confession asserts about lawful oaths and vows is that they are a part of religious worship. By invoking the name of God in an oath, the one giving the promise is calling upon God as the highest authority to bear witness to the truthfulness of what is said. Hence, he is attributing to God, whether he admits it or not, something about His character and nature. One of the earliest Southern Baptist theologians, John L. Dagg, remarks about oaths and vows: “In oaths, appeal is made to the omniscience and justice of God. As omniscient, he knows every fact to which any witness may be required to testify…as just, he is expected to punish, with severity, those who presumptuously use his name to sanction falsehood.”9 Oaths and vows remind us that we live in God’s world, and everything exists for His glorification. In giving oaths and vows, we are to testify to the truth, and as God’s word is truth (John 17:17), no claim to truth can be done without involving Him. Therefore, this chapter is placed after Chapter XXII, on religious worship and the Sabbath Day: oaths are a form of religious worship.
Turning to the Confession, paragraph one defines a lawful oath: A lawful oath is an element of religious worship in which a person swearing in truth, righteousness, and judgment solemnly calls God to witness what is sworn and to judge the one swearing according to the truth or falsity of it. By discussing “lawful” oaths, the Confession establishes an implicit distinction between oaths that are lawful, and those that are unlawful. By making this distinction, the Particular Baptists both identified their adherence to Reformed theology concerning oaths and rejected the Anabaptist’s condemnation of all oaths. There are oaths which are lawful to give. The writer of Hebrews describes the most basic function of an oath: a holy promise given as “an end of every dispute” (Heb. 6:16). The word for dispute (Gk. antilogia) indicates a contrary word, an argument. The goal of an oath, then, is to restrain the evil of men by preventing disputes from expanding out of control. A. W. Pink, commenting on this verse in Hebrews, stresses, “an oath is necessary for the governing and peace of mankind, for without it strife must be perpetual, or else ended by violence.”10
Defining an oath’s function in this manner shows why they are relevant to civil matters: even in the present day, oaths are administered in court to provide reliable evidence in judging a dispute between two parties. John L. Dagg defines this civil use of oaths as follows: “To protect citizens in the enjoyment of their rights, civil government needs some means for eliciting truth; and for this purpose, it requires testimony or be given on oath.”11 The crime of perjury, additionally, exists to punish just this sort of abuse in oath-giving. Therefore, the Confession notes in paragraph two, so a lawful oath being imposed by lawful authority in [ending strife], ought to be taken. It should be further observed that it is likely for this reason Chapter XXIII precedes the chapter on civil government: lawful oaths, and the rightness of their use in settling matters of controversy is a critical day to day function for maintaining civil order. And this further illustrates why the Anabaptist rejection of oaths became so controversial: by separating themselves from any kind of oath, they were in effect dissolving all civic obligations to authorities they were placed in.
Scripture demonstrates in several ways that oaths can be lawful when utilized justly. It expressly commands the people of God not to take His name in vain (Ex. 20:7, Deut. 5:11). Since the commands is not to take God’s name vainly (from Heb. shav, meaning emptily), it is valid to infer that His name can be taken (Heb. nasa, lifted up) with substance and propriety. Moreover, the people of Israel were commanded not to swear by anything other than God’s name (Deut. 6:13, 10:20; Lev. 19:12). Numbers 30 is specifically given, as a word from Yahweh to Moses, to lay out the giving and keeping of oaths and vows rendered in His name.
Numerous individuals in the Old Testament give oaths without censure. Abraham binds his servant with an oath to find a bride for Isaac (Gen. 24:3). Jacob requires Joseph to swear that Jacob will be taken out of Egypt when God delivers them, and Joseph in turn makes his brothers swear the same oath regarding his own bones. (Gen. 47:30-31, 50:25). In doing so, these three patriarchs were not using God’s name in vain; they were testifying by God to God’s faithfulness in securing His promises made to them (Gen. 15:5, 12-14). We are introduced to Elijah as he is swearing with an oath that there would be no rain in Israel until he commanded it (1 Kings 17:1); a chapter later, after three years of withholding, God commands Elijah to call forth the rain again.
