Sunday, March 16, 2014
The Real Ten Commandments (Facts Instead of Traditions) – Part 2
Let’s continue our search for the Real Ten Commandments. In Part 1 we discovered the following:
(1) When the “traditional” (institutional) versions of the Ten Commandments were given Moses was standing at the base of the mountain with the people – not on top of the mountain.
(2) There were no references to two stone tablets in Exodus chapters 19 or 20.
(3) The words “Ten Commandments” did not appear in Exodus chapters 19 or 20.
Don’t you find it amazing that even with the above facts, millions of Bible readers picture Moses standing on the top of Mt. Sinai holding two stone tablets with the Ten Commandments every time they hear or read Exodus chapters 19 & 20 – even though nothing supports that image in the biblical text?
However, in their defense, every religious institution projects that image through their commentaries, doctrines & teachings (that I know of). And, in addition, many publishers of English translations of the Bible insert chapter headings and pictures with that image in their publications. And, of course, for those of us who attended Sunday School as kids, we colored lots of pictures of Moses standing on that mountain.
In Part I we followed Moses on three trips up and down the mountain – and he did not return with the stone tablets. So, now we will pick up the story immediately after Moses and the Israelites heard the words that are called the traditional Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, while they were standing together at the base of the mountain.
Now all the people saw the thunderings, the lightnings, the sound of the shofar, and the mountain smoking. And the people looked and they trembled and they stood at a distance. And they said to Moses, “You speak with us and we will hear; and do not let an ELOHIYM speak with us, lest we die.”
And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid, because in order to test you, the ELOHIYM has come so that His fear may be upon your faces, so that you may not sin.”
And the people stood from a distance, and Moses approached the thick darkness where the ELOHIYM was. (Exodus 20:18-21)
(You may want to review my comments on the use of ELOHIYM and YAHWEH in Part 1 before you continue. An interesting side note to the above verses is the use of “the” ELOHIYM and “an” ELOHIYM. We will have to wait an address that subject later.)
Moses entered the smoke that covered the mountain to go up and speak with the ELOHIYM for the Israelites:
And YAHWEH said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel:
‘You have seen from the heavens I have spoken with you. You shall not make with Me ELOHIYM of silver and ELOHIYM of gold; you shall not make for yourselves. An altar of earth you shall make for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your cattle. In every place where I bring to memory My name, I will come to you, and I will bless you. And if you make Me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of cut stones; because when you use your tool on it, you profane it. And you shall not go up by steps to My altar, that your nakedness may not uncovered on it.’” (Exodus 20:22-26)
The first thing YAHWEH revealed above to Moses is called the “Law or of the Altar.” It is important to understand that the things that are often called “laws” in this context are also “instructions.” The next group of laws & instructions YAHWEH will reveal to Moses is called “The MISHPATIM” (The Judgments):
(1) Laws Concerning Hebrew Slaves (21:2-11)
(2) The Laws Related to Violence (21:12-27)
(3) Laws Related to Damages Done by Animals (21:28-36)
(4) Laws Related to Property (22:1-15)
(5) Moral and Ceremonial Laws (22:16-31)
(6) Laws for Justice (23:1-9)
(7) The Law of Shabbats (23:10-13)
(8) Laws of the Three Annual Feasts (23:14-19)
(9) Instructions to Obey YAHWEH’s Messenger (23:20-33)
(10) Instructions to Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, & the seventy of the elders of Israel (24:1-2)
And Moses came and told the people all the words of YAHWEH and all of the MISHPATIM. (Exodus 24:3)
Moses has completed four trips up and down the mountain -- and we still haven’t seen or heard anything about two stone tablets or the Ten Commandments. Maybe we will discover them on Moses’ Fifth Trip in the next blog.
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