The Ten Commandments: An Interlude Between Four and Five

I have often heard the first four of the Ten Commandments are religious; of the vertical, man to God relationship. That leaves the other six to be ethical; the horizontal relationship of man to man. I now believe that is a misreading of the textual intention.
We should cringe when we hear someone is helping us see “The Ten Commandments for Today.” This fellow wants it both ways. He wants to be doctrinally sound and also cool, acceptable, with it and hip. There is nothing more pathetic than the fellow who wants to be cool.
The Ten Commandments of Yahweh God delivered (twice, because of a temper tantrum) Moses on Mount Sinai are simply not for today. They are for, about 1450 B.C.E., and any understanding of them must hearken to that period and to its first hearers.
We may exhibit fear of or boredom by the historical-critical method. However, it is the historical-critical method that allows the written word of God to be the word of God and not Late Night with David Letterman. Scripture is profitable and that means relevant but Scripture is not topical, not temporary, not transient.
In short, to get it we have to go back to the first ones to get it.
Then, we have to compare the ones who get it first to the ones who get it now.
They were a refugee people fleeing for their lives.
We are an incardanined people; once dark of soul, painted red with Sacred Blood to make us a fleshly pale, pure and pink.
They were a polyglot ethnic mix taken from the lowest castes of Egypt, armed as ancient Egyptians, clothed as the ancients clothed their lower classes, fed that way, treated that way.
We are, well, a polyglot ethnic mix with delusions of adequacy. We think the market should always be up, the water pure and the skies shall not be cloudy all day.
They needed a direction to go. We need something to keep us in line.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.