In the New Testament as well, examples are presented of men of faith giving oaths. When Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, writes in Romans 1:9-10, “For God… is my witness as to how unceasingly I make mention of you, always in my prayers making request, if perhaps now at last by the will of God I may succeed in coming to you,” the Apostle is making an oath in God’s name that what he says about keeping the brethren in his prayers is true. The Apostle makes similar oaths to his honesty in 2 Cor. 1:23 and Gal. 1:20. Christ Jesus, when on trial before the Sanhedrin in Matthew 26:62-64, at first says nothing when false witnesses testify against Him. Yet, the high priest in verse 63 commands, “I adjure you by the living God that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.” The word adjure (Gk. exorkizo) means literally, place under oath; what was Jesus’ answer? “Jesus said to him, ‘You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.’” Not only does Christ place Himself under an oath, He then continues by reciting the passage of the Ancient of Days from Daniel 7 as confirmation of the truth. If all oaths were unlawful, then Christ Himself acted in an immoral way, for there was no requirement for Him to break His silence had He chosen not to submit to the oath. But, as the Confession recognizes in paragraph two, His example is one of solemnly accepting the lawfulness of oaths when given by legitimate authority. In doing this, He proved consistent with the instructions He gave to His followers when He called for faithful obedience to the authority of those who sit in Moses’ seat and judge, to do what they commanded with sincerity (Matthew 23:1-3).
Objection: Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount
Particularly in light of this example of Christ, it would be helpful to examine the source of Anabaptist condemnation of oaths and vows: the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5. The Schleitheim Confession declares, “Christ also taught us [when] He said, Let your communication be Yea, yea; nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil…Christ is simply Yea and Nay, and all those who seek Him simply will understand His word. Amen.”12 When placing this against Jesus’ actions in Matthew 26, this at first seems contradictory. However, when we study the Sermon on the Mount, we must always bear in mind Jesus’ words in verse 17, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfil.” Christ did not set Himself up in opposition to the Old Testament Law; He was not the antagonist of Moses, for Moses received the Law from God. Rather, He is taking the Law God gave through Moses and demonstrating the extent to which it applies. The traditions of the Jewish leadership in Israel had expanded and contracted the Law’s application in ways ultimately contrary to God’s instruction. In the case of oaths and vows, seen in verses 5:33-37, it had been argued that swearing by God’s name was would always bind the one who gave it (in accordance with Num. 30), but that oaths using “lesser things” (heaven, earth, Jerusalem, and our head) were not binding upon the one who made them.13 As a result, giving of oaths became frequent, frivolous, and grossly abused in the time of Christ. Jesus was correcting this error by showing that all swearing, whether by heaven or earth, Jerusalem or any other thing, was to be taken seriously, for God as Creator was directly connected with everything made (heaven is the throne of God, earth His footstool, Jerusalem His city, our heads, as part of our being, under God’s authority). A. T. Robertson’s comments on Jesus’ teaching ring just as true today: “The Jews were pastmasters in the art of splitting hairs about allowable and forbidden oaths or forms of profanity just as modern Christians employ a great variety of vernacular ‘cuss-words’ and excuse themselves because they do not use the more flagrant forms.”14 In like manner, the paragraph three in the Confession advocates oaths should be taken in the plain and common sense of the words, without equivocation or mental reservation.
Someone might object that what Christ is doing to is similar to His teachings on the ceremonial and judicial laws: relegating Old Covenant practices to no binding effect in His new Kingdom. However, if this were the case, the objector would still face a serious problem of Scripture contradicting itself. Andrew Fuller, writing on Matthew 5:33-37, contends,
“In abolishing things which had been of Divine authority, [Jesus] is never known to have cast reproach on them, or to have imputed the observance of them to evil. He could not therefore be said to have destroyed even the ceremonial law, but rather to have fulfilled it. But the oaths against which he inveighs are expressly said to come of evil; and therefore could never have been of Divine authority.”15
Jesus is not condemning any kind of swearing at all, but the inappropriate use of oaths. This accounts for His emphasis on “yes, yes” or “no, no.” These are words used habitually in daily life. Hence, to avoid swearing flippantly, Jesus argues that is better not to swear in ordinary communication.16 The 2LC notes that in swearing oaths, we do so by that glorious and dreadful name, the name that reflects God’s nature and character. They should be invoked only in things that are necessary, not things that are common or convenient, so that God’s name may not be used vainly. As an aside, arguing from James 5:12 that all oaths and vows are invalid is not definitive either. Besides being a clear reiteration of Jesus’ teachings, several verses later (5:17-18) James approvingly and without qualification mentions Elijah as a positive example of prayer imitation – an example in which Elijah explicitly made an oath invoking God’s name (1 Kings 17:1)!
