Honor your Father and Mother:  What do you mean Honor?


Yochanan Zaqantov

One of the 10 words is that we should honor our Father and Mother.  In the United States they even have days to honor Fathers, Mothers and Grandparents but is that what the Tanakh/Miqra means?  How do we honor our parents and grandparents according to the Miqra? We will be looking into the Honoring according to the Miqra.

Let’s start with the verse everyone is familiar with.

Shemot/Exodus 20:12

12 Honor your father and your mother, in order that your days may be prolonged on the soil that YHWH Eloheykha is giving you.

כַּבֵּד אֶת־אָבִיךָ וְאֶת־אִמֶּךָ לְמַעַן יַאֲרִכוּן יָמֶיךָ עַל הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָֽךְ׃ 

The Hebrew word here is  כַּבֵּד  which is Kabed 3513 and Piel from of the verb Kavad.  When looking at the different verb forms listed below, the verb form can result in shades of meanings.

Qal/Kal – to be honored

Nifal – to get oneself glory or honor

Piel – to make honorable, or glorified

Pual – to be made honorable, or be honorable

Hiphil – to cause to be honored, or glorified

Hithpael –to honor oneself or glorify oneself

We are looking at a meaning in which we are to make honorable or make glorified our parents and grandparents.  So the other place where we find the same usage is Devarim.

Devarim/Deuteronomy 5:16

16 Honor (Kabed  כַּבֵּד) your father and your mother, as YHWH Eloheykha has commanded you, in order that your days may be prolonged, and in order that it may go-well with you on the soil that YHWH Eloheykha is giving you.

Here we see the same form of the verb in Devarim.

Shofetim/Judges 13:17

17 And Manoah said unto the messenger of YHWH: 'What is your name, that when your words come to pass we may do you honor (wekhibad  וְכִבַּדְ)?'

Here we see that Manoach and his wife want to honor the messenger.

Yeshiyahu/Isaiah 29:13

13 And YHWH said: Forasmuch as this people draw near, and with their mouth and with their lips do honor  Me, (kibeduniy  כִּבְּדוּנִי) but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear of Me is a commandment of men learned by rote;

Here we see that words of honor are not enough if they are not backed up by our actions.  

Devarim/Deuteronomy 26:19

16 This day YHWH Eloheykha commands you to observe these laws and the regulations; you are to take-care and observe them with all your heart and with all your being.  17 YHWH you have declared today, to be for you a elohim, to walk in his ways and to keep his laws, his commandments and his regulations, and to hearken to his voice. 18 And YHWH has declared you today, to be for him a specially-treasured people, as he promised you, to be-careful (regarding) all his commandments, 19 and to set you most-high above all the nations that he has made, for praise, for fame, and for honor, for you to be a people holy to YHWH Eloheykha, as he promised.

It is through keep the commands of our Father YHWH that we show him Honor.  How much should we also keep the commandments of our Parents?

Shemu’el Aleph/I Samuel 2:27-30

27 And there came a man of Elohim unto Eli, and said unto him: 'Thus says YHWH: Did I reveal Myself unto the house of your father, when they were in Egypt in bondage to Pharaoh's house?  28 And did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be My priest, to go up unto Mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before Me? and did I give unto the house of your father all the offerings of the children of Israel made by fire?  29 Wherefore kick you at My sacrifice and at Mine offering, which I have commanded in My habitation; and honor your sons above Me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel My people?  30 Therefore YHWH, Elohey of Israel, says: I said indeed that your house, and the house of your father, should walk before Me forever; but now YHWH says: Be it far from Me: for them that honor Me I will honor (mekhabeday akhabed  מְכַבְּדַי אֲכַבֵּד), and they that despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.

Here we see that if one honors one will also be honored by them.  Therefore, if we truly honor our parents then will we not be honored as they are?

Malachi/Malakhi 1:6

6 A son honors (yekhabed   יְכַבֵּד) his father, and a servant his master; if then I be a father, where is My honor (khavodi   כְבֹודִ)? and if I be a master, where is My fear? Says YHWH of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise My name. And you say: 'Wherein have we despised your name?'

