Exodus 34:1 The
LORD said to Moses, "Chisel out two stone tablets like
the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were
on the first tablets, which you broke.”
Wait a minute. Moses actually broke the first ones?
Yup. Exodus 32:15-16, 19 -- 15
Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets
of the Testimony in his hands. They were inscribed on both
sides, front and back. 16 The tablets were the work of God;
the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.
19 When Moses approached the
camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and
he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces
at the foot of the mountain.
In other words, Moses saw his people partying down with a
false idol and had such a nutty that he threw God’s work to
the ground and smashed it to pieces? This is crazy! If you,
personally, witnessed God – THE God – create some tablets
telling you to bring them to the people, would you smash them
in a fit of rage? No way! Hell, I’d kick a small puppy before
I broke God’s personally handmade and probably autographed,
even, commandment creations.
One could say that Moses needed anger management classes.
Then again, just before Moses had HIS nutty, he had to talk
God out of throwing his own temper tantrum. I am not making
this up. Have a looksie… Exodus 32:9-12, 14
9 "I have seen these
people," the LORD said to Moses, "and they are a
stiff-necked people. 10 Now leave me alone so that my anger
may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I
will make you into a great nation."
11 But Moses sought the favor
of the LORD his God. "O LORD," he said, "why
should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought
out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? 12 Why should
the Egyptians say, 'It was with evil intent that he brought
them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off
the face of the earth'? Turn from your fierce anger; relent
and do not bring disaster on your people.
14 Then the LORD relented
and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.
(By the way, I’m calling God a He purely out of convenience.
I should probably write He/She/It because no one really knows
for sure who or what God is, but that would look silly after
Even as a child in Sunday school, this seemed a little strange
that our almighty, all-knowing, all-loving and imminently
powerful God needed to be talked out of destroying all these
people. And not only that, but He actually listened to the
reason as though He actually really, truly did not already
know what would happen to these people throughout all of time,
let alone the next few days. This was just one of the many
confusing things about religion that I was told not to question
because to question and get into logic and reason and semantics
was the work of the devil.
The ORIGINAL Ten Commandments, according to Scripture
Moses threw a fit and broke the original tablets. After
he calmed down, God told him to go back up the mountain so
He could make new tablets that had the same words as those
Moses had broken. The following is the ORIGINAL Ten Commandments,
according to the Lord, in EXODUS 34:11-38 [My comments and
tips are in brackets. Do NOT confuse these with that which
is “divinely inspired.”]
11 Obey what I command
you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites,
Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. [That’s
a lot of ites!] 12 Be careful
not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where
you are going, or they will be a snare among you. 13 Break
down their altars, smash their sacred stones [or
"pillars" representing male fertility] and
cut down their Asherah poles [that is, symbols
of the goddess Asherah – but doesn’t this seem a bit violent?].
14 (1) Do not worship any
other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous
God. [The Lord’s name is “Jealous?”]
15 "Be careful not
to make a treaty with those who live in the land; for when
they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to
them, they will invite you and you will eat their sacrifices.
16 And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for
your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their
gods, they will lead your sons to do the same.
[Not only is the Lord a jealous God, he is also quite prejudiced.]
17 "(2) Do not
make cast idols. (Thou shalt make thee no molten gods. KJV)
18 "(3) Celebrate
the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days eat bread
made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed
time in the month of Abib, for in that month you came out
of Egypt. [Why bread without yeast?]
19 "(4) The first
offspring of every womb belongs to me, including all the
firstborn males of your livestock, whether from herd or flock.
20 Redeem the firstborn donkey with a lamb, but if you do
not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem all your firstborn sons.
No one is to appear before me empty-handed.”
[Whoa! Did I read this correctly? Just to be sure, I went
and noticed that these words weren’t explained there, but
WERE explained in regards to Chapter 13, which is surprisingly
similar to Chapter 34. It explains, "The firstlings
of beasts not used in sacrifice were to be changed for others
so used, or they were to be destroyed. Our souls are forfeited
to God's justice and, unless ransomed by the sacrifice of
Christ, we will certainly perish." (Matthew Henry's Concise
Commentary)” Ummm… Ok…? And doesn’t it seem mighty wasteful
to kill the firstborn just to show allegiance?