It should be clear, however, that when oaths are given profanely, they are a great evil in God’s sight. Besides the clear instruction from the third commandment not to take God’s name in vain (Ex. 20:7, cf. Lev. 19:12), Scripture warns of the evils of false and rash oaths or of breaking oaths taken:
- God allowed Israel’s defeat at Ai for breaking the oath (Josh. 7:10-13) He placed on them by taking things placed under prohibition from Jericho (Josh. 6:18-19).
- Shimei broke his oath to Solomon not to leave Jerusalem, and Solomon, having first showed him mercy despite cursing David (2 Sam. 16:7-8), executed him (1 Kings 2:36-38, 41-46).
- Psalm 15:1, 4 and Psalm 24:3-4 describes the character of a God-fearing person: one who has not “sworn deceitfully” or keeps his oaths even to his inconvenience.
- Israel’s suffering (“the land mourns”) is directly related to their falsely giving oaths (Jer. 5:2; 23:10).
- Herod rashly vowed to grant Herodias’ daughter anything she desired, and on account of this, John the Baptist was killed (Matt. 14:1-12; Mark 6:14-29).
- Jesus’ condemned the Pharisees for their teaching on oaths misleading the people, the very abuse He preached against in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 23:16-17).
- Peter denied Jesus three times, lastly with a false oath; significant given Jesus’ lawful oath earlier in the chapter (Matthew 26:69-75).
The last paragraph of Chapter XXIII, concerning lawful vows, contains very little description, in large part because the relationship between an oath and vow is close. In Numbers 30 the two Hebrew word groups for oaths and vows are used together, indicating a similar semantic design. Even in English, vows and oaths are often used interchangeably. Both are connected by the solemnity and holiness of the deed, as both invoke the name of God for their lawfulness. However, there is a difference to clarify. While an oath is a solemn declaration of truth to be affirmed by the one taking it, a vow is a solemn promise that some action or function will be performed. The former is made before both God and men; biblically, the latter is made to God alone. Oaths are meant to confirm truth; vows are made to confirm action.17
Therefore, much of what has been articulated concerning oaths is applicable to vows. Like oaths, vows should be taken with care and seriousness, and fulfilled promptly with faithfulness. Biblical examples of lawful vows can be found in Jacob’s vow to make the LORD his God should God fulfill the promises made to his fathers, and to him personally (Gen. 28:18-22). Hannah vowed to dedicate her firstborn son to God’s service should He open her womb, which she fulfilled even when Samuel was very young (1 Sam. 1:10-11; 19-28). David vowed to Bathsheba that Solomon would succeed him as king, despite his other male heirs, after which he made all the necessary legal preparations to fulfill it (1 Kings 1:28-37).18 By the time of the 2LC’s drafting, the Roman Catholic Church had developed many unbiblical vows taken by the clergy, including those of life-long poverty, perpetual chastity, and strict performance of regular obedience. The Confession, channeling Paul’s teachings in 1 Timothy 4:1-4, condemns these practices as dangerous to genuine Christian life, for which the history of the medieval church’s corruption had provided ample evidence.
Vows, like oaths, must be lawful to be made binding. In his Old Testament commentary, John Gill observes, “[vows] must be in a thing that is lawful to be done, which is not contrary to the revealed will and mind of God, and which may tend to the glory of God.”19 If a vow is made contrary to God’s revealed will in Scripture, the vow cannot have force before God. Hence, when Martin Luther left monasticism and married Katherine von Bora, he broke the vows he had made before God. Yet, no Reformed Christian would accuse Luther of being an oath breaker in this case, since they, as he did, would recognize that the vow in itself was unlawful. If sin was involved at any point in the process, it would be in taking those unwarranted vows in the first place.20
A Word of Application
Chapter XXIII of 2LC has abiding applications for Christian discipleship. Firstly, of course, the nature and solemnity of oaths and vows should make us cautious about rendering them. We should not swear loosely, or without seriousness of thought. We should discern the appropriate and inappropriate occasions for giving oaths and vows. This is even more relevant today as the world grows increasingly statist in political and economic matters, a strange inverse of the errors of sacralism. Already we are seeing instances of the civil government in countries removing children from parents who refuse to acknowledge their child’s claims of transgenderism, and to magistrates pressing Christians more and more to support programs they feel violate their consciences. How soon until we find an echo of the Decian persecution, denying Christ and burning incense on the pagan altar in exchange for peace? This chapter, and the one to follow on civil government, remind us that Christians have a duty before God to consider their place in society. God has chosen to retain us in the societies in which we live; what shall be our behavior in it?
