Exodus – Chapter 20

Bible on Table

The Bible – Old Testament



Chapter 20


1 Then God delivered all these commandments:


«I, the LORD, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery.


You shall not have other gods besides me.


You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth;


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


but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation, on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments.


«You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, in vain. For the LORD will not leave unpunished him who takes his name in vain.


«Remember to keep holy the sabbath day.


Six days you may labor and do all your work,


but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD, your God. No work may be done then either by you, or your son or daughter, or your male or female slave, or your beast, or by the alien who lives with you.


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.


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


«You shall not kill.


«You shall not commit adultery.


«You shall not steal.


«You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.


«You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass, nor anything else that belongs to him.»


When the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the trumpet blast and the mountain smoking, they all feared and trembled. So they took up a position much farther away


and said to Moses, «You speak to us, and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we shall die.»


Moses answered the people, «Do not be afraid, for God has come to you only to test you and put his fear upon you, lest you should sin.»


Still the people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the cloud where God was.


The LORD told Moses, «Thus shall you speak to the Israelites: You have seen for yourselves that I have spoken to you from heaven.


Do not make anything to rank with me; neither gods of silver nor gods of gold shall you make for yourselves.


3 «An altar of earth you shall make for me, and upon it you shall sacrifice your holocausts and peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In whatever place I choose for the remembrance of my name I will come to you and bless you.


If you make an altar of stone for me, do not build it of cut stone, for by putting a tool to it you desecrate it.


You shall not go up by steps to my altar, on which you must not be indecently uncovered.

1 [1-17] The precise division of these precepts into «ten commandments» is somewhat uncertain. Traditionally among Catholics ⇒ Exodus 20:1-6 is considered as only one commandment, and ⇒ Exodus 20:17 as two. Cf ⇒ Deut 5:6-21.
2 [5] Jealous: demanding exclusive allegiance, such as a wife must have for her husband.
3 [24] I choose for the remembrance of my name: literally, «where I make my name to be remembered»: at the sacred site where God wishes to be worshiped and his name revered.