One day in our Sunday school class, we challenged our students to name the Ten Commandments without looking them up.  It was a challenging task.  Even with the help of the adults, it took us a few minutes to recall all ten of them.  Luckily, thanks to what the kids are calling the internet, we can look them up whenever we want.  All we have to do is search for Exodus chapter 20.

And God spoke all these words:

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

“You shall have no other gods before me.

“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.  You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,  but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.  For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

“You shall not murder.

“You shall not commit adultery.

“You shall not steal.

“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:2-17 NIV)

As you may remember, however, there came a time when Moses got mad and broke the tablets on which these commands were written.  So he went back up on the mountain, and God made him another copy.  And what was in that edition?  Check out this excerpt from chapter 34.

Then the Lord said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you.  Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.  Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you.  Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles.   Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

“Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land; for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you and you will eat their sacrifices.  And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same.

“Do not make any idols.

“Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. For seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Aviv, for in that month you came out of Egypt.

“The first offspring of every womb belongs to me, including all the firstborn males of your livestock, whether from herd or flock.  Redeem the firstborn donkey with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem all your firstborn sons.

“No one is to appear before me empty-handed.

“Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.

"Celebrate the Festival of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Festival of Ingathering at the turn of the year.  Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign Lord, the God of Israel.  I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the Lord your God.

“Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing yeast, and do not let any of the sacrifice from the Passover Festival remain until morning.

“Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God.

“Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.:  Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.  (Exodus 34:10-28 NIV)

So…what are the Ten Commandments again?

Obviously, the rest of the Old Testament supports the list found in chapter 20.  And that list definitely makes more sense if God is giving us a set of ten fundamental rules.  But this is interesting, right? 

Are there any other head-scratchers in the Bible that you have stumbled upon?

 





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