The Third 10 Commandments? A Skeptical Impression: A Ten Commandments’ Tale

we often deceive ourselves. we see things. we see things that we should appreciate as problems. we see other things which cause us to ignore the reality.

this deception can occur in dating. while searching for the perfect match, certain flaws are ignored or put aside. likewise, this occurs with people buying items not from the manufacturer. determining whether a luxury handbag or designer tennis shoe is authentic can be challenging. one simple flaw may be enough to make the assessment. there are some, however, who might choose to ignore the flaw.

there is arguably a third version of ten commandments. it is contained in the famous “moses scrolls.” at the time they were originally presented to the public, they were labeled as a forgery. modern scholarship and the dead sea scroll discovery brought scholars and writers to re-visit the scrolls. the scroll purports to be a version of the book of deuteronomy. one book addressing this issue, which is available online, is the the valediction of moses: a proto biblical book by scholar idan dershowitz, phd.

the english translation of this version of the decalogue, taken from wikipedia, is as follows:

“i am god, thy god, who liberated you from the land of egypt, from the house of bondage. Ye shall have no other god. ye shall not make for you any hewn image, or any likeness of anything that is in the sky above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth: ye shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: i am god, thy god. in six days i made sky and earth, and all that in them is, and i rested the seventh day: so you also will rest, you, and your cattleand all that you have. i am god, thy god. honor your father and your mother (that thy days may be prolonged). i am god, thy god. thou shalt not kill the soul of your brother. i am god, thy god. thou shalt not commit adultery with the wife of your neighbor. i am god, thy god. thou shalt not steal the property of your brother. i am god, thy god. thou shalt not swear by my name falsely for i will visit with zealous anger the iniquity of the father upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who take my name falsely. i am god, thy god. thou shalt not bear false witness against your brother. i am god, thy god. tThou shalt not desire the wife of . . . your brother, his man-servant, or his maidservant, or anything that is his. i am god, thy God. Thou shalt not hate your brother in your heart. i am god, thy god. these ten words (or commandments) god spake . .” wikipedia.org

in the torah, exodus commandments’ explanation for the sabbath is the commemoration of the creation of the world. exodus 20:8-11, provides: “remember the sabbath day to sanctify it. six days may you work and perform all your labor, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the lord, your god; you shall perform no labor, neither you, your son, your daughter, your manservant, your maidservant, your beast, nor your stranger who is in your cities. for [in] six days the lord made the heaven and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and he rested on the seventh day. therefore, the lord blessed the sabbath day and sanctified it.”

deuteronomy 5:15, however, denotes the exodus as the basis for commemoration. it provides “and you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of egypt, and that the lord your god took you out from there with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm; therefore, the lord, your god, commanded you to observe the sabbath day.”

a dead sea scrolls’ version of deuteronomy 5:15, provides both reasons to commemorate the sabbath: “you shall remember that you were a servant in the land of egypt, and yahweh your god brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm. therefore yahweh your god commanded you to keep the sabbath day, to sanctify it, because in six days yahweh made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all which is in them, and he rested on the seventh day. therefore, yahweh blessed the seventh day to sanctify it. dssenglishbible.com

thus, the dead sea scrolls version perhaps recognized that deuteronomy’s ten commandments missed exodus’ creation basis for the sabbath and added it to their book of deuteronomy. while the dead sea scrolls’ text has the exodus as a basis, as is with the torah, it is absent from the “moses scroll” version. this omission from “moses scroll,” which was written in an earlier form of hebrew, and, for argument’s sake, raises eyebrows as to what is going on assuming that it is an earlier text of deuteronomy.

with this said, without scholarship and without the opportunity to physically and scientifically exam the document, what conclusions, if any, can be made? was it a modern day forgery? if it is an authentic document, what was it an authentic document of? was this some unauthorized or un-adopted version of deuternomy?

in sum, a “low information” exploration offers something to explore. i look forward to scholars to provide analysis and explanation.

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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