Ten Commandments

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Ten Commandments



[Gr.,=ten words], in the Bible, the summary of divine law given by God to Moses on Mt. Sinai. They have a paramount place in the ethical systems of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Listed in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy, the commandments are divided into divided into duties toward God and toward one's family and neighbors and society. Their normative status is indicated by their prescriptive and unconditional language. They function as general stipulations decreed by God as part of His covenant with the people of Israel. In both Exodus and Deuteronomy, the case law following the listing of the commandments is based on them and deduced from the principles contained in them. In Islamic tradition, Moses brings new revelation in the form of the commandments.


See M. Coogan, The Ten Commandments: A Short History of an Ancient Text (2014).

Commandments, Ten:

see Ten CommandmentsTen Commandments
or Decalogue
[Gr.,=ten words], in the Bible, the summary of divine law given by God to Moses on Mt. Sinai. They have a paramount place in the ethical systems of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
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A memorial to the Ten Commandments, also known as the Tablets of the Law. AP/Wide World Photos.

Ten Commandments

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

I am the Lord your God: You shall have no other Gods before me You shall not worship idols You shall not misuse the name of God Remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy Honor your father and mother You shall not murder You shall not commit adultery You shall not steal You shall not lie You shall not covet The above list is the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments Moses brought down from Mount Sinai after the children of Israel escaped from Egypt. Believed to have been written by the very finger of God on tablets of stone, they summarized the law that would define Israel and make her a unique nation of people. The commandments are not the whole law. That constitutes pages and pages of oral tradition and experience. But they summarize what God expects in human, ethical behavior—a kind of minimum daily requirement in righteousness.

The first four laws govern the way humans are to respond to God. They are summarized in Deuteronomy 6:5: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." The next six describe how humans are to respond to each other. They are summarized in Leviticus 19:18: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

Ten Commandments

God’s precepts for man’s life. [O.T.: Exodus 20:3–17; Deuteronomy 5:7–21]
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