(1) On the third new moon after the Israelites had gone forth from the land of Egypt, on that very day, they entered the wilderness of Sinai. (2) Having journeyed from Rephidim, they entered the wilderness of Sinai and encamped in the wilderness. Israel encamped there in front of the mountain, (3) and Moses went up to God. ה' called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob and declare to the children of Israel: (4) ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Me. (5) Now then, if you will obey Me faithfully and keep My covenant, you shall be My treasured possession among all the peoples. Indeed, all the earth is Mine, (6) but you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the children of Israel.” (7) Moses came and summoned the elders of the people and put before them all that ה' had commanded him. (8) All those assembled answered as one, saying, “All that ה' has spoken we will do!” And Moses brought back the people’s words to ה'. (9) And ה' said to Moses, “I will come to you in a thick cloud, in order that the people may hear when I speak with you and so trust you ever after.” Then Moses reported the people’s words to ה', (10) and ה' said to Moses, “Go to the people and warn them to stay pure*pure Cf. v. 15. today and tomorrow. Let them wash their clothes. (11) Let them be ready for the third day; for on the third day ה' will come down, in the sight of all the people, on Mount Sinai. (12) You shall set bounds for the people round about, saying, ‘Beware of going up the mountain or touching the border of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death (13) without being touched—by being either stoned or shot; beast or person, a trespasser shall not live.’ When the ram’s horn sounds a long blast,*sounds a long blast Meaning of Heb. uncertain. they may go up on the mountain.” (14) Moses came down from the mountain to the people and warned the people to stay pure, and they washed their clothes. (15) And he said to the people, “Be ready for the third day: [the men among]*[the men among] See the Dictionary under “you.” you should not go near a woman.” (16) On the third day, as morning dawned, there was thunder, and lightning, and a dense cloud upon the mountain, and a very loud blast of the horn; and all the people who were in the camp trembled. (17) Moses led the people out of the camp toward God, and they took their places at the foot of the mountain. (18) Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke, for ה' had come down upon it in fire; the smoke rose like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain*the whole mountain Some Hebrew manuscripts and the Greek read “all the people”; cf. v. 16. trembled violently. (19) The blare of the horn grew louder and louder. As Moses spoke, God answered him in thunder. (20) ה' came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain, and ה' called Moses to the top of the mountain and Moses went up. (21) ה' said to Moses, “Go down, warn the people not to break through to ה' to gaze, lest many of them perish. (22) The priests also, who come near ה', must stay pure, lest ה' break out against them.” (23) But Moses said to ה', “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for You warned us saying, ‘Set bounds about the mountain and sanctify it.’” (24) So ה' said to him, “Go down, and come back together with Aaron; but let not the priests or the people break through to come up to ה', lest [God] break out against them.” (25) And Moses went down to the people and spoke to them. (1) God spoke all these words,*these words Tradition varies as to the division of the Commandments in vv. 2–14, and as to the numbering of the verses from 2 on. Cf. note at Deut. 5.6. saying: (2) I ה' am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage: (3) You*You The Decalogue is couched both in the second-person masculine singular and in terms of a household—the basic social and economic unit. Such a format addresses the legal provisions to whichever responsible party they apply—most typically the (male) householder, or he and his (primary) wife as household administrators, or every man, or every adult member of the community. Cf. note at Deut. 12.7. See further the Dictionary under “house,” “householder,” and “you.” shall have no other gods besides Me. (4) You shall not make for yourself a sculptured image, or any likeness of what is in the heavens above, or on the earth below, or in the waters under the earth. (5) You shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I your God ה' am an impassioned God, visiting the guilt of the parents upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generations of those who reject Me. (6) but showing kindness to the thousandth generation of those who love Me and keep My commandments. (7) You shall not swear falsely by*swear falsely by Others “take in vain.” the name of your God ה'; for ה' will not clear one who swears falsely by God’s name. (8) Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy. (9) Six days you shall labor and do all your work, (10) but the seventh day is a sabbath of your God ה': you shall not do any work—you, your son or daughter, your male or female slave, or your cattle, or the stranger who is within your settlements. (11) For in six days ה' made heaven and earth and sea—and all that is in them—and then rested on the seventh day; therefore ה' blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it. (12) Honor your father and your mother, that you may long endure on