Exodus 20 – The Ten Commandments

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20:1 God spoke all these words, saying, 20:2 “I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 20:3 You shall have no other gods before me.

20:4 “You shall not make for yourselves an idol, nor any image of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 20:5 you shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them, for I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and on the fourth generation of those who hate me, 20:6 and showing loving kindness to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

20:7 “You shall not take the name of Yahweh your God in vain, for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

20:8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 20:9 You shall labor six days, and do all your work, 20:10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your God. You shall not do any work in it, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your livestock, nor your stranger who is within your gates; 20:11 for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day, and made it holy.

20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which Yahweh your God gives you.

20:13 “You shall not murder.

20:14 “You shall not commit adultery.

20:15 “You shall not steal.

20:16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

20:17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

20:18 All the people perceived the thunderings, the lightnings, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking. When the people saw it, they trembled, and stayed at a distance. 20:19 They said to Moses, “Speak with us yourself, and we will listen; but don’t let God speak with us, lest we die.”

20:20 Moses said to the people, “Don’t be afraid, for God has come to test you, and that his fear may be before you, that you won’t sin.” 20:21 The people stayed at a distance, and Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.


The first versus tell us that these commands are directly from God. The Commandments are directed at the Israelite’s that God brought out of Egypt. Some authors have said these commands have no power over anyone other than these people. That might be true, but the fact that God spoke them, and the goal of the commands is to build a relationship between God and Man, as well as help mankind function as a community.

The first three establish God’s position in our World. The Fourth Commandment is about taking time to know God, and time to build relationships with friends and family. God does not want us working for selfish gain seven days a week, we wear out if we are never stopping to see the blessing we already have. Remember, the Sabbath day has been mentioned several times up to this point. Even God himself keeps it on the seventh day of creation. This really seems to mean something to God. Commandments five through ten are about community and prohibiting activities, that are rather antisocial.

  1. You shall have no other Gods before me
  2. You shall not make for yourselves an idol
  3. You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God
  4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy
  5. Honor 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 give false testimony
  10. You shall not covet

These commandments are very simple, and because of our selfish human nature nearly impossible to keep perfectly. Humans really are an enigma, we could live in peace and harmony with God and man, but we are all so smart that we have to try living life our way.

Living our own way, never ends well. God knows what care we need, he created our bodies, and he created our base operating system (Our Brain) which learns. When we do our own thing we learn destructive patterns and don’t recognize malware and viruses that make good and bad code, difficult if not impossible to discern.

Without God, we create mind pollution and in our warped minds, wrong becomes right, and right can becomes wrong, and people who live right are persecuted. This all will be seen as normal among all those who venture from God.

The Bible is our manual, God tells us what we need to know to get along, in this case these are most basic rules of the game. God did not put these rules in place to stifle us, but bring us true happiness and to help us feel secure knowing he is there.

God though out the book will teach us about business, running a kingdom, being a good employee, and running a household, among many other things.

These rules remind me that God loves me, and I draw my security from them. They also make me grateful for the fact that he makes up for where I fall short.

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