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Home » Daily Readings

The Ten Words

Submitted by on Friday, 24 July 2009One Comment


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Exodus 20:1-17 are the “Ten Words” (see Exodus 34:28;Deut.4:13;10:4) which the finger of God originally wrote on two tablets, but which, because of the Golden Calf incident (Ex. 32) had to be rewritten by Moses (Exodus 34:28).

These “Ten Words” are supposed to function like the covenant reminders in the ancient near east. A king enters into a covenant with a chieftain and as a reminder, the king makes a list of the tribute that the chieftain has to give him as a sign of his good intent. The tribute may take the form of men for the king’s army, an annual tribute of grain or whatever the chieftain can guarantee. Failure to make good the yearly tribute would be an indication that the covenant with the king is not taken seriously. The “Ten Words” of the Lord on Sinai is the tribute he requires for His Covenant. Notice that three commandments are directed to Him, while the seven others are for the fellow Israelite, beginning with “Honor your father and your mother”. Three for God, and seven for man. If the Israelites keep this commandments, they would have an idyllic society and a reason for the other nations to praise their wisdom (Deuteronomy 4:6). History will prove however that Israel was not faithful to the covenant (see Hosea 4:1-4) so that God will have to contract a new covenant in which He will write his will in the hearts of men (Jeremiah 31:31).

Resources about the Ten Commandments on the Web

Exodus 20:1-17
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
1And the Lord spoke all these words:
2I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3Thou shalt not have strange gods before me.
4Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth.
5Thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them: I am the Lord thy God, mighty, jealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me:
6And shewing mercy unto thousands to them that love me, and keep my commandments.
7Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that shall take the name of the Lord his God in vain.
8Remember that thou keep holy the sabbath day.
9Six days shalt thou labour, and shalt do all thy works.
10But on the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: thou shalt do no work on it, thou nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy beast, nor the stranger that is within thy gates.
11For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them, and rested on the seventh day: therefore the Lord blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it.
12Honour thy father and thy mother, that thou mayest be longlived upon the land which the Lord thy God will give thee.
13Thou shalt not kill.
14Thou shalt not commit adultery.
15Thou shalt not steal.
16Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
17Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house: neither shalt thou desire his wife, nor his servant, nor his handmaid, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is his.
Exodus 34:28
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
28And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights: he neither ate bread nor drank water, and he wrote upon the tables the ten words of the covenant.
Exodus 34:28
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
28And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights: he neither ate bread nor drank water, and he wrote upon the tables the ten words of the covenant.
Deuteronomy 4:6
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
6And you shall observe, and fulfill them in practice. For this is your wisdom, and understanding in the sight of nations, that hearing all these precepts, they may say: Behold a wise and understanding people, a great nation.
Hosea 4:1-4
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
1Hear the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel, for the Lord shall enter into judgment with the inhabitants of the land: for there is no truth, and there is no mercy, and there is no knowledge of God in the land.
2Cursing, and lying, and killing, and theft, and adultery have overflowed, and blood hath touched blood.
3Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth in it shall languish with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of the air: yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be gathered together.
4But yet let not any man judge: and let not a man be rebuked: for thy people are as they that contradict the priest.
Jeremiah 31:31
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
31Behold the days shall come, saith the Lord, and I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Juda:

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