Wednesday, 19 March 2008

WRONG: There are ten commandments

Exodus Chapter 20 tells the story of how Moses went up the mountain and spoke to God. Paraphrasing God for reasons of brevity, here are his edicts:

• Much like Chesney Hawkes, I am the one and only.
• If I catch you worshipping idols I’ll take it out on you, your children, your grandchildren and their children too.
• It’s my name, don’t wear it out.
• Don’t work on the seventh day. (God takes an impressive 94 words to say this in the King James bible)
• Be nice to your parents.
• Don’t go murdering anyone.
• Or cheating on your spouse.
• Or stealing.
• Or lying at anyone else’s expense.
• And no coveting, cheeky!

So far, so familiar. God goes on to list a number of recommended punishments (including death for cursing one’s parents and a limitless fine for the somewhat specific crime of bringing about a premature birth by fighting too near a pregnant woman and accidentally hitting her). He then writes this “testimony” on two tablets with his divine finger and gives them to Moses.

Moses later breaks the tablets in rage when he sees the Israelites cavorting with a golden calf and returns to God with two fresh ones. God says he’ll write them out again, but when he reiterates the commandments, not only does he insist this time that Moses take dictation, but the commandments themselves are significantly different.

Again, paraphrasing:

• Destroy everyone else’s altars. You’re not allowed to worship any other gods, because I’m so jealous that my name is Jealous. (Really: “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God”)
• Don’t make any “molten gods”.
• Keep the feast of unleavened bread.
• “All that openeth the matrix is mine”. (Meaning all firstborn – except humans, even when they dress up as Neo and Trinity ill-advisedly and donkeys – should be sacrificed to God.)
• Don’t work on the seventh day. (God only uses 22 words this time.)
• Observe the feasts of Weeks, First-Fruits and Harvest.
• No yeast in your sacrifices, please.
• And don’t leave the Passover sacrifice till morning.
• The first fruits are mine.
• Don’t boil a kid (as in young goat) in its mother’s milk. (Oddly God doesn’t continue, “for verily it will taste like shit”.)

If you allow that the “molten gods” and “seventh day” rules are common to both sets, then that still adds up to eight extra commandments – and they are the ones Moses wrote on the stone tablets that he then took down the mountain and stored in the Ark of the covenant.

If you don’t believe me, check Exodus chapter 34, or, if you have access to the giant secret US Government warehouse, look for yourself.

No comments: