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You Shall not have other Gods

An Exegetical study of Exodus 20:1-7

Karina Loayza Silva
BOX 323-B
June 10, 2016

OT 627 Exegesis in Exodus
Professor Donna Petter
Summer 2016

Loayza 1

TABLE OF CONTENTS

BIG PICTURE OF THE BOOK ............................................................................................. 2
1.1. Authorship and Date ....................................................................................................... 3
1.2. Literary style................................................................................................................... 5
THE DECALOGUE WITHIN THE BOOK ........................................................................... 6
ORIGINAL HEBREW TEXT ................................................................................................. 8
ANNOTATED TRANSLATION............................................................................................ 9
GRAMMATICAL ANALYSIS ............................................................................................ 11
KEY WORDS........................................................................................................................ 16
EXPLAINING THE PASSAGE ........................................................................................... 21
WITHIN THE OLD TESTAMENT ...................................................................................... 25
CULTURAL ENVIRONMENT............................................................................................ 27
WITHIN THE NEW TESTAMENT ................................................................................. 29
BIBLICAL THEOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK ................................................................. 30
APPLICATION AND CONTEXTUALIZATION............................................................ 31
BIBLIOGRAPHY .............................................................................................................. 33

Loayza 2

BIG PICTURE OF THE BOOK
The narrative in Genesis left us with the mental picture of the Israelites living peacefully
in Egypt in the land of Goshen which is located in the delta area of the Nile (Lower Egypt).
Joseph brought the sons of Israel in order to preserve their life during the worst famine the land
had seen. His last words are prophetic and are the gives continuity to the story which is going to
resume in the book of Exodus: “God will surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones
up from here." (Gen 50:25-26, cf. Ex. 13:19).
The narrative begins by switching dramatically the set of conditions for the Israelites:
“Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph” (Exo 1:8, NASB). So, the new
Pharaoh fearing the increase of the Israel nation, implemented a national natality-control policy:
throw the male Israelites babies to the Nile. Such is the sociopolitical background that saw the
birth of Moses; God’s appointed leader to free His people who also became the paradigmatic
prophet in Israel’s history.
In a similar vein to the book of Esther, the first two chapters of Exodus do not convey
any direct intervention of God in the succession of events. However, when God directly
intervenes in the story by speaking to Moses from the burning bush; it is clear for us that He had
been all the time behind scenes, preparing his servant’s heart for His appointed task: "come now,
and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of
Egypt." (Exo 3:10, NASB). From now on in the narrative, all the lights are upon God’s mighty
hand, displaying His supreme sovereignty over all of creation not only before His people but also
before the Egyptian nation represented in its Pharaoh. The author does not mention Pharaoh’s
name because such detail is not important for the future Israelite nation to preserve in its
recorded history. The Exodus event was recorded in order to remind all future generations WHO

the composition was not only very far from the Mosaic period but also was a merge of at least four different sources2. Editors: T. we find valuable evidence against this position in the archeological finds in Bogazkoy (see section 9 for a further explanation).C. The mass of archival evidence has made possible to establish a basic correspondence between the legal portions included in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy and the Hittite treaties. 621 B. The Documentary Hypothesis is going to serve us to pave the way back to the Mosaic Authorship of the Pentateuch while we set a solid body of evidence in favor of our position -that of Moses indeed recorded the Exodus event. 80:8. 2 . 114:1. regarding the early date of composition during the reign of Josiah. 78:43. 61-62. From such reality. 81:5. and to set an unambiguous chronological sequence for the dating of such 1 Psalm 68:31. 105:38. 106:7. The Psalms confirm such idea in the numerous times they praise YHWH for his wonders in the midst of Egypt. along to the whole Pentateuch. Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch. However. 2003. the Israelites gained their identity as a nation. 78:51. 78:12. Thus. bringing them up from the house of bondage1. was traditionally held by Jewish as well as Christian scholars prior to the Enlightenment in the eighteen century.1. 1. 105:23. Desmond Alexander and David Baker. It is then that a new theory for the dating of the Pentateuch was held which places its writing during the religious reforms of King Josiah ca. 135:9. Authorship and Date The Mosaic authorship of the book of Exodus. First. the new spirit of scholars distrusted all traditional authorities and subjected them to the scrutiny of reason. 106:21. Illinois: InterVarsity Press. so leading future generations to reject the long-standing tradition of Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch. 135:8.Loayza 3 IS their God and WHAT HE DID for them.and also to set an approximate date for the writing of the book. 81:10.

6 Exod. The biblical account about the upbringing of Moses fits perfectly such description5. 297-298. 10:5. 24:4. Exodus 2:10 tells us that Moses was adopted by an Egyptian princess so it is reasonable to assume he would become part of the ruling group.. Mark 12:26 –in the New Testament.A. before the Pharisees in many instances.because its practice was reserved to high-level diplomatic spheres and royal courts.17:14. fluent in Egyptian (but also Semitic language through his Hebrew mother). 4 Ibid. Acts 7:22 also attests to Moses’ particular training in all the learning of the Egyptians. and his primary role as the divinely appointed mediator in the giving of the law7. 5 . and Joshua 1:8.19:8. On the Reliability of the Old Testament. 34:14 in the Old Testament. Gran Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co. Consequently. Luke 24:44. it is safe to accept that the Pentateuch belongs to the period between 1400-1200 B. since the later treaties have not consistent parallels3. 7:19. the factual existence of Moses –not a Jewish legend. but not less important.C. Second.Loayza 4 documents. 7 John 5:46. 3 Kitchen. and in the New Testament accounting for. But the most important evidence is that we have the Lord Jesus supporting Moses as the author of the Pentateuch. we have the internal evidence in the book of Exodus itself crediting Moses with having written specific accounts by God’s specific indication6. the Book of the Law. 34:27-28. Matt. In addition.as the great leader of the exodus. unless they had had a leader well trained in such affairs4. if we follow the evidence of the discovered facts then we would need to ask how a group of people in condition of slavery could come up with the redaction of a treaty-type document whose concept was completely unfamiliar -or unknown. 284-290. K. Therefore. 2 Chron. They were not corrected for attributing Moses as its author but they were mistaken about the interpretation of the law. we also find the apostles unanimously accepting the Mosaic authorship in Acts 3:33 and Rom. 2003.

1. and the following narrative is the deployment of the means which God used to accomplish His will. 20. it has narrative and legal style material. 1-19) tells the story of how YHWH brought his people up from Egypt." (Ex. because it tells us how that group of people will become a holy nation for a Holy God. And when YHWH has a purpose in mind anything can prevent the outcome. there is a solid biblical and non-biblical evidence for holding Moses as the primary and central author of the Pentateuch. 3:12). Literary style The literary style of the book of Exodus is dual in nature. Nashville. and Exodus for that matter. After the crossing of the Reed Sea. 8 Douglas K. . and the scandal of the golden calf in chapter 32. Exodus. not even a mass of waters in the midst and a huge army seeking after his people. The vehicle for such kind of relationship is the covenant. Stuart. So we know in advance that the Israelites will be freed. TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers. The sub-sections in narrative form in this second half show us that the book is of mixed composition and not strictly legal: the ratification of the covenant in chapter 24. the journey toward Mount Sinai is the new background in the narrative.2. 2006. 20-40).Loayza 5 In conclusion. The first half of the book (chaps. then the multitude encamping at the mountain is the prologue for the second half of the book (chaps. This half is of legal nature. and that further scribal editions are not substantive enough to discredit Mosaic Authorship completely. the constitution of that group as a people of God8. you shall worship God at this mountain. That the events will lead the people to stand in front of Mount Sinai is clear stated by God from the beginning: "This shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt.

with these words. 2006. It breaks the flow in the narrative by introducing the very words of YHWH: “Then God spoke all these words. apodictic laws have been found in other ancient Near Eastern material. . However. because they are absolute prohibitions in regards of religion and moral issues. However. Moses had intentionally put a heavy weight upon the central part of his work. the Decalogue is the center piece of such stipulations. which describes all about the regulations and stipulations that the Israelites have to keep in order to be in a hesed-relationship with YHWH. so the Israelite Decalogue is not unique in this sense. Some Biblical scholars have identified the laws in the Decalogue as apodictic in its nature. saying…” (Ex. and indicated that chapters 20-40 form the legal material of the book. Moses intendedly situates the Decalogue at the beginning of the called book of the covenant (20:1-23:32). In this sense. the use of such apodictic laws are coherent and they convey better the seriousness of the covenant-making ceremony. in order that. However. Stuart. 20:1). In this sense. 440. the solemnity of the ceremony is soon marred by the outrageous 9 Douglas K. we should also mention that the law introduced in the Decalogue and further complemented in the book of the covenant (or covenant code) is only a portion of the full covenant that continues on Leviticus along with some supplemental stipulations in Numbers9. Exodus.Loayza 6 THE DECALOGUE WITHIN THE BOOK We have already pointed out the dual literary nature of the book of Exodus in the previous section. In this way. not only for the Israelite audience but also for us would be absolutely clear that YHWH’s stipulations are a serious matter. TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers. if we take into account that the Decalogue remains similarities with the suzerain treaties. Nashville. Moses reaches the completion of his narrative from Egypt to Sinai. Therefore.

yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished." (Exo 34:6-7) As we see. who keeps lovingkindness for thousands. as well as in the garden of Eden by covering Adan and Eve’s nakedness. . transgression and sin. and introducing the glorious hesed-relationship between YHWH and Israel. God mercifully acts again by declaring: "The LORD. who forgives iniquity. Such incident marks a dark contrast to the glorious theophany at Mount Sinai. the LORD God.Loayza 7 incident of the golden calf. placing a point of reference for the disgraceful incident of the golden calf. slow to anger. visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations. compassionate and gracious. and abounding in lovingkindness and truth. However. the Decalogue sets the pace for the structuring of the book by marking a transition in the literary style of the book (narrative-law).

Hos. 1994. According to the Masoretic tradition. Don’t believe in any others”. Since ‫ אֹלהים‬when it is signaling to the true God functions as the subject of all divine revelatory activity toward man. By following the division of the text of the Masoretic tradition.19 with the Israelites camping in the desert in front of the mountain (19:1). TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers. the Syriac and the Targums offer the reading πλὴν ἐμοῦ translated as: “but me. and Bruce K. On the other hand. The formִ֔‫ אֹלהים‬is used in the Old Testament 255 times in the Pentateuch and refers to pagan gods as well to YHWH. 2003. 1980. Its plural ending is usually described as a plural of majesty and not intended as a reference to a plurality of gods. πλὴν may be used at the beginning of a sentence either to restrict. Stuart. Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch. the MT with its use of ‫ אֹלהים‬presents the divine entity as the messenger in a clearer and more emphatic way that the rendering of the LXX and the Vulgate. Deu. our passage is formed by three smaller units (vv. 50-51. Grand Rapdis. However. the Hebrew carries an idiomatic sense that may be discerned from the context of the book. Desmond Alexander and David Baker. MI: Wm. Gleason L. Old Testament . Used adverbially. B. The Israelites are prohibited to have other gods (idols) against the face of YHWH. the MT is preferred as it carries a more precise picture of the divine activity in this passage. it commands at the same time that only YHWH must be worshiped as the only true God. and it is often joined to the personal name of God. 2:27). Editors: T. or to unfold and expand what has preceded (for similar translations cf. the unpointed ‫ ס‬indicates the beginning of a close paragraph. 93c. Illinois: InterVarsity Press. Ellis R. (Harris. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic . Eerdmans. Chicago: Moody Press. 448-449). “they present their idol against the face of YHWH. Nashville. The LXX and the Vulgate with its use of Dominus (Lord) reflect the practice of substitution where the name for the divinity is routinely rendered as Lord. He explains that the word ‫ אֱֹלהים‬carries the connotation of “supernatural beings”. This is confirmed by its use in Scripture accompanied with adjectives and pronouns in the singular. or in addition to me”.Loayza 8 ORIGINAL HEBREW TEXT Exodus 20:1-7 ‫ֹלהיָך‬ ִ֔ ֶּ ‫הוֵּ֣ה ֱא‬ ָּ ְ‫ָּ ֹֽאנ ֵ֖ ֙כי י‬ 20:2 11 ‫אמר׃ ס‬ ֹֽ ‫ל־ה ְד ָּב ִ֥רים ָּה ֵ֖א ֶּלה ל‬ ַ ‫ ֵ֛את ָּכ‬10‫ֹלהים‬ ִ֔ ‫וַ יְ ַדבֵּ֣ר ֱא‬ ‫ ַעל־‬12 ‫ֹלהים ֲאח ֵ֖ ִ֖֜רים‬ ִ֥ ֙ ‫ֹֽה־ל ֵָָ֛֛֩ך ֱא‬ ְ ‫ֹֽ ֵּ֣לא י ְה ֶּי‬ 20:3 20:1 ‫אתיָך מ ֶּ ִ֥א ֶּרץ מ ְצ ַ ֵ֖רים מ ֵּ֣בִ֥ית ֲע ָּבדֹֽים׃‬ ֵ֛ ‫ֲא ֶּ ֶׁ֧שרהֹוצ‬ 10 One of the LXX revisions renders the noun ‫ִ֔אֱֹלהִ֔ים‬as κύριος (instead of the expected θεός) which is translated as Lord or master and carries the meaning of possession and lordship. The following portion of the text continues in the same line with a small break indicating a continuity in the textual unity. Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible. 7. YHWH. 11 At the beginning of verses 2 and 7. “I am the only God. 97). Ex. 13:4. (Emanuel Tov. 2455. 361-362). against the face) translated the Hebrew compound with a nuance of exclusivity of worship to YHWH. Furthermore. MN: Augsburg Fortress. 1-7) corresponding to a main textual unit indicated by the unpointed ‫ פ‬at the end of ch. Archer.32:39. was the presence of God. 1974. (Douglas K. Brotzman. So while the command acknowledges implicitly the existence of other supernatural beings. The Vocabulary of the Greek of the New Testament. literally. Douglas Stuart raises the question of why did God not just say. Joe. 2006. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Exodus. Also is used as a title a title of honor addressed by subordinates to their superiors. In conclusion. Such idolatrous action is put in play in the subsequent narrative of the golden calf in which the Israelites set up their idol in front of the mountain in which. 12 One of the revisions of the LXX. In the present context is clear that is used adverbially in order to restrict religious worship and make it unique and exclusive to YHWH. the ancient variants inform our translation of the Hebrew compound (“before me” instead of “against the face”) and the MT give us a vivid picture of idolatry enriched by the context. Dr.Textual Criticism. 1992. These ancient scribes ִ֔‫( עַל־פ ָָּֽ֗נָּ ַי‬lit. Laird. . Minneapolis. Waltke. our text is part of a narrative starting in ch. James Hope Moulton and George Milligan. R.18 and at the end of v.

