Did the 10 Commandments Change?

In Exodus 20, God gave Moses the 10 commandments. Moses remained on the mountain with God...

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In Exodus 20, God gave Moses the 10 commandments. This was about 1446 BC. He (Moses) remained on the mountain with God, and in Exodus 32 we see him come down with the pair of tablets in his hands which had the commandments written on them. However, he threw them and broke them in a rage after seeing his brother Aaron’s golden calf. (If you’ve never read this, please read it. So much interesting history!)

In Exodus chapter 34, God gave Moses a new set of tablets. Then in Deuteronomy 5, we see him draw all of Israel together and give what seems to be a new set of rules. In this article, we will explore whether the 10 commandments were given differently this time.

Deuteronomy was written either around 1410 BC or in the 7th century BC, depending on who you read. Regardless, this was when Moses quoted the commandments to the Israelites, and also expanded on them. Below, I’m going to show you blow-by-blow what the commandments say, both from Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. There’s also a pdf file if you’d like to download it.


Personally, I don’t have a problem with the slight rewording. But many people use it as “See? There go those Protestants again, trying to say there’s such a thing as 10 Commandments, when they can’t even get their own (2) stories straight.”
So let’s try to understand why it could possibly be different.

  1. The 2 texts have slightly different wording, but the meaning is the same. This happens all the time (doesn’t it?). Words are written and rewritten; they are misconstrued. They are shortened or lengthened, depending on the situation.
  2. Differences in understanding. Remember that people are translating, and they, or we, can interpret words slightly differently.
  3. Moses himself might have emphasized something different the second time around!

To get to the heart of things, please take a look at the comparison chart below. You can download a pdf at the bottom of the page.

10 commandments

When you think about the passage of time, it’s wonderful that these commandments were able to be passed down so much and yet still be mostly intact!

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*Featured photo by thesuccess at morguefile.com


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