Moses carried these words down from Mount Sinai, written on stone by the finger of God (Exodus 20:1-17 (NIV))

And God spoke all these words: "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

1 "You shall have no other gods before me.

2 "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand of those who love me and keep my commandments.

3 "You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

4 "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

5 "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

6 "You shall not murder.

7 "You shall not commit adultery.

8 "You shall not steal.

9 "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

10 "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."


Even today, when something is negotiable we say "It isn't written in stone!" referring to this law which was written in stone and wasn't open to negotiation.

I have numbered the commandments according to the method used by most Protestants.

For Jews, it is the Ten Words or sayings (diverim), not Commandments, and the First word or saying is "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, a land of slavery", which is a statement of who God is to the Hebrew nation and is not really a command at all. The second word is the command "You shall have no other gods before me and you shall not make an image." which is the Protestants 1 and 2 combined.

For Catholics and Lutherans, The second Word of the Jewish reckoning is the first command (1 and 2 of the Protestants). They make up for this by splitting the Protestant tenth into "You shall not covet your neighbors house" as nine and coveting your neighbor's wife and other possessions as ten.

It is often asked how a righteous nation can have the death penalty or even fight a defensive war if the sixth commandment is "Thou shalt not kill" (King James translation). That is why modern translations use the word murder. It is obvious that God gave the penalty of death for some crimes, including murder and adultery. In that case, under Government direction, a murderer would be killed. But murder is killing aside from Government or court direction, it is a person taking it upon themselves to kill (whether because of anger or for revenge). This is NOT to say that the death penalty is commanded for God for our nation today (although it was for the ancient nation of Israel).

So, here it is condensed to run them down (Protestant style):

1 No other Gods
2 No idols
3 No misuse of the Lord's name
4 Keep the Sabbath
5 Honor your parents
6 No murder
7 No adultery
8 No stealing
9 No lies
10 No coveting (harboring jealousy - desiring someone else's stuff)

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Updated by Ron Miller in October 2016