The commandments (Lk 18:20-18:20)

“You know the commandments.

‘Do not commit adultery!

Do not murder!

Do not steal!

Do not bear false witness!

Honor your father

And mother!’”

 

τὰς ἐντολὰς οἶδας Μὴ μοιχεύσῃς, Μὴ φονεύσῃς, Μὴ κλέψῃς, Μὴ ψευδομαρτυρήσῃς, Τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου καὶ τὴν μητέρα.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to this ruler that he knew the commandments (τὰς ἐντολὰς οἶδας).  Then he listed a few that were “Do not commit adultery (Μὴ μοιχεύσῃς,)!”  “Do not murder (Μὴ φονεύσῃς)!”  “Do not steal (Μὴ κλέψῃς)!”  “Do not bear false witness (Μὴ ψευδομαρτυρήσῃς)!”  “Honor your father and your mother (Τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου καὶ τὴν μητέρα)!”  Thus, Jesus emphasized which commandments he wanted this man to keep.  This can also be found in Mark, chapter 10:19, and Matthew, chapter 19:17-19, but slightly different, since Luke and Mark are closer to each other.  Mark said that Jesus gave the classic answer for those who wanted to enter eternal life.  They knew the commandments or laws (τὰς ἐντολὰς οἶδας).  Follow them!  Mark did not have any question about which commandments to follow.  Jesus just mentioned some of the commandments.  You shall not kill or murder (Μὴ φονεύσῃς)!  You shall not commit adultery (Μὴ μοιχεύσῃς)!  You shall not steal (Μὴ κλέψῃς)!  You shall not bear false witness (Μὴ ψευδομαρτυρήσῃς)!  You shall not defraud (Μὴ ἀποστερήσῃς)!  Honor your father (Τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου)!  Honor your mother (καὶ τὴν μητέρα)!  All of these are from the Ten Commandments in Exodus, chapter 20:12-16, and Deuteronomy, chapter 5:16-20.  Mark added the comment about not defrauding others that was not in Luke.  In Matthew, this person asked Jesus which commandments (λέγει αὐτῷ Ποίας) should he follow.  Thus, Jesus responded to him (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἔφη) directly citing which commandments.  You shall not kill or murder (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἔφη)!  You shall not commit adultery (Οὐ μοιχεύσεις)!  You shall not steal (Οὐ κλέψεις)!  You shall not bear false witness (Οὐ ψευδομαρτυρήσεις)!  Honor your father (Τίμα τὸν πατέρα)!  Honor your mother (καὶ τὴν μητέρα)!  All of these are the same as in Mark and Luke.  However, Matthew added something not in the other two gospel stories.  This man was to love or esteem his neighbor as himself (καὶ Ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν), that was from Leviticus, chapter 19:18.  Do you think that the Ten Commandments are important?

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Love your neighbor (Lk 10:27-10:27)

“You shall love

Your neighbor

As yourself.”

 

καὶ τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν.

 

Luke indicated that the lawyer said that they should love their neighbor (καὶ τὸν πλησίον σου) as themselves (ὡς σεαυτόν), using the second person plural.  There is something similar in Mark, chapter 12:3, where Mark indicated that Jesus, not the lawyer, replied that the 2nd commandment was like the 1st one. since it was about love.  Not only were they to love God, but they were to love their neighbors as themselves.  There were no other commandments greater than these 2 commandments of love.   Everything was based on the love of God and neighbor.  Matthew, chapter 22: 38-39 had Jesus reply also, not the lawyer, that they were to love their neighbors as themselves, since all the commandments of the law and the prophets hung on these two commandments.  This second commandment was based on Leviticus, chapter 19:11-18, that has become the basic fundamental cornerstone of Judaism and Christianity.  Leviticus further explained the Ten Commandments and your neighbor.  They were not to steal or deal falsely with their neighbor.  They should not lie, swear, or defraud their neighbor.  They were not to keep the wages of a laborer, or revile the deaf or the blind.  They should not render an unjust judgment, since they should treat the poor and the great with equal justice.  They should not slanderer or profit from the blood of their neighbors.  They were not to hate in their heart any of their relatives.  They should not take vengeance or bear a grudge, because they should love their relatives and neighbors as themselves.  All the commandments of the law and the prophets depended on these two commandments of loving God and your neighbor.  Do you love your neighbor?

Follow the commandments (Mk 10:19-10:19)

“You know

The commandments!

‘You shall not murder!

You shall not commit adultery!

You shall not steal!

You shall not bear false witness!

You shall not defraud!

Honor your father!

Honor your mother!’”

