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The 10 Commandments (four versions)


I. Biblical Sources of the 10 Commandments
II. Muslim Version of the 10 Commandments?
III. Chart Comparing Four Versions of the 10 Commandments
IV. Notes on Comparing Versions

 

We researched the claim that there are different versions of the 10 Commandments, and found that there are indeed three different versions (Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant) as well as a Muslim version of sorts. This variation brings up an interesting point — posting the 10 Commandments in public places not only requires a choice of religious over secular, it also necessitates a choice between religions.

I. Biblical Sources of the 10 Commandments

The 10 Commandments appear in three places in the Bible: in Exodus, chapter 20, in Exodus, chapter 34 and in Deuteronomy, chapter 5:

 

a. All three versions differ.

b. No version conveniently lists the commandments from one to ten.

c. Historically, the commandments have been abbreviated to aid memorization, which has led to even greater differences on what to put in and what to leave out.

d. Exodus 34 is the only place where the label "The Ten Commandments" is used in the Bible. The other two listings (Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5) are normally referred to as the Ten Commandments, but the actual text doesn't describe them as such.

II. Muslim Version of the 10 Commandments?

 

a. Muslims regard Moses as one of their greatest prophets, but they reject the Biblical versions of the Ten Commandments.

b. In response to an email we wrote to Ahmet T. Karamustafa, Associate Professor of History and Religious Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, we were told (on 4/6/06): "There is no formal Islamic version of the ten commandments, but each of the ten can be found embedded in both the foundational sources of Islam (the Qur'an and the Sunna - the normative example of Muhammad) as well as in later articulations of Shari`a (Islamic law). However, they are not to be found lumped together; instead, they would be scatterred around under different topics in legal manuals."

c. The site www.quran.org.uk has a chart that compares the Protestant 10 Commandments to the Muslim equivalents found in different places within the Quar'an. We included the equivalents and their citations in the chart below.

III. Chart Comparing Four Versions of the 10 Commandments

 


 
A. Catholics & Lutherans
(Deuteronomy 5)
B. Jewish
(Exodus 20)
[Ordered to match concepts in col. A.]
C. Muslim
(Qur'an-Citations refer to verses in the Qur'an)
[Ordered to match concepts in col. A.]
D. Protestant
(Exodus 20)
[Ordered to match concepts in col. A.]
1
I, the Lord, am your God. You shall not have other gods besides me.
You shall have no other gods but me.
There is no other god beside God. (47:19)
You shall have no other gods but me.
2
You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain.
You shall not take the name of the Lord your G-d in vain.
Do not subject God's name to your casual swearing, that you may appear righteous, pious, or to attain credibility among the people. (2:224)
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
3
Remember to keep holy the Lord's Day.
You shall remember the Sabbath and keep it Holy.
We are told in the Quran that the Sabbath was only decreed for the Jews. (16:124) God, however, ordered us to make every effort and drop all businesses to attend the congregational (Friday) prayer. The Submitters may tend to their business during the rest of the day. O you who believe, when the Congregational Prayer (Salat Al-Jumu`ah) is announced on Friday, you shall hasten to the commemoration of God, and drop all business. (62:9)
You shall remember the Sabbath and keep it Holy.
4
Honor your father and your mother.
Honor your mother and father.
....and your parents shall be honored. As long as one orboth of them live, you shall never say to them, "Uff" (the slightest gesture of annoyance), nor shall you shout at them; you shall treat them amicably. (17:23)
Honor your mother and father.
5
You shall not kill.
You shall not murder.
...anyone who murders any person who had not committed murder or horrendous crimes, it shall be as if he murdered all the people. (5:32)
You shall not murder.
6
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not commit adultery; it is a gross sin, and an evil behaviour. (17:32)
You shall not commit adultery.
7
You shall not steal.
You shall not steal.
The thief, male or female, you shall mark their hands as a punishment for their crime, and to serve as an example from God. (5:38 - 39)
You shall not steal.
8
You shall not bear false witness.
You shall not bear false witness.
Do not withhold any testimony by concealing what you had witnessed. Anyone who withholds a testimony is sinful at heart. (2:283)
You shall not bear false witness.
9
You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.
 
 
 
10
You shall not covet your neighbor's goods.
You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.
And do not covet what we bestowed upon any other people. Such are temporary ornaments of this life, whereby we put them to the test. What your Lord provides for you is far better, and everlasting.(20:131)
You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.
11
 
I am the Lord your G-d who has taken you out of the land of Egypt
 
 
12
 
 
My Lord, make this a peaceful land, and protect me and my children from worshiping idols. (14:35)
You shall not make unto you any graven images.

IV. Notes on Comparing Versions

 

a. Jewish Version (Exodus 20) - The Jewish version refers to the same place in the Bible as the Protestant version but emerges with a different interpretation. The initial reference to Egyptian bondage is important enough to Jews that it forms a separate commandment.

b. Protestant Version (Exodus 20) - This is by far the most commonly cited version of the 10 Commandments in the U.S. and applies to members of the Greek, Anglican, and Reformed traditions.

c. Catholic/Lutheran Version (Deuteronomy 5) - Catholics and Lutherans follow this particular version, the text of which was likely written around 300 years later than the Exodus text. Interestingly, the Catholic version omits the prohibition against graven images, which is fitting, as the Roman Catholic church displays many shrines and statues.

d. More differences - Catholics and Lutherans separate the two kinds of coveting (namely, of goods and of the flesh), while Protestants (but not Lutherans) and Jews group them together.