the land that your God ה' is assigning to you. (13) You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (14) You shall not covet your neighbor’s house:*house I.e., the corporate household, both persons and possessions. (Cf. Deut. 5.18.) Heb. bayith, in construct form (beth). See the Dictionary under “house.” you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife,*wife In ancient Israel, a typical man could take a woman (even more than one) into his household as a wife; but a typical woman was not in a symmetrical position—which explains why “husband” is not also mentioned. See also note at v. 3. or male or female slave, or ox or ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s. (15) All the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the blare of the horn and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they fell back and stood at a distance. (16) “You speak to us,” they said to Moses, “and we will obey; but let not God speak to us, lest we die.” (17) Moses answered the people, “Be not afraid; for God has come only in order to test you, and in order that the fear of God may be ever with you, so that you do not go astray.” (18) So the people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was. (19) ה' said to Moses: Thus shall you say to the Israelites: You yourselves saw that I spoke to you from the very heavens: (20) With Me, therefore, you shall not make any gods of silver, nor shall you make for yourselves any gods of gold. (21) Make for Me an altar of earth and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your sacrifices of well-being,*sacrifices of well-being Others “peace-offering.” Meaning of Heb. shelamim uncertain. your sheep and your oxen; in every place where I cause My name to be mentioned I will come to you and bless you. (22) And if you make for Me an altar of stones, do not build it of hewn stones; for by wielding your tool upon them you have profaned them. (23) Do not ascend My altar by steps, that your nakedness may not be exposed upon it. (1) These are the rules that you shall set before them: (2) When you acquire a Hebrew slave, that person shall serve six years—and shall go free in the seventh year, without payment. (3) If [a male slave] came single, he shall leave single; if he had a wife, his wife shall leave with him. (4) If his master gave him a wife, and she has borne him children, the wife and her children shall belong to the master, and he shall leave alone. (5) But if the slave declares, “I love my master, and my wife and children: I do not wish to go free,” (6) his master shall take him before God.*before God Others “to the judges.” He shall be brought to the door or the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall then remain his master’s slave for life. (7) When a parent*parent More precisely, “[salient] participant [in the situation],” which would include the girl’s mother; cf. 2 Kings 4.1. Trad. “man.” See the Dictionary under ’ish. sells a daughter as a slave, she shall not go free as other slaves do. (8) If she proves to be displeasing to her master, who designated her for himself, he must let her be redeemed; he shall not have the right to sell her to outsiders, since he broke faith with her. (9) And if the master designated her for a son, he shall deal with her as is the practice with free maidens. (10) If he takes another [into the household as his wife], he must not withhold from this one her food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights.*conjugal rights Or “ointments.” (11) If he fails her in these three ways, she shall go free, without payment. (12) One who fatally strikes another party shall be put to death. (13) If [a man]*[a man] Like all ancient Near Eastern law collections, the Torah’s laws are illustrative rather than comprehensive. Its asylum schema does not appear to treat the case of a woman who kills someone, which would have been more complicated. did so but not by design—it came about by an act of God—I will assign you a place to which he can flee. (14) When one party schemes against another and kills through treachery, you shall take that person from My very altar to be put to death. (15) One who strikes one’s father or mother shall be put to death. (16) One who kidnaps another party—whether having sold or still holding the victim—shall be put to death. (17) One who insults*insults Or “reviles.” one’s father or mother shall be put to death. (18) When [two] parties quarrel and one strikes the other with stone or fist, and the victim does not die but has to take to bed. (19) if that victim then gets up and walks outdoors upon a staff, the assailant shall go unpunished—except for paying for the idleness and the cure. (20) When a slave-owning party strikes a slave, male or female, with a rod, who dies there and then,*there and then Lit. “under his hand.” this must be avenged. (21) But if the victim survives a day or two, this is not to be avenged, since the one is the other’s property. (22) When [two or more] parties fight, and one of them pushes a pregnant woman and a miscarriage results, but no other damage ensues, the one responsible*the one responsible Heb. “he.” shall be fined according as the woman’s husband may exact, the payment to be based on reckoning.