 

τὰς ἐντολὰς οἶδας Μὴ φονεύσῃς, Μὴ μοιχεύσῃς, Μὴ κλέψῃς, Μὴ ψευδομαρτυρήσῃς, Μὴ ἀποστερήσῃς, Τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου καὶ τὴν μητέρα

 

This response of Jesus can be found in Matthew, chapter 19:17-19, and Luke, chapter 18:20, but slightly different, since Luke and Mark are closer to each other.  Mark said that Jesus gave the classic answer for those who wanted to enter eternal life.  They knew the commandments or laws (τὰς ἐντολὰς οἶδας).  Follow them!  Mark did not have any question about which commandments to follow.  Jesus just mentioned some of the commandments.  You shall not kill or murder (Μὴ φονεύσῃς)!  You shall not commit adultery (Μὴ μοιχεύσῃς)!  You shall not steal (Μὴ κλέψῃς)!  You shall not bear false witness (Μὴ ψευδομαρτυρήσῃς)!  You shall not defraud (Μὴ ἀποστερήσῃς)!  Honor your father (Τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου)!  Honor your mother (καὶ τὴν μητέρα)!  All of these are from the Ten Commandments in Exodus, chapter 20:12-16, and Deuteronomy, chapter 5:16-20.  Mark does not have the reminder to love your neighbor.  However, he added the comment about not defrauding others.

Which commandments? (Mt 19:18-19:19)

“He said to Jesus.

‘Which ones?’

Jesus said.

‘You shall not murder!

You shall not commit adultery!

You shall not steal!

You shall not bear false witness!

Honor your father!

Honor your mother!

Also,

You shall love your neighbor

As yourself!’”

 

λέγει αὐτῷ Ποίας; ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἔφη Τὸ Οὐ φονεύσεις, Οὐ μοιχεύσεις, Οὐ κλέψεις, Οὐ ψευδομαρτυρήσεις,

Τίμα τὸν πατέρα καὶ τὴν μητέρα, καὶ Ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν.

 

Jesus, via Matthew, indicated which commandments he wanted this man to keep.  This can also be found in Mark, chapter 10:19, and Luke, chapter 18:20, but slightly different, without the reminder to love your neighbor.  There also was no question about which commandments.  Here this person asked Jesus which commandments (λέγει αὐτῷ Ποίας;).  Jesus responded to him (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἔφη) directly citing which commandments.  You shall not kill or murder (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἔφη)!  You shall not commit adultery (Οὐ μοιχεύσεις)!  You shall not steal (Οὐ κλέψεις)!  You shall not bear false witness (Οὐ ψευδομαρτυρήσεις)!  Honor your father (Τίμα τὸν πατέρα)!  Honor your mother (καὶ τὴν μητέρα)!  All of these are from the Ten Commandments in Exodus, chapter 20:12-16, and Deuteronomy, chapter 5:16-20.  However, Matthew added something not in the other two gospel stories.  This man was to love or esteem his neighbor as himself, that was from Leviticus, chapter 19:18.

 

False witness (Mt 5:33-5:33)

“Again,

You have heard

That it was said

To your ancient ancestors.

‘You shall not swear falsely!

But carry out

The vows

You have made

To the Lord.’”

 

Πάλιν ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἐρρέθη τοῖς ἀρχαίοις Οὐκ ἐπιορκήσεις, ἀποδώσεις δὲ τῷ Κυρίῳ τοὺς ὅρκους σου.

 

Jesus, via Matthew, expounded on another of the Ten Commandments, bearing false witness or lying, as expressed in Exodus, chapter 20:7.  Apparently, this was unique to Matthew.  They had all heard what was said to their ancestors (Πάλιν ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἐρρέθη τοῖς ἀρχαίοις).  They were not to swear falsely or lie (Οὐκ ἐπιορκήσεις).  Then Matthew added that they also should do or perform the vows that they swore to do to the Lord (ἀποδώσεις δὲ τῷ Κυρίῳ τοὺς ὅρκους σου), as indicated in Deuteronomy, chapter 23:21-23.  They should be careful about what they vow.  They should fulfill these vows quickly, since they were free to vow to the Lord God, Yahweh, or not.  However, when they did, they should make sure that they did what they said that they were going to do.

Do not murder (Mt 5:21-5:21)

“You have heard

That it was said

To those in ancient times.

‘You shall not murder!’

Whoever murders

Shall be liable

To judgment.”

 

Ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἐρρέθη τοῖς ἀρχαίοις Οὐ φονεύσεις· ὃς δ’ ἂν φονεύσῃ, ἔνοχος ἔσται τῇ κρίσει.

