Interesting Facts About The Ten Commandments

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The Ten Commandments Scroll is only on display at Discovery Times Square for four more days, so buy your tickets now if you want to want a chance to see one of the most remarkable documents to influence Western civilization. To pique your interest even more, here are some interesting facts about the Ten Commandments:

According to the Old Testament books of Exodus and Deuteronomy, the God of Israel speaks to the Israelites in a set of remarks known as the Decalogue, or the “ten words,” and inscribes these Ten Commandments on a set of stone tablets. But according to Jewish tradition, God actually gave the Jewish people 613 mitzvot (commandments), which are all equally sacred and equally binding. The Ten Commandments are generally viewed as ideological foundations for the rest of the 603 mitzvot. 

The Christian New Testament does not contain the full Decalogue, but individual commandments are cited throughout. The Decalogue also foreshadows Jesus’ “double love” commandment, which requires love of God and love of neighbor. 

The Decalogue is also present in the Muslim holy book, the Koran, which mentions the Ten Commandments inscribed on tablets: “and We ordained laws for him [Musa, or Moses] in the tablets in all matters, both commanding and explaining all things [and said], ‘Take and hold these with firmness, and enjoin thy people to hold fast by the best in the precepts’… ” (sura 7, verse 145). Like the New Testament, the Koran also includes equivalents of most of the commandments.

There’s no standard version of the Ten Commandments shared between modern Jewish and Christian traditions—and even within Christianity itself. For instance, the First Commandment in modern Judaism is “I am the Lord your God,” but this is treated as a preface, not as a commandment, in Christianity. Meanwhile, the Second Commandment in Christian Orthodox and most Protestant traditions, “You shall not make for yourself an idol,” isn’t even a commandment in Modern Judaism and the Catholic, Lutheran and Anglican Churches. 

And one of the most interesting facts about the Ten Commandments if you live in the U.S.? This is the probably the last time the legendary Ten Commandments Scroll will be put on display in this country. The Israeli government understands how important it is to protect this remarkable document for future generations, and repeated travel only increases the incredible fragility of the scroll. So don’t miss your chance to see it in person!