XXXI. (165) And the fifth commandment, that about the honour due to parents, conceals under its brief expression, many very important and necessary laws, some enacted as applicable to old and young men, some as bearing on the relations existing between rulers and subjects, others concerning benefactors and those who have received benefits, others affecting slaves and masters; (166) for parents belong to the superior class of all these divisions just mentioned, the class, I mean, of elders, of rulers, of benefactors, and of masters; and children are in the inferior class, in which are ranked the younger people, the subjects, those who have received benefits, and slaves. (167) There are also many other commandments given, some to the young, admonishing them to receive gladly the admonitions of old age; others to the old, bidding them take care of the young; some to subjects, enjoining them to show obedience to their rulers; others to the rulers, commanding them to consult for the advantage of those who are under their authority; some to those who have received benefits, recommending them a requital of the favours which have been conferred on them; others to those who have set the example of beneficence, bidding them not to exact a strict restitution as if they were usurers; some to servants, encouraging them to show an affectionate service towards their masters, others to the masters recommending them to practise that gentleness and mildness towards their slaves, by which the inequality of their respective conditions is in some degree equalised.
XXXII. (168) The first table of five, then, is completed in these commandments, exhibiting a comprehensive character; but of the special and particular laws the number is very great. Of the second table, the first commandment is that against adulterers, under which many other commands are conveyed by implication, such as that against seducers, that against practisers of unnatural crimes, that against all who live in debauchery, that against all men who indulge in illicit and incontinent connections; (169) but the lawgiver has set down all the different species of such intemperance, not for the sake of exhibiting its manifold, and diverse, and ever-changing varieties, but in order to cause those who live in an unseemly manner to show most evident signs of depression and shame, drinking in with their ears all the reproaches heaped together which they incur, and which may well make them blush. (170) The second brief commandment, the prohibition of slaying men, is that under which are implied all those necessary and most universally advantageous laws, relating to acts of violence, to insults, to assaults, to wounds, to mutilation. (171) The third, that which forbids stealing, is the one under cover of which are enacted all the regulations which have been laid down, respecting the repudiation of debts, and those who deny what has been deposited with them, and who form unhallowed partnerships, and indulge in shameless acts of rapine, and, in short, in any kind of covetousness by which some person are induced, either openly or secretly to appropriate the possessions of others. (172) The fourth, that which is concerning the duty of not bearing false witness, is one under which many other prohibitions are conveyed, such as that of not deceiving, of not bringing false accusations, of not co-operating with those who are committing sin, of not making a pretence of good faith a cloak for faithlessness; for all which objects suitable laws have been enacted. (173) The fifth is that which cuts off desire, the fountain of all iniquity, from which flow all the most unlawful actions, whether of individuals or of states, whether important or trivial, whether sacred or profane, whether they relate to one’s life and soul, or to what are called external things; for, as I have said before, nothing ever escapes desire, but, like a fire in a wood, it proceeds onward, consuming and destroying everything; (174) and there are a great many subordinate sins, which are prohibited likewise under this commandment, for the sake of correcting those persons who cheerfully receive admonitions, and of chastising those stubborn people who devote their whole lives to the indulgence of passion.