17 In the Hebrew text is clearly stated that God himself spoke these words with the use of the marker ‫אֵ ת‬. Verse 5 expounds the consequences of disobeying which was stated in v. where the command against idolatry is further conveyed to the Israelites and both being part of the same admonition. Richland Hills. Following the . Waltke. 5. then considering it as empty (‫ )שָּ וְׁ א‬is in fact a dishonoring of the Divinity who dwells in those heavens. 2407. The use of this word is rather problematic since it is assumed to be a root ofִ֔‫שָּ מַ ים‬. according to E. 16 A similar textual note to that in v. KJB. It is simpler and free of speculative translations (Harris. 118).5 (Scott and Rüger. NASB).1. Therefore. However. Accents. http://www. NASB. Scott and Hans Peter. I am going to preserve the division of the verses 3 and 4. Since both are attested in the Pentateuch as quality pertaining to God. as previously indicated in fn. the MT is a preferable reading. ERV. Scott indicates. Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible. 15 The Nash Papyrus offers a variant reading for the adjectiveִ֔‫( קנָּא‬jealous). ISV. 18 Most English translations (ESV. TWOT. Spanish translations (RV60. The insertion of such division is expected because it is coherent with the flow and structure of the commandments and it has been followed by older morphological databases. Therefore. who brought you out of the land of Egypt from the house18 of slavery. Gleason L. as William R. it has been removed in the latest versions since it is not present in the Codex L. and both convey the same quality. Masora. 1995. your God.Loayza 9 ‫ל־תמּונָּ ִ֔ה ֲא ֶּשֵּ֣ר ַב ָּ֙ש ַ ֵּ֣מי ֙ם׀ מ ִַ֔מ ַעל ַ ֹֽו ֲא ֶּ ִ֥שרָ֛֩ ָּב ָּ ֵ֖֙א ֶּרץ‬ ְ ‫ה־לָךִ֥ ֵּ֣ ֶּ֙ ֵּ֣פ ֶּסל֙ ׀ וְ ָּכ‬ ְ ‫ֹֽ ֵּ֣לא ַ ֹֽת ֲע ֶּ ֙ש‬ ‫ם ֵּ֣כי ָּ ֹֽאנ ִ֞כי‬ ֒ ‫ח ִ֥ו ֵּ֣ה ָּל ֶּ ֵ֖ה ֮ם וְ ֵּ֣לא ָּת ָּע ְבד‬ ֶּ ְ ‫ֹֽלא־ת ְש ַת‬ 20:5 ‫׃‬14 20:4 ‫׃‬313 ַ‫ָּפ ָּ ָֽ֗ ֹֽני‬ ‫מ ִַָּ֖֜ת ַחת וַ ֲא ֶּ ִ֥שֵּ֣ר ַב ַ ֵ֖מֵּ֣ים׀ מ ַ ִ֥ת ֵַּ֣חת ָּל ָּ ָֽ֗ ֹֽא ֶּרץ‬ ‫ל־בנֵ֛ים ַעל־של ִ֥שים וְ ַעל־רב ֵ֖עים ְלשנְ ָּ ֹֽאי׃‬ ָּ ‫ ֹּ֠פקד ֲעֹ֙ון ָּא ֶׁ֧בת ַע‬15‫ֹלה ֙יָך ֵּ֣אל ַק ִָּ֔נא‬ ֶּ֙ ‫הוה ֱא‬ ָּ ְ‫י‬ ‫הוִ֥ה‬ ָּ ְ‫ת־שם־י‬ ֹֽ ‫ ִ֥לא ת ָּ ֵ֛שא ֶּא‬20:7 ‫ֹותי׃ ס‬ ֹֽ ָּ ‫ּולש ְמ ִ֥רי מ ְצ‬ ְ ‫ וְ ִ֥ע ֶּשה ֶּ ֵ֖֙ח ֶּס ֙ד ַל ֲא ָּל ִ֔פים ְלא ֲה ַ ֵ֖בי‬20:6 ‫ ַל ָּ ֹֽשוְ א׃ פ‬16‫ת־ש ֵ֖מֹו‬ ְ ‫הוה ֵ֛את ֲא ֶּשר־י ָּ ִ֥שא ֶּא‬ ִָּ֔ ְ‫ֹלהיָך ַל ָּשוְ א ֵּ֣כי לא יְ נַ ֶּק ֙ה י‬ ֵ֖ ֶּ ‫ֱא‬ ANNOTATED TRANSLATION 1 Then God himself 17 spoke all these words. The Nash Papyrus offers a variant reading for ‫ש ֖מֹו‬. However.4 and v. The word “house” conveys an idea of community as people living under the same roof whereas “land” refer to people who could be spread over it. the end of verse may or may not be the end of a sentence. A Simplified Guide to BHS. Archer. Tov. Rüger. 4. 19 The English translations (ESV. 1). it has ‫ קנֹוא‬functioning as attributive adjective for ‫( אל‬God). (William R.php/t-2963. there is no substantial conflict between the variants. Unusual Letters & Other Markings. 13 The codex Leningradensis and many manuscript editions does not mark the end of the verse with the insertion of ` (‫סֹוףִ֔פָּסּוק‬.4. He did not use any mediator (not even Moses) but the people audibly heard the voice of God. 6. the reading of the Masoretic text is preferred (E. NET. the Nash Papyrus reflects a liturgical rather than Biblical text so that its relevance for textual criticism is limited.sof pasuq). Instead. Such is the case between v.4 and v. A Simplified Guide to BHS: Critical Apparatus. ְׁ It has instead ‫שמה‬. saying: 2 I am YHWH. whereas the NIV and HSCB translate it as “land”.al. et.0-2407a). Here it is also a division marking the end of v. However. LBLA.5. NBH) and the Vulgate (coram me) translate the Hebrew compound ‫ִ֔עַל־פ ָָּֽ֗נָּ ִַ֔י‬with the prepositional phrase “before me”.com/forums/archive/index. In order for us to present a clearer structure of the given commandments. and Bruce K. If we understand “heavens” as the abode of God telling His glory.html).) translate the construct ‫ מ ֵבֵּ֥֣ית‬with its literal meaning “house of”. Laird. Tov. 3 You shall not have other gods before me19. for the sake of clarity I will preserve the sof pasuq between v. R. I have added the reflexive pronoun in order to emphasize the objectivity of such event.bibleworks. TX: BIBAL Press. NIV. However. 14 Similar to the textual note at the end of v. 3. It may be probable that the liturgical use of the text asks for a more figurative language.

20 The very comprehensive delineation of the possible sources for copying: heaven above. your God. a monotheistic religion. Exodus. 6 But doing covenant loyalty25 to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. 22 The English translations NIV. Stuart. earth beneath and water under. However. because I. While others use “carved image”. The command has to be understood within the context which clearly demands an exclusive cult to YHWH. et. or metal) in the word itself. 7 You shall not lift the name of YHWH. we could gain a richer interpretation by analyzing the idiomatic sense of the Hebrew compound ‫עַל־פ ָָּֽ֗נָּ ִַ֔י‬. Ps. Since the command outlaws any sort of idolatry then seems more preferable to extend the range of meaning by translate the sentence as (1) “bow down or serve them”. 24 In this particular case.al. (D. et. HCSB and the ISV translate. visiting23 the iniquity of the fathers on the children24. and I have followed their lead.) and followed the NLT and HCSB translations which use “must” which fits better the extensive prohibition. You shall not bow down to them or serve22 them. NASB. instead of (2) “bow down and worship them” because the pair bow down-worship convey a somewhat similar idea. or “graven image” (ESV. NET. It seems more reasonable to use “children” in order to put equal responsibility over male and female individuals. calls for a stricter wording of the second command. on the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me. NASB. as Dr. in vain because YHWH shall not leave unpunished those who lifts his name in vain. Gen 19:1. All major English translations use “children” instead of “sons”. So I have abandoned the use of “shall” of most English translations (NIV. 25 By translatingִ֔‫ חֶ סֶ ד‬as “covenant loyalty” we are capturing better the richness of the context in which YHWH is entering into a covenantal relationship with his people. 450). YHWH your God. ISV. we could add that the phrase “before me” does not suggest a sort of hierarchy in which YHWH is the Supreme God but other gods are allowed as long as they are not presented “before YHWH”. However. NLT and the HCSB translate ‫ תָּ עָּבְׁ ֵ ֵ֑דם‬as “worship them” whereas the majority (NLT. as the NIV. it is Israel's keeping of the covenant which guarantees that YHWH will keep doingִ֔‫( חֶ סֶ ד‬covenant loyalty) with Israel.Loayza 10 4 You must20 not make for yourself an idol21 or any likeness of which is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. However. 21 Many English translations (NIV. previous discussion (see fn. NET. In this sense.3). NLT. The simple term “idol” is correct and ‫ ְׁתמּונָּה‬is translated as likeness to fit the context (prohibition of copying). NASB. ESV. 82). ASV. ERV and NBH). am a jealous God 5. NET. the command implicitly acknowledges the existence of other many gods in the range of meaning of the term ‫ אֱֹלהים‬such angels (cf. refer to the section key terms. stone. I have translated the Hebrew plural noun ‫( בָּ נִ֛ים‬sons) with the gender-inclusive noun “children” because the command is addressing the community as a whole. KJB. in order to mitigate an overemphasis on generational sin that this verse in particular is used to convey such teaching. Clearly the modern translations abandon the literal translation “against the face” for the sake of clarity. ESV. HCSB and ISV) translateִ֔‫ פֶֶּ֫ סֶ ל‬simply as idol. ISV. 23 A better translation for the Qal participle from ‫ פָּקַ ד‬is “visiting” instead of “punishing”.) translate it as “serve them”. For further details. Stuart has indicated. .al. there is no such level of detail about the origin of the idol (wood. KJB.

