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The Ten Commandments Essay

2291 words - 10 pages

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 ...view middle of the document...

The last verse in the Commandment about Sabbath is completely different in the versions of the two authors. P states: "Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy" (Ex 20:11), which is also a hint to the creation story. This also underlines that P is concerned with priestly topics (what fits the theory that P is a priest). D writes: "Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath Day" (Deut 5:15). This phrase "as the Lord God has commanded you" is repeated for three times in the D's version: Deut 5:12, 15, 16. By the usage of such "strong" words, like "obey", "command" "must", D underlines that people are to be thankful to God who saved them, thankful by respecting His day of rest.J's version of Ten Commandments differs greatly from those of P and D. It does not have that order like in P's or D's version (similar to the Creation story of P and J). J points that God distinguishes Israelites before Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, etc. and that they should destroy their altars and smash sacred stones (P distinguished Levites headed by Aaron on the contrary: "Take the Levites from among other Israelites and make them ceremonially clean": Num 8:6; also in Num 1:48-51; 3:11-13). In J's version, people that "prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same" (Ex 34:16). I consider this to be a hint to Solomon's deeds, who built "high places" to gods of all his pagan wives and "did evil in the eyes of the LORD"(1 Kings 11:1-13). In fact, a lot of attention is given to idols and altars. According to the "documentary hypothesis", J was from Judah, and the kings of the Southern kingdom, Hehoboam and Abijah "were not fully devoted to god" (2Kings 15:3). Maybe, concerned by this, J wrote much about idols in his version. J does not pay much attention to the Sabbath day, but to the other feasts: Feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover) and the Feast of Weeks, in respect to the day of rest. The latter was established later in Deut 16:9-12. and the both celebrated to remember the day people became free out of Egypt (Ex 34:18 and Deut 16:12). An important event in the J's writing is the firstborn ("the first offspring of every womb" belongs to God, as well as the first fruit of the soil should be brought to the House of God). Even in the Ten Commandments there is a room for J to use such words as "prostitute", "womb", blood", "mother's milk" (which are absent in D's and P's writing) what makes her version to be more romantic, and the style can be mentioned to belong to a woman's personality. Curiously, but very similar commandments to J's are presented by E author in Ex 23, which comes after P's version. Maybe, because the first tablets were broken, or because J reported more on traditions already existed in the country, such a connection is present.While the content of P's and D's versions of the Ten Commandments differ from J's, the context is different of each version. P and J call the place, where...

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