 

Next Matthew has Jesus expand on the individual commandments. The first of these was killing or murder. Human life was important, as first outlined in Genesis, chapter 4:1-16, in the Cain and Abel story, as well as in chapter 9:5-6, after the Flood. They already knew this basic commandment, since they had heard what had been told to their ancient ancestors (Ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἐρρέθη τοῖς ἀρχαίοις). This was the simple commandment not to murder or kill anyone (Οὐ φονεύσεις) from the Ten Commandments in Exodus, chapter 20:13 and Deuteronomy, chapter 5:17, as well as in Exodus, chapter 21:12-17, where there was a section on homicide. There were consequences for anyone who murdered someone else (ὃς δ’ ἂν φονεύσῃ). They were responsible for their actions. They were liable to be brought to judgment (ἔνοχος ἔσται τῇ κρίσει). This judgment would be before a Jewish court. There were a series of things that had to be done when a murder occurred, as outlined in Deuteronomy, chapter 21:1-9. The law about murder was fairly clear.

My understanding of Exodus

Exodus is about one mythic character, Moses, who directed the Israelites out of Egypt into the desert.  He led the sons of Israel, the Israelites, through the desert after their deliverance from Egypt.  Three main events dominate this book, the Passover from Egypt, the Ten Commandments covenant, and the building of the sanctuary for the Ark of the Covenant with all the trapping that go with it.  These events became the heart and soul of Israel.  Later they became important for the followers of Jesus, the Christians.  Moses, the reluctant leader, led the descendants of the sons of Jacob towards the Promised Land.  During many years in the wilderness, the covenant between Yahweh and Moses was sealed with the famous Ten Commandments.

Moses was unaware of his role until in his eighties Yahweh spoke to him from a burning bush.  He was called by Yahweh to speak to the King of Egypt, the Pharaoh, who always remains nameless.  Moses refused this role because he was a bad speaker, but Aaron his brother helped him.  We know very little about the childhood of either Moses or his brother Aaron.  However, they worked together to help get the Israelites out of Egypt.

Moses and Aaron performed wonders, tricks, or miracles to convince the hard hearted Pharaoh to let the Israelites leave Egypt.  They generally used a somewhat magic staff to show what they are doing.  Yahweh protected them and showed his mighty hand in the ten plagues that occurred to the Egyptians.  The Israelites were exempt from these plagues.

However, the last plague became the Passover of the Israelites.  Yahweh killed all the first-born Egyptian children, all those who did not have blood on their door post.  Finally, Pharaoh and his officials told the Israelites to leave.  He changed his mind, as usual, and went after them until he overtook them before they got to the Red Sea.  The great Mosaic miracle was the parting of the Red Sea to let the Israelites pass through the dried up water.  When the Egyptians tried to follow, they were wiped out by the water as they tried to cross the Red Sea.  The Israelite victory chant set the stage for things to come.

They headed southeast until they reach Mount Sinai.  There Moses received the Ten Commandments and the so called ‘Mosaic Law’ from Yahweh.  At one point, Moses spent forty days and forty nights on the mountain top with Yahweh as they became better friends.  There were a series of laws that outlined what they were to do and what was wrong in society.  Various sins offended God and neighbor.  There was a long list of cultic elements about the Ark of the Covenant, the tabernacle, the reunion tent, the various types of offerings and the how they were to be done.

After a few misunderstandings, Aaron, the brother of Moses created a golden calf so that the Israelites could worship something, while Moses was with Yahweh at the top of the mountain.  Moses and Yahweh both got angry.  Moses convinced Yahweh to save the children of Israel.  Anyway, Moses broke the tablets of the covenant.  Yahweh rewrote the covenant on both sides of new tablets.  Moses came down and wrote all the ordinances for the people.  The Israelites all agreed to follow these laws.  However, Aaron began to take on a lesser role as Joshua seemed to be more involved in things.  Nevertheless, Aaron and his sons took on a major role in the cultic worship as chief priests.

There were a series of instructions on how to build the sanctuary which housed the Ark of the Covenant, containing the covenant treaty between Yahweh and Moses.  The instructions were very precise about how big things were to be and what kind of covering and materials should be used.  These priestly details concern the kind of clothing that Aaron and his sons should wear as they exercise their role as priests.  Incidentally, Moses and his sons were not considered as priests, only Aaron and his sons and the other Levites.

After getting these instructions, there is another section which repeats the instructions of how to do things, while saying that things were done the right way.  They took up a great collection where they got too much stuff.  Special artisans were assigned to complete these tasks as Yahweh had spoken to Moses.  The details are almost mind boggling with exact sizes and specific mention of acacia wood, gold, silver, bronze, yarns, and linens.  Finally all was completed and the sanctuary established in the desert.  Yahweh took possession of the sanctuary put together by Moses and the various artisans.

Clearly Moses was the central figure, the mediator and intercessor between Yahweh and his people.  Aaron fell out of favor as a leader, but became more important as the worship leader or high priest.  The completion of the sanctuary meant that Yahweh could be with the Israelites as a cloud by day and in the fire by night.