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Exodus Chapter 20
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Deuteronomy

The First Two Commandments
20:1 God spoke all these words, saying:
20:2 I am God your Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, from the place of slavery.
20:3 Do not have any other gods before Me.
20:4 Do not represent [such] gods by any carved statue or picture of anything in the heaven above, on the earth below, or in the water below the land.
20:5 Do not bow down to [such gods] or worship them. I am God your Lord, a God who demands exclusive worship. Where My enemies are concerned, I keep in mind the sin of the fathers for [their] descendants, to the third and fourth [generation].
20:6 But for those who love Me and keep My commandments, I show love for thousands [of generations].

The Third Commandment
20:7 Do not take the name of God your Lord in vain. God will not allow the one who takes His name in vain to go unpunished.

The Fourth Commandment
20:8 Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy.
20:9 You can work during the six weekdays and do all your tasks.
20:10 But Saturday is the Sabbath to God your Lord. Do not do anything that constitutes work. [This includes] you, your son, your daughter, your slave, your maid, your animal, and the foreigner in your gates.
20:11 It was during the six weekdays that God made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on Saturday. God therefore blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

The Fifth Commandment
20:12 Honor your father and mother. You will then live long on the land that God your Lord is giving you.

The Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Commandments
20:13 Do not commit murder.

Do not commit adultery.

Do not steal.

Do not testify as a false witness against your neighbor.


The Tenth Commandment, Envy
20:14 Do not be envious of your neighbor's house.

Do not be envious of your neighbor's wife, his slave, his maid, his ox, his donkey, or anything else that is your neighbor's.


Aftermath of the Ten Commandments
20:15 All the people saw the sounds, the flames, the blast of the ram's horn, and the mountain smoking. The people trembled when they saw it, keeping their distance.
20:16 They said to Moses, 'You speak to us, and we will listen. But let God not speak with us any more, for we will die if He does.'
20:17 'Do not be afraid,' replied Moses to the people. 'God only came to raise you up. His fear will then be on your faces, and you will not sin.'
20:18 The people kept their distance while Moses entered the mist where the Divine was [revealed].

Concluding Rules
20:19 God said to Moses: This is what you must tell the Israelites:

You have seen that I spoke to you from heaven.

20:20 Do not make a representation of anything that is with Me. Do not make silver or gold gods for yourselves.
20:21 Make an earthen altar for Me. You can sacrifice your burnt offerings, your peace offerings, your sheep and your cattle on it. Wherever I allow My name to be mentioned, I will come to you and bless you.
20:22 When you eventually build a stone altar for Me, do not build it out of cut stone. Your sword will have been lifted against it, you will have profaned it.
20:23 Do not climb up to My altar with steps, so that your nakedness not be revealed on it.



Commentary:

God spoke...
  The Ten Commandments are repeated in Deuteronomy 5:6-18.

I am God...
  This is a commandment to believe in God (Sefer HaMitzvoth, Positive Commandment 1; see Josephus 3:5:5; Philo, Decalogue 1:385). Others, however, state that belief in God is too basic to be an actual commandment (Ramban on Sefer HaMitzvoth, loc. cit.).

Do not represent....
  (Sefer HaMitzvoth, Negative Commandment 2; Yad, Avodath Kokhavim 3:9). Literally, 'do not make.' See Exodus 20:20.

who demands...
  (Hirsch). Kana in Hebrew, used exclusively with relation to God; Exodus 34:14, Deuteronomy 4:24, 5:9, 6:15; cf. Joshua 24:19, Nahum 1:2. On the basis of the verbal form, 'jealous,' 'zealous,' or 'vengeful' (Mekhilta; Rashi), but more accurately, 'acting to punish' (Moreh Nevukhim 1:44; cf. Saadia Gaon).

for their descendants
  But only if they follow their fathers' ways; cf. Deuteronomy 24:16 (Berakhoth 7a).

generations
  (Targum; Rashi).

name of God
  The sense is changed from the first to the third person. Some therefore say that only the first two commandments were given directly by God (Makkoth 24a; Shir HaShirim Rabbah 1:13; Ramban). See note on Exodus 20:16.

in vain
  Or, 'illegally' (cf. Exodus 23:1). This commandment primarily forbids false and trivial oaths (Mekhilta; Shevuoth 21a; Targum Yonathan; Rashi). However, it also prohibits all unnecessary use of God's name (Ramban; Berakhoth 33a).

