Aside from the fact that posting the “Ten Commandments” promotes one
particular religion to the exclusion of all other religions, which is explicitly forbidden
by the U.S. Constitution, there is an even bigger problem:

    In the first place, there is no such thing as “
The Ten Commandments.” Nowhere
in the Bible can you find a listing of “Ten Commandments,” as they appear on
public plaques. Those listings are, in fact,
interpretations of certain commandments
that appear in four different places throughout the Torah. Since the complete texts
ramble on for many sentences, I have also omitted some of the extraneous material;
and like the plaques, I have separated the commandments into numbered
paragraphs – although how the statements should be divided and numbered is a
matter of dispute. The Catholic
New American Bible has a footnote which says,
“The precise division of these precepts into ‘ten commandments’ is somewhat
uncertain. Traditionally among Catholics, verses 1-6 are considered as only one
commandment, and verse 17 as two.”

Ex 20:1 “Then God delivered all these commandments:
    1. I, the Lord (Yahweh) am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt,
that place of slavery. You shall have (i.e., tolerate) no other gods besides me.
    2. You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky
above or the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down
to them or worship them...
    3. You shall not take the name of the Lord, Your God, in vain...
    4. Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day...
    5. Honor your father and you mother...
    6. You shall not kill.
    7. You shall not commit adultery.
    8. You shall not steal.
    9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
    10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’
s wife, nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass, nor anything else that
belongs to him.”

    There is no mention in the text about these commandments adding up to ten, or
of their being any more important than any others. Furthermore, these statements
are followed by scores of additional commandments, which are regarded as
equally binding.
    
Ex 20:24       Proper construction of an altar.
   
 Ex 21:1         Rules for buying and selling slaves.
    
Ex 21:12       Personal injury laws.
    
Ex 21:33       Property damage laws.
    
Ex 22:6        Financial regulations.
    
Ex 22:15      Civil laws.

    The commandment about keeping the Sabbath is repeated in
Ex 23:10, along
with eleven additional commandments, most of which are later cited as
The Ten
Commandments.

Ex 23:10
    1. “For six years you may sow the land and gather its produce. But the seventh
year you shall let the land lie untilled and unharvested, that the poor among you may
eat of it and the beasts of the field may eat what the poor leave...
    2. For six days you may do your work, but on the seventh day you must rest...
    3. Never mention the name of any other god; it shall not be heard from your lips.
    4. Three times a year you shall celebrate a pilgrim feast to me (i.e., Passover,
Pentecost, and Booths).
    5. You shall keep the feast of Unleavened Bread...
    6. No one shall appear before me empty handed.
    7. You shall also keep the feast of the grain harvest with the first of the crop that
you have sown in the field.
    8. (Also keep) the feast of the fruit harvest at the end of the year...
    9. You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with unleavened bread.
    10. Nor shall the fat of my feast be kept overnight till the next day.
    11. The choicest first fruits of your soil you shall bring to the house of the Lord,
your God.
    12. You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.”

    There follows now the only place in the Torah where a list of orders from Yahweh
are specifically identified as “The Ten Commandments,” although sixteen different
points are listed and they repeat all but two of the same Commandments as
Ex 23:
10
. Commandments 1, 2, 4, 7, and 8, however, are new.

    
Ex 34:10 “Here, then,” said the Lord, “is the covenant I will make... But you, on
your part, must keep the commandments I am giving you today. I will drive out
before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites.
    1. Take care, therefore, not to make a covenant with these inhabitants of the land
that you are to enter...
    2. Tear down their altars; smash their sacred pillars, and cut down their sacred
poles.
    3. You shall not worship any other god, for the Lord (Yahweh) is the jealous one...
    4. Neither shall you take their daughters as wives for you sons...
    5. You shall not make for yourselves molten gods.
    6. You shall keep the feast of Unleavened Bread...
    7. To me belongs every first-born male that opens the womb among all your
livestock...
    8. The first born among your sons you shall redeem.
    9. No one shall appear before me empty handed.
    10. For six days you may work, but on the seventh day you shall rest...
    11. You shall keep the Feast of Weeks with first of the wheat harvest; likewise,
the feast of the fruit harvest at the close of the year.
    12. Three times a year all you men shall appear before the Lord God of Israel...
    13. You shall not offer me the blood of sacrifice with leavened bread.
    14. The sacrifice of the Passover feast shall not be kept overnight for the next
day.
    15. The choicest first fruits of your soil you shall bring to the house of the Lord,
your God.
    16. You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.

    “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Write down these words, for in accordance with
them I have made a covenant with you and with Israel,’ So Moses stayed there with
the Lord forty days and forty nights, without eating any food or drinking any water,
and he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant,
The Ten Commandments.”

    In Deuteronomy the Covenant is presented by Moses for a fourth time. The
introduction is different from
Ex 2:1, but the commandments themselves are copied
verbatim, except for number four. The Exodus version goes on to explain that we
must make the Sabbath a holy day because Yahweh created all the universe in six
days, and on the seventh day he rested. The Deuteronomy version, on the other
hand, says that we must keep the Sabbath because the Hebrews were once slaves
(who presumably had no day of rest).

    
Deut 5:1 “Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, the
statutes and decrees which I proclaim in your hearing this day, that you may learn
them and take care to observe them. The Lord, our God, made a covenant with us
at Horeb... I stood between the Lord and you at that time, to announce to you these
words of the Lord:
   
 Deut 5:6 “I, the Lord (Yahweh), am your God, who brought you out of the land of
Egypt, that place of slavery.
     1. You shall have (i.e., tolerate) no other gods besides me.
    2. You shall not carve idols for yourselves... nor bow down to them...
    3. You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God in vain...
    4. Take care to keep holy the Sabbath day...
    5. Honor your father and mother...
    6. You shall not kill.
    7. You shall not commit adultery.
    8. You shall not steal.
    9. You shall not bear dishonest witness against your neighbor.
    10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor your neighbor’s house or field,
nor his male or female slave, nor his ox, or ass, nor anything that belongs to him."

    "These words, and nothing more, the Lord spoke with a loud voice to your entire
assembly on the mountain from the midst of the fire and the dense cloud. He wrote
them upon two tablets of stone and gave them to me.”

    By stating that these Commandments “
and nothing more” are the words of
Yahweh, Deuteronomy directly contradicts Exodus, which claims that scores of
additional Commandments were issued by Yahweh and recorded by Moses on
stone tablets.
    So what are the “TRUE” Ten Commandments?
What's Wrong With Posting the Ten Commandments in
Public Schools?
Home
Other Works Site Map