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and showing covenant faithfulness[a] to a thousand generations[b] of those who love me and keep my commandments.

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Footnotes

  1. Exodus 20:6 tn Literally “doing loyal love” (עֹשֶׂה חֶסֶד, ʿoseh khesed). The noun refers to God’s covenant loyalty, his faithful love to those who belong to him. These are members of the covenant, recipients of grace, the people of God, whom God will preserve and protect from evil and its effects.
  2. Exodus 20:6 tn Heb “to thousands” or “to thousandth.” After “tenth,” Hebrew uses cardinal numbers for ordinals also. This statement is the antithesis of the preceding line. The “thousands” or “thousandth [generation]” are those who love Yahweh and keep his commands. These are descendants from the righteous, and even associates with them, who benefit from the mercy that God extends to his people. S. R. Driver (Exodus, 195) says that this passage teaches that God’s mercy transcends his wrath; in his providence the beneficial consequences of a life of goodness extend indefinitely further than the retribution that is the penalty for persisting in sin. To say that God’s loyal love extends to thousands of generations or the thousandth generation is parallel to saying that it endures forever (Ps 118). See also Exod 34:7; Deut 5:10; 7:9; Ps 18:50; Jer 32:18.

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