The Original Ten Commandments
By Jim Myers

Do you recognize these pictures?  If you are a member of the vast majority your answer will be -- "The Ten Commandments."  It doesn't matter whether they are written or just the shape of the two tablets is seen; two billion people around the world probably instantly recognize them.  They have been an important part of both Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism.

It is no surprise that the recent controversy in Alabama over removing the statue of the Ten Commandments has generated a tremendous amount of public attention.  Groups on both sides of the issue have worked hard to polarize people and get them to react to the event.  With so many people very interested in the outcome it has not only become a major news story, but news organizations have also focused on the Ten Commandments and their history.  As a matter of fact, ABC News used my article "Which Ten Commandments?"

Since then, as a result of the interest expressed in my article, I decided to take another look at the account of the Ten Commandments in the Bible. After reading it in the Hebrew Bible I was very surprised by what I discovered -- the words that we have been calling the Ten Commandments may not be the Original Ten Commandments!

This should not have really surprised me because there have been a number of other occasions in which beliefs that I had taken for granted turned out to be in conflict with the biblical text.  It is just natural for us not to examine the things that we have believed for many years.  As a matter of fact, long-held beliefs are the things that we are most unlikely to re-examine. 

When I was in Bible College a teacher asked the class, "How many animals of each kind did Noah take on the ark?"  I immediately responded -- "Two!"  -- as I thought "everybody knows that!"  I opened my Bible and there it was -- And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female (Genesis 6:19).

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