In the Hebrew Bible
there was no mention of the Ten Commandments
, but about the Ten Words
: asereth ha'dewarin
- which corresponded to the Greek
translation: deka logoi
. On each of the two stone tablets, carried down from Mount Olives
, five words
Traditionally the First Commandment
said "I am Jahweh, thy God
, and thou shalt know no other Gods but me." But that "thou shalt" is not actually there in Hebrew
; the first word said "Thou obviously has no other Gods but me."
By taking a good look at the text, at the Decalogue
, one will notice that it did not have the character of a book of law, but more a manual of good manners: "One doesn't do such things."
It is also significant to note that Jahweh
didn't say that there were no other gods but him, but only that one didn't worship
them - and in so doing he actually confirms their existence.
The second word for that matter also had a double bottom
. The fact that it was not fitting to make images was only, apparently, an anti-artistic judgement
, because it derived from the one who made human beings in his own image - typically the remark of an artist
, who not only wanted to be the best but also the only one; and consequently he said immediately afterward that he was a jealous
The third word, that you simply didn't just use his name, and the fourth, that you of course honoured the day of rest, also referred to the relationship of man to Jahweh.
The fifth, that you naturally honored your father
, was a transition to the words on the second stone, which dealt with the relationships between people - but it also still belonged on the first stone, because parenthood was an illustration of Jahweh's position as creator.
, was according the the sixth word, not done; according to the seventh, adultery
; according to the eigth, theft
; according to the ninth, blaspheming; and according to the tenth, attempts to acquire other people's property. That second group of five represented in the final analysis nothing except the ancient, universal "golden rule": Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
These were the ancient analyses of Philo. Hillel, a legendary Jewish scholar
from the time of Herod
, wrote that the whole Torah
boiled down to the same thing - all five Biblical books of Moses, that is - with their 613 regulations. For Judaism those ten were no more important that the other 603 - they only became so for Christianity. Many of the other commandments were even forbidden at the same time, such as circumcision, which was replaced by Baptism
Just an interesting tidbit
of information to begin the wheels turning in many a theologian's head.