after god created man and woman, he was exposed to all of humanity’s faults. as humanity grew, parents were not disrespected. cain and abel did not appear to have any issues with adam and eve.
to the contrary, it was cain who arguably disrespected god. this disrespect led to bad feelings which then led to cain killing his brother. thus, prior to any parent-child issues arising in this world, there were sibling problems.
prior to the ten commandments, sibling problems continued to grow. sibling rivalry was a tremendous source of conflict. in ancient times, the birthright of the first born was problematic. conflicts existed in each generation. there were conflicts between isaac and ishmael, jacob and esau, and joseph and almost all of his brothers!
ironically, sibling conflict was in part generated by their parents. sarah, rebecca, and jacob all played roles in stoking the conflicts.
to the contrary, the children of the abrahamic generations were cognizant of showing respect to their parents. examples of this fact include that the burials of parents were done with both children present and without conflict. also, the fact that joseph’s brothers did not kill him is also noteworthy sign of respect.
sibling conflict was so significant that god intervened on numerous occasions to protect siblings. ishmael, jacob and joseph all received divine intervention.
in light of this, why is the commandment to “respect your brothers and sisters” rather than “honor your father and mother.”
as we know, the ten commandments were on two tablets and were written by the hand of god. thus, we have limited space and limited room for commandments. thus, it can be argued, on a clever basis, god tapped in on notion that children tended to be respectful of their parents and flipped it.
thus, in honoring one’s mother and father he could encompass the notion that siblings, for the sake of their parents, should respect their fellow siblings. thus, if a child wishes to honor their mother and father, they should be kind to their siblings. thus, in a brilliant roundabout fashion, god achieves his ultimate goal. the goal of getting brothers and sisters to get along. this goal is evidenced by siblings moses, aaron and miriam working together in the exodus from egypt.
in sum, be kind to your brothers and sisters. this is surely a component of the mandate to honor one’s parents.