Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Ten Commandments

And God spake all these words, saying,
  1. I am the Lord, thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.  Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
  2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or 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; thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them; for I, the Lord, thy God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
  4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord, thy God. In it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore, the Lord blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it.
  5. Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord, thy God, giveth thee.
  6. Thou shalt not kill.
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
  8. Thou shalt not steal.
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
  10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house; thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor's.
A brief commentary:
  1. A God is that which we desire above all, that which we labor for, whose commands we obey, which we rely upon in our extremities to deliver us from our troubles, which gives us our security, which comforts us in our pains and griefs.  The most common God people have above the face of the Lord is mammon - the substance of this world - which God appears to us in many forms, such as money, finances, bank accounts, retirement funds, stocks, bonds, business, titles, claims, insurance, toys, gold, silver, petroleum, clothes, food, goods, and so on.  In these things do men place their trust and hopes, and for these things do men labor, and these things do men serve.  I would render the first commandment as "thou shalt render obedience to me above all other considerations."
  2. This commandment seems not to get a lot of notice, and for obvious economic reasons.  A graven image is any representational object - as opposed to a mere tool - whether in wood, stone, metal, plastic, bone, or any media.  A likeness is any visual representation in any media whatsoever, such as a painting, a picture, or a video, and so on.  The commandment is to craft none of these things for ourselves.  Not only is the commandment to not make for ourselves any of these things, but also to not bow ourselves down to them.  Not only are we not to make them for ourselves and not to bow ourselves down to them, neither are we to serve - labor for, do the bidding of, grant the requests of - such things.  This ends, among other things, selfies, movies, TV, inspirational videos, pictorial sales material and advertising, responding to pictorial adverts, statues, video games, picture books, textbooks with pictures of existing things, and so on - unless God has directly commanded us to make such a thing, in which case we make it not for ourselves - to serve our own purposes, such as to make money or gratify our desires - but for God.
  3. This commandment is interesting.  Take means to take with us, to carry, to bear off, to bear up, and so on.  While we normally think of this commandment as palming our crap off onto the Lord by falsely attributing it to him through attaching his name to things he has not said nor shown, it can also mean taking upon ourselves his name falsely by being baptized and not keeping his commandments, in which case we surely aren't guiltless.
  4. This commandment was the club the Pharisees and Scribes tried whacking the Lord himself with while he walked the earth.  Yet there are significant qualifiers therein: "thy work," and "thou shalt not do any work."  Obviously this at least covers the things we do for economic gain or to improve our holdings on earth.  What it does not obviously cover is works which the Lord God might do through us, such as healings or other good works, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the imprisoned or the sick and afflicted, and so on.  And it does not obviously cover works which the Father did through Jesus, such as healings or other good works.
  5. Honoring one's father and mother means, at least, not dishonoring them, nor arguing against them, nor disobeying them, nor failing to give them what they ask for, nor failing to support them in their old age.
  6. Do not kill.
  7. Do not permit your loyalty nor sexual fidelity to depart from your wedded spouse, nor your heart to wander towards another, to desire them.
  8. Do not take what is not given to you.
  9. Do not tell lies about another person.
  10. Do not desire that which is in another man's possession.  If taken seriously, this ends economics, as economic transactions only take place because one or more people desire that which another possesses.  Paul said covetousness - the desire to possess something - is itself idolatry.  King Benjamin taught that if you don't have something and would not give it upon request if you did have it, you covet it, and are condemned.  The word that covers that is "desire," and the word which has been translated "covet," chamad, חָמַד, means "desire."  Better by far to give than to sell, and do not buy what you have no need of.