Laws and Regulations in the Ten Commandments

Background

We all live in different parts of the world where the laws differ. While some laws may seem favorable to us, others, sound quite absurd. For example, in Georgia one cannot eat fried chicken with a knife and fork. Don’t believe me? One visitor got arrested in 2009 for doing so. In Tennessee, it is illegal to share your Netflix password. While these laws have not always existed, we acknowledge that they change in correlation to the condition of the state. Today, there is a state of emergency for Covid-19 taking place nationwide for our well-being. It would not be a surprise to witness new laws emerge after the stay-at-home order is lifted. Instead of guessing what laws could potentially emanate from the virus, let’s take a look at some laws and regulations in the Old Testament, starting with the Ten Commandments.

The Ten Commandments

As soon as we hear the words ‘old testament laws’, most think about the Ten Commandments. Almost everyone has heard about these laws that were inscribed on two stone tablets by the hand of God and recorded by Moses. However, if asked to list them all, how many would you be able to state correctly? Yes, do not murder in one of them. Honor your father and your mother is another, but we have eight more to go.

the ten commandments
Some of us may remember the famous epic starring Charlton Heston

Before we learn about the moral, social, feasts, purity, priesthood, food laws and more, let’s begin with the ten commandments in scripture. It will only take a few minutes to read. Let’s begin.

Exodus

The Ten Commandments

And God spoke all these words:

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

“You shall have no other gods before[a] me.

“You shall not make for yourself an image 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 parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 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 male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 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.

12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

13 “You shall not murder.

14 “You shall not commit adultery.

15 “You shall not steal.

16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”

20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”

21 The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.

22 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites this: ‘You have seen for yourselves that I have spoken to you from heaven: 23 Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold.

24 “‘Make an altar of earth for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, your sheep and goats and your cattle. Wherever I cause my name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you. 25 If you make an altar of stones for me, do not build it with dressed stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it. 26 And do not go up to my altar on steps, or your private parts may be exposed.’

Exodus 20:1-26

How much clearer could this have been conveyed? If this was not enough, let’s take a look at the book of Deuteronomy where the ten commandments are declared to the Israelites again.

Deuteronomy

The Ten Commandments

Moses summoned all Israel and said:

Hear, Israel, the decrees and laws I declare in your hearing today. Learn them and be sure to follow them. The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. It was not with our ancestors[a] that the Lord made this covenant, but with us, with all of us who are alive here today. The Lord spoke to you face to face out of the fire on the mountain. (At that time I stood between the Lord and you to declare to you the word of the Lord, because you were afraid of the fire and did not go up the mountain.) And he said:

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

“You shall have no other gods before[b] me.

“You shall not make for yourself an image 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 parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 10 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

11 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

12 “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 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 male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do. 15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.

16 “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

17 “You shall not murder.

18 “You shall not commit adultery.

19 “You shall not steal.

20 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

21 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor’s house or land, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

22 These are the commandments the Lord proclaimed in a loud voice to your whole assembly there on the mountain from out of the fire, the cloud and the deep darkness; and he added nothing more. Then he wrote them on two stone tablets and gave them to me.

23 When you heard the voice out of the darkness, while the mountain was ablaze with fire, all the leaders of your tribes and your elders came to me. 24 And you said, “The Lord our God has shown us his glory and his majesty, and we have heard his voice from the fire. Today we have seen that a person can live even if God speaks with them. 25 But now, why should we die? This great fire will consume us, and we will die if we hear the voice of the Lord our God any longer. 26 For what mortal has ever heard the voice of the living God speaking out of fire, as we have, and survived? 27 Go near and listen to all that the Lord our God says. Then tell us whatever the Lord our God tells you. We will listen and obey.”

28 The Lord heard you when you spoke to me, and the Lord said to me, “I have heard what this people said to you. Everything they said was good. 29 Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!

30 “Go, tell them to return to their tents. 31 But you stay here with me so that I may give you all the commands, decrees and laws you are to teach them to follow in the land I am giving them to possess.”

32 So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. 33 Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.

Deuteronomy 5:1-32

Hopefully this was a helpful reminder for us. Now we are ready to name more than two commandments the next time we are asked to name them all. Next time, we will take a look at interesting and important laws in the book of Leviticus given to God’s chosen people.

Here is a concise list of the then commandments if you would like to quiz yourself.

the ten commandments

Self-quiz

  1. “Thou shalt have no other ______ before me.”(Exodus 20:3)
  1. thoughts
  2. life
  3. love
  4. gods
  1. “Thou shalt not make unto thee any ____________….”(Exodus 20:4)
  1. graven image
  2. food on the Sabbath
  3. business for thyself
  4. home without me
  1. “Thou shalt not take the ___________ of the Lord thy God in vain….”(Exodus 20:7)
  1. words
  2. thought
  3. life
  4. name
  1. “Remember the ______________ to keep it holy.”(Exodus 20:8)
  1. Messiah
  2. sabbath day
  3. passover
  4. kingdom of God
  1. “Honour thy _____________.”(Exodus 20:12)
  1. father and thy mother
  2. women and children
  3. body
  4. blessings
  1. “Thou shalt not __________.”(Exodus 20:13)
  1. kill
  2. sleep more than is needful
  3. drink
  4. eat meat
  1. “Thou shalt not commit __________.”(Exodus 20:14)
  1. forgery
  2. perjury
  3. felony
  4. adultery
  1. “Thou shalt not ___________,”(Exodus 20:15)
  1. eat in darkness
  2. shout
  3. keep secrets
  4. steal
  1. “Thou shalt not bear ________________.”(Exodus 20:16)
  1. illness
  2. that which is not meet to be borne
  3. false witness
  4. thy neighbor’s burdens
  1. “Thou shalt not __________….”(Exodus 20:17)
  1. give in to the vainness of men
  2. fight
  3. covet
  4. have pride

Bonus question

  1. To whom did God give these commandments, engraved on stone tablets? (Exodus 31:18)
  1. Peter
  2. Noah
  3. Moses
  4. Adam

How many did you get correct out of 11 questions? Continue to look over Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 until you reach 100%! To learn more about Biblical characters, laws, or history, please consider enrolling in one of our many courses.