And the firstborn of man? “They were to be bought back from
God by five shekels of silver.” (according to bibleexplained.com)
Bought back? From God??
It’s a good thing the Bible constantly switches from being
taken literally to being symbolic when taking things literal
would cause one to question its verity. Otherwise, this whole
Ten Commandments thing might sound like it is hardly coming
from the all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing God.]
21 "(5) Six days
you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest;
even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.
22 "(6) Celebrate
the Feast of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest,
and the Feast of Ingathering at the turn of the year [in
the Fall] 23 Three times a
year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign LORD,
the God of Israel. 24 I will drive out nations before you
and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land
when you go up three times each year to appear before the
LORD your God. [How will they appear before the
Sovereign Lord? Have we switched this one commandment to
being symbolic just to make things interesting?]
25 "(7) Do not
offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing
yeast, and (8) do not let any of the sacrifice from
the Passover Feast remain until morning. [God
really doesn’t like yeast! Nor does he believe in letting
food sit out overnight.]
26 "(9) Bring
the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the
LORD your God.
(10) Do not cook a young
goat in its mother's milk.” [Boy, this
last one came out of left field. It’s almost as though God
realized he had only nine and had to make up one at the last
minute. I’ve read that seething a goat in its mother’s milk
is a Pagan practice, but still. I easily admit that my mind
is scattered and I often digress. But I am not GOD.]
27 Then the LORD said
to Moses, "Write down these words, for in accordance
with these words I have made a covenant with you and with
Israel." 28 Moses was there with the LORD forty days
and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And
he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten
I’m trying to understand this. In Exodus 20, the Lord SPOKE
the Ten Commandments and they were somehow carved into stone
as thunder and lightning and explosions took place (which
sounded quite like an active volcano). Then Moses threw a
fit and broke the tablets, went back up to Mt. Sinai to get
some more, at which time the Lord created ANOTHER set of tablets
with the label, “The Ten Commandments,” which He, Himself,
(wrongly) stated were the same as the first set.
The problem is that these later Ten Commandments differ from
the first Ten Commandments. One would think that the Lord
would have a better memory.
No matter. Immediately following the initial STATED Ten
Commandments, we have the Lord giving Moses a bunch of LAWS.
Exodus 21:1 “These are the
laws you are to set before them:” I think you
should go read these Laws. They’re quite troubling, some
It was interesting to see that most of the Exodus 34 version
of the Ten Commandments were actually listed in these Laws
of Exodus 21-23.
Now I’m really confused. How can these Ten Commandments
change? There are only ten. Shouldn’t these Ten be important
enough to remember? Why are there two sets of Ten Commandments
so very clearly spelled out in the Bible? Something is amiss.
But that’s not the point of this article. The point is that
I believe, as does God because even He changed them to something
else, these Ten Commandments simply are not all that great.
We need others that would truly help improve mankind without
being surrounded by so much controversy and reluctance.
But first, just what are the commonly accepted Ten Commandments?
And are they really all that bad, as I have alluded to? I’ll
let you decide:
The Ten Commandments -- Exodus 20 (King James Version -
1. Thou shalt have no other
gods before me.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Honour thy father and
thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which
the LORD thy God giveth thee.
6. Thou shalt not kill.
7. Thou shalt not commit
8. Thou shalt not steal.
9. Thou shalt not bear false
witness against thy neighbour.
10. 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.
And all the people saw the
thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet,
and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they
removed, and stood afar off.” [I added this last
verse 18 just because I thought it sounded cool.]
The Catholics thought these were too long and not catchy
enough so they came up with their own version. (And it appears
as though whomever made the poster below modified the commandments
slightly, as well.)
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
I am the LORD your God: you shall not have strange Gods before
2. You shall
not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
to keep holy the LORD'S Day.
your father and your mother.
