The Ten Commandments
1Moses called together all the Israelites and said to them, “Israelites, listen to the laws and rules that I tell you today. Learn these laws and be sure to obey them. 2The Lord our God made an agreement with us at Mount Horeb. 3The Lord did not make this agreement with our ancestors, but with us—yes, with all of us who are alive here today. 4The Lord spoke with you face to face at that mountain. He spoke to you from the fire. 5But you were afraid of the fire. And you did not go up the mountain. So I stood between you and the Lord to tell you what the Lord said. He said,
6‘I am the Lord your God. I am the one who freed you from Egypt, where you were slaves.
7‘You must not worship any other gods except me.
8‘You must not make any idols. Don’t make any statues or pictures of anything up in the sky or of anything on the earth or of anything down in the water. 9Don’t worship or serve idols of any kind, because I am the Lord your God. I hate for my people to worship other gods.#5:9 I hate … gods Or “I am El Kanah—the Jealous God.” People who sin against me become my enemies. And I will punish them, and their children, their grandchildren, and even their great-grandchildren. 10But I will be very kind to people who love me and obey my commands. I will be kind to their families for thousands of generations!#5:10 Or “But I will show mercy to thousands of people who love me and obey my commands.”
11‘You must not use the name of the Lord your God to make empty promises. If you do, the Lord will not let you go unpunished.
12‘You must keep the Sabbath a special day like the Lord your God commanded. 13Work six days a week and do your job, 14but the seventh day is a day of rest in honor of the Lord your God. So on that day no one should work—not you, your sons and daughters, foreigners living in your cities or your men and women slaves. Not even your cattle, donkeys, and other animals should do any work! Your slaves should be able to rest just as you do. 15Don’t forget that you were slaves in the land of Egypt. The Lord your God brought you out of Egypt with his great power and made you free. That is why the Lord your God commands you to always make the Sabbath a special day.
16‘You must honor your father and your mother. The Lord your God has commanded you to do this. If you follow this command, you will live a long time, and everything will go well for you in the land that the Lord your God gives you.
17‘You must not murder anyone.
18‘You must not commit the sin of adultery.
19‘You must not steal.
20‘You must not tell lies about other people.#5:20 Or “You must not be a false witness against your neighbor.”
21‘You must not want another man’s wife. You must not want his house, his fields, his men and women servants, his cattle, or his donkeys. You must not want to take anything that belongs to another person.’”
The People Were Afraid of God
22Moses said, “The Lord gave these commands to all of you when you were together there at the mountain. He spoke in a loud voice that came from the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness. After he gave us these commands, he didn’t say any more. He wrote his words on two stone tablets and gave them to me.
23“You heard the voice from the darkness while the mountain was burning with fire. Then all the elders and the other leaders of your tribes came to me. 24They said, ‘The Lord our God has shown us his Glory and his greatness! We heard him speak from the fire. We have seen today that it is possible to continue living even after God speaks to us. 25But if we hear the Lord our God speak to us again, surely we will die! That terrible fire will destroy us. We don’t want to die. 26No one has ever heard the living God speak from the fire like we have and still lived! 27Moses, you go near and hear everything the Lord our God says. Then tell us everything the Lord tells you. We will listen to you, and we will do everything you say.’
The Lord Speaks to Moses
28“The Lord heard what you said and told me, ‘I heard what the people said. And that is fine. 29I only wanted to change their way of thinking—I wanted them to respect me and obey all my commands from the heart. Then everything would be fine with them and with their descendants forever.
30“‘Go and tell the people to go back to their tents, 31but you stand here near me. I will tell you all the commands, laws, and rules that you must teach them. They must do these things in the land that I am giving them to live in.’
32“So you people must be careful to do everything the Lord commanded you. Do not stop following God! 33You must live the way the Lord your God commanded you. Then you will continue to live, and everything will be fine with you. You will live a long life in the land that will belong to you.