The Ten Commandments Reviewed

Jul 21, 2015

וְיוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי שַׁבָּת לַיהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לֹא־תַעֲשֶׂה כָל־מְלָאכָה אַתָּה וּבִנְךָ־וּבִתֶּךָ עַבְדְּךָ וַאֲמָתְךָ וּבְהֶמְתֶּךָ וְגֵרְךָ אֲשֶׁר בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ

but the seventh day is a Shabbat of Hashem your God: you shall not do any work—you, your son or daughter, your male or female slave, or your cattle, or the stranger who is within your settlements.

Exodus 20:10

בְּכָל־הַדֶּרֶךְ אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם אֶתְכֶם תֵּלֵכוּ לְמַעַן תִּחְיוּן וְטוֹב לָכֶם וְהַאֲרַכְתֶּם יָמִים בָּאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר תִּירָשׁוּן׃

follow only the path that Hashem your God has enjoined upon you, so that you may thrive and that it may go well with you, and that you may long endure in the land you are to possess.

Deuteronomy 5:30

Next, Moses reminds the people of the events that took place at Mount Sinai. He begins by telling the people it was an event which happened, not to their forefathers, but to they themselves. Although in reality the generation standing before him was not that which left Egypt, Jewish tradition teaches that all Jewish souls of all generations were present at Mount Sinai.


Moses then repeats the ten things God recited at Sinai:

  1. I am the Lord your God
  2. You shall not serve idols
  3. You shall not take My name in vain
  4. Keep the Sabbath
  5. Honor your parents
  6. Do not kill
  7. Do not commit adultery
  8. Do not steal
  9. Do not bear false witness
  10. Do not covet anything belonging to your neighbor

Moses reminds the people that they were overwhelmed by the enormity of facing God directly and asked Moses to carry God’s word to them instead. Here, God appears to find this awe praiseworthy, as He hopes they will maintain this level of fear in the future.


Certain commandments given may only be fulfilled in the Land of Israel, but the Israel Bible tells us from Deuteronomy 5:28 we learn that even those that can be enacted outside the land gain greater significance when performed in Israel.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

There are subtle differences between the Ten Commandments as they appear in Exodus 20 and here (e.g. Remember the Sabbath vs. Observe the Sabbath). Why do you think that is?

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