o. the Hebrew text stresses the that these words are the very words spoken by God29. Therefore.o. the infinite construct with a prefixed ִ֔ ְׁ‫ ל‬of manner ִ֔‫ לֵאמֹ ר‬spells out in detail the preceding action (‫)וַיְׁ דַ ֵברִ֔אֱֹלהים‬28. The narrative then continues with God as the subject of the clause (‫)וַיְׁ דַ ֵברִ֔אֱֹלהים‬. 29 Ibid. it is argued that the very widely used ‫ לֵאמֹ ר‬introduces direct speech and serves as a discourse marker. On the other hand. Waco. Verse 2 introduces the theophanic discourse with the introductory formula ‫ ָּאנֹ כיִ֔יְׁ הִָּ֔וה‬. Robert D. the weight of evidence shows that when appended to the verb for emphasis. 408. 451. 1991. 28 P. Grand Rapids. Joüon and T. In addition. 1971. Roma: Editrice: Pontificio Istituto Biblio. §124. Muraoka. William Lee Holladay and Ludwig Köhler. The writer’s choice of the first independent personal pronoun ‫ ָּאנֹ כי‬over the form ‫ אני‬in this context is deliberate. A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew. A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament: Based upon the Lexical Work of Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner. Therefore. 2010. Ruth: A Handbook of the Hebrew Text. §124. the form ‫ ָּאנֹ כי‬is used 26 Holmstedt. The plural noun ִ֔‫ ֱאֹלהים‬is understood in reference to Israel’s God since it is the subject of the 3MS verb ‫יְׁ ִַ֔דבֵ ר‬. The use of the definite object markerִ֔‫ אֵ ת‬identifies clearly the accusative complement of the main verb. there is no doubt that it was God himself who spoke ‫ ִ֔כָּל־הַ ְׁדבָּ ריםִ֔הָּ ֵ ֖אלֶה‬to the people26. TX: Baylor University Press. Moreover. MI: Eerdmans. On the one hand. We are told that Moses went down to the people to warned them about coming up to the mountain (19:24) and then he leaves the scene. the form ִ֔‫ אני‬is nearly always preferred. 407.Loayza 11 GRAMMATICAL ANALYSIS Verse 1 follows the discussion between God and Moses in chapter 19. 27 . 4-5. The sequence of the events is signaled by the use of the conjunctive vav (ִ֔‫ ) ַו‬plus the Piel imperfect 3MS verb (‫)יְׁ דַ בֵ ר‬. The use of the plural demonstrative adjective ‫הָּ ֵ ֖אלֶה‬ refers us to the following section which is the explicit content of YHWH’s words27.

Emil Roediger. 1952. Downers Grove. D. Ill: InterVarsity Press. 317. §12. 30 Francis Brown. the writer is trying to imprint in people’s collective memory what Egypt was for them (a house of slavery) and what YHWH did for them (He brought them up)32. The following sections of the pericope can be structured and organized by underlining the emphatic prohibitions in the beginning of each section which corresponds to the three first commandments.Loayza 12 primarily in covenant-statement sentences. Waltke. 5 where the commandments are repeated (as a renewal of the covenant) the phrase ‫ ָּאנֹ כיִ֔יְׁ הוָּה‬is used (cf. 59. §659.9). 32 Bruce K..R. S. Indiana: Eisenbrauns. Although it is used as a mere connecting link. Dictionary of biblical imagery. Longman. J. Throughout the Biblical narrative Egypt is presented under different lights. §938. Charles A.a. For instance. Duriez. 229. §107o.3. 5:6.. then. to stress the covenant nature of the given statement30. 81. Briggs. G. Ryken. Penney. 31 BDB. and more importantly. One of them is that of bondage and oppression. the choosing of ‫ ָּאנֹ כי‬is not only for rhetorical emphasis but also. M. T. The relative particle ִ֔‫ אֲשֶ ר‬joins the introductory formulaִ֔‫ִ֔ ָּאנֹ כיִ֔יְׁ הוה‬with its predicate clause: YHWH’s redemptive activity toward Israel. O'Connor. The use of ‫לא‬ ִֹ֔ with an imperfect verb express a strongest expectation of obedience and is especially used in enforcing divine commands33. In this sense. 33 GKC.R. Wilhelm Gesenius. ‫מֵ ֶ ֶ֥א ֶרץ ִמצְ ַ֖ריִ ם מ ֵבֵּ֥֣ית עֲבָּ ֵ֑דֵּ֥֣ים‬. D. A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament: With an Appendix Containing the Biblical Aramaic. The predicate clause is formed by a noun-noun appositional phrase. Deu.. . however after the Exodus becomes a negative symbol. 112. and Edward Robinson. 1990. Driver. By using this appositional phrase. Driver. 1998. C. in Deut. y Reid.. G. ִ֔‫ אֲשֶ ר‬has a causal force in Hebrew that is difficult to bring out in English31. An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax. God’s personal name goes together to what He does in favor to His people. Wilhoit. L. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

the repetition of 34 In the Spanish translation the commandments are translated using gender neutral infinitive sentences with an imperative nuance. The extension of prohibition is very strict and comprehensive. the construction: alternativeִ֔ ְׁ‫ ו‬+ rel. translation is “against the face” (for a detailed explanation see translation fn. In the context is expressing a relation of space between ‫ אֱ ֹלהים‬and ‫פ ָָּֽ֗נָּ ִַ֔י‬. It is interesting to note the imperfect 3MS. 304. Along with the beth locale. The use of the noun ‫ אֱֹלהים‬as the direct object of the verb ‫ יהְׁ יֶ ה‬implicitly acknowledges the existence of supernatural beings than can be object of worship by the Israelites (for a detailed explanation see translation fn. GKC §119s. it could be interpreted also as that they are being worshiped in defiance of God36. The use of a reflexive ‫( ְִׁ֔ל‬untranslated) gives an idea of the person for whom the command is addressed to because the object of the preposition is a 2MS pronominal suffix and it is also the subject of the verb35. the complement of the verb “ִ֔‫ ”עַל־פָּ ָֽ֗נָּ ַי‬poses a translation challenge since the lit. the use of the Maqqef joining ‫ יהְׁ יֶ ה‬with ‫ לְׁ ִִ֛֔ך‬helps us with the interpretation. 107. The second commandment is introduced in Verse 4 with the same construction: adverb ִִ֔֔‫ ל ֹא‬+ Qal-Imperfect ‫ ַתעֲשֶֶׂ֙ ה‬+ reflexive use of prep. §4485. translated with a 2MS personal pronoun34. any) and the particle ‫ אֲשֶ ר‬introduces the relative clause that brings a higher level of detail37. 35 Williams. In Hebrew language. §272. 481. .10).Loayza 13 Verse 3 begins marking the prohibition “‫“ל ֹאִ֔יהְׁ יֶ ה‬.‫ ִ֔ ְִׁ֔ל‬which signals to the subject of the action. The noun ‫ כֹ ל‬is an expression of totality (the whole of. 36 GKC §103n. Holladay §6292. everything. The use of the beth locale precise the location of the possible sources for copying in order to make their gods. we do need to take into account the meaning that the preposition ‫ עַל‬carries. 37 BDB. 381. So those gods are “over against the face” or. However. because poses an translation challenge. Finally.3). Although we have followed the modern English translations. particle ‫ אֲשֶ ר‬is repeated three times.

90. There are two independent clauses joined by the conjunction vav in order to express a single concept. the first verb ִ֔‫ שָּ חָּ ה‬indicates the manner in which the second verb. It is precisely because of this aspect of his divine character that He will act in a certain way. §619. we have the verbִ֔‫ שָּ חָּ ה‬in the Hishtaphel stem with a strong prohibition signaled by the use of the adverb ‫ל ֹא‬. Verse 5 continues the command against idolatry but a somewhat different construction is used. Such action is described in the following clause. 38 39 Williams. In its original sense meant to prostrate oneself to the ground (physical) which implies an act of submission (attitude) toward a superior and especially before royalty. It expresses a causative action with a passive voice. Therefore. Both nuances fit the context and range of meaning of the verb. §72.Loayza 14 words is used to express entirety. The direct object of the verb is signaled by the preposition ‫ְִׁ֔ל‬ indicating direction either of a physical movement or of personal attention or attitudes toward ‫פ ְׁס ָּלם‬. the grammatical evidence shows us that the prohibition against idolatry is extremely important. This clause explains why the Israelites are strictly prohibited of serving other gods: ‫אנֹ ִ֞כי יְׁ הוָּ ָ֤ה ֵאל קַ ָּנא‬. So. now we have a clearer understanding of the how of such service to the gods looks like. In the first clause. prohibits the external action as well as the internal attitude39. The conjunctionִ֔‫ כי‬begins a very important causal clause. The nuance of the Hophal stem in ‫ תָּ ָּעבְׁ ֵ ֵ֑דם‬is very difficult to bring in a modern translation. §223.happens38. TWOT.ָּ The use of the compound ‫ ָּאנֹ ִ֞כי יְׁ הוָּ ָ֤ה‬signals to the transcendence of God in stark contrast to the human-made gods without any ability of feeling whereas YHWH is ‫קַ נָּא‬. such construction is called verbal coordination. 29. ‫תָּ ָּעבְׁ ֵ ֵ֑דם‬. so implies that the Israelites shall not allowed to be persuaded or seduced by idolatry. . With this picture in mind. The command then.

