The 10 Commandments

The Ten Words

aserat ha dibrot

An image of Moses and the 10 Commandments

The King James Authorized Version of
in the year of A.D. 1611.

According to Judeo–Christian tradition, as related in the Bible, the Ten Commandments were revealed by God to Moses and form the fundamental moral component of God's covenant with Isra'el. The Ten Commandments appear in 2 places in the Old Testament – – Exodus 20: 1–17 and Deuteronomy 5: 6–21; the phrasing is similar but not identical.

The expression "Ten Commandments" does not appear in Hebrew, which instead says simply "the Ten Words." The Decalogue differs from all the other legislation of Moses in that it alone of all the Torah was transmitted under circumstances of the most appalling majesty and solemnity. These Ten Words stand out in the midst of Torath Moishe as the epitome of divine revelation inscribed for God's people by the divine finger itself.

And to whom shall we liken this man Moses? Of all the Hebrew Old Testament, this man stands above all the rest as Israel's lawgiver prophet deliverer. Christ himself declared that not one jot nor one tittle should pass from the Law till all be fulfilled. And it was Moses alone, of all the characters of the Old Testament, to whom Christ compared himself. See Deuteronomy 18: 15.

  1. I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

  2. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

  4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

  5. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

  6. Thou shalt not kill.

  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

  8. Thou shalt not steal.

  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

  10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

Most Protestant, Anglican, and Orthodox Christians follow Jewish tradition, which considers the introduction ("I am the Lord ...") the first commandment and makes the prohibition against idolatry the second. Roman Catholic and Lutheran tradition follow a division used by Saint Augustine, which combines I and II and splits the last commandment into two that separately prohibit coveting of a neighbour's wife and a neighbour's goods.

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