God's 10 special commands
1 Moses called all the Israelites to come together. He said to them:
Listen, Israelites, to the rules and commands that I am teaching to you today. Learn them. Be careful to obey them. 2 The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Mount Sinai. 3 He did not make this agreement with our ancestors. He made it with all of us who are alive here today. 4 The Lord spoke clearly to you from the middle of the fire on the mountain. 5 (At that time, I stood between the Lord and you. I repeated the Lord's message to you. You were afraid of the fire, so you did not go up the mountain.)
God said this:
6 ‘I am the Lord your God. I brought you out of Egypt, the country where you were slaves.
7 You must not have any other gods except me.
8 You must not make any idol for yourself. Do not make a false god in the shape of anything that is in the sky above. Do not make one in the shape of anything on the earth or in the sea. 9 You must not bend down your head to any idol or worship it. I am the Lord your God and I want you to belong to me alone. I will punish children because of the bad things that their fathers have done. I will also punish their grandchildren and their children too. That is how I will punish everyone who hates me. 10 But I will truly love all those who love me. They are the people who obey my laws. I will continue to love them and their families for ever.
11 You must not speak the name of the Lord your God in a wrong way. The Lord will punish anyone who speaks his name in a wrong way.
12 Always make the Sabbath day a special day for God, as the Lord your God has commanded you. 13 You have six days every week to do all your work. 14 But the seventh day is a Sabbath day. It is special for the Lord your God. You must not do any work on that day. Your son and your daughter must not work on that day. Your servants, male or female, must not work on that day. Your ox or your donkey or any of your animals must not work on that day, nor any foreign person who lives among you. Then your servants can rest in the same way as you rest. 15 You must remember that you were slaves in Egypt. But I, the Lord your God, brought you out by my powerful authority. So the Lord your God has told you to make the Sabbath day a special day.
16 Always respect your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you. Then you will live for many years in the land that the Lord your God will give to you. And you will be happy.
17 You must not murder anyone.
18 You must not have sex with another person's wife or husband.
19 You must not take another person's things for yourself.
20 You must not say false things against your neighbour.
21 You must not want to take your neighbour's wife for yourself. You must not want his house or his land, or his servants, male or female. You must not want his ox or his donkey or anything else that belongs to your neighbour.’
22 These are the commands that the Lord spoke to you. You were all there together at the mountain. He spoke with a loud voice from the middle of a great fire. There was a cloud and it was very dark. He gave only those commands. Then he wrote them on two flat stones and he gave them to me.
23 The mountain was burning with fire and you heard God's voice speak from the darkness. Then the leaders and older men of your tribes came to speak to me. 24 They said, ‘The Lord our God has shown us how great and how powerful he is. We have heard his voice from the middle of the fire. We have learned this: People can continue to live, even after God has spoken to them. 25 But now we think that this great fire will kill us. We do not want to die! If we continue to hear the voice of the Lord our God, we will surely die. 26 The God who lives for ever has spoken to us from the middle of the fire. Has anybody ever heard him speak like that and then continued to live? 27 We ask you to go near to the Lord our God. Listen to everything that he says. Then you should tell us what he says to you. We will listen carefully and we will obey him.’
28 The Lord heard what you said to me. He said to me, ‘I have heard what these people have said to you. What they said is right. 29 I really want them to respect me with fear. I want them to obey my commands in the future! If they do that, everything will be well for them and for their descendants for ever. 30 Now tell them to return to their tents. 31 But you should stay here with me. I will tell you all the commands, rules and laws that you must teach to the people. Then they can obey them in the land that I will give them to live in.’
32 So you must be careful to do everything that the Lord your God has commanded you to do. You must not refuse to obey any of his laws. 33 Live in the way that he has commanded you. If you do that, you will be happy in the land where you are going. You will live for a long time in the land that will be your home.