"Falzon’s accessible and jokey paraphrasing, complete with footnotes that alternate between informative and comedic (though sometimes both) makes the Bible's inglorious parts impossible to ignore." -- The Front Page Online
Yeah, that's not them. It's a common mistake, and before I did my homework, I, too, was blissfully unaware that the Ten Commandments we were taught as good, God-fearing Christian kids are actually not the rules that were called the Ten Commandments in the Bible!
But a little background first. There are 95 uses of the word "commandment" in the five books of Moses. Well, that's in the King James, anyway. In the TNIV ("Today's New International Version"), this number drops to just 10. The others have been changed to "commands" in any place that doesn't refer to the "Ten."
Significantly, Yahweh talks about keeping commandments three times before the Ten make their appearance in Exodus 20. See Exod 15:26 , 16:28 and, yes, even way back in Gen 26:5 , where Abraham "kept my commandments, statutes and laws." The TNIV changed this to "commands, decrees and instructions." In a Hebrew Torah, it's the same word in all locations. It's easy to see that in some bibles, the translators don't want any hint that "commandments" or "laws" existed prior to the Mt. Sinai event.
This subtle alteration of words is common in modern translations and serves to lend desired (but previously non-existent) emphasis to particular passages. Another classic example is "messiah" (Hebrew), "christ" (Greek) and "anointed" (English); they actually all mean the same thing. I'll write more on this "selective translation" in the future.
In Exodus 20, after the Ten Commandments that we all know and love, there's a quick segue about how scared the Israelites were, and then Yahweh drones on for fully two more chapters with non-stop rules. There's not even a break in dictation between Exodus 20:22 and 23:33. Only then does the Good Book tell us that Moses "wrote down everything the Lord had said" ( Exodus 24:4 ). So the "Ten" is actually more like the "Fifty-Two." After that, we're told that Moses then went up the mountain and spent 40 days with the Big Guy.
But it doesn't stop there. While Moses is up-top, more instructions ensue from chapter 25, right through to 31. At the very end of