THE TEN COMMANDMENTS – Overview

“Be careful then to do as The Lord has commanded you. Do not turn to the right or the left.”  Moses to the Israelites, Exodus 5:29, Tanakh, JPS

The text of The Ten Commandments was codified by the hand of  The Lord while the Children of Israel were encamped in the desert at a place they called Horeb. Moses, the great prophet and lawgiver, went up to Mount Sinai, where he conversed with The Lord for forty days and nights and The Lord wrote His commandments on two tablets of stone, even while the people turned their hearts away from God and convinced Aaron, the brother of Moses, to make them a golden calf to worship. The Lord told Moses to return to the camp because the people were rebelling. Moses saw the people dancing and cavorting about their idol and in anger he threw the stone tablets to the ground, completely destroying them.

God said He would destroy all the Israelites and start over with Moses and his descendants to make a great people. Moses turned down that offer, and pleaded with the Lord to spare the Israelites. Thereafter Moses again spent forty days and nights on the mountain in the presence of The Lord and returned with new tablets containing the Commandments, which formed the basis for all Judeo-Christian laws, the laws upon which Western Civilization was founded.

Today there are many people who deny the part those Commandments have played in the development of modern society and seem to hate any reference to them in the public square. The very thought of The Ten Commandments is an affront to their tender sensibilities, and so they demand not freedom OF religion, but freedom FROM religion. This demand means that believers in the word of God must acquiesce to the total surrender of any public statement of their faith. It also means the complete denial and rewriting of history and the complete obliteration of the very existence of the Word of God.

Why such hatred and fear? Can they not just turn their heads if something is so offensive? That’s what the rest of us are forced to do when we are offended. Is it that their behavior is so shameful they cannot stand to be reminded of what they are and they no longer want to be held accountable for their actions? Do they seek to justify their evil?

If the TRUTH will make us free, then the opposite is also true, we are slaves to the lies we believe. Our children deserve to know the truth of their own history and we can no longer stand still for the loss of historical truth.

Here is the Tanakh text of the Ten Commandments as translated into English by the Jewish Publication Society. It reads a little differently than the standard King James Version, but the changes are interesting.

The Ten Commandments -Tanakh Version

Deuteronomy 5:1-17

Moses summoned all the Israelites and said to them: Hear, O Israel, the laws and rules that I proclaim to you this day! Study them and observe them faithfully!

The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. It was not with our fathers that The Lord made this covenant, but with us, the living, every one of us who is here today. Face to face the Lord spoke to you on the mountain out of the fire – I stood between the Lord and you at that time to convey the Lord’s words to you, for you were afraid of the fire and did not go up to the mountain– saying:

I the Lord am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage: You shall have no other gods beside me.

You shall not make for yourself a sculptured image, any likeness of what is in the heavens above, or on the earth below, or in the waters below the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I the Lord your God am an impassioned God, visiting the guilt of the parents upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation of those who reject Me, but showing kindness to the thousandth generation of those who love Me and keep My commandments.

You shall not swear falsely by the name of the Lord your God; for the Lord will not clear one who swears falsely by His name.

Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. Six days shall you labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; you shall not do any work – you, your son or your daughter, your male or your female slave, your ox or your ass, or any of your cattle, or the stranger in your settlements, so that your male and female slaves may rest as you do. Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God freed you with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the sabbath day.

Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may long endure, and that you may fare well, in the land that the Lord your God is assigning to you.

You shall not murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not crave your neighbor’s house, or his field, or his male or female slave, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s.
. . . . . . .

There you have the Lord’s simple prescription to save a troubled society.

More to come.

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