God gave Moses the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai to serve as principles of moral behavior for the human race. The Ten Commandments of God are the foundation of the moral code and legal system of justice for Western Christian civilization.
The architecture of the U. S. Supreme Court building reflects this biblical foundation. At the center of the sculpture over the east portico of the Supreme Court Building, there is the image of Moses holding the two tablets of the Ten Commandments; these are also engraved over the chair of the Chief Justice and on the bronze doors of the Supreme Court.
The Ten Commandments of God are recorded in both the Books of Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21. God gave Moses the Ten Commandments on two tablets of stone on Mount Sinai in Exodus 24:12 to confirm the moral precepts of the Sinai Covenant between God and his people the Israelites. Moses recounted the Ten Commandments of God to the Israelites in the Book of Deuteronomy.
This page first presents the Ten Commandments in the English translation of the Hebrew text of Exodus 20:1-17. A difference between the Hebrew text and the Greek Septuagint Old Testament is noted in Exodus 20:17. Exodus 20:17 in Hebrew reads “thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife,” whereas Exodus 20:17 in Greek places “thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife” first. Of interest, the Hebrew and Greek translation of Deuteronomy 5:21 also places “thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife” first.
There are twelve phrases in red. In order to provide instruction to the faithful, major religions adopted different phrases of the first paragraph, accounting for the variation in numbering of the Ten Commandments for Judaism, Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants. They are called the Ten Words or Aseret Hadiberot in Hebrew rabbinical writings, known as the Decalogue or δέκα λόγους in the Greek Septuagint.
A Comparative Table follows. The first column lists the Ten Commandments in Judaism, which are given in Hebrew in the image that follows. The second column records the Ten Commandments in the order given by the Biblical scholar Origen of Alexandria (185-254 AD). The third column presents the Ten Commandments given by Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD), who reasoned that “graven images” were an equivalent of “other gods” and considered Exodus 20:4 as part of the First Commandment; he then followed the order of Exodus 20:17 in the Greek Septuagint and Deuteronomy 5:21 for the Ninth and Tenth Commandments. While there is considerable variation, Eastern Christians, Orthodox, and the majority of Protestants follow the order given by Origen, whereas Catholics and Lutherans follow the order given by St. Augustine.
We know God gave Ten Commandments, because the Bible tells us he gave “Ten Words” – עֲשֶׂרֶת הַדְּבָרִים in Exodus 34:28, Deuteronomy 10:4, and the following passage:
“He proclaimed to you his covenant, which he commanded you to keep:
the Ten Commandments, which he wrote on two tablets of stone.”
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF GOD
1 And God spoke all these words, saying,
2 I am the LORD thy God,
which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
4 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: 5 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; 6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
7 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.
8 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 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: 11 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.
12 Honour thy father and thy mother:
that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
13 Thou shalt not kill.
14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
15 Thou shalt not steal.
16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
17 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.
21 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s (goods)
house or fields, nor his male or female slaves, nor his ox or ass, or anything that belongs to him.
|THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF GOD|
|1||I am the LORD thy God.||I am the LORD thy God and thou shalt not have other gods before me.||I am the LORD thy God and thou shalt not have strange gods before me.|
|2||Thou shalt have no other gods before me.||Thou shalt not make for thyself any graven image.||Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain.|
|3||Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain.||Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain.||Remember to keep holy the LORD’s Day.|
|4||Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.||Remember the LORD’s Day to keep it holy.||Honor thy Father and Mother.|
|5||Honor thy Father and Mother.||Honor thy Father and Mother.||Thou shalt not kill.|
|6||Thou shalt not murder.||Thou shalt not kill.||Thou shalt not commit adultery.|
|7||Thou shalt not commit adultery.||Thou shalt not commit adultery.||Thou shalt not steal.|
|8||Thou shalt not steal.||Thou shalt not steal.||Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.|
|9||Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.||Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.||Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.|
|10||Thou shalt not covet.||Thou shalt not covet.||Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.|