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Ten Commandments

A series of commands from God to the chosen people, mediated by Moses. The text of the Decalogue (Gk., “ten words”), or Ten Commandments, is given in its entirety twice in the OT with only slight variations. In (Exod 20:1-17) the setting is Mt. Sinai; Moses brings down to the people the two tablets of the law written by the very hand of God (Exod 24:12). In (Deut 5:6-21) the text is part of Moses’s recitation of the history of salvation with which he prefaces his last will and testament. The commandments are not numbered in the Bible, and different systems for numbering them are employed.