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EDITORIAL: The Ten Commandments

When people speak of the Ten Commandments, they are usually referring to the ones enumerated in Exodus which were given to Moses by God for the Hebrew people. Exodus 20 says God spake the words to Moses. Legend (not in the bible) says the Ten Commandments were engraved on two or so stone tablets.

Exodus has many, many more commandments, which we will go into one of these days, but the famous ones which get the press are the ten which God spake to Moses.

No moral person could argue with the message of the big ten but no sensible person doesn't have questions.

God says thy shalt not kill. He doesn't grant exceptions...

The commandment which is usually third concerns keeping the sabbath holy. The sabbath of the bible is definitely Saturday. Since the Christian world thinks Sunday is the sabbath, the only safe way not to offend God seems to be to honor both Saturday and Sunday. And the prohibitions are pretty definite: "thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, they manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates."

Note: Anyone who thinks things haven't changed since the bible hasn't noticed how many bible passages refer to manservants and maidservants and how few people today actually have servants.

Everyone we know pretty much smashes this keeping the sabbath holy commandment. And serious damage is done to taking the name of the Lord thy God in vain and honouring thy father and thy mother and coveting thy neighbor's this and that. And, as for the adultery prohibition....

Bottom line, only three of the Ten Commandments are actually against the law in most countries: Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal and thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. The kill and steal commandments have very little wiggle room. God says thy shalt not kill. He doesn't grant exceptions for people threatening you or only human beings or hunters or the state or or. It is pretty straight forward and the law has many, many exceptions but God doesn't.

And no exceptions for stealing. No running personal letters through the office postal machine. No stealing someone's boyfriend or girlfriend. No taking some else's parking space. No appropriating someone else's ideas. No keeping the extra change when some clerk makes a mistake.

We could write, and probably will, a whole editorial on the bearing false witness against they neighbor but will wind up instead by pointing out that the Ten Commandments have very little to do with the law of the state. Keep them in your mind and heart, not in public buildings.



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