Two Accounts of the Ten Commandments

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The Ten Commandments are the divine rules of conduct given to Moses on Mount Sinai. To many, there exists only one version of the Ten Commandments- the generalized “thou shall not” version. However, The Ten Commandments occurs in two places found in the Torah, first in the book of Exodus and second in the book of Deuteronomy. Though these two accounts may for all practical purposes seem identical, at a closer examination several differences begin to arise. Separated by several decades in time, by audience the accounts were directed to, and by what each account attempts to portray these versions begin to differ in meaning entirely. The primary difference between the two accounts of The Ten Commandments is one of time. The events recorded in Exodus and then again in Deuteronomy took place many years apart. Exodus was recorded by Jewish scribes near the beginning of the Jewish people’s journey through the desert, while Deuteronomy was recorded nearly forty years later after the Jewish people’s journey through the desert came to an end. Due to the separation in time and geography, the dialect of the Hebrew language became only the more complex for Jewish scholars to interpret and translate. The literal differences that seem to arise in verses that are otherwise identical can more than likely be attributed to the complexity of the Hebrew translations of that time. Additionally, the two versions differ in the audience that they were addressing. The book of Exodus primarily is a record of the Jewish people, by the Jewish people, during their journey through the desert. The book itself is written as a record of the events that the Jewish people experienced. In Exodus Moses records what God had told to him when He first gave him The Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. On the alternative side, Deuteronomy was written several decades later, as a recollection of the events that took place during the Jewish people’s journey through the desert. The title “Deuteronomy” was derived...
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