Old Testament Story List

Ten Commandments

Three months after the Hebrews had left Egypt, they came to the desert of Sinai, pitched their tents, and camped there at the foot of the mountain, while Moses went to pray. Moses came back and cautioned the people to sanctify themselves and be prepared for the third day. The people washed themselves and their clothes, and Moses blessed them. And on

third day Moses brought them out of the camp to the foot of the mountain. There was great thunder and lightning, and Mt. Sinai quaked and was shrouded in smoke, for the Lord descended upon it in fire. At the sound of loud trumpets God called Moses up to the mountain and spoke these words to him:

I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days thou shalt labor but on the seventh thou shalt do no work.

Honor thy father and thy mother.

Thou shalt not kill.

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods.

Moses told the people all the Lord had said, and they answered, with one voice, "We shall do what the Lord has commanded."

Then the Lord said to Moses, "Come up to Me on the mountain and I will give you tablets of stone, with laws and commandments written so that you may teach the people." Moses went up on the mountain and was hidden by the clouds.

When nearly forty days had passed and Moses had not returned, the people grew anxious and then weary of waiting. And they demanded of Aaron that he create a god to lead them on, for they did not know what had become of Moses. Aaron had the people bring him their golden earrings and jewels, which he melted and made into the shape of a calf. The next morning the people rose early, offered sacrifices before the golden calf, and sat down to feast.

When God saw what they were doing, He became wrathful and sent Moses down with the tablets bearing the commandments. As Moses neared the camp, he heard the noise of the feast, and when he saw the golden calf he became so angry that he threw down the tablets and they were broken. Moses took the calf which they had made, burned it, and ground it to powder. And as a punishment, many of the people were killed.

Moses returned to God and begged Him to forgive the Hebrews. God answered that Moses should return to his people and lead them on toward the Promised Land. He said He would send an angel to lead them, but that one day they would still be punished for having made the golden calf. And He ordered Moses to make two stone tablets like the first and to bring them to Him on the mountain. Moses remained again on the mountain for forty days and forty night, and wrote down the commandments. And then God commanded the Hebrews to build an ark, in which to house the tablets.

To make the ark (which was concealed in a tent, or tabernacle) the people used precious wood and built a beautiful box, which they covered with gold, inside and out. Gold rings were set in the four corners, and wooden sticks, covered with gold, were slipped through them to carry the ark. They put away the tablets in the ark and carried it with them through all their wanderings.


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