So there we were in the car driving home. I was mentally shuffling the heap of miscellaneous stuff that passes for my brain and trying to remember all ten of the commandments.

Moses the Celebriduck


Why? Because I thought I should know them. They are supposedly the basis of all moral law, right? Why don’t I know them? Why aren’t they all on the tip of my tongue?

I found myself at a full stop around seven or eight, depending on how I divided the “How to behave to God” section which contains a lot of run-on sentences that could be interpreted as two or sometimes even three commandments but have — I suppose for convenience — been lumped into one.

I asked Garry if he knew the ten commandments. He replied, with some irritation, that he had to pay attention to the traffic. There wasn’t any traffic, except for one slow driver in front of us. I suppose Garry was trying to not ram him.

Finally, he admitted he didn’t know all of them, at least not in order.

“A sad state of affairs,” I pointed out, “When two educated souls cannot recite the ten commandments.”

“There’s a lot of stuff about not making idols. Not murdering or coveting.”

“Yeah, and taking one day off each week.”

When I got home, I looked them up.

Charlton Heston and the 10 commandments

It turns out there quite a few “proper behavior to God” commandments. Not all Christians — much less Jews — divide them the same way. You can count as many as fifteen (à la Mel Brooks in “History of the World, Part I”) or as few as eight. It depends on how you look at them — and punctuate the sentences.

Following are the Big Ten according to most Protestant sects, plus a second list containing my streamlined, easy-to-remember set.

Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-17 NKJV)

  1. “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.
  2. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My Commandments.
  3. “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
  4. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
  5. “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
  6. “You shall not murder.
  7. “You shall not commit adultery.
  8. “You shall not steal.
  9. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”


I’ve always wondered how come we need laws from God to know that murder is not okay. Aren’t we born knowing this? Don’t we know without being told that stealing is bad? That we should take care of our parents and show them respect? Do we really need laws to tell us?

Modernization is all the rage, so here’s my take on them. Not etched in stone. Jealousy is mentioned once in the second commandment where it is good because it’s the Lord’s prerogative.

In the tenth, it’s covetousness, which is not good because jealousy is good for God, but not for us. That is also where your neighbor’s ass comes into the picture, one of the many things you are not supposed to covet.

A Streamlined Top Ten

  1. I’m God. The One and Only. Don’t forget it, not for a moment.
  2. Idols are O-U-T.
  3. Don’t swear using God’s name. Maybe no swearing at all. I’m not sure.
  4. Take a break on the seventh day of your week. It doesn’t matter what day you choose because when I started making the world, there were no calendars. So take your pick, then stick to it. Everyone gets the same day off, including your family, guests, slaves, servants, and animals. No work. Got that?
  5. Respect your parents. Take care of them.
  6. Don’t murder anyone.
  7. Don’t cheat on your spouse.
  8. Don’t steal stuff.
  9. Don’t lie.
  10. Don’t envy other people’s stuff, especially not your neighbor’s ass.

I’m just here to help.

Categories: Ethics and Philosophy, humor, Judaism, Religion, Sayings and Platitudes

Tags: , , , , , , ,

41 replies

  1. I was going to point out the double standard between God’s jealousy, while commanding man not to covet, but I see you caught that as well. I never really knew all the commandments, but that may be because we were raised heathens and organized religion doesn’t do anything for me…


    • I don’t play religion either, but I find it fascinating and historically interesting. Besides, we are all supposed to know the ten commandments, but almost no one actually DOES know them … and they aren’t the same for all the Judeo-Christian religio-cons. I was raised outright atheist with Jewish food. That’s actually a thing.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. While i respect the 10 Commandments and could recount them largely as mentioned above ( and have tried keeping most of them pretty well – i have some trouble with the coveting bits though) 😉 there is something you are forgetting.

    The 10 commandments are OLD Testament and apply to a very specific group of human beings and their descendants. Christians (and indeed Muslims) have been given an ‘updated version’ already and while i agree with you there ought to be a more up-to-date version we can all stick to and refer to frequently (for a lot of us have very short and/or poor memories for such things in our everyday lives) and perhaps refer those who fail to follow them TO them so they can suck their heads in a little (like DT for example!) there are actually now only 2 Commandments for Christians – given to us by Jesus Christ and recorded by several gospel writers in the New Testament (designed for a wider audience than the original 10 were!).

