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Decalogue: The Ten Commandments

 

God gave Moses the Ten Commandments on two tablets of stone on Mount Sinai to serve as principles of moral behavior for the human race. The Ten Commandments of God are the foundation of the moral code and legal system of justice for Western Christian civilization.

 

The architecture of the U. S. Supreme Court building reflects this biblical foundation. At the center of the sculpture over the east portico of the Supreme Court Building, there is the image of Moses holding the two tablets of the Ten Commandments; these are also engraved over the chair of the Chief Justice and on the bronze doors of the Supreme Court.

 

The Decalogue is recorded both in the Book of Exodus (20:1-17) and the Book of Deuteronomy (5:6-21), two of the five Books of Moses.  

 

Book of Exodus (20:1-17)

1 Then God spoke all these words:

2 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

3 You shall not have other gods beside me.

4 You shall not make for yourself an idol or a likeness of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth;

5 you shall not bow down before them or serve them. For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishment for their ancestors’ wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation;

6 but showing love down to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

7 You shall not invoke the name of the LORD, your God, in vain. For the LORD will not leave unpunished anyone who invokes his name in vain.

8 Remember the sabbath day—keep it holy.

9 Six days you may labor and do all your work,

10 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God. You shall not do any work, either you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your work animal, or the resident alien within your gates.

11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

12 Honor your father and your mother, that you may have a long life in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

13 You shall not kill.

14 You shall not commit adultery.

15 You shall not steal.

16 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

17 You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female slave, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

 

Book of Deuteronomy (5:6-21)

 

6 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

7 You shall not have other gods beside me.

8 You shall not make for yourself an idol or a likeness of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth;

9 you shall not bow down before them or serve them. For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, bringing punishment for their parents’ wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation,

10 but showing love down to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

11 You shall not invoke the name of the LORD, your God, in vain. For the LORD will not leave unpunished anyone who invokes his name in vain.

12 Observe the sabbath day—keep it holy, as the LORD, your God, commanded you.

13 Six days you may labor and do all your work,

14 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God. You shall not do any work, either you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your ox or donkey or any work animal, or the resident alien within your gates, so that your male and female slave may rest as you do.

15 Remember that you too were once slaves in the land of Egypt, and the LORD, your God, brought you out from there with a strong hand and outstretched arm. That is why the LORD, your God, has commanded you to observe the sabbath day.

16 Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD, your God, has commanded you, that you may have a long life and that you may prosper in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

17 You shall not kill.

18 You shall not commit adultery.

19 You shall not steal.

20 You shall not bear dishonest witness against your neighbor.

21 You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.  You shall not desire your neighbor’s house or field, his male or female slave, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

 

Both scripture texts were taken from the New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE), which was published on March 9, 2011.