Secondly, this chapter calls us to consider how we think and speak about God. God is omniscient, a witness to everything we say and do (Ps. 139:2-4), and He has taught us that every careless word shall be accounted for in the day of judgment (Matt. 12:36). Those who love God and submit to Christ should always strive to master their thoughts and words, because from out of them spring our actions and habits. James 3:2-12 articulates the subtle influence the tongue has over us. Though small in nature, it affects so much of everything else we do, “See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!”
Lastly, Chapter XXIII stresses the importance of the Scriptures in all matters. The Confession’s framers, as all Christians who commented on this subject, took the Word of God for the importance it merits. Whether in error, either Anabaptist, Baptist, or paedobaptist, if God had spoken to a matter, it was crucial to contemplate it. Would that our attitude toward God’s Word was as serious! But just as important as taking God’s Word seriously is searching the Scriptures comprehensively. It is clear that the Anabaptist theology on oaths and vows came from a distorted and selective view of the Bible, and much of their suffering, however unjustified, can be traced to this superficially literal view. In contrast, the Particular Baptists suffered yet courageously sought to maintain a balanced view of Scripture’s message. Sam Waldron observes, “We must learn from [Anabaptists] the necessity of serious Bible study and careful listening to careful expository and doctrinal teaching from the Bible. We ought also to learn the necessity of studying the whole Bible on every issue.”21
1 From the original letter to the reader, cited in The Baptist Confession of Faith & The Baptist Catechism (Solid Ground Christian Books, 2014), xiii.
2 Magisterial, meaning the involvement of the state; cf. Nick Needham, 2000 Years of Christ’s Power, Vol. 3: Renaissance and Reformation (Christian Focus Publications, 2017) 128-129, with James Leo Garrett, Baptist Theology: A Four-Century Study (Mercer University Press, 2010), 6-7.
3 Needham, 2000 Years, 128-129.
4 Anabaptist comes from the Greek ana, meaning “again,” in reference to their second baptism. The Anabaptists would dispute this label, as they did not hold their “first” baptism as infants as valid.
5 Justo Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity, Volume 2: The Reformation to the Present Day (HarperOne, 2010), 71.
6 William Lumpkin, Baptist Confessions of Faith (Judson Press, 1969), 29.
7 A concise description of the Münster Rebellion can be found in Kenneth Scott Latourette’s A History of Christianity, Volume 2: A.D. 1500 to A.D. 1975 (Prince Press, 2003), 783-784. For a lengthier discussion, see E. Belfort Bax’s Rise and Fall of the Anabaptists(Macmillan, 1903), and Anthony Arthur, The Tailor-King: The Rise and Fall of the Anabaptist Kingdom of Münster (St. Martin’s Press, 1999).
8 Lumpkin, Baptist Confessions, 153.
9 J. L. Dagg, Elements of Moral Science (Sheldon & Company, 1860), 227-228.
10 A. W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews (Baker Books, 2006), 347.
11 Dagg, Moral Science, 227.
12 Lumpkin, Baptist Confessions, 30.
13 See John A. Broadus, Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (American Baptist Publication Society, 1886), 115.
14 A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. I (Broadman Press, 1930), 47.
15 Andrew Fuller, “Oaths,” The Complete Works of the Rev. Andrew Fuller, Vol. 1 (reprint, Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1988), 570.
16 Broadus, commenting on 5:37, Matthew, 116.
17 Samuel E. Waldron has a useful discussion of the relationship between oaths and vows in his A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, 5th ed. (EP Books, 2016), 333.
18 I would also include Jephthah’s vow in Judges 11 to be an example of a lawful vow, and that he did not literally sacrifice his daughter for a burned offering; however, the meaning of this text is still debated intensely.
19 John Gill, An Exposition of the Old Testament, Vol. 1: Genesis to Joshua (Baker Book House, 1980), 678.
20 As A. A. Hodge argues in A Commentary on the Confession of Faith (The Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1869), 392.
21 Waldron, Modern Exposition (EP Books, 2016), 331.