Today we have the ten commandments as they were presented in the Book of Exodus, and a careful reading of them raises some questions.
First, does the Bible call them the ten commandments? And, the answer to that is “No.” The Bible calls them God’s “words.” Protestants list the prohibition against graven images as the Second Commandment, while Catholics make that part of the First; then, where Catholics take “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife” as their Ninth Commandment, Protestants make that part of the Tenth.”
This account from Exodus follows up the first Commandment with God saying he was jealous, and would inflict punishment on those who betray him down to the fourth generation. But a thousand years later, in the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, God is quoted as saying he punishes no one for the sins of his parents.
To take God’s name in vain would literally mean taking it without need, but the Israelites put such a harsh interpretation on the prescription that although they printed the consonants of God’s name Yahweh, they never pronounced it, substituting instead the word Adonai.
Although strict observers of the Sabbath rest see it as called for as our necessary way of honoring God, three chapters farther on in Exodus we read, “On the seventh day you must rest, that your ass and your oxen may also have rest, and that the son of your maidservant and the alien may be refreshed.” So, if you and your oxen rest on some other day it should be alright for you to work on the Sabbath.
We will leave t at that for today.
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