First Amendment battles continue to rage across the US over the posting of the Ten
Command-ments in public places — courthouses, schools, parks, and pretty much anywhere else
you can imagine. Christians argue that they're a part of our Western heritage that should be
displayed as ubiquitously as traffic signs. Congressman Bob Barr hilariously suggested that the
Columbine massacre wouldn't have happened if the Ten Commandments (also called the
Decalogue) had been posted in the high school, and some government officials have directly,
purposely disobeyed court rulings against the display of these ten directives supposedly handed
down from on high.
Too bad they're all talking about the wrong rules.
Every Decalogue you see — from the 5,000-pound granite behemoth inside the Alabama State
Judicial Building to the little wallet-cards sold at Christian bookstores — is bogus. Simply
reading the Bible will prove this. Getting out your King James version, turn to Exodus 20:2-17.
You'll see the familiar list of rules about having no other gods, honoring your parents, not killing
or coveting, and so on. At this point, though, Moses is just repeating to the people what God told
him on Mount Si'nai. These are not written down in any form.
Later, Moses goes back to the Mount, where God gives him two "tables of stone" with rules
written on them (Exodus 31:18). But when Moses comes down the mountain lugging his load, he
sees the people worshipping a statue of a calf, causing him to throw a tantrum and smash the
tablets on the ground (Exodus 32:19).
In neither of these cases does the Bible refer to "commandments." In the first instance, they are
"words" which "God spake," while the tablets contain "testimony." It is only when Moses goes
back for new tablets that we see the phrase "ten commandments" (Exodus 34:28). In an
interesting turn of events, the commandments on these tablets are significantly different than the
ten rules Moses recited for the people, meaning that either Moses' memory is faulty or God
changed his mind.
Thus, without further ado, we present to you the real "Ten Commandments" as handed down by
the LORD unto Moses (and plainly listed in Exodus 34:13-28). We eagerly await all the new
Decalogues, which will undoubtedly contain this correct version:
I. Thou shalt worship no other god.
II. Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.
III.. The feast of unleavened bread thou shalt keep
IV. Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest.
V. Thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of
ingathering at the year's end.
VI. Thrice In the year shall all your men children appear before the Lord God.
VII. Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven.
VIII. Neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning.
IX. The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the LORD thy God.
X. Thou shalt not seethe a kid [ie, a young goat] in his mother's milk.