5. You shall
6. You shall
not commit adultery.
7. You shall
8. You shall
not bear false witness against your neighbor.
9. You shall
not covet your neighbor's wife.
10. You shall
not covet your neighbor's goods.
The Problem with The Ten Commandments
Let’s discuss these individually.
Of all the things that could be said, of all the rules and
life-guiding principles that could’ve been given, doesn’t
it seem like these could be better?
The first two are mildly redundant and could be combined
to say something like, “Revere or respect the Lord.”
3. Remember to keep holy the LORD'S Day.
It is now perfectly acceptable for people to work on Sunday.
The percentage of people who go to church isn’t all that high.
And of those who attend church, most of these people hardly
keep the day holy. Thus, at just the third commandment, we
have the majority of people in this world beginning to ignore
them. God, being… well, God… should’ve foreseen this happening
in the future.
4. Honor your father and your mother.
With so many out-of-wedlock children and with so many children
with divorced or estranged parents, this is difficult to absolutely
and completely embrace. Plus, there are a LOT of bad parents
in this world. They should NOT be honored.
Moreover, the whole part about “visiting
the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third
and fourth generation of them that hate me” is very disturbing.
If I had a drunken, wife-beating, child-abusing great-great-grandfather
whom my father has never met, God would punish ME?
5. You shall not kill.
This is a good one. I won’t discuss war or capital punishment
or the Crusades. People, when acting for and of themselves,
know they should not kill. Keep this one.
6. You shall not commit adultery.
9. You shall not covet your neighbor's
Mildly redundant. Unless! You treat the covet thing as you
would in #10, which then makes the wife more like property.
Sure, it was more acceptable at that time, but God having
infinite wisdom and all should’ve known that over time, society
would not treat women as property.
7. You shall not steal.
8. You shall not bear false witness against
Stealing and lying. Two bad things. Keep those. However,
I’m told to not bear false witness against my neighbor. So
can I lie about other things?
Yes, yes, I know it means lying, in general. Therein demonstrates
why these Ten Commandments aren’t all-powerful. I shouldn’t
have to infer.
10. You shall not covet your neighbor's
My neighbor has a new Corvette. I’m kind of breaking the
tenth commandment when I see him reach 60 in 4 seconds. There
should be no “kind of” when it comes to Commandments given
See? The Ten Commandments are not all that influential.
Most people ignore at least a few of them. We must infer.
We must extend or modify the meaning to our modern age. They
are not principles people use to guide their lives, their
thoughts, and their actions. Some of them, maybe, but not
all. Instead, the Ten Commandments are now mostly a SYMBOL
I hear on Oprah, for example, people saying that they abide
by the Ten Commandments. I bet most of those people who say
this couldn’t list all ten. So when they say they abide by
the Ten Commandments, what they really mean is that they live
a moral and just life, they don’t hurt anyone and they don’t
hurt themselves; or something to that affect.
In other words, what they’re saying is that they live by
a set of rules and principles that are specifically NOT the
same as the Ten Commandments, but something the Ten Commandments
indirectly and in a round-about way represent. This is but
one reason why these Ten Commandments are having such a difficult
time being universally accepted.
If they were consistent in the Bible, if they withstood the
test of time, if they didn’t invite personal modifications,
and if everyone could live by their principles easily and
naturally, then I believe we wouldn’t be having the controvery
over them that we’re seeing. I believe there would exist
other causes that would capture peoples’ attention and debate.
So, what SHOULD they be?
While we can’t change what is written, we CAN come up with
a new set of guidelines to live by – a NEW Ten Commandments.
One evening I happened upon a Native American gift shop out
in Washington state. In there I saw a poster entitled, “The
Ten Indian Commandments.” When I read these I instantly thought,
“THESE are what the Ten Commandments should’ve been!”
I suggest that as you read each one, dwell on it a moment.
Think about it and about all the ways you can live with this
guiding principle. You may even go so far as to be a little
crunchy-granola and meditate or chant on each Commandment.
Without further ado: