There are three sets of ten commandments, and they are different. There’s the original here, another in Exodus 34, and finally a set in Deuteronomy 5. Here’s a good quick overview. It’s a thing. You can read this set here, but I will break it down for you. Here’s the first set of commandments.
#1 No other gods before me
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Exodus 20:3 (KJV)
This verse is terrifying to many Christians. “Why would god tell us to put aside other gods if he is the only one?” These idiots have come up with bizarre interpretations of this to explain away the obvious polytheistic origins of their monotheistic religion. These “other gods,” are anything you value more than the church…I mean god. Here’s an example, but the basic thought is, if you spend four hours a week watching tv, but only two in church, praying, read the bible, etc. then tv is your god. You either need to watch less tv or do more “god stuff.”
#2 No physical idols
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Exodus 20:4-6 (KJV)
The verses say not to make any graven image of anything, and then goes on to say not to worship them. Muslims believe (some of them, at least) that this means no statues of anything! There was even a prohibition on snowmen. Many Christians today just see that as no literal idols, but some stretch the meaning to “everything is an idol.” This commandment is almost exactly the same as the first one. God does, however, add a threat to punish the third and fourth generation of children is someone breaks this law…and then ends by telling everyone how merciful he is.
#3 Do not take the name of the Lord in vain.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
Exodus 20:7 (KJV)
This may be the dumbest one, and the one most poorly interpreted. Let’s start by remembering the time this was written. When resolving a crime or dispute, you would appear before some type of judge, and you would swear on god that you were telling the truth. There was also the belief that one could invoke the wrath of god. Literally, “Goddamn you” meant you wished god to harm that person, and should not be taken lightly. Today, most people feel this mean you shouldn’t use phrases like “goddamn” or “Jesus H Christ.” This ignores the fact that god’s name is Yahweh. It also implies that a Hindu, for example, could say goddamn it, since the god he would be referring to is completely different. Like everything, the extreme right has taken this farther. Some interpret this to warn against referring to yourself a Christian, but not acting good enough. Maybe even simply referring to god without being in the right mindset.
#4 Keep the Sabbath
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Exodus 20:8-11 (KJV)
Now, the Bible is very clear on this. Absolutely no work is to be performed on the Sabbath. You, your slaves, your guests, your animals are all under this prohibition. Let me repeat this, nothing is permitted, even using an electric wheelchair. This is why Chick-Fil-A is closed on Sundays. Which would be great, except the Sabbath is from sundown Friday night until sundown Saturday. In 321 CE, Constantine moved the single day of worship for all religions to Sunday, in honor of the Sun god. That’s right, Chick-Fil-A is committing a sin. Granted, this is one of those rules that has been watered down pretty good over the years.
#5 Honor thy father and mother
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
Exodus 20:12 (KJV)
This is good and all, but does this constitute a commandment? Some say honoring parents make you grow up to be good citizens. What about terrible parents? This Catholic website admits there are limits. Sexual abuse is specifically mentioned as a deal breaker. That seems reasonable, after all, who knows more about sexually assaulting children than the Catholic Church?
#6 Thou shalt not kill
Thou shalt not kill.
Exodus 20:13 (KJV)
This seems easy, right? Don’t kill anyone. No murder, no wars, no capital punishment…wait, wait, wait. The bible will continue on to recommend genocide, war, capital punishment, and animal sacrifice over, and over, and over again. What gives? While some have gone as far as suggesting this verse leads to vegan diets, it has been argued this only means murder, i.e. bad killing. Surely god meant we can kill someone who breaks into our house. The crusaders of the Middle Ages would definitely not view killing in battle as an violation of this verse. “What god was really talking about was abortion,” says the church. Ignore the verses a few chapters away that have a much milder punishment for causing a miscarriage than killing the mother, or the passage in Numbers requiring abortions. (Numbers 5:11-31)
#7 No adultery
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Exodus 20:14 (KJV)
In Judaism, this is straight forward. There are other prohibitions on sex later on, but this deals with a man having sex with another man’s property (wife). This could cause a son being born and inheriting the wrong birthright; remember the story of Esau and Jacob? No one gave a shit about multiple wives, or sex slaves, or anything else clearly supported in the Old Testament. Christians came along and added as much as they can to it. Now, they claim it also means a woman having sex with a married man, two people unmarried having sex (that’s called “fornication,” by the way, not adultery), one too many penises, sexual deviance, or even lustful thoughts. No, I’m not exaggerating.
#8 Thou Shalt Not Steal
Thou shalt not steal.
Exodus 20:15 (KJV)
Okay, this is pretty basic. This and no killing are the only two so far that are pretty much a win no matter what. It’s obvious even to a child. What does the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association say this means? Taking property (obviously), using deceptive business practices (yes), withholding wages (eat the rich, I’m onboard), kidnapping (wait, what), “wasting things that could be a blessing to others” (okay, now…), laziness (DON’T YOU COME FOR MY XBOX), rape (that doesn’t get its own thing?), and not tithing to the church (there it is).
#9 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Exodus 20:16 (KJV)
We have another winner! This is just a simple “don’t talk ill of your neighbor” rule. How can they screw this up? They can’t? I found one discussion that actually expanded this to include don’t judge people around you, you may not know everything. Don’t be a dick.
#10 Thou shalt not covet
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
Exodus 20:17 (KJV)
This is easy, right? If you want something you don’t have, that’s greed and envy. Thinking about something is the same as doing it, so when you say, “I wish I had a pool like my neighbor,” you are actually stealing your neighbor’s pool! Well, turns out this verse is actually talking about taking things from someone when they are away from home. Wait, they passed on a rule against slavery, rape, or incest to make this a rule? This is technically the same as stealing!
There is the first ten commandments. We’ll end here, because all the other laws that follow deserve your undivided attention. Stay tuned!
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