The Bible – Old Testament
Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and decrees which I proclaim in your hearing this day, that you may learn them and take care to observe them.
The LORD, our God, made a covenant with us at Horeb;
not with our fathers did he make this covenant, but with us, all of us who are alive here this day.
The LORD spoke with you face to face on the mountain from the midst of the fire.
Since you were afraid of the fire and would not go up the mountain, I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to announce to you these words of the LORD:
‘I, the LORD, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery.
You shall not have other gods besides me.
You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth;
1 you shall not bow down before them or worship them. For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishments for their fathers’ wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation
but bestowing mercy, down to the thousandth generation, on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments.
‘You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, in vain. For the LORD will not leave unpunished him who takes his name in vain.
‘Take care to keep holy the sabbath day as the LORD, your God, commanded you.
Six days you may labor and do all your work;
but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD, your God. No work may be done then, whether by you, or your son or daughter, or your male or female slave, or your ox or ass or any of your beasts, or the alien who lives with you. Your male and female slave should rest as you do.
For remember that you too were once slaves in Egypt, and the LORD, your God, brought you from there with his strong hand and outstretched arm. That is why the LORD, your God, has commanded you to observe the sabbath day.
‘Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD, your God, has commanded you, that you may have a long life and prosperity in the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you.
‘You shall not kill.
‘You shall not commit adultery.
‘You shall not steal.
‘You shall not bear dishonest witness against your neighbor.
‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. ‘You shall not desire your neighbor’s house or field, nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass, nor anything that belongs to him.’
“These words, and nothing more, the LORD spoke with a loud voice to your entire assembly on the mountain from the midst of the fire and the dense cloud. He wrote them upon two tablets of stone and gave them to me.
But when you heard the voice from the midst of the darkness, while the mountain was ablaze with fire, you came to me in the person of all your tribal heads and elders,
and said, ‘The LORD, our God, has indeed let us see his glory and his majesty! We have heard his voice from the midst of the fire and have found out today that a man can still live after God has spoken with him.
But why should we die now? Surely this great fire will consume us. If we hear the voice of the LORD, our God, any more, we shall die.
For what mortal has heard, as we have, the voice of the living God speaking from the midst of fire, and survived?
Go closer, you, and hear all that the LORD, our God, will say, and then tell us what the LORD, our God, tells you; we will listen and obey.’
“The LORD heard your words as you were speaking to me and said to me, ‘I have heard the words these people have spoken to you, which are all well said.
Would that they might always be of such a mind, to fear me and to keep all my commandments! Then they and their descendants would prosper forever.
Go, tell them to return to their tents.
Then you wait here near me and I will give you all the commandments, the statutes and decrees you must teach them, that they may observe them in the land which I am giving them to possess.’
“Be careful, therefore, to do as the LORD, your God, has commanded you, not turning aside to the right or to the left,
but following exactly the way prescribed for you by the LORD, your God, that you may live and prosper, and may have long life in the land which you are to occupy.
1 [9-10] God does not punish us for another’s sins, but because of the solidarity of human society, the good or evil deeds of one generation may make their effects felt even in later generations. Yet note how God’s mercy allows the good effects of virtue to last much longer than the bad effects of vice: a thousand generations compared to three or four.