Sunday, March 16, 2008

Numbering the Commandments

One of things we ought to clarify from the very beginning is the numbering of the Ten Commandments. While all versions of the Aseret haDibrot (The Ten Words), as The Ten Commandments are called in Judaism, are based on Exodus 20:2-17 and its variant in Deuteronomy 5: 6-18, there are different ways of listing them.

In Judaism, Exodus 20:2 is the First Commandment whereas it's considered a preface in Christianity. Judaism then links verses 2 through 6 together to make the Second Commandment. As I understand it, most Protestants, with the notable exception of Lutherans, consider either verse 3 by itself or combine verses 2 and 3 as the First Commandment. Roman Catholics and Lutherans take verses 2-6 to be the first commandment and then divide verse 17 into two parts so that 17a “ You shall not covet your neighbor's house” becomes the Ninth Commandment and 17b “You shall not covet your neighbors wife” becomes the Tenth.

If it is all the same with you, Mike, I would like to work with the older numbering system of the Jews first because it is older and second because it the one with which I am the most familiar and I suck at math and will be certain to make a mistake if we change the numbers. You, being far more erudite than I, should have no problem with this system.

Just to be clear to our readers the list I am suggesting is this:

First Commandment (Exodus 20:2): I am YHVH Your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

Second Commandment (Exodus 20:3-6): You shall have no other gods beside Me. You shall not make for yourself any graven image, nor any manner of likeness, of any thing that is heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them, nor serve them, for I, YHVH Your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.

Third Commandment (Exodus 20:7): You shall not take the Name of YHVH Your God in vain; for YHVH will not hold him guiltless that takes His Name in vain.

Fourth Commandment (Exodus 20:8-11): Remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a Sabbath unto YHVH Your God, in it you shall not do any manner of work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your man-servant, nor your maid-servant, nor your cattle, nor the stranger that is within your gates; for in six days YHVH made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested on the seventh day. Wherefore YHVH blessed the Sabbath day, and made it holy.

Fifth Commandment (Exodus 20:12): Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which YHVH God gives you.

Sixth Commandment (Exodus 20:13): You shall not murder.

Seventh Commandment (Exodus 20:13): You shall not commit adultery.

Eighth Commandment (Exodus 20:13): You shall not steal.

Ninth Commandment (Exodus 20:13): You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Tenth Commandment (Exodus 20:14): You shall not covet your neighbor's house, nor his wife, his man-servant, his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is your neighbor's.

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