The Ten Commandments
1 These are the things God told his people:
2 “I am the LORD your God. I am the one who freed you from the land of Egypt, where you were slaves.
3 “You must not worship any other gods except me.
4 “You must not make any idols. Don’t make any statues or pictures of anything up in the sky or of anything on the earth or of anything down in the water. 5 Don’t worship or serve idols of any kind, because I, the LORD, am your God. I hate my people worshiping other gods.* I hate … gods Or “I am El Kanah—the Jealous God.” People who sin against me become my enemies, and I will punish them. And I will punish their children, their grandchildren, and even their great-grandchildren. 6 But I will be very kind to people who love me and obey my commands. I will be kind to their families for thousands of generations.† Or “But I will show mercy to thousands of people who love me and obey my commands.”
7 “You must not use the name of the LORD your God to make empty promises. If you do, the LORD will not let you go unpunished.
8 “You must remember to keep the Sabbath a special day. 9 You may work six days a week to do your job. 10 But the seventh day is a day of rest in honor of the LORD your God. So on that day no one should work—not you, your sons and daughters, or your men and women slaves. Even your animals and the foreigners living in your cities must not work! 11 That is because the LORD worked six days and made the sky, the earth, the sea, and everything in them. And on the seventh day, he rested. In this way the LORD blessed the Sabbath—the day of rest. He made that a very special day.
12 “You must honor and respect your father and your mother. Do this so that you will have a full life in the land that the LORD your God gives you.
13 “You must not murder anyone.
14 “You must not commit adultery.
15 “You must not steal anything.
16 “You must not tell lies about other people.‡ Or “You must not be a false witness against your neighbor.”
17 “You must not want to take your neighbor’s house. You must not want his wife. And you must not want his men and women servants or his cattle or his donkeys. You must not want to take anything that belongs to another person.”
The People Are Afraid of God
18 During all this time, the people in the valley heard the thundering and saw the lightning on the mountain. They saw smoke rising from the mountain and heard the sound of the trumpet. They were afraid and shook with fear. They stood away from the mountain and watched. 19 Then the people said to Moses, “If you want to speak to us, then we will listen. But please don’t let God speak to us. If this happens, we will die.”
20 Then Moses said to them, “Don’t be afraid! God has come to test you. He wants you to respect him so that you will not sin.”
21 The people stood far away from the mountain while Moses went to the dark cloud where God was. 22 Then the LORD told Moses to say this to the Israelites: “You people have seen that I talked with you from heaven. 23 So you must not make idols using gold or silver to compete with me. You must not make these false gods.
24 “Make a special altar for me. You should use dirt to make this altar. Offer sheep and cattle as burnt offerings and fellowship offerings on this altar. Do this in every place where I tell you to remember me. Then I will come and bless you. 25 But if you use stones to make an altar, then don’t use stones that were cut with an iron tool.§ iron tool Literally, “sword.” If you do that, it will make the altar unacceptable. 26 And you must not make steps leading up to the altar. If there are steps, when people look up to the altar, they will be able to see under your clothes.”
*20:5 I hate … gods Or “I am El Kanah—the Jealous God.”
†20:6 Or “But I will show mercy to thousands of people who love me and obey my commands.”
‡20:16 Or “You must not be a false witness against your neighbor.”
§20:25 iron tool Literally, “sword.”