10 Commandments

There are three different versions of the 10 Commandments in the Old Testament and none of them are numbered. The version that is most frequently used is an edited version from Exodus 20 relaying what was on the tablets that Moses smashed. In Exodus 34, the Bible relays the text of the second set of commandments that Moses brought down from the mountain. This is the only version that is explicitly referred to as the “10 Commandments.” Although the Bible says that the text of these tablets contain the same words that were on the first set, they are noticeably different and contain commandments such as “Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread” and “Thou shalt not seethe a kid in its mother’s milk.” The third version can be found in Deuteronomy 5. It is similar to Exodus 20, but has subtle differences.

Someone might wonder why Moses needed to go back up the mountain to get a new set if they were already recorded, or why the writer seems to have forgotten what was just written just a few chapters earlier, but these kinds of confusions are common in the Bible. I guess God lacked a good proof-reader.

Someone might also question why we don’t use the set of commandments in Exodus 34, and why Christians feel they have any right to edit the first set to make them more palatable and PC. They are presuming to edit the “word of God” after all.

Note that the edited versions that are most often posted omit the seeming endorsement of slavery and visiting the sins of the fathers through the third and fourth generations.

Because the commandments aren’t numbered, Jews, Catholics, and Protestants all edit and number them differently. The Catholics gloss over the Protestant version of the second commandment. Their version goes from “Thou shalt not have strange gods before me” to “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” They make up the difference by splitting the Protestant version of the 10th commandment into two parts (coveting goods and coveting wives).

These are things you never hear about when this issue is covered in the news. I believe that if more people knew that there were three different sets of commandments in the Bible, that the most common version used is edited, and that different faiths or sects numbered them differently, then more people might understand the problematic aspect to posting them when we must resolve which 10 commandments are to be posted (e.g.: whose version are we going to favor over others?).

Of course, most believers are unaware of this and the news media is more interested in whatever ratings they might receive in covering the controversy than they are in educating the public in ways that might dampen it.

Here is a good link about all this: