The Godfather? A Ten Commandments’ Tale

I understand. You found paradise in America. You had a good trade, you made a good living. The police protected you and there were courts of law. So you didn’t need a friend like me. Now you come and say “Don Corleone, give me justice.” But you don’t ask with respect. You don’t offer friendship. You don’t even think to call me “Godfather.” You come into my house on the day my daughter is to be married and you ask me to do murder – for money.

vito corleone

the early godfather scene where the godfather, vito corleone, played by mr. marlon brando, grants requests on the day of his daughter’s wedding is beloved.


is it the thought that there may be a power greater than government that can exact justice or right a wrong? the scene offers value to respect and friendship. it values title or name. mr. corleone commands his title.

the ten commandments have a “godfather” like aspect to them. modern scholarship has found that the initial parts of the ten commandments resembles suzerain vassal treaties. essentially, they are a treaty of a powerful entity for which a weaker entity offers its loyalty.

suzerian treaties “follow a basic pattern that usually includes (1) the identity of the suzerain, (2) the history of the relationship between the parties, (3) the obligations placed on the vassal, (4) the deposit of copies of the treaty into the temples of the gods, (5) the divine witnesses to the treaty, and (6) a series of blessings if the treaty is fulfilled and curses if it is not.” when one looks at the first part of the ten commandments, these elements, to some degree, are included. this was a recognized format for establishing this type of relationship.

moving forward to the present day, we see how religious people can be questioned as to their loyalty to a country. when looking at the ten commandments, there is loyalty pleaded to the master of the universe. the ten commandments establishes a relationship of the most powerful to humanity. how can government reconcile this relationship?

government leaders should appreciate that those who enter the “treaty” with god as expressed in the torah do so with the fact that they have adherence or respect toward the commandments laid out. the commandments provide fundamental values which can benefit any society. they are compatible to society. they promote good values.

in sum, the treaty concept of the ten commandments offers insight as to why they were crafted in that particular fashion. they connect with antiquity. other nations who saw the ten commandments would understand that the master of the universe was their king. their loyalty was the one who delivered them from the house of bondage. the godfather scene touches on the need to reach out when government resources are not viewed as a source of recourse. despite the criminal element involved. viewers admire the sincerity that the godfather takes in his role of power.

be well!!

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Published by biblelifestudies

I am a practicing lawyer and long term admirer of the bible

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