Ten Commandments - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Religion

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Ten Commandments

TEN COMMANDMENTS. The Ten Commandments (or the Decalogue) appear twice in the Hebrew scriptures, at Exodus 20:1–17 and at Deuteronomy 5:6–21. There are differences between the two listings, but the order and the general contents are substantially identical. The commandments may be grouped as follows:

  • Commandments 1–3: God's self-identification, followed by commandments against the worship of other gods, idolatry, and misuse of the divine name (Ex. 20:1–7, Dt. 5:6–11).
  • Commandments 4–5: Positive commands to observe the Sabbath and to honor parents (Ex. 20:8–12, Dt. 5:12–16).
  • Commandments 6–7: Prohibitions of violent acts against neighbors, namely, killing and adultery (Ex. 20:13–14, Dt. 5:17–18).
  • Commandments 8–10: Prohibitions of crimes against community life, namely, stealing, testifying falsely, and hankering after the life and goods of neighbors (Ex. 20:15–17, Dt. 5:19–21).

In the Jewish and Christian communities the order has occasionally varied, and the numbering has varied considerably, especially...

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This section contains 753 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Ten Commandments Encyclopedia Article
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Macmillan
Ten Commandments from Macmillan. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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