Therefore. enduring and commonly occurring41. 357. However. The prep. ֖ ֶ֖֙ ֶ There is an intentional hyperbolic sense in the use of the noun “‫ ” ַל ֲאל ֵָּ֑פים‬in order to emphasis God’s covenantal loyalty. It stands for: “whatever number” or “plenty of”.Loayza 15 beginning with the active participle ‫ פֹ קֵ ד‬functioning substantively. So it does not limit God’s visiting over the iniquity of a certain generation whatsoever. above). Similar to verse 5. over. §286. it stands in contrast to the use of the prepositionִ֔‫ עַל‬in the preceding clause. But here it has a different stylistic pattern because God chooses to speak about himself. Also. and (2) The activity itself is repetitive. the use of the active participles functioning substantively indicate two important features: (1) YHWH is performing a continual uninterrupted activity. The use of ִ֔ ְׁ‫ ל‬of specification to indicate the sphere in which the extent to which the verb occurs. . The clause begins with an adversative vav which indicates such contrast. The objective clause of the participle indicates whom will receive the action of the transitive verb: “‫“אָּ בֹֹ֧ ת ַעל־בָּ נִ֛ים‬. ‫את־שם־יְׁ הוָּ ה‬ ֵ shall 40 41 Williams §237a. The speech is expressed in third person in reference to YHWH.40 On a final note. then limiting the action (to whatever number of generations) whereasִ֔ ְׁ‫ ל‬is extending the action to thousands (without mention of generations). similar to the previous commandment it invokes a punishment for those who do not obey. There is an added level of specificity in the use of: “‫ “עַל־שלֵשים וְׁ עַל־רבֵ ֖עים‬which is idiomatic in Hebrew. it begins with an active participle ‫ עֹ (ֹו)שֶ ה‬followed by the noun ‫חסֶ ד‬. GKC §116a 356. the contrast made in the following similar construction of Verse 6 is dramatic. ‫ עַל‬has a locative use (on. §116f. 112. The third commandment in verse 7 resumes the construction of verses 3 and 4: adverb ִ֔‫ ל ֹא‬+ Qal-Imperfect ‫תשָּ א‬.181.

44 Williams §50. 32:1. 19. Strawn argues. 12:2. 48 Gen 31:53. 6:14. 109.28. 47 Gen 1:1. The conjunction ‫ כי‬introduces a subordinate result clause stating the consequence of disobeying the previous command43. 49 Gen 9:1. 46 e. KEY WORDS In this pericope three nouns are used to refer to the divinity: ‫אֱֹלהים‬. 23:13. The actions attributed are clearly exclusive to the supreme God of Israel: He is creator47(‫)בָּ ָּרא אֱֹלהים‬. Strawn. 17:9. The commandment closes with repetition of the opening independent clause. 45 Bowen. However. 5:7. ‫ אֱֹלהים‬functions as the subject of the revelatory divine activity. repetition is intended order to leave the hearers with a few key items in their minds and hearts. He judges48(‫)הַ מ ְׁש ָּפט לֵאֹלהים‬.ִ֔‫ ְִׁ֔ל‬of manner which indicates the style or mode with which the verb ‫ תשָּ א‬takes place42. Deut 4:32. Brent A. Ex 20:3. Ind: Eisenbrauns. Miller. Williams §527. 2:3-4. and Patrick D. the key item to remind is not to ‫ת־ש ֖מֹו ל ַָּשוְׁ א‬ ְׁ ֶ‫ י ָּשא א‬45. blesses49 (ִ֔‫ )אֱֹלהים את־נֹ ַח‬and punishes those who 42 Williams §247a. As B. The affectedobject accusative of the verb ‫ נָּקָּ ה‬is signaled with the definite direct-object marker ‫ אֵ ת‬while the particle ‫ אֲשֶ ר‬brings a higher level of detail by introducing a relative clause in which the affectedobject is described44. The intensive type of action of the verb Piel Imperfect 3MSִ֔‫ נָּקָּ ה‬paired with the adverb ‫ ל ֹא‬indicates the seriousness of the admonition. Nancy R. The nounִ֔‫ שוא‬is prefixed with the prep. Deut 1:17..Loayza 16 not be lifted in vain. (1) the form ‫ אֱֹלהים‬appears 225 times in the Pentateuch and it is used to refer to pagan gods46 as well to the God of Israel. Winona Lake. Deut 4:7. 27.g. 187. ‫ אֵ ל‬and ‫ יְׁ הוָּה‬Since its use could be arbitrary thus it merits a further analysis of some possible setting of circumstances that may determine the choice of a particular name if such is the case. In this case. A God So Near : Essays on Old Testament Theology in Honor of Patrick D. 43 . 216-218. 5:1. when it is used to indicate the true God. 2003. Miller.

7-9. He is a compassionate God (Ex 3:7. YHWH is used 1. as it is the case in Ex 20:1. (2) the personal name ‫ יְׁ הוָּה‬seems to be exclusive to Hebrew since there are not clear evidence of its use outside Israel before the time of Moises. Alexander & D. as it is the case in Ex 20:5 (‫)אֵ ל קַ נָּא‬. Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch. He is a jealous God (Ex 20:5). 14. He is a redeemer God (Ex 6:6). 3:1.15-16. 359) 53 T. and particularly interesting is the personal revelation of YHWH to Moses in 34:6 where ‫ יְׁ הוָּה‬is repeated three times. Baker. 16:13. 29:41. 361-362. Often ‫ אֱֹלהים‬forms a compound noun with ‫ יְׁ הוָּה‬51. 362-364. Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch. YHWH is by far the most common designation for God in the Pentateuch and the most common Hebrew noun in the Bible52. After their Exodus experience. On the contrary to ‫ אֱֹלהים‬which has related cognates in most Semitic languages. ְׁ Also. the plural ending is described as plural of majesty and not intended as a true plural as it is used in 20:3 for pagan gods. 42 T. there is a clear identification of ‫ ֱאֹלהים‬with ‫ יְׁ הוָּה‬since both names are used to refer to Israel’s God.D. 52 ‫ אֱֹלהים‬is used 811x in the Pentateuch and 2600x in the OT. Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch. Gen 2:4-5. Whereas. Alexander & D. 2:22. the word ‫ מצְׁ ַרים‬will take a special significance for the Israelites. particularly in the book of Exodus. Deut 4:24. Alexander & D. Finally. the analysis suggests that ‫ יְׁ הוָּה‬is reserved for the instances where God unconditionally decides to reveal something about his personal character53. 54 Gen 14:18. 31. 23. He is a relational not distant God (Ex 6:7. 51 . there is strong emphasis on the part of ‫ יְׁ הוָּה‬to reveal particular elements of his personal character. 19:29. There are numerous references to Egypt in the book of Exodus. Baker. 33:20. 13:21. Ex 9:30. (3) the nounִ֔‫ אֵ ל‬is nearly always used in relation to an adjective54. TWOT §93c. 32:14). Baker.827x in the Pentateuch and 6828x in the OT. He is a faithful covenant keeper God (Ex 6:1-4). Ex 34:6. But. 21:33. However. (T. but of particular interest is the expression in which Egypt is linked to the Israelite’s experience of slavery (‫עֲבָּ ֵ֑דֵּ֥֣ים‬ 50 Gen 6:13. 33:17).Loayza 17 oppose him50(‫)בשַ חֵ ת אֹלהים אֶ ת־ע ֵָּרי‬.D. In summary. In the numerous instances in which the name is used.D.

18:14. On the other hand. Num 3:13. Job 4:16. 5:8. 23. 19:36. 25. Jud 17:3. but it has a comprehensive prohibition: “you are prohibited to copy anything from anywhere in anyway”. 25. 6:12. 11:1. we find a similar construction of Ex 20:5 (‫)פסֶ ל ְׁתמּונַת‬59. 55 Deut 5:6. 15-16. 18:20. Ps. 4:37. 31. failing to remember YHWH’s deliverance from Egypt is used as condemnation against Israel. Hos 2:17. 3:1. Ez. Dan 9:15. 58 Jud 18:17. Deut. Numbers and Deuteronomy 56. 57 Jer 2:4-6. and with a similar nuance Egypt is referred numerous times in relation to YHWS’s redemption of Israel in the books of Leviticus. where the second commandment is recalled. 2 Ch 33:7. Is 40:19. 8:17.Loayza 18 ‫)מ ֵבֵּ֥֣ית‬. 16:14. 23. 56 7:15. 6:21-22. and sets it up in secret". Nah 1:4. carved or molted) in several passages in the Old Testament58. Micah 6:4. 2 Ki 21:7. 17:15. 60 Lev 26:1 61 Deu 27:15. Lev 11:45. Deu 1:30. 12:8. it is safe to argue that the commandment does not include details about the origin of the idol. whereas when ‫ ְׁתמּונָּה‬is used in other passages than Exodus62. 23:7. 59 .25. 42:17. 4:12. Such idea is confirmed in the definition of idol in Deu 27:15: "a thing made by the hands of a craftsman. 5:8. Am 2:10. there is a difference within the context between the words ‫פסֶ ל‬. 8:14. In parallel passages in Deuteronomy. Furthermore. This same expression in repeated in the renewal of the covenant in Deuteronomy55. 30. two words are of particular interest because they seem to carry the same meaning: ‫ ֶפסֶ ל‬and ‫תמּונָּה‬. 44:9. it is always with a general meaning of “form” or “likeness”. 11:4. 7:22. 5:6. and the Exodus event is YHWH’s cover letter before Israel (‫אתכֶם מֵ אֶ ֶרץ מצְׁ ָּרים‬ ְׁ ‫) וְׁ אָּ נֹ כי הֶ ֱעלֵיתי‬57. in the prophets’ proclamation. metal or wood) or manufacture (graven. 20:15. 62 Num. 25:38. In the second commandment. 20:5-8. Deu 4:16. 22:33. Therefore. 15:41. ‫ מַ צֵ בָּ ה‬60 and ‫ מַ סֵ כָּה‬61. ְׁ The first appears simply as idol without details of its origin (stone.

