The Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue, are a set of biblical principles that play a fundamental role in both Judaism and Christianity. These commandments were given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai and are recorded in the Bible in Exodus 20:2-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21.
Meaning no disrespect to anyone, what follows are some thoughts on the Ten Commandments.
Note to readers: In the past, God has been referred to as a Male, using the male pronouns He, Him, and His. God cannot and should not be equated with a mere mortal man or woman. So the use of traditional human pronouns seems unwise. However, until a more appropriate pronoun can be devised, I will continue to use it.
First, Moses went up into the mountains to speak to God. That makes sense! God would not and probably could not speak to Moses or anyone else at the dining room table. We would have to go alone atop the highest mountain to have even a chance to speak to God.
The Stone Tablets were put in the Arc of the Covenant. Some say the Arc and the Commandments were destroyed. Others say they are merely hidden or possibly hiding in plain sight, perhaps in a government warehouse. I lean towards the former. If somebody had them, I feel like we’d know about it.
These are the words of God as reported by AI. Each commandment is followed by an ecclesiastical analysis, followed in turn by some thoughts of my own.
- You shall have no other gods before Me.
Ecclesiastical commentary: This commandment emphasizes the exclusive worship of the one true God. It reminds us not to place anything or anyone above our devotion to God. Even today, people create false gods or prioritize other things over their relationship with the Almighty.
Commentary by WinLoseorDraw: God says he is the One and Only God (capitol G). God warns us against the worshiping of false gods (small g). Those of us who believe in God should take this warning to heart. It strikes me as a fatherly warning to his children. I am reminded of when my own father, who I loved and respected, sometimes got a little too full of himself and started throwing his weight around a bit too much. I generally feigned acquiescence and did things much as before when he wasn’t looking. However, since children rarely take the rules of our elders very seriously, God added some consequences. Namely, the threat of burning in Hell. I am sure that Hell is a terrible place, but so far none have returned to tell us about it. I hereby ask God to provide proof of concept. Just cause a few sinners to burst into flames before us, right here on the public streets. That would do it, don’t you agree?
- You shall make no idols.
Ecclesiastical commentary: God instructs us not to create or worship carved images or idols. He desires our worship to be directed solely toward Him. Idolatry can take various forms, including material possessions, fame, or even self-worship.
Commentary by WinLoseorDraw: This is the same as number one above. The only difference is the substitution of the word idol for the word god. However, the world is full of idols, celebrities, tin gods, and such. It makes no sense to put their likenesses up on billboards and to turn ourselves inside out trying to be like them. In some cases, the healthy appreciation of celebrities does turn to worship, and that is unhealthy. Idol worship should be avoided. N’est-ce pas?
- You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
Ecclesiastical commentary: This commandment emphasizes reverence for God’s name. We should avoid using God’s name carelessly or disrespectfully. Instead, we should honor and uphold His name with reverence.
Commentary by WinLoseorDraw: It does no good to use the name of God in vain, as in “God damn you!” God will not intervene on your behalf. Likewise, it pointless to claim to be God. No one will believe you; and if you insist, they will put you away. It is ironic and often silly to use the name of God in vain. Also, I like to think God has a sense of humor and does not take offense. Sticks and stones will not break his bones, nor will false naming ever hurt Him.
- Keep the Sabbath day holy.
Ecclesiastical commentary: God commands us to set apart the Sabbath day (usually observed on Saturday or Sunday) as a day of rest and worship. It’s a time to focus on our spiritual relationship with God and rest from our regular work.
Commentary by WinLoseorDraw: The ecclesiastical commentary veers astray when it we need to rest on our holy day and focus on God. This misses the point. The commandment is to set aside a day to be holy. Should we be holy only one day a week? Should we be unholy the other six? I don’t think so. We should be holy seven days a week.
- Honor your father and your mother.
Ecclesiastical commentary: This commandment emphasizes respect and obedience toward parents. Honoring our parents extends beyond childhood—it’s a lifelong principle that promotes healthy family relationships.
Commentary by WinLoseorDraw: I am tempted to give this full credit. It absolutely works in the vast majority of cases. My parents for examples were unrecognized saints on the face of the Earth. They were good people. Most parents are! Unfortunately, some parents are just knuckleheads. I can’t respect a knucklehead, and they don’t deserve to be respected!
- You shall not murder.
Ecclesiastical commentary: God values human life, and this commandment prohibits taking another person’s life unjustly. It underscores the sanctity of life and the importance of treating others with love and compassion.
Commentary by WinLoseorDraw: I like the ecclesiastical take better than the original because of the addition of the word unjustly. Allow me to add that the determination of what is and isn’t Just does not rest with either you or me. It depends on the Rule of Law!
- You shall not commit adultery.
Ecclesiastical commentary: Adultery violates the sacred bond of marriage. God designed marriage to be a lifelong commitment between one man and one woman. Faithfulness and purity within marriage are essential.
Commentary by WinLoseorDraw: Well, some Newlyweds clearly do not take their matrimonial vows as a sacred bond. They should. It is a bond of trust between two people who are equal before God and the Law. That “None Other” part needs to get more emphasis. I recommend an exchange of blood oaths. But the sacred bond of marriage is not always lifelong, nor should it always be. God does not want us to perpetuate our mistakes. It is okay to get a divorce and find happiness with someone else.
- You shall not steal.
Ecclesiastical commentary: Honesty and integrity matter to God. This commandment reminds us to respect others’ property and refrain from taking what doesn’t belong to us. It extends beyond physical possessions to include intellectual property and trust.
Commentary by WinLoseorDraw: I agree! Keep your hands off other people’s stuff unless freely given. Abandoned property is free for the taking after three days (The three-day rule!), as long as it is returned immediately upon request. And don’t violate other people’s trust! Violating a trust is hurtful, and it makes you look bad!
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Ecclesiastical commentary: Truthfulness and integrity are crucial. We should avoid spreading false information or lying about others. Instead, we should speak the truth in love and protect our neighbors’ reputations.
Commentary by WinLoseorDraw: I agree! Telling the truth is always the best course of action, and lying seldom, if ever, works!
- You shall not covet.
Ecclesiastical commentary: This commandment addresses the heart’s desires. Coveting involves an unhealthy longing for what others have—whether it’s possessions, relationships, or status. Contentment and gratitude are antidotes to covetousness.
Commentary by WinLoseorDraw: I agree that contentment and gratitude are very important values for a healthy person to have, and the ecclesiastical commentary qualifies the commandment accurately by associating the word covet with the additional words unhealthy longing. It is okay and even healthy to want things we don’t have and to be motivated by our desires as long as we deal with our desires internally and don’t let them get out of hand. Coveting, as a motivational tool, seems like a good thing to me.
These commandments, as amended, serve as a guide for ethical living, emphasizing our relationship with God and our interactions with others. They should continue to shape moral and spiritual principles across cultures and generations!