“Then God said all these words“
When it comes to understanding and studying our Bibles, we’re all very lucky today for one very good reason.
We can now partake of scholarship that was formerly only available to theologians and scholars who had special access to the private libraries of certain elite Christian seminaries and Jewish religious institutions.
Your average person can now at the click of a mouse access the writings of the earliest church fathers like Jerome, Augustine, and Origen and instantly pull up ancient documents such as the Council of Nicea and the Gospel of Thomas.
We also have the means to study Hebrew and uncover the mindset and nuances of ancient Israelite culture.
Now what many people including myself have realized through studying the writings from the early church period is that there was some foul play at work which today affects how we interpret certain portions of Scripture.
The early Christian church had a hidden agenda of bigotry directed towards anything Jewish.
This anti-Semitism unfortunately led to a willingness to compromise God’s teachings and substitute them with pagan practices.
And how the church has interpreted and taught the 10 Commandments is a good example of this.
In order to uncover this hidden agenda that was at work behind closed doors, you first need to know the following two points concerning the 10 Commandments:
Nowhere in the Bible do you literally find the title “The 10 Commandments” and it is definitely not here in Chapter 20 of Exodus.
The phrase “the 10 Commandments” is a mistaken translation.
Yeah, you read that right.
The Hebrew word commonly translated into “commandment” is “DABAR” and it does NOT mean “commandment”.
It means “word”.
In fact, the formal academic name “Decalogue” is Greek for “10 Words”, NOT “10 Commandments”.
Look at the second part of the word “Decalogue”.
“-logue” obviously comes from LOGOS which is the Greek term used in the phrase “the Word became flesh” from John 1:14.
Let’s go a little bit deeper into the meaning of “DABAR”.
DABAR specifically refers to speech as in audible, verbal communication.
There is absolutely NOTHING about this term that would indicate it is a “command”.
DABAR is also a neutral term.
It doesn’t imply any special meaning or content.
The meaning of the “words” could be about anything.
The important takeaway here is that Moses received these 10 WORDS (not commandments) from God in an audible fashion.
He heard God speak these WORDS with his own ears.
Although much of the Bible is given via inspiration, NOT this part of Scripture.
The Lord wanted to make it clear for all time that it was His own voice that communicated these 10 WORDS to Moses and that it was His own finger that carved those same words into the stone tablets.
There was no agency of man involved in this particular exchange.
Now I’m aware there is a small minority of ancient Jewish scholars who maintain that only the 1st and 2nd “commandments” or WORDS were spoken directly by HASHEM to Moses, and the rest He just carved on tablets of stone.
Their argument is that when the Lord uttered the first two commands, He spoke in the first person but for the remaining eight commands He didn’t.
However, I would argue that Scripture shows all 10 WORDS of God were spoken out loud and most scholarship would hold to that position as well.
Take a look at Deuteronomy 5:22.
“These are the commandments the Lord proclaimed in a loud voice to your whole assembly there on the mountain from out of the fire, the cloud and the deep darkness;and he added nothing more. Then he wrote them on two stone tablets and gave them to me.”-Deuteronomy 5:22
I think this shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Lord spoke all 10 Words out loud so they could be heard by ALL of Israel.
Finally, concerning the title “The 10 Commandments” traditionally used by Christian church, it is not until Exodus 34:28 that this particular section of the Torah (verses 2-17 of Exodus Chapter 20) is given a formal title.
In Hebrew that title is ESER DABAR.
ESER means 10 in Hebrew.
But as I just said, DABAR does NOT mean “commandment”, it means “word”, or to be more technically accurate “a spoken word”.
Hence, a true and correct translation should say “The 10 Words” or “The 10 Verbal Pronouncements”.
Now you may be thinking so what if a little translation error was made!
What’s the big deal?!
What follows after Exodus 20:1 are basically instructions for living.
So isn’t the word “commandment” a most apt translation, even if the Hebrew “dabar” literally means a “verbal pronouncement”?
And how does this explain some anti-Semitic hidden agenda on the part of the Christian church?
Well, the information in this post was the necessary background info I needed to share before moving on to the meat of my discussion which I’ll get into next time.
Stay tuned because it will be quite a devastating expose of what the church did in its attempt to separate itself from anything Jewish.