Words in italic type have been added for clarity. They are not found in the original Hebrew or Aramaic.
What should I learn from this chapter?
- Without the law, man wouldn’t know he was a sinner
- Thundering, Lightning, Noises occur in the presence of God: Revelation
The Ten Commandments
Exodus 20:1 And God spoke all these words, saying:
Exodus 20:2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
- The root meaning of the name “Egypt” in Hebrew is bondage. It also includes a confined space, captivity.
- The root meaning of the name “Yeshua” in Hebrew (or Jesus in Greek) is openness, a broad place, salvation, freedom. See: Topic: The Meaning of Salvation
Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
- Note: Furthermore; You shall have no other gods with Me or after Me.
- To have no other gods before the one and only true God means not to set it up in the place of God, think of it as a god, give it any of your personal power, or regard it as having any power.
Exodus 20:4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but (the flip side is) showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
- Each person leaves an inheritance for their children, their children’s children, their children’s children’s children, and their children’s children’s children’s children. What kind of an inheritance do we leave for our family? What debts do they pay for our sins? What debts have we had to pay for our ancestors?
Exodus 20:7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
- Job 2:9 Then his (Job’s) wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!”
- To curse is to excite Satan (the Leviathan);
Job 3:8 May those curse it who curse the day, Those who are ready to arouse Leviathan.
- For the Just, they are cursing their own name because God has given them His name.
Revelation 22:4 They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.
- For the Unjust (a nonbeliever), every curse is recorded and brought to account at the Great White Throne Judgment.
Revelation 20:12-13 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.
Exodus 20:8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Exodus 20:9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
Exodus 20:10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.
- In computer-speak it is called “rebooting”.
Exodus 20:11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it (made it sacred).
- God wasn’t tired. He was a good role model for His children.
Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
- “Don’t Disrespect Your Creator. Honor your mother and Father.”
Exodus 20:13 “You shall not murder.
Exodus 20:14 “You shall not commit adultery.
Exodus 20:15 “You shall not steal.
Exodus 20:16 “You shall not bear false witness (lie) against your neighbor.
Exodus 20:17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”
- Note: Lust is first necessary to break the other commandments.
- Note: Jonathan Bernis: ”Every hangover is a sin hangover.”
- Note: God does not allow man to decide what morality is. Furthermore; God is perfectly happy with His decisions.
- Note: Rabbi: Scales must always be balanced. Sin is heavy. Someone innocent has to pay for sin in order to balance the scales.
The People Afraid of God’s Presence
Exodus 20:18 Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off.
Exodus 20:19 Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.”
- Psalm 77:18 The voice of Your thunder was in the whirlwind; The lightnings lit up the world; The earth trembled and shook.
- Revelation 4:5 And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
- Revelation 8:5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake.
- Revelation 11:19 Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.
- Revelation 16:18 And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth.
Exodus 20:20 And Moses said to the people, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.” 21 So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was.
God is in the darkness because He is hidden from sinful men. The darkness is a place of secrets and things unrevealed to men.
The Law of the Altar
Exodus 20:22 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘You have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.
Exodus 20:23 You shall not make anything to be with Me—gods of silver or gods of gold you shall not make for yourselves.
Exodus 20:24 An altar of earth you shall make for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In every place where I record My name I will come to you, and I will bless you.
Exodus 20:25 And if you make Me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn (cut) stone; for if you use your tool on it, you have profaned it.
- Hewn stone is man made. Unhewn stone is God made.
Exodus 20:26 Nor shall you go up by steps to My altar, that your nakedness (sin) may not be exposed on it.’
Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers(26) Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar.—When the dress of the priests had been so arranged that no exposure of the person was possible (verses 42, 43), this precept became unnecessary. Thus it would seem that Solomon’s altar had steps. (Compare 2Chronicles 4:1 with Ezekiel 43:17.)
Benson CommentaryExodus 20:26. Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar — Indeed afterward God appointed an altar ten cubits high. But it is probable they went not up to that by steps, but by a sloping ascent. The garments worn in those countries, being perfectly loose, were easily blown aside, so as to discover the lower parts of the body; to prevent, therefore, this inconvenience, and that no indecency might be intermixed with the service of God, this precaution was necessary. And for the same reason the priests were afterward appointed to wear breeches, which were worn by none of the people besides, Exodus 28:42.