The Meaning of Deuteronomy 5:9 Explained

Deuteronomy 5:9

KJV: Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,

YLT: thou dost not bow thyself to them nor serve them, for I Jehovah thy God am a zealous God, charging iniquity of fathers on children, and on a third generation, and on a fourth, to those hating Me;

Darby: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them; for I, Jehovah thy God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons, and upon the third and upon the fourth generation of them that hate me,

ASV: thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them; for I, Jehovah, thy God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the third and upon the fourth generation of them that hate me;

What does Deuteronomy 5:9 Mean?

Context Summary

Deuteronomy 5:1-21 - The Decalogue Repeated
The Law of God is for "all Israel." None are exempt. "Not with our fathers" means not with them only; Moses also uses the expression because many of the references of the Decalogue were to the settled life of Canaan. "Face to face," not in dark visions, but clearly and lucidly, Job 4:12-13. Our "face-to-face" vision is yet to come, 1 Corinthians 13:12; Revelation 22:4. Notice in Deuteronomy 5:5 the ideal mediator, Galatians 3:19; 1 Timothy 2:5.
Every soul has two givings of the Law. First, we stand under Sinai to be judged, condemned, and shut up to Christ as our only hope; then we come to it a second time, asking that the Holy Spirit should write it in our hearts, and make us to walk in obedience to its precepts, Galatians 3:23; Romans 8:4.
Adolphe Monod, on his death-bed, said: "Sin has two divisions; the evil that we have done and the good that we have left undone. As to the first, there is not a single command that I have not transgressed in letter or spirit; as to the second, it weighs on me even more than the first." [source]

Chapter Summary: Deuteronomy 5

1  The covenant in Horeb
6  The ten commandments
23  At the people's request Moses receives the law from God

What do the individual words in Deuteronomy 5:9 mean?

Not you shall bow down to them nor serve them for I Yahweh your God [am] a God jealous visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons and to the third and fourth [generations] of those who hate Me
לֹא־ תִשְׁתַּחֲוֶ֥֣ה לָהֶ֖ם֮ וְלֹ֣א תָעָבְדֵ֑ם֒ כִּ֣י אָנֹכִ֞י יְהוָ֤ה אֱלֹהֶ֙יךָ֙ אֵ֣ל קַנָּ֔א פֹּ֠קֵד עֲוֺ֨ן אָב֧וֹת עַל־ בָּנִ֛ים וְעַל־ שִׁלֵּשִׁ֥ים וְעַל־ רִבֵּעִ֖ים לְשֹׂנְאָֽ֑י

תִשְׁתַּחֲוֶ֥֣ה  you  shall  bow  down 
Parse: Verb, Hitpael, Imperfect, second person masculine singular
Root: שָׁחָה  
Sense: to bow down.
לָהֶ֖ם֮  to  them 
Parse: Preposition, third person masculine plural
וְלֹ֣א  nor 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Adverb, Negative particle
Root: הֲלֹא 
Sense: not, no.
תָעָבְדֵ֑ם֒  serve  them 
Parse: Verb, Hofal, Imperfect, second person masculine singular, third person masculine plural
Root: עָבַד  
Sense: to work, serve.
יְהוָ֤ה  Yahweh 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: יהוה 
Sense: the proper name of the one true God.
אֱלֹהֶ֙יךָ֙  your  God 
Parse: Noun, masculine plural construct, second person masculine singular
Root: אֱלֹהִים  
Sense: (plural).
אֵ֣ל  [am]  a  God 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: אֵל 
Sense: god, god-like one, mighty one.
קַנָּ֔א  jealous 
Parse: Adjective, masculine singular
Root: קַנָּא  
Sense: jealous (only of God).
פֹּ֠קֵד  visiting 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Participle, masculine singular
Root: פָּקַד 
Sense: to attend to, muster, number, reckon, visit, punish, appoint, look after, care for.
עֲוֺ֨ן  the  iniquity 
Parse: Noun, common singular construct
Root: עָוֹן  
Sense: perversity, depravity, iniquity, guilt or punishment of iniquity.
אָב֧וֹת  of  the  fathers 
Parse: Noun, masculine plural
Root: אָב  
Sense: father of an individual.
עַל־  upon 
Parse: Preposition
Root: עַל 
Sense: upon, on the ground of, according to, on account of, on behalf of, concerning, beside, in addition to, together with, beyond, above, over, by, on to, towards, to, against.
בָּנִ֛ים  the  sons 
Parse: Noun, masculine plural
Root: בֵּן 
Sense: son, grandson, child, member of a group.
וְעַל־  and  to 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Preposition
Root: עַל 
Sense: upon, on the ground of, according to, on account of, on behalf of, concerning, beside, in addition to, together with, beyond, above, over, by, on to, towards, to, against.
שִׁלֵּשִׁ֥ים  the  third 
Parse: Noun, masculine plural
Root: שִׁלֵּשִׁים  
Sense: pertaining to the third, third (generation).
רִבֵּעִ֖ים  fourth  [generations] 
Parse: Noun, masculine plural
Root: רִבֵּעַ  
Sense: pertaining to the fourth.
לְשֹׂנְאָֽ֑י  of  those  who  hate  Me 
Parse: Preposition-l, Verb, Qal, Participle, masculine plural construct, first person common singular
Root: שָׂנֵא  
Sense: to hate, be hateful.