67 Deu 5:10. Am 3:2. 2:13. In addition. In conclusion. 9:15. 49:8. for instance. metaphorical language. Hos 1:4. The attributive adjective ‫ִ֔קַ נָּא‬is used in its five occurrences only in relation to God63. 14. Jer 6:15. In the Biblical narrative when God visits the iniquity of someone is never good news. 20. 19:9. 10:12. Interesting to note in Num 25:11 is that Phinehas is praised because he was jealous with God’s jealousy. Closely related and as a consequence of being a jealous God. He just not stops by to say “hi”. Always within a context of obedience to the covenant67. Deut. 22. It is about keeping the covenant. 1 K 19:10. 13. 7:9. ‫שָּ מַ ע‬. shows us a close relation between ‫אָּ הֵ ב‬. to love YHWH equals covenantal loyalty. 20:5. the same word ‫ פֹ קֵ ד‬has been translated with punish because the context of judgement over a nation (Israel. God’s visitation is always with a purpose. walking in obedience to his laws. the concept of the word ִ֔‫ שָּ מַ ע‬is not as straightforward as ‫אָּ הֵ ב‬. and not warm feelings. but by using a poetic. 106:4. 5:9. 80:14. In the Prophetic books. Ex 34:14 states that “‫( “יְׁ הוָּה קָּ נָּא ְׁשמֹו‬YHWH’s name is jealous). it is His action of visiting (‫)פֹ קֵ ד‬. Therefore. 65 Isa 23:17. Tyre or Babylon) is very clear65. 66 Ps. 34:14. 27:31. 11:22. for instance. 30:16. 13. 6:5-6.Loayza 19 Prohibition about making idols to worship has a reason found in the very character of God: ‫יְׁ הוָּה אֹלהֶ יך אֵ ל קַ נָּא‬. Zac 1:14. There is not a statement where it 63 Exod. Num 25:11. 64 . 6:15. the Psalmist’s plea is that God would visit them with His salvation66. On the other hand. to say that YHWH will visit the iniquity is another way to say that judgment will come. In particular. the Piel denominative verb ‫ קָּ נָּא‬is used to describe actions of godly zealous people64. The word ‫ אָּ הֵ ב‬is abundantly used in covenant-making contexts. In conclusion. 4:24.ִ֔‫שָּ מַ ר‬. Num 25:13. On the other hand. when ‫ קָּ נָּא‬used in reference to God or godly people acting out of zeal for God’s sake. 11:1. ‫הָּ לְַך‬. is always a virtue or a trait character after God. Its use in Deuteronomy.

and robbery and wrong70. and with just “love” in the NVI. Isaiah 1:14. Because ‫ חֶֶּ֫ סֶ ד‬is something that you do toward someone and not just something you show. Jonathan have already asked that David might do ‫ ֶּ֫ ֶחסֶ ד‬with him as YHWH does. However. In a general sense. 70 Isaiah 61:8. who plot evil and device wickedness schemes. there is a clear contrast in Psalm 97:10 between these two groups that allow us to establish a relation: “those who love the Lord hate evil. 97:10. it brings them together with a special tie. A beautiful example is found in David and Jonathan’s friendship. idolatry69. 45:7. However. 119:13. “lovingkindness”. The pair ‫ עָּשָּ ה‬and ‫ ֶּ֫ ֶחסֶ ד‬go together in many instances in the Biblical narrative when someone is 68 Psalm 11:5. Also.14. Jonathan said to David in 1 Samuel 20:15: ‫ד־עֹולם‬ ָּ ‫יתי ַע‬ ֵ֖ ‫ת־ח ְס ְדָךֵ֛ מ ִ֥עם ב‬ ַ ‫א־ת ְכ ֶׁ֧רת ֶּ ֹֽא‬ ַ ‫וְ ֹֽל‬ In v. Therefore. In the last time they saw each other. the psalmist hates those who hate the Lord71 (in reference always to the wicked). they are indeed hating the Lord.Loayza 20 says something: “X hates the Lord”. “ἔλεος (mercy)” in the LXX. there are numerous statements in which it is said that the Lord hates those who love violence. it is implied that those who does evil. in the Old Testament the word occurs around 300 times in all its forms and there is no known cognate in other Semitic language. 21:9-11. Also. 71 Psalms 139:21. ‫ ֶּ֫ ֶחסֶ ד‬is what one plead to obtain from the other and once it is given. 69 . The amazingִ֔‫ִ֔ ֶּ֫ ֶחסֶ ד‬of YHWH has been translated as “steadfast love”. even though they are not declaring: “I hate the Lord”. Because. the first group have a righteous hatred which is not based on their feelings but on an outrageous defiance to what God hates. Finally. who acts with hypocrisy and falsehood68. we could conclude based on the certain premise that if those who love the Lord are covenant keepers then those who hate the Lord are covenant-breakers.

the range of meaning of ‫ ֶּ֫ ֶחסֶ ד‬is overwhelming and it includes actually all the concepts of the words with which has been translated. 77 Ez. or to bear false witness. who brought you out of the land of Egypt from the house of slavery. Because it is YHWH commits himself to do ‫ ֶּ֫ ֶחסֶ ד‬with whom He pleases73. Finally. as we have seen. Lectures in Old Testament Theology. Deu 5:20. It is implied a court room setting in which you speak falsely about someone75. But what is even more amazing is that YHWH himself does ‫ חֶֶּ֫ סֶ ד‬to individuals and Israel as nation. In contexts related to speech. Anderson. Inc. (2) deceptive speak and lies76. 72 Abraham’s servant asks ‫ ֶּ֫ ֶחסֶ ד‬for Abraham (Gen 24:12-14). 12:24. 9:32. Dan 9:4. For instance. Deu 7:9-12. Mic 7:20. they would also invoke YHWH’s name as guarantor in a court room.. Jacob asking ‫ ֶּ֫ ֶחסֶ ד‬to Joseph before dying (47:29). 41:6. 2010. . EXPLAINING THE PASSAGE (Verses 1-2) 1 Then God himself spoke all these words. there is an implicit acknowledgement that ‫ חֶֶּ֫ סֶ ד‬is undeserved. Lam 2:14. the Israelites accused YHWH of taking them out of Egypt to die in the dessert. in the Exodus narrative. 13:6. 76 Prov 30:8. Kinlaw and John N. your God. This is the most typical context for ‫ ֶּ֫ ֶחסֶ ד‬: covenant74. saying: 2 I am YHWH. it is possible to think in different situations within in which people could have used the name of YHWH for evil and selfish purposes. In relation to misuse YHWH’s name. IN: Warner Press. or when making a promise to someone.Loayza 21 pleading for favor and kindness72. Ps 12:3. the last interesting word for my present analysis isִ֔‫שָּ וְׁ א‬.171-189. 73 Gen 32:9-11. Neh 1:5. Oswalt . 75 Exo 23:1. In this sense. there are at least three meanings to consider: (1) To give a false report. Finally. 74 Dennis F. (3) to give empty prophecies and false visions77. Joseph in prison asking ‫ ֶּ֫ ֶחסֶ ד‬from the cupbearer (Gen 40:14).

