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Ten Commandments


The Ten Commandments (sometimes called the ‘Decalogue’) refers to a list of basic moral and social imperatives.  These commandments were given to Moses (for his people) by God on Mount Sinai and, according to Exodus 31:18, were written by God on two stone tablets.


This happened when the Israelites were camped at Mount Sinai for about a year during their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land.  During that year many rules and regulations were given to Moses, for the people, in order to help shape them into a strong cohesive nation.  Among the multitude of laws, there are three similar lists of commandments (Exodus 20:2-17; Exodus 34:12-28; Deuteronomy 5:6-21), but the list usually referred to as the ‘Decalogue’ or ‘Ten Commandments’ is taken from the first of the lists.  Since  the Law given at Mount Sinai contained many extensions to these lists, the generally accepted ‘Ten Commandments’ were recognised as forming a summary of the basic minimum standard of fundamental human obligations.


The commandments usually run as follows:


  1.  I am the Lord your God, and you shall have no other gods before me

  2.  You shall not make for yourself an idol

  3.  You shall not use the name of your God wrongly

  4.  Remember the Sabbath Day, and keep it holy

  5.  Honour your father and your mother

  6.  You shall not murder

  7.  You shall not commit adultery

  8.  You shall not steal

  9.  You shall not bear false witness

10.  You shall not covet





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