    They are: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’, and the second which is like unto it: ‘ Love your neighbour as yourself’.
    (Matt 22:37-39)

    The key word(s) here is/are LOVE. Love God first (follow Him, do all that he asks of you) and Love everyone else as you love yourself.

    Just concerning the Sabbath: The Days were numbered from the beginning of creation 1,2,3,4,5,6 and 7 – the Sabbath (according to the writers of the Pentateuch). The descendants of those people (and Seventh Day Adventists!) have kept this tradition going since the Law was first written.

    This is important because through it we can determine those who truly follow and Love God and those who don’t – even if they say they do. Any human who does not follow the God’s Sabbath follows a man’s sabbath instead ( The Pope altered the day for Roman Catholics – other’s have followed suit and chosen man’s sabbath – not God’s ordained one) and this puts man a Pope) before God as Authority in their lives – this goes against both Testament Commandments and is to be avoided by true followers of God.

    Just on the topic of days. Just how was there an evening and a morning before God created the Sun and the Moon and the stars??? (They were created ‘On the Fourth Day’ )

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeah, ass as in a donkey like creature….


  4. I rather like your version. It’s short, to the point and easy enough to remember. It’s in a vernacular that most who are riding around the sun on this little green and blue ball can relate to…even though the day is coming when ‘our’ language (as we know it) will be rendered archaic. It’s already happening, but I don’t care to dwell too much on that.

    You would think #6 would be an automatic thing, just as you say, but I don’t think it ever has been. Not since Cain and Abel days. I have been watching “Dickensian” — a series that takes a lot of Dickens’ popular works and melds them into a inclusive story…it’s really fascinating to watch how the modern writer blended all those stories “A Christmas Carol”, “Oliver Twist”, “Bleak House”, “Great Expectations” and more into ONE…and it proves that murder is never straightforward, nor should it be acceptable.

    Some people who commit it though do it out of reasons other than hatred, anger and malice (although those qualities are certainly present in the act)…they may do it out of self-defense, defense of another who is unable to help themselves, or for purely good reasons.

    God knows best about this stuff though, and if He says “don’t murder each other” that’s good enough for me. Wonder why those ‘in charge’ of the world don’t get the message too?


    • It’s hard for me to understand how we can apply death sentences and go to war and kill in volume and somehow assume that this is NOT murder. Maybe there’s another definition. I can understand self defense or defense of others. But that’s where it stops for me. It’s such a slippery slope. Once you start sliding down it, where does it stop?

      I’m at a point of craziness with the wrongs in the world. So many here and everywhere else. What we do to each other and the world is sickening. I really want to see something getting better. I do not want this horror show we are living in to be the last vision of government I see on this earth.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. That’s actually a big improvement. No messing around either.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. All I remember from that movie were Charlton Heston’s beautiful legs. OH well. 🙂 I like your revision.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. A jealous god. I’ve never thought about that before. And therein lies the BIG threat and the hypocrisy and the seed of fundamentalism. But your version is great. If you don’t look out you’ll have your own following sect 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lmao.i LOVED your take. Brilliant


  9. 1-3 are bullshit. As to #4, I’m retired, so I take every day off. #5 is just common decency. 6-10 are common sense (and also breaking any of them is against the law).

    This is what the all powerful, all knowing, ever-present, supernatural being that creating everything commanded of us? And why, exactly, are we supposed to worship him, again? He sounds kinda insecure if you ask me.

    By the way, our current POTUS failed 7-10.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Apparently at the time — 5000 or so years ago — this was hot news. And people didn’t GET to retire. Most people didn’t live to see an age beyond 30 and 40 was ancient. Don’t be so cranky. I’ll have to put you down for a nap.

      Liked by 3 people

      • It’s Wolfie Blitzer with BREAKING NEWS in “The Situation Room”

        “Five old commandments discovered!! A special prosecutor to examine!”



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