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What Are the 10 Commandments?

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Moses Descending From Mt. Sinai

Descendit de Monte Sinai, tenens dues tabulas in manibus: Vide bantz. fily Israel comutam faciem ejus. Exod. XXXIII.Creator: Ottaviani, Giovanni, 1735-1808 -- Engraver; Loggie di Rafaele nel Vaticano.

NYPL DIgital Gallery The 10 Commandments

The 10 Commandments

CC Flickr User John Taylor

Question: What Are the 10 Commandments?

Answer:

10 Commandments - The KJK Version

The Ten Commandments are 10 rules, from a religious perspective, on how we should behave. Mostly, they list things we should not do. The rules prescribe (or proscribe) behavior within the family and society, as well as with respect to God.

The Ten Commandments of Judaism and Christianity are also known as the Decalogue, from the Greek deka '10' + logoi 'words'. One of the most familiar, yet controversial, is the one not to worship any god before me (where the "me" is God or Yahweh).

In the Biblical book of Exodus, God gives the Commandments, inscribed on tablets, to Moses while he is on Mt. Sinai. As Moses descends from the height of the mountain, he smashes the tablets because he is overwhelmed with anger. He has seen the golden calf idol his people have created. This golden calf is an object of worship, but it was not in line with the religion of the Jews. To replace the smashed document, God gives Moses a second set of the Ten Commandments.

There are more than 10 statements in the list of Commandments in Exodus 20. This has led to different arrangements in different religions.

The Biblical book Deuteronomy (5:6-21) also contains the Commandments.

As opposed to case law (or casuistic law), where a punishment is named together with the crime, these divine mandates are known as apodictic law.

See the Ten Commandments, according to the King James' Version (KJV) of the Bible: 10 Commandments.

Biblical FAQ

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