The Ten Commandments

Essay by anacondaUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, March 2005

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The Ten Commandments is a bright example of a triplet in the Old Testament, and each of the stories, according to the "documentary hypothesis" is created by P, J, and D. In all the three, authors have the same vision of God - "Jealous God", in all the three God is called "the LORD your God", who comes to Moses in a form of a dense cloud, the thunder and lightening support the covenant, the mountain Sinai/Horeb in the fire, and people experience fear before God. Along with the common features, each story includes certain specific details and approaches.

P's and D's versions of the Ten Commandments are very alike. The order is the same as well as the usage of words. The first three Commandments are identical, word by word. The differences start with the fourth Commandment, which is about Sabbath. In P's version we read: "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy" (Ex 20:8).

By this, P refers to the Creation story: " By the 7th day God had finished all the work he had been doing; so on the 7th day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the 7th day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done" (Gen 2:2-3). (This is the P's version of creation story in which, and as in P's version of the Ten Commandments, the writing is logical and consequent). On the contrary, in D's version of the Commandments we read: "Observe the Sabbath day" (Deut 5:12) and later "Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretching arm" (Deut 5:15). In fact, D author very frequently refers to...