Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Aside from little incident in Exodus 18:11 where someone goof up and acknowledges that there are other gods, Chapter 18 isn't worth much discussion. What I want to talk about is Exodus, Chapter 19, where we first get into the story of the 10 Commandments.
Chapter 19 and 20 actually talk about the 10 that we are familiar with. However, Moses doesn't have these written down. These are just told to Moses, and are NOT referred to as Commandments. The word "Commandments" doesn't come until Chapter 34. Chapter 34's Commandments are vastly different then Chapter 20's words from Yahweh to Moses. I'll get to that in a future blog.
While most people probably don't know the 10 Commandments, this is basically them:
1. Don't worship other gods.
2. Don't make graven images of anything that is on Earth or in heaven.
3. Don't use God's name in vain.
4. Don't work on the Sabbath.
5. Honor your mother and father.
6. Don't murder.
7. Don'g commit adultery.
8. Don't steal (either kidnapping or property)
9. Don't covet your neighbor's wife.
10. Don't covet your neighbor's property.
And the penalty for breaking any of these, as you probably know, is death.
The story that leads up to this is kind of funny, too. I mean, if someone came up with this stuff today, we'd probably make a wide berth around the person telling it.
God wanted to put on a show on Mt. Sinai for the Israelites, who He favors more than any other people on Earth. Even the Aztecs? Yes. Even the bloody Aztecs.
He tells Moses to relay to the people that the men should have sex with their wives (God literally says "come at them" - YIKES!), they should wash themselves, and that whoever touches the mountain will perish. He also warns that anyone who tries to rush and see Him will also die. And that the big show happens in 3 days.
Sure enough, on the third day a dense cloud descends on Mt. Sinai and a loud trumpet is heard. This is the signal for Moses (just Moses) to go up the mountain and see the Almighty.
Moses goes up, and then God tells him to go back down and make sure the people don't rush forth, or they will die. "Oh, and the priests should sanctify themselves before I attack them, too," said the Almighty Creator Himself. So Moses goes down, and Chapter 19 ends.
Chapter 20 opens with the voice of God. God tells the Israelites in this great booming voice coming from the mountaintop 10 instructions. It's the more detailed version of the list I provided above. He really details the instruction to follow the Sabbath!
The voice from Mt. Sinai was so deafening and powerful that afterward the Israelites asked Moses that he be the one to speak for God, because "Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die."
Apparently, this will be the last time that God will speak directly to everyone. He just wanted to do it once to prove it to the Israelites, so they don't go messing around.
Next time, I will discuss the interesting and fun laws that God and the Israelites set up in Exodus 21-23, like selling thieves to repay their debt to society.