Saturday
  Literally, 'the seventh day,' but this is the Hebrew expression for Saturday.

work
  By tradition, there are 39 categories of work (Shabbath 73a). These include carrying (Exodus 16:29), cooking and other food preparation (Exodus 16:23), lighting fires (Exodus 35:3), and all agricultural activities (Exodus 34:21). By tradition, all such activities as writing, making cloth, sewing, making leather, building, laundering, and assembling articles are also forbidden.

foreigner
  (cf. Ramban). Especially a gentile employee (Ralbag) or, 'proselyte' (Mekhilta), even a minor (Ralbag). See Exodus 23:12.

Do not steal
  This is primarily a commandment against kidnapping (Exodus 21:16; Mekhilta; Rashi). However, it also forbids all sorts of dishonesty (Targum Yonathan).

testify
  The Hebrew anah can also mean answer, respond, or speak up. However, it is also used specifically for testimony, see 1 Samuel 12:3, 2 Samuel 1:16, Isaiah 3:9, 59:12, Micah 6:3, Job 15:6, Numbers 35:30.

neighbor
  Or, 'countryman.'

Do not be envious
  This is a continuation of the Tenth Commandment.

saw
  Some say that it was an experience of synesthesia, where they actually saw sounds (Mekhilta; Rashi; Ibn Ezra; Moreh Nevukhim 1:46).

the sounds, the flames
  (Rashi). Or, 'the thunder and lightning' (Maaseh HaShem, Maaseh Torah 7; cf. Ramban).

They said to Moses...
  According to many, this is in chronological order, and they asked Moses after the giving of the Ten Commandments (Mekhilta; Rashbam; Ibn Ezra, Abarbanel, on Exodus 20:15). Others say that this was before the Ten Commandments (Ramban). According to others, the people said this to Moses after the Second Commandment, and the rest were given through Moses (Chizzkuni; see note on Exodus 20:7).

raise you up
  (Mekhilta; Rashi). Or, 'test' or 'prove you' (Saadia; Ibn Ezra; Hirsch; cf. Exodus 16:4); 'admonish you' (Rashbam), 'refine you' (Ramban); 'train you' or 'accustom you [to prophecy]' (Moreh Nevukhim 3:24; Sforno; Ramban; cf. Ibn Janach. See Deuteronomy 8:16.

mist
  Some say that this is the heavy cloud in Exodus 19:9 (Rashi). Araphel in Hebrew. Or, 'opaque darkness' (Hirsch; Radak, Sherashim; cf. Isaiah 60:2, Jeremiah 13:16, Joel 2:2). According to others, 'glowing mist' (Bachya; MeAm Lo'ez), or 'blinding light' (HaKethav VeHaKabbalah).

where the Divine was revealed
  The narrative continues in Exodus 24:1.

Do not make a representation...
  Literally, 'Do not make with me.' This is a commandment not to make a statue of anything associated with God, such as angels. It also extends to making replicas of articles used in the Holy Temple (Avodah Zarah 43a,b; Yad, Avodath Kokhavim 3:10; Sefer HaMitzvoth, Negative Commandment 4).

burnt offerings
  See note on Genesis 8:20. Also see Exodus 24:5.

peace offerings
  See Leviticus 3:1. Also see Exodus 24:5, 32:6. Or, 'fellowship offerings.'

Wherever I allow...
  That is, in the Holy Temple, where the Tetragrammaton was used in prayers and blessings (Sotah 38a; Rashi).

When...
  This is saying that a permanent stone altar would have to be built eventually, for the Holy Temple. It was built of stone and filled with earth. (Mekhilta; Rashi). See Exodus 27:1.

with steps
  Instead, it had a ramp (Mekhilta; Rashi).





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