According to the known structure of such documents. 447. in consequence has stipulations to comply79. The relationship suzerain-vassal (Israel) is indicated78.. but also it includes heavenly angels and Satan and his fallen angels. For the ancient Israelite as well as all ancients in the Near East. personal. we have not heard the LORD speaking with such power.Loayza 22 There is impossible to overemphasize the majesty and the solemnity of this moment. First Commandment (v. Exodus. or they might be have even worshiped. The ground of such relationship is YHWH’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt. He called everything into existence with His words and now. the title/prologue in verse 1. the historical prologue in verse 2. 79 D. In Genesis. using the grasped rich meaning of ‫ ֶּ֫ ֶחסֶ ד‬would be: YHWH is doing ‫ֶּ֫ ֶחסֶ ד‬ toward Israel by establishing a relationship in which He commits himself to be His God. Gran Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co. Israel. . K. He is choosing them to be His God. local or nation-wide. the house of slavery. Stuart. In this section YHWH identifies himself as the suzerain. Another way to put it. The implicit acknowledgment of other superhuman beings in the nounִ֔‫ ֱאֹלהים‬is very comprehensive. 78 Kitchen. 284-285.3) 3 You shall not have other gods before me. 2003.. here at Sinai He is calling a nation to be His people. The gods. the maker of the covenant. that YHWH commanded Israel. “the words”.A. It does not only include the false Egyptian gods that the Israelites were so used to see. Second. On the Reliability of the Old Testament. It is very important to note the covenantal nature of this section. The other party. The following sections are such stipulations. Since the account of creation. we have the following sections: First. the concept of the divine was impregnated in every aspect of their life.

MI: Baker House Co. Therefore. on the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me. Second Commandment (Verses 4-6) 4 You must not make for yourself an idol or any likeness of which is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. et. 448-449. He is not just another god to add to the pantheon and placing him as the highest god.Loayza 23 were made responsible for some function or aspect of life. Carson. Exodus. These images were copied from the environment that people lived in. or human-like images.3-6) to be the first commandment. Archaeological findings show us that each culture has a particular way of depicting its supreme beings (ancient idolaters were indeed very creative). Alexander. 20-22. human-animal. (Editors: D. Even though by the time Israel lived in Egypt the cult was centered among the god Aton. these gods in general had a naturalistic 80 Charles F Pfeiffer. For instance. the prohibition itself is expressed. New Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Ann Arbor. am a jealous God. the Roman Catholic and Lutheran traditions consider all this section (v. the Egyptian pantheon was a mix of animal. In verse 4. The Egyptian pantheon was packed with them. There is no a hierarchization. D. Stuart. visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children. or their national god. 82 There is disagreement in the division of the commandments. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them.. It is very interesting to see the contrast against the ancient religious background. the reigning concept was not a monotheistic one but rather a polytheistic hierarchy80. almost all cultures sought that their god-images resembled a person. Egypt and the Exodus . Rosner. The second commandment applies the first extends its intense condemnation of idolatry82.. 1967. Jewish conventional division follows the present division. because I.A. B. whereas Augustine. 6 But doing covenant loyalty to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. Despite of a vast gallery of images and statues. it is a demand on monotheistic cult to YHWH81. what the commandment is saying is that only YHWH shall be worshiped as the sole divinity. D. 571) 81 . so.al. YHWH your God. and they were composed of part of animals that ordinarily co-existed with them.

yet an adulteress. (1 Samuel 8:7-8). 5:6. . 23:43. Thus. "Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you. the first is extensively evoked in the prophets’ indictments85 against the nation. 85 Jer 3:1. "Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day--in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods--so they are doing to you also. 16:15-17. God’s command points directly to the heart of the pervasive lifestyle and the reigning religious system. The theological ground for the judgment of idolatry is that YHWH is ‫קַ נָּא‬. in vain because YHWH shall not leave unpunished those who lifts his name in vain. 6:9. Religion in Ancient Egypt: Gods. is YHWH married to the adulterous Israel who turns to other gods. the specificity about the possible copying sources is logically necessary." (Hos 3:1) The mental image is heartbreaking. even as the LORD loves the sons of Israel. under this light. As well as a faithful husband married to an adulteress woman. 83 Edited by Byron E. But between these two. Ez 5:7. Myths and Personal Practice. Third Commandment (Verse 7) 7 You shall not lift the name of YHWH. Shafer. Idolatry provokes YHWH to anger upon those who go after idols. though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes. 9-21. The Biblical imagery that helps us to conceive and understand how the Almighty God is jealous is that of a betrayed husband and that of a rejected king84. 1991. and captures better how deep and intense is God’s love for his people: Then the LORD said to me. love a woman who is loved by her husband. London: Routledge. but they have rejected Me from being king over them. your God. for they have not rejected you. 84 The LORD said to Samuel.Loayza 24 appearance83. "Go again. Idolatry is a serious sin because breaks the intimate relationship that YHWH intended having with Israel through the covenant. 6-8.

Fee. Furthermore. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. GA: Scholars Press. as we see in Jacob’s decision to change his youngest son’s name: ‫ בן־אֹוני‬for ‫ בנְׁ יָּמין‬86(Gen. These stories show us that Jacob. since it was spoken directly by God. You Shall No Have Other Gods: Israelite Religion in the Light of Hebrew Inscriptions. YHWH. Douglas Stuart.Loayza 25 In contrast to our modern western customs. the Decalogue is the heart of such law. and kept in the ark of the covenant in the most holy place. In particular. At the same time the law set boundaries with regard to their relationships with the cultures around them87”. 2014. Kindle Edition. In the case of YHWH. or in God’s decision on changing Jacob’s name: ‫ ַיעֲקֹ ב‬for ‫( י ְׁש ָּראֵ ל‬Gen. Jeffrey H. 1986.had a role in Israel’s history: “To establish the ways that Israel were to live in community with one another and to provide for their relationship with and worship of Yahweh. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. their God.32:28). . he was no longer a “supplanter”. Their names were in Biblical Hebrew and could be understood by any Israelite. any kind of misusing of His name –the commandment is worded in a general sense. and abounding in covenant loyalty and truth (Ex. Logically so. his personal name manifests his essence: “YHWH. Therefore. and that gave a new identity to Jacob by changing his name. 169. It also forms the moral and spiritual ground for the more detailed covenant stipulations that will be 86 Tigay. 87 Gordon D. WITHIN THE OLD TESTAMENT The law –used in reference to the commandments of the covenant. naming in Israel (at least in pre-exilic times) were originated in their language. did not want his son to be identified as someone who brings sorrow. 34:6). The motivation behind the renaming is a change of identity. 5-7. a God compassionate and gracious. 35:18). to His holiness.is a high offense to the His personal character. Atlanta. written in stone with the very finger of God. they were very sensitive to the meaning of names. slow to anger.

New Dictionary of Biblical Theology. The stiff-necked people worshiping their golden calf in Exodus was a representative pattern of 850 years of its life as a 88 Ed. T. ESV). Israel’s faithfulness to the stipulations of the covenant was the ultimate expression of their loyalty to YHWH. which I am commanding you today. Stuart. Alexander. They rejected YHWH over and over while He kept sending his servants. This fact is clearly noted in the repetition of the Decalogue in Deuteronomy 5 when Moses is instructing a different generation that is about to enter into the promise land and start living as a nation. However. 89 . 179. 631. Baker.88 But the most important feature is the relational nature of the Decalogue for the reason that YHWH is establishing a hesed-relationship with Israel here. shall be on your heart. and the Decalogue was the solid ground on which they were commanded to stand firm as a nation89. D. B.A. Alexander & D. the prophets. Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch. 90 G. with a message like this: “Turn to him from whom people have deeply revolted. Rosner. D.S. O children of Israel” (Isa 31:6. T. In the following chapter. D. O Israel! YHWH is our God. In addition to this. "These words.D. unfaithfulness to the very heart of the law was the common characteristic of Israel’s history. (Deu 6:4-6) Could you hear the echo of the three first commandments in the Shema? We could say that Israel’s identity was to be a covenant-based community. all the surrounding and following events point out to the utmost importance of These Words for Israel’s identity. Their keeping of the law was not for the law’s own sake but because God is holy and the law exhibits something of His character90. 170. The identity of Israel as God’s holy people is rooted in the Decalogue. Fee. we find a sort of national declaration: "Hear.Loayza 26 established later. Carson. YHWH is one! "You shall love YHWH your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth.

although. Therefore. and they have been particularly helpful to discern the similarities between the Sinai covenant and its renewals. 93 Kitchen. law and covenant through six chronological phases (from ca. Kitchen presents an outline history of treaty. varied in genre and style.) 93. 242-244. 282-285. than other Ancient Near Eastern texts related to the Sinaitic covenant and its 91 Bittel. when the curses of the covenant finally fell upon them.A.Loayza 27 nation until its exile to Babylon in 586 B. 9. K.C) using between 80 and 90 documents in order to establish a very accurate and unambiguous framework against which.C. New York: Oxford University Press. On the Reliability of the Old Testament. On the Reliability of the Old Testament. the capital of the Hittites. 92 . The comparative studies of the cache of tablets have brought light to the understanding of the nature of the book. thanks to this archaeological insight. for the purpose of this paper. we can understand better the literary style and nature of the legal corpus of Exodus as a work exhibiting a basic correspondence with late Hittite treaties. The factual evidence of 31 Hittite treaties shows us that there is an undisputable correspondence between the Sinaitic covenant and the Hittite treaties classified as phase V (1400-1200 B. Kurt. In this regard. noting at the same time that its content is more exhaustive. 287-288. 2500 to 650 B. Hattusha. a small Turkish village east of the middle course of the Halys river in Northern Cappadocia which once was the settlement of the capital of the Hittite empire –Hattusha have brought light upon the understanding of the genre and content of the Book of Exodus91. and other treaty/law/covenant documents in the Ancient Near East92. Kitchen. we can set the content of the legal corpus given in Sinai.C. 1970. CULTURAL ENVIRONMENT The archeological findings in 1905 and 1906 of some cuneiform tablets in Bogazkoy.