It is assumed that a child will honor their parents.

Other words derived from the root verb also tell us the word mean heaviness or weighty.  Thus, our words should be not lightly done in honor of our parents.

Koved 3514 (Masculine Noun) – a heaviness

Mishlei /Proverbs 27:3

3 A stone is heavy (koved  כֹּֽבֶד), and the sand weighty; but a fool's vexation is heavier (kaved  כָּבֵד)than they both.

Here we see a meaning of Kavad as heaviness. 

Kaved 3515 (Adjective) – Heavy

Shemot/Exodus 4:10

10 Moshe said to YHWH: Please, Adonai, no man of words am I, not from yesterday, not from the day-before, not (even) since you have spoken to your servant, for heavy (khevad  כְבַד) of mouth and heavy (ukhevad  וּכְבַד) of tongue am I!

Here we see the use of heaviness like the weightiness.

Shemot/Exodus 7:14

13 Yet Pharaoh's heart remained strong-willed, and he did not hearken to them, as YHWH had spoken. 14 YHWH said to Moshe: Pharaoh's heart is heavy (kaved  כָּבֵד)-with-stubbornness-he refuses to send the people free.

Here we even see Paro’s heart is weighted down.

Kevadut 3517 (Feminine Noun) – heavy

Shemot/Exodus 14:25

25 he loosened the wheels of his chariots and made them to drive with heaviness (bikh’vedut   בִּכְבֵדֻת). Egypt said: I must flee before Israel, for YHWH makes war for them against Egypt!

The wheels become heavy so they do not work.

Kavod 3519 (Masculine Noun) – Heaviness in glory which is most used to describe Elohim’s presence.

Melekhim Aleph/I Kings 8:11

11 so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud; for the glory (khevod  כְבֹוד) of YHWH filled the house of YHWH. 

The presence of Yah is weighty and shows his glory. 

Shemot/Exodus 24:16-17

16 the Glory (kevod  כְּבֹוד) of YHWH took up dwelling on Mount Sinai. The cloud covered it for six days, and he called to Moshe on the seventh day from amidst the cloud. 17 And the sight of the Glory (kevod  כְּבֹוד) of YHWH (was) like a consuming fire on top of the mountain in the eyes of the Children of Israel.

Here we see the manifestation of Yah’s glory.

Shemot/Exodus 29:43

43 So I will appoint-meeting there with the Children of Israel, and it will be hallowed by my Glory (bikh’vodi  בִּכְבֹדִֽי).  44 I will hallow the Tent of Appointment and the altar, and Aharon and his sons I will hallow, to be-priests for me. 45 And I will dwell amid the Children of Israel and I will be Elohim for them,

His Glory makes holy that which he comes into contact. 

Shemot/Exodus 40:34

33 He erected the courtyard all around the Dwelling and the slaughter-site, and put up the screen for the courtyard gate. So Moshe finished the work. 34 Now the cloud covered the Tent of Appointment, and the Glory (ukhevod  וּכְבֹוד) of YHWH filled the Dwelling. 35 Moshe was not able to come into the Tent of Appointment, for the cloud took-up-dwelling on it, and the Glory (ukhevod  וּכְבֹוד) of YHWH filled the Dwelling. 36 Whenever the cloud goes up from the Dwelling, the Children of Israel march on, upon all their marches; 37 if the cloud does not go up, they do not march on, until such time as it does go up. 38 For the cloud of YHWH (is) over the Dwelling by day, and fire is by night in it, before the eyes of all the House of Israel upon all their marches.

His glory is his presence.

Bamidbar/Numbers 14:22

21 however, as I live, and as the Glory (khevod  כְבֹוד) of YHWH fills all the earth: 22 indeed, all the men who have seen my Glory (kevodiy  כְּבֹדִי) and my signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tested me these ten times, by not hearkening to my voice: 23 if they should see the land about which I swore to their fathers . . . ! All that have scorned me will not see it!

