Paraphrasing the Ten Words

The Ten Commandments of the Mosaic Law on a mo...
The Ten Commandments of the Mosaic Law on a monument on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol

I’m hip-deep in a couple of projects right now, including prepping for the upcoming Revelation series, so today’s entry is going to be a bit light.  Actually, given the over-emphasis on the End Times this last weekend, this post is probably a bit timely, since it brings us back to basics.  The following is from an essay I wrote a few weeks back on the Ten Commandments, starting with a brief editorial remark: Sorry guys, but both Protestants and Catholics get the enumeration of the Ten Words wrong. Correctly numbered, they are:

1) I am the Eternal One, your God, who brought you both out of the land of Egypt and out of the world, who brought you out of the house of bondage to both man and sin. Therefore you shall love Me with all your heart and all your breath and all your resources by fulfilling the commandments I give you:

2) You shall have no other gods in My Presence, which fills all of Creation. You shall not make for yourselves any sort of idol or image to bow down or worship in any way, nor shall you make an image of Me, either as you did in the sin of the golden calf nor even a perception of Me that reduces My majesty in any way.

3) You shall not take the Name of the Eternal One upon yourself for nothing. Whether you call yourself a YAHudi (Jew), a CHRISTian, or a MESSIAHnic, you shall live your life in such a way as to bring honor to the Holy Name and live a holy life in a profane world.

4) Remember and guard the Sabbath day to keep it set apart for Me, as the Eternal One your God, who created the world in six days and rested on the seventh, has commanded you. You may work the other six days as I did, but the Seventh shall be a day of resting and rejoicing not only for you, but for your children, your servants, the outsider among you, and even your animals, for just as I gave you rest from your labors under the whip of the Egyptians when I redeemed you, so shall you give rest to others. Moreover, you shall keep My Sabbaths and Feasts as times of refreshment and celebration, for the Sabbath has been given for Man, not Man for the Sabbath.

5) Honor your father and mother, and likewise all of the authorities that I place over you. This commandment I give with a promise, that if you do so, you shall live long and fruitful lives in the Land which the Eternal One your God has given you.

Moreover, you shall also do acts of love to your neighbor as you would have him do to you.* Therefore:

6) No murder!** Nor shall you entertain anger against your brother and so commit murder in your hearts.

7) And*** no adultery! Nor shall you let lust reside in your heart, lest you take part in any sort of fornication.

8) And no stealing! You shall steal neither the property of others, nor their honor, nor their lives–and thus you must set free the slave in the Sabbath Year.

9) And no bearing false witness! Neither in a court of law nor in the court of human opinion shall you allow the lie to cross your lips.

10) And no coveting anything that belongs to your neighbor, whether his house, his wife, or even his car, for in envy is every other sin against your neighbor born.

* Lev. 19:18, which is in Hebrew, Vahavta l’rayacha kamocha. “Rayacha” is “neighbor,” while the lamed (l) before it means “to, towards.” Thus the commandment is literally, “Love to your neighbor as yourself.” This is just as awkward sounding in Hebrew as it is in English. The rabbis interpret it as I have rendered it above–as does Yeshua. In fact, the Golden Rule did not originate in Yeshua’s ministry, but is rather simply a very literal translation and interpretation of the second great commandment.

** The Hebrew is a lot more succinct than the English. “Thou shalt not murder,” for example, is simply, Lo Tiratzach! “No murder!”

*** The seventh through tenth commandments all start with the prefix vav, “and,” making them all a single sentence: “No murder and no adultery and no stealing and no bearing false witness and no so much as coveting what belongs to another!” They thus form an inseparable unit.



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