I started this series on the Ten Commandments a little while ago and since then I have learned a few things that I need to correct. They may seem minor to you, but I vowed to teach the truth as I know it. Therefore, I must bring this to your attention.
Also, I believe if Elohim wrote something, spoke something or inspired someone else to write something down then it was spoken or written in a certain way for a particular reason. Therefore, it is our job to study to show ourselves approved, rightly dividing the word of truth. If we don’t get the details right, then we perpetuate a lie to the next generation. When that happens our children become easy prey for false doctrines that could lured them away from our Heavenly Father. So it behooves us to get the details right.
Although we grew up hearing the phrase “the Ten Commandments,” I have found out that that phrase doesn’t speak the truth to what Elohim was saying. So I had to go back to the original language, Hebrew, and see this for myself. I also found out that what we normally quote as the first commandment is not really the first commandment. Here is what I found out.
Sometimes we read something so much we actually don’t read it. Our brains read what we think it says verses what is actually there. For example, this image shows how the brain really works. You don’t actually read every letter in the word. Instead your brain remembers what you’ve previously learned and fills in the blank.
When we read the scriptures we do the same thing. We read what we think something says verses what it actually says. Unfortunately for us, most of us don’t study the scriptures ourselves. We take other people’s word for it and then run with it as if God himself taught us. I don’t believe any one person has all the right answers, including myself. But I do believe we can learn from one another and hopefully come closer to the truth as God intended.
I want you to read Exodus 20:1 below slowly. It is from the King James Version. (You should always read other versions to see if they are saying the same thing or if another version adds more information for you to understand better.)
And God spake all these words, saying
Let’s first point out the fact that God is actually speaking. It isn’t Moses like we’ve been taught all of these years, at least, I have been taught this. The other thing is that the word, “commandment” is not in this sentence. This alone brings an interesting point because we are taught that the list of the Ten Commandments is a list of what we’re supposed to do and not do. However, that is not the case, which I will explain later.
What exactly is a commandment? A commandment is a command or mandate. To command something is to direct with specific authority or prerogative; it is to have or exercise authority or control over; to be master of; to issue an order or orders, etc.
When you look at what Elohim is saying as if it is a list of dos and don’ts then commandment would probably be correct. However, Elohim didn’t give them a “do as I say or you will die” speech. He was developing a partnership with them. He was listing his terms of the agreement. They had the option to say no. They did not. Therefore, they were bound by the terms of the contract, which started out with Elohim speaking directly to them.
The Hebrew Transliteration
Sometimes, it helps to know what the Hebrew actually says. So let’s go through the Hebrew, which is read from right to left. We’ll dissect each word:
וידבר אלהים את כל־הדברים האלה לאמר
- ו = and
- ידבר = (he) speech, word, speaking, thing; saying, utterance)
אלהים = Elohim = God
את = properly, self (but generally used to point out more definitely the object of a verb or preposition, even or namely)
כל = all, whole
- ה = the
- דבר = a word; by implication, a matter [as spoken of] or thing
- ים = plural form; means wordsi)
האלה = these or those:–an- (the) other
- ל = to
- אמר = say
After looking at the meaning of each word you can plainly see that none of them translate to commandments. Instead it reads, “And Elohim spoke all these words to say.”
The conclusion is God was having a conversation with them, which he started through Moses. (See Exodus 19) This conversation allowed YHVH to bring and layout his side of the covenant to Israel. Then he allowed them the opportunity to accept or reject his proposal.
Yet, some people still don’t believe Elohim spoke to the children of Israel. In spite of the fact that he tells Moses to tell Israel he will speak to them; they will hear his voice; and Israel tells Moses to tell Elohim to stop talking to them. But in case you also missed it, this is what Exodus 20:22 says,
“And the LORD said unto Moses, ‘Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.’”
I don’t think you can get any plainer than that.
The First Word
Now that we truly understand YHVH Elohim spoke to the children of Israel with his own voice and that he didn’t give them a do or die command, let’s move on.
After researching this topic a little further it forced me to go back to the original language again to see exactly what was written. I found out that the first word spoken by YHVH was,
“I am יהוה your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim, out of the house of slavery.” Exodus 20:2 (The Scriptures 1998+)
In my original post, Have No Other Gods Before Me, I incorrectly added part of the second word to this first saying. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” is actually the beginning of the second word Elohim spoke to the children of Israel. It goes along with graven images.
In the Hebrew Bible each word is numbered and number one starts with “I am…” while number two starts with “You shall…” (This has nothing to do with the verse number. You must look in a Hebrew Bible to see this.)
Why am I making such a big deal out of this? Because everywhere you look the Ten Commandments divides the second commandment into two, making the first part the first commandment while eliminating the first word all together.
Most people read the first commandment as, “You are to have no other gods before me.” However, who is “me” that is being talked about? Why should we take him as our Elohim verses another god? Who knows because we have left off the most important part – the beginning.
It is important to know who we serve and why we serve him. Without that information anyone can come along and give us a better reason to serve someone or something else. This is why so many cults are prevalent today. They provide seekers with the reason “why” they should join their group. This is how our society is built. We never join or attach ourselves to anyone or anything without first knowing why we should do it. What’s in it for us?
YHVH Elohim gives us the reason why we should choose him over all the other gods of the world. Because he brought our ancestors out of Egypt and choose for them to be his special people. This paved the way for Yeshua the Messiah to come and allow the rest of us to be a part of the royal priesthood.
As you can see the details matter. If YHVH had not done what he did, there would have been no Yeshua. Therefore, there would have been no hope for anyone outside of the children of Israel to receive any hope of everlasting life. There had to be a foundation in order for YHVH to fulfill his promise to Abraham. Now through Yeshua, Abraham has become a father of many nations and his descendents as numerous as the stars.
Even the Roman Catholic Church in the beginning of their existence called the Ten Commandments the Ten Words. They used the Greek word, “Decalogue,” which translates from “deka” meaning “ten” and “logos” meaning “word”. Thus the Ten Commandments were known as the “Ten Words of Sayings.” However, somewhere along history we lost the true meaning.
While they may have gotten the title right, the actual “Ten Words of Sayings” are another story. I personally was a little shocked when I read them. Here is an example from St. Anne’s Helper.
Catholic Ten Commandments
The Commandments of God are these ten:
1. I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt not have strange gods before me.
2. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
3. Remember thou keep holy the Lord‘s Day.
4. Honor thy father and thy mother.
5. Thou shall not kill.
6. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
7. Thou shalt not steal.
8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.
Take a look at these and tell me what you see wrong. Why do you think this happened? Study it and then let me know what your answers are.
Well, this is all for now. I hope you are enjoying these articles. I would love to hear from you, good or bad.
Our Heavenly Father, who is in heaven,
Help us to study to show ourselves approved by you so we can be a testimony to those around us. Help us to be teachable when it comes to your word so the Holy Spirit can teach us and lead us into all truth.
In Yeshua the Messiah’s name, Amen.