His presence was the physical presence to show Yisrael that he was real.  His glory gave weight to his being and them ignoring him cause him to be diminished in their eyes.  Therefore, he rejected them.  Just the way if we don’t give the proper honor to our parents.

Why parents are honored and what are their responsibilities.

Devarim/Deuteronomy 6:1-9

1 Now this is the commandment, the laws and the regulations that YHWH Eloheykha has commanded (me) to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing into to possess, 2 in order that you may hold YHWH Eloheykha in awe, by keeping all his laws and his commandments that I command you, you, and your child, and your child's child, all the days of your life; and in order that your days may be prolonged. 3 You are to hearken, O Israel, and are to take-care to observe (them), that it may go-well with you, that you may become exceedingly many, as YHWH, Elohey of your fathers promised to you- (in) a land flowing with milk and honey. 4 Hearken O Israel: YHWH Eloheynu, YHWH (is) One! 5 Now you are to love YHWH Eloheykha with all your heart, with all your being, with all your substance! 6 These words, which I myself command you today, are to be upon your heart. 7 You are to inculcate them in your children and are to speak of them in your sitting in your house and in your walking in the way, in your lying-down and in your rising-up. 8 You are to tie them as a sign upon your hand, and they are to be for bands between your eyes. 9 You are to write them upon the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Here is the weight of responsibility of your parents and why I believe they are to be honored.

Devarim/Deuteronomy 32:6-7

6 (Is it) YHWH whom you (thus) pay back, O people foolish and not wise? Is he not your father, your creator, he (who) made you and established you? 7 Regard the days of ages-past, understand the years of generation and generation (ago); ask your father, he will tell you, your elders, they will declare it to you:

When you have questions who do you go to but your parents.

Devarim/Deuteronomy 11:18-22

18 You are to place these my words upon your heart and upon your being; you are to tie them as a sign on your hand, let them be as bands between your eyes; 19 you are to teach them to your children, by speaking of them in your sitting in your house, in your walking on the way, in your lying-down, in your rising-up. 20 You are to write them upon the doorposts of your house, and on your gates, 21 in order that your days may be many, along with the days of your children on the soil that YHWH swore to your fathers, to give them (as long) as the days of the heavens over the earth. 22 Indeed, if you will keep, yes, keep all this commandment that I command you to observe, to love YHWH Eloheykha, to walk in his ways and to cling to him,

Here we see again the responsibility of your parents.

Do not do to Father or mother – this you are commanded not to do to your parents.

Shemot/Exodus 21:15, 17

15 And he that strikes his father or his mother, is to be put-to-death, yes, death.

17 And he that insults his father or his mother, is to be put-to-death, yes, death.

Don’t insult or strike your Parents.  It is a death penalty.

Vayiqra/Leviticus 20:9

9 Indeed, any-man, any-man that insults his father or his mother is to be put-to-death, yes, death, his father and his mother he has insulted, his bloodguilt is upon him!

Devarim/Deuteronomy 27:16

16 Damned be he that insults his father or his mother! And all the people are to say: Amen!

The references above show the treatment of you parents is important.

Being disobedient to Parents.

Devarim/Deuteronomy 21:18-21

18 When a man has a son, a stubborn-one and a rebel -he does not hearken to the voice of his father or to the voice of his mother- and they discipline him, but he (still) does not hearken to them, 19 his father and his mother are to seize him and are to bring him out to the elders of his town, to the gate of his place; 20 then they are to say to the elders of his town: Our son, this-one, is a stubborn-one and a rebel -he does not hearken to our voice- a glutton and a drunkard! 21 Then all the men of the town are to pelt him with stones, so that he dies. So you shall burn out the evil from your midst, and all Israel will hear and be-awed!

Here we see that Parents have recourse for disobedient children.  This would not be for any 1 time but a pattern of being rebellious.

Things your Parents ought not to do.

