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What is the correct list of the Ten Commandments?

Full Question

My RCIA teacher’s list of Ten Commandments excludes the second commandment forbidding idolatry and breaks the tenth into two separate commandments forbidding coveting. What is the correct listing of the Ten Commandments?


God’s commandments as recorded in Deuteronomy 5:6–21 and Exodus 20:2–17 seem to add up to more than ten, so it is not perfectly clear how their numbering is to be reckoned. The numbering used in your RCIA class is consistent with the traditional Catholic catechetical formula. Numbered this way, the commandment prohibiting idolatry is not left out but, rather, is considered to be a part of the first commandment.



  1. Patrick Gannon Reply

    What about this list? Isn’t it the only one specifically referred to as the “Ten Commandments”? The others are referenced as such by titles added after the fact, and are not referred to as such in the text itself. Here, according to the bible, are the real 10 commandments:
    10 Then the Lord said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you. 11 Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 12 Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you. 13 Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles.[a] 14 [ONE] Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
    15 [TWO] “Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land; for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you and you will eat their sacrifices. 16 And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same.
    17 [THREE] “Do not make any idols.
    18 [FOUR] “Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. For seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Aviv, for in that month you came out of Egypt.
    19 [FIVE] “The first offspring of every womb belongs to me, including all the firstborn males of your livestock, whether from herd or flock. 20 Redeem the firstborn donkey with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem all your firstborn sons.
    “No one is to appear before me empty-handed.
    21 [SIX] “Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.
    22 [SEVEN] “Celebrate the Festival of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Festival of Ingathering at the turn of the year.[b] 23 Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign Lord, the God of Israel. 24 I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the Lord your God.
    25 [EIGHT] “Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing yeast, and do not let any of the sacrifice from the Passover Festival remain until morning.
    26 [NINE] “Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God.
    [TEN] “Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.”
    27 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” 28 Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments. Exodus 34:10-28
    The section begins by stating, ‘Behold I make a covenant’ and ends with “in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” Why wouldn’t these be the real 10 commandments, since they were the only set referred to as such by Yahweh himself?
    I confess some curiosity regarding why a particular recipe for cooking goats is so critical that it makes Yahweh’s top ten list!

    1. Todd Reply

      Because that is a covenant not the 10 commandments. Answers In Genesis have an article about your question.

      1. Patrick Gannon Reply

        Did you not read the entire passage: “28 Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.” The bible calls it the 10 commandments. The covenant – the agreement – was that the Israelites should follow the commandments and then Yahweh would favor them. (If you go back to the first covenant with Abraham it has few if any conditions. Every time the covenant was renewed, Yahweh added more conditions – like these 10 Commandments).
        As for Answers in Genesis, I’d as soon take my brain out and play soccer with it, than visit that den of lunacy. Besides I’m blocked from blogging there, so I’m not going to spend time on that ridiculously, ignorant site. They didn’t like me sharing actual facts with the fundagelicals struggling along with their 5th grade educations.

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