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Christian Documents Index.

The Ten Commandments

The Ten Commanments, according to the Judeo-Christian scriptures, are the instructions given by God to Moses to be followed by the Israelites after their departure from Egypt.

The exact interpretation of these instructions is different for different groups, both Jewish and Christian. For some, they constitute a "convenant" or contract with God. For some they are laws that all must follow or risk divine punishment. For some they are guidelines for an ethical life. And no word in them has been free of an enormous overload of exegetical discussion.

To make matters even more complicated, the "original" text occurs, in slightly different variants, at three different places in the Hebrew Bible (Exodus 20:2-17, Exodus 34:12-26, Deuteronomy 5:6-21).

For most Christians, the usually cited text is the first, in Exodus 20. The table below lists the Ten commandments from that location, first in Latin, then in the "Classical" King James English translation, then in Chinese (because this page was originally built for a course I gave in Hong Kong).

The commandments vary considerably in length and elaboration. In many contexts the full text is therefore abbreviated to increase the parallelism between the longer commandments and the briefer ones. I have done that here, indicating the omissions.

The English and Chinese versions as presented here are roughly the format that children might be expected to memorize in an evangelical Sunday School. The Latin version has seeped into English literature in the form of occasional pretentious quotations. Use the expansion buttons to see the full texts if you are interested.

1 Ego sum Dominus Deus tuus … . Non habebis deos alienos coram me. I am the Lord thy God … . Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 我是耶和華你的神 … 。 你不可有別的神。
2 Non facies tibi sculptile … . Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image … . 不可為自己雕刻偶像 … 。
3 Non adsumes nomen Domini Dei tui in vanum … . Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain … .
不可妄稱耶和華你 神的名 … 。
4 Memento ut diem sabbati sanctifices. … Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. … 當記念安息日、 守為聖日。 …
5 Honora patrem tuum et matrem tuam … . Honour thy father and thy mother … . 當孝敬父母 … 。
6 Non occides. Thou shalt not kill. 不可殺人。 6
7 Non moechaberis. Thou shalt not commit adultery. 不可姦淫。 7
8 Non furtum facies. Thou shalt not steal. 不可偷盜。 8
9 Non loqueris contra proximum tuum falsum testimonium Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. 不可作假見證陷害人。 9
10 Non concupisces … proximi tui … omnia quae illius sunt. Thou shalt not covet … anything that is thy neighbour's. 不可貪戀人 … 他一切所有的。


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