Devarim/Deuteronomy 13:7-10

7 When he allures you, your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife of your bosom or your neighbor who is (one) like your (very) self in secret, saying: Let us go, let us serve other gods-whom you have not known, you and your fathers, 8 from the gods of the peoples that are around you, those near to you or those far from you, from the (one) edge of the earth to the (other) edge of the earth- 9 you are not to consent to him, you are not to hearken to him, your eye is not to take-pity on him, you are not to show-mercy and you are not to condone him; 10 rather, you are to kill, yes, kill him, your hand is to be against him from the beginning, to cause-his-death, and the hand of the entire people at the end.

Parents are to be obeyed with the exception that what they do violates the commandments of Yah.

Devarim/Deuteronomy 24:16

16 Fathers are not to be put-to-death for sons, sons are not to be put-to-death for fathers: every-man for his own sin (alone) is to be put-to-death!

Whether the violator of the mitzvot is father or son, mother or daughter we all stand for our own actions.

Honoring our fathers and mothers should not be a 1 day thing but a everyday occurrence.  We must show them respect and give them Kabed/Honor which means we keep what they command us.  We give them Honor because they should be keeping Yah’s commandments and teaching us that way also.

An example of this is in Yermiyahu.

1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the days of King Jehoiakim son of Josiah of Judah: 2  Go to the house of the Rechabites and speak to them, and bring them to the House of YHWH, to one of the chambers, and give them wine to drink. 3 So I took Jaazaniah son of Jeremiah son of Habazziniah, and his brothers, all his sons, and the whole household of the Rechabites; 4 and I brought them to the House of the Lord, to the chamber of the sons of Hanan son of Igdaliah, the man of God, which is next to the chamber of the officials and above the chamber of Maaseiah son of Shallum, the guardian of the threshold. 5 I set bowls full of wine and cups before the men of the house of the Rechabites, and said to them, “Have some wine.” 6  They replied, “We will not drink wine, for our ancestor, Jonadab son of Rechab, commanded us: ‘You shall never drink wine, either you or your children. 7  Nor shall you build houses or sow fields or plant vineyards, nor shall you own such things; but you shall live in tents all your days, so that you may live long upon the land where you sojourn.’ 8 And we have obeyed our ancestor Jonadab son of Rechab in all that he commanded us: we never drink wine, neither we nor our wives nor our sons and daughters. 9 Nor do we build houses to live in, and we do not own vineyards or fields for sowing; 10 but we live in tents. We have obeyed and done all that our ancestor Jonadab commanded us. 11 But when King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon invaded the country, we said, ‘Come, let us go into Jerusalem because of the army of the Chaldeans and the army of Aram.’ And so we are living in Jerusalem.”  12  Then the word of YHWH came to Jeremiah: 13  Thus said YHWH of Hosts, Elohey of Israel: Go say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: “You can learn a lesson [here] about obeying My commands—declares YHWH. 14     The commands of Jonadab son of Rechab have been fulfilled: he charged his children not to drink wine, and to this day they have not drunk, in obedience to the charge of their ancestor. But I spoke to you persistently, and you did not listen to Me. 15     I persistently sent you all My servants, the prophets, to say: ‘Turn back, every one of you, from your wicked ways and mend your deeds; do not follow other gods or serve them. Then you may remain on the land that I gave to you and your fathers.’ But you did not give ear or listen to Me. 16     The family of Jonadab son of Rechab have indeed fulfilled the charge which their ancestor gave them; but this people has not listened to Me. 17     Assuredly, thus said YHWH, the God of Hosts, Elohey of Israel: I am going to bring upon Judah and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the disaster with which I have threatened them; for I spoke to them, but they would not listen; I called to them, but they would not respond.”

18     And to the family of the Rechabites Jeremiah said: “Thus said YHWH of Hosts, Elohey of Israel: Because you have obeyed the charge of your ancestor Jonadab and kept all his commandments, and done all that he enjoined upon you, 19     assuredly, thus said YHWH of Hosts, Elohey of Israel: There shall never cease to be a man of the line of Jonadab son of Rechab standing before Me.”


Those who keep the commands of their parents throughout their generation are respected and honored by Yah.