Loayza 28 renewal in the book of Deuteronomy. idolatry was the normal standard for religion in the ancient world. If we recall the incident of the golden calf and. . on the other hand. Third. which for the ancients it shares the essence of the divinity. First. On the Reliability of the Old Testament. So for the Israelite there was no other way to look at to feel “accepted” by their surrounding society. and the following “party” before the idol. Other important cultural aspect of the environment in which the Decalogue was given to the Israelites is the surrounding idolatrous practices of their past and future neighbors. Were they thinking that the calf partook of the essence of God? Probably so. The Decalogue. The favor of the gods was in direct proportion to the generosity in offerings of the worshiper.20:1). We need to understand that idolatry was a lifestyle and a part of a well-structured religious system in the ancient world. raises the bar exceedingly high in comparison to any other extant culture. which their biggest worry was (make us a god who will go before us!). Life of individuals as well as nations were rooted in the divine. idolatry was an easy deal because it does not demand ethical behavior. The Decalogue. then we clearly see that prohibition about copying images was directed to common habits and it may explain why they so fast fell into this sin. idolatry offers a “guarantee” of the presence of a god by means of his image. and why Aaron identify this statue as YHWH. 94 Kitchen. according to this discovered legal pattern corresponds to the Title/Preamble (Ex. 284. Second. Certain aspects of idolatry are relevant for our present discussion. Their only standard to live by was the Decalogue in order to be set apart as a holy nation to YHWH. Historical Prologue (20:2) and the Basic Stipulations of the covenant (20:3-17)94.

Considering that Christ came to not only to fulfill the law. . His answer gives to the Decalogue a center role and. but also to reinterpret it. The numbering. and portions of it are included by Paul in his letters. however. and with all your soul. Some biblical scholars view the Sermon of the Mount as a reinterpretation of the Decalogue. Jas 2:10-11. Col 3:12-14. Which basically refers to the first four commandments of the Decalogue about Israel’s relationship with YHWH.Loayza 29 WITHIN THE NEW TESTAMENT Teacher. Even if there is an authorial intention to make a parallel between these two events. in the letter to the Hebrews. current relevance in New Testament times. 1 Co 10:14. Jesus and YHWH are speaking from the mountain. Finally. and actually the parallel is very appealing: There is a big audience in both events. Lord Jesus says: “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets”. which is the great commandment in the Law? The answer of the great Master to this question was a summary of a long list of detailed laws in just one phrase: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart. The second half of the answer is similar: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”. is not the same. The principles given in the Decalogue are mentioned in several occasions in the New Testament95. and Jesus’ disciples went with him just as Moses was also in the mountain with YHWH. and this part refers to the remaining six commandments. and with all your mind”. and James’ letter. 95 Ro 13:8-10. what we should not imply is that the Decalogue is no longer relevant for the church as the new Israel and fulfillment of the promise to Abraham.

we). but more importantly is to understand that the Mosaic covenant was not a means for salvation. It was a gift from God to them in order to establish a relationship with Him. Gordon argues. and the Decalogue as a part of it. It is indeed good news.e. so there is an intrinsic conditionality which is reflected in the blessing-curse language used later. D. Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch. Stuart. And so you shall be a blessing. 170. The Sinai administration. i. it is necessary to keep it in the context of God’s elective purpose for Israel and keeping in mind at the same time God’s promise to Abraham: “And I will make you a great nation. the God of Israel has provided a highest way to approach Him which is through faith in His son. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. was made with a particular nation and it excluded others (Gentiles. in which blessings are the visible evidence of YHWH’s favor to those who keep covenant with Him. In order for us to understand the theological function of The Decalogue within God’s redemptive history. 424. (Gen 12:2)”. But the good news is that we are no longer obligated to keep the covenant since it is part of Israel’s history. . Alexander and D. as D. and I will bless you. and make your name great.Loayza 30 BIBLICAL THEOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK The Sinaitic covenant. it actually prevented 96 97 G. Both parties are put under obligations. For us today. The primary concern of the Mosaic covenant was the way in which the hesedrelationship between YHWH and that great nation descended for Abraham should be maintained97. So. functioned as the vehicle by which Israel entered in a hesed-relationship with YHWH. because we have already seen that Israel was never able to fulfill the obligations of the covenant. Fee. D. whereas curses highlight the devastating consequences of rejecting Him96.

com/moneytips/household-debt-surpasses_b_10060954. In his last words he told his disciples: "A new commandment I give to you. From our gentile perspective. ed. in a similar way that Israel’s covenant loyalty showed others who their God was. 2016). if you have love for one another. 240-258. "By this all men will know that you are My disciples. 2009. you may ask. and He is still a redeemer for us in Christ. http://www. The Law Is Not of Faith: Essays on Works and Grace in the Mosaic Covenant." (Joh 13:34-35) If I were to choose a parallel principle for Israel’s keeping of the covenant to show his loyalty to YHWH. How.00099.Loayza 31 the entire fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise. 99 Huffpost Business. have 98 T. household debt has now passed the $90. May 23. just as the Israelites.html (accessed Jun 8. Fesko. The “2015 American Household Credit Card Debt Study” also showed that the average household with debt owes $130. the Sinaitic covenant was more a barrier for salvation that a vehicle for it98. P&R. We have already mentioned our Lord Jesus recalling the great and foremost commandment. 2016. However. when God gave them these words. J. Bryan Estelle. APPLICATION AND CONTEXTUALIZATION A recent study shows that the average U.S.huffingtonpost. and David VanDrunen. as Christians. that you also love one another. . David Gordon. V. even as I have loved you. I would choose this verse. Our love to one another is the exhibition of God’s love to the unbelieving world.000 mark. Finally. because YHWH is still the only true and almighty God. the principles of the Decalogue are still speaking to us. that you love one another. we cannot disregard the ethical and spiritual principles that the Decalogue brings out to our life. these statistics are related to the Decalogue? It is not that it was given only to Israel at Sinai and we are no under its obligations? It is true that we were not under slavery in a foreign country and we are far from being part of a fleeing nomadic nation as Israel was. And we.

Do not fear the answers and ask the Lord in prayer. Are you too busy to spend time in waiting to hear God’s calling? Are you feeling shame for something you keep doing and nobody knows about it? Where is your safe place if everything falls apart? What is the first thought that comes to your mind when you are in real trouble? There are so many questions we can ask ourselves in order to identify what is that which keep us apart from the Lord. What constitutes a God? Martin Luther’s answer was: whatever your heart clings to and relies upon. but instead we buy them. We are modern idolaters who do not fashion their own idols. 100 D. To that the Lord replied: “If you wish to be complete.Loayza 32 deceiving hearts always seeking after the fulfillment in the wrong places. then your heart is not in the right place. Debt means in many cases that you do not how to live with what God gives you. Or maybe. and you will have treasure in heaven. Alexander and D. trust and faith of the heart alone make both God and idol100. Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch." (Mat 19:20-22). follow Me. 175. Let’s teach our hearts to cling and rely only upon the Lord. You have more than enough and you have a very peaceful life. or maybe that you do not wait until He provides so you fashion your own way to get what you want. and come. you have no debts. Whatever is preventing you to answer Jesus’ invitation to follow him is an idol. that is your god. If your heart does not get excited with Jesus’ invitation to follow Him. There was someone like you who once met Jesus and ask him: what am I still lacking? I keep all the commandments. go and sell your possessions and give to the poor. You keep all the commandments. .

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