Exegesis on Exodus 20

2254 Words Nov 15th, 2007 10 Pages
Bible Exegesis: Exodus 20

Prior to beginning this assignment, I had already found a passionate interest in theology, primarily the logical historical analysis of the Old Testament. I had read several books on the topic, but still had a thirst for more knowledge. With that said, my preceding assumptions predominantly consisted of skepticism towards the religious interpretation of the Old Testament. I believed that Exodus 20 was a prime example of the religious establishment interpreting an ancient text as to be divine. I felt that the Ten Commandments were nothing more then a moral code of antiquity, established as an ethical compass by spiritual leaders in a religious society.
Exodus 20 is a hot button topic in today’s polarized
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Exodus 20 begins by stating that this is the word of god, or Elohim. Verse two continues this assertion by proclaiming, I am “YHWH thy God, who have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” (Darby Translation Bible Exod 20:2). This statement immediately grabs the reader’s attention and imposes his authority as the savior of the Israelites who formed a covenant with his “chosen people” that they shall obey only him. YHWH demands this authority in Exodus 20:3 when he says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” However, The Jerusalem Bible provides a more telling interpretation of Exodus 20:3, “There shall be no strange god for you before my face.” This suggests that the acknowledgement of other gods is accepted, as long as YHWH is the only god worshiped. As Karen Alexander Explains, “To ignore a potential source of (divine intervention) seemed frankly foolhardy, and the subsequent history of the Israelites shows that they were very reluctant to neglect the cult of the other gods” (23).
During antiquity, it was widely assumed that gods only controlled specified territories or earthly tasks. So, as people would travel outside the territory of one god, they would begin worship of another. This fundamental belief originates from the ancient Babylonian myth of the Enuma Elish. In this story of creation, gods emerge from primordial…

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