God gives Moses the Ten Commandments for the People. My comments and paraphrases are in bold type.
1 And God spake all these words, saying,
I find it interesting that He Spoke and He Said. When things are there twice, there’s usually a good reason: to get your attention.
2 I am the LORD your God, which have brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
“Remember Me? I am the Lord your God. I brought you out of the slavery of the land of Egypt, your former home of bondage.”
3 You shall have no other gods before me.
“There are no other gods before me—did they get you out of bondage? Did they free you from Pharaoh? Were any of Pharaoh’s gods strong enough to go against me? You know the answer.”
4 You shall not make unto you any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
You shall not make a graven image–
5 You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
“And you shall not bow down before them to serve them, because I am a jealous God. After everything I have saved you from, do you so quickly want to bow down to other gods? If so, I will visit this iniquity on your children, to your grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Stop and think about what you are doing.”
6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
For His mercy endures FOREVER!
7 You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain.
It seems commonplace these days—when you watch a movie they take God’s name in vain. The enemy would like to desensitize us to the power of God’s holy name.
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Set apart the Sabbath day; it’s different from the other days of the week.
9 Six days shall you labour, and do all your work:
There are six days for working, but seven days in a week, so—
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates:
Attention Workaholics! Rest is a commandment! YOU MUST REST.
11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
If God can take a day off, certainly you can!
12 Honour your father and your mother: that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God gives you.
No one’s parents are perfect. We still need to honor them. As for abusive parents, I don’t have the answer to that one! I guess we need to individually ask God for the answer. How does someone honor an abusive parent? Or is there a loophole for this?
13 You shall not kill.
You shall not murder.
14 You shall not commit adultery.
If you’re not married to the person, don’t sleep with them.
15 You shall not steal.
If it’s not yours, don’t take it.
16 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
Don’t lie about your neighbor. Remember also, that by two or three witnesses a person would be condemned. There were liars that stepped forward to condemn Jesus. They sinned against Him with their false stories.
17 You shall not covet your neighbour’s house, you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is your neighbour’s.
The grass is not greener on the other side. Don’t look at what your neighbor has. Be thankful for what YOU have.
18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.
Thunder, lightning, trumpet blast, smoke from the mountain—God means business.
19 And they said unto Moses, Speak you with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.
This frightened the people. “Moses, you go and speak to God and let us know what He says, we don’t want to die.”
20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that you sin not.
“God is trying to give you a healthy dose of respect for Him and His ways, so that you do not fall into sin.”
21 And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.
The people were afraid, but Moses drew near to God, into the cloud of glory.
22 And the LORD said unto Moses, Thus you shall say unto the children of Israel, You have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.
“Tell the children of Israel, I have given you evidence that you have seen with your own eyes that I have talked with you from heaven.”
23 You shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall you make unto you gods of gold.
“Don’t make any gods of god or silver.” (Spoiler alert: They disobey this one a few chapters ahead.)
24 An altar of earth you shall make unto me, and shall sacrifice thereon your burnt offerings, and your peace offerings, your sheep, and your oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto you, and I will bless you.
“I want you to make an altar of earth, and upon it, sacrifice the burnt offerings, peace offerings, the sheep and oxen like I have told you. I will then come to you and bless you.”
25 And if you will make me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stone: for if you lift up your tool upon it, you have polluted it.
“If you make an altar of stone, keep the stone the way it is, do not seek to ‘improve’ it with your hands. To me, it is polluted.” Hmm. How many times do we seek to “help” God along with what he is doing? Ismael anyone?
26 Neither shall you go up by steps unto mine altar, that your nakedness be not discovered thereon.
I had to go to a few different translations for this one. Here’s the one that made the most sense:
Exo 20:26 And you must not make steps leading up to the altar. If there are steps, when people look up to the altar, they will be able to see under your clothes.” (ERV – Easy To Read Version.)