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  • What is the first of the Ten Commandments?

  • It might seem like an odd question, but it's not. Jews and Christians give different answers.

  • The reason is that what we know as "The Ten Commandments" is, in the original Hebrew,

  • "The Ten Statements." And since the Hebrew is the original, we begin with the first statement,

  • which all religions agree, is: "I am the Lord your God who took you out of the land of Egypt,

  • out of the house of bondage." This statement is so important

  • that none of the other commandments make sense without it.

  • First, it asserts that God is giving these commandments.

  • Not Moses and not any other human being.

  • Second, God is the One who delivered you from slavery. Again, no human being did this,

  • not even Moses. Therefore you have an obligation to me, God.

  • And what is that obligation? That you live by the following nine commandments.

  • This is the beginning of what is known as ethical monotheism, the greatest world-changing

  • innovation of the Hebrew Bible. It means two things. Ethical monotheism means that the

  • one God -- that's monotheism -- is the source of ethics, of morality. Morality, an objective

  • code of right and wrong, does not emanate from human opinion; it emanates from God,

  • and therefore transcends human opinion. The other meaning of ethical monotheism is that

  • what God most wants from us is that we treat other human beings morally.

  • None of the Ten Commandments concern what humans must do "for" God;

  • pre-Ten Commandments religions all believed that people must do a lot "for" their gods

  • -- for example, feed them and even sacrifice people to them.

  • But now, thanks to the Ten Commandments, mankind learned that what God wants is that we be

  • good to our fellow human beings. Even the commandments concerning not having false gods

  • and not carrying God's name in vain are ultimately about morality.

  • The thing we can do "for" God is to treat all his other children decently.

  • Every parent can relate to this. Parents -- or at least healthy parents --

  • have indescribable joy when they see their children act lovingly toward one another

  • and indescribable pain when they see their children hurt one another.

  • So, too, God, who is likened to our father in heaven, cares most about how we treat other

  • human beings, all of whom are His children.

  • The third critical teaching of the First Statement -- "I am the Lord your God who took you of

  • Egypt, out of the House of bondage" -- is the importance, and the meaning, of freedom.

  • Note that God is not saying in this introduction to the Ten Commandments that He created the world.

  • It surely would have made a lot of sense for God to introduce the Ten Commandments

  • with the statement, "I am the Lord your God who created the world." That is, after all,

  • pretty impressive, and would make sense: "I created the world: You better listen to Me."

  • But no, the one thing God declares is that He took the Children of Israel out of slavery

  • and into freedom. That's how much God hates slavery and how important God considers freedom.

  • The Founders of America based their entire view of America on this belief -- that God

  • wants us to be free. That is why the most iconic symbol of the American Revolution,

  • the Liberty Bell, has only one sentence inscribed on it -- a verse from the Hebrew Bible:

  • "Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof."

  • But there is one other equally important lesson about freedom imparted by the opening statement

  • of the Ten Commandments: what freedom means. The Giver of the Ten Commandments is, in effect, saying:

  • I took you out of slavery and into freedom, and these Ten Commandments are the

  • way to make a free society. You cannot be a free people if you do whatever you want."

  • Freedom comes from moral self-control. There is no other way to achieve it.

  • And fourth and finally, by telling us that He liberated the Hebrew slaves, God made clear

  • that He cares deeply about human beings. It is impressive to create the world.

  • But what most matters is not only that there is a Creator, but that the Creator cares about His creation.

  • All of that is in the one statement with which the Ten Commandments begins.

  • I'm Dennis Prager.

What is the first of the Ten Commandments?

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1.私はあなたの神である。 (1. I Am the Lord Your God)

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    周杰 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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