*on reckoning Others “as the judges determine.” (23) But if other damage ensues, the penalty shall be life for life, (24) eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, (25) burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. (26) When a slave-owning party strikes the eye of a slave, male or female, and destroys it, that person shall let the slave go free on account of the eye. (27) If the owner knocks out the tooth of a slave, male or female, that person shall let the slave go free on account of the tooth. (28) When an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox shall be stoned and its flesh shall not be eaten, but the owner of the ox is not to be punished. (29) If, however, that ox has been in the habit of goring, and its owner, though warned, has failed to guard it, and it kills a man or a woman—the ox shall be stoned and its owner, too, shall be put to death. (30) If ransom is imposed, the owner must pay whatever is imposed to redeem the owner’s own life. (31) So, too, if it gores a minor, male or female, [its owner] shall be dealt with according to the same rule. (32) But if the ox gores a slave, male or female, [its owner] shall pay thirty shekels of silver to the master, and the ox shall be stoned. (33) When any party opens a pit, or when any party digs a pit and does not cover it, and an ox or an ass falls into it, (34) the one responsible for the pit must make restitution—paying the price to the owner, but keeping the dead animal. (35) When any party’s ox injures a neighbor’s ox and it dies, they shall sell the live ox and divide its price; they shall also divide the dead animal. (36) If, however, it is known that the ox was in the habit of goring, and its owner has failed to guard it, that person must restore ox for ox, but shall keep the dead animal. (37) *This verse constitutes 22.1 in some editions. When any party steals an ox or a sheep, and slaughters it or sells it, that person shall pay five oxen for the ox, and four sheep for the sheep.— (1) If the thief is seized while tunneling*tunneling I.e., under a wall for housebreaking. and beaten to death, there is no bloodguilt in that case. (2) If the sun had already risen, there is bloodguilt in that case.—[The thief] must make restitution, and if lacking the means, shall be sold for the theft. (3) But if what was stolen—whether ox or ass or sheep—is found alive and in hand, that person shall pay double. (4) When any party who owns livestock lets it loose to graze in another’s land, and so allows a field or a vineyard to be grazed bare, restitution must be made for the impairment*impairment Lit. “excellence.” of that field or vineyard. (5) When a fire is started and spreads to thorns, so that stacked, standing, or growing*growing Lit. “field.” grain is consumed, the one who started the fire must make restitution. (6) When any party gives money or goods to another for safekeeping, and they are stolen from that other party’s house: if caught, the thief shall pay double; (7) if the thief is not caught, the owner of the house shall depose before God*before God See note at 21.6. and deny laying hands on the other’s property. (8) (In all charges of misappropriation—pertaining to an ox, an ass, a sheep, a garment, or any other loss, whereof one party alleges, “This is it”—the case of both parties shall come before God: the one whom God declares guilty shall pay double to the other.) (9) When any party gives to another an ass, an ox, a sheep or any other animal to guard, and it dies or is injured or is carried off, with no witness about, (10) an oath before ה' shall decide between the two of them that the one has not laid hands on the property of the other; the owner must acquiesce, and no restitution shall be made. (11) But if [the animal] was stolen from the guardian, restitution shall be made to its owner. (12) If it was torn by beasts, the guardian shall bring it as evidence—not needing to replace what has been torn by beasts. (13) When any party borrows [an animal] from another and it dies or is injured, its owner not being with it, restitution must be made. (14) If its owner was with it, no restitution need be made; but if it was hired, that payment is due. (15) If a man seduces a virgin for whom the bride-price has not been paid,*the bride-price has not been paid So that she is unmarried; cf. Deut. 20.7; 22.23ff. and lies with her, he must make her his wife by payment of a bride-price. (16) If her father refuses to give her to him, he must still weigh out silver in accordance with the bride-price for virgins. (17) You shall not tolerate*tolerate Lit. “let live.” a sorceress. (18) Whoever lies with a beast shall be put to death. (19) Whoever sacrifices to a god other than ה' alone shall be proscribed.*proscribed See Lev. 27.29. (20) You shall not wrong or oppress a stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. (21) You [communal leaders]*[communal leaders] In ancient Israel (and the Near East), the responsibility for assisting and protecting widows and the fatherless was understood to rest upon local householders, elders, priests, and the king. See, e.g., Zech. 7.10; Ezek. 22.6–7; Isa. 1.23; Jer. 22.3. shall not ill-treat any widow or orphan. (22) If you do mistreat them, I will heed their outcry as soon as they cry out to Me, (23) and My anger shall blaze forth and I will put you to the sword, and your own wives shall become widows and your children orphans. (24) If you lend money to My people, to the poor among you, do not act toward them as a creditor; exact no interest from them. (25) If you take your neighbor’s garment in pledge, you must return it before the sun sets; (26) it is the only available clothing—it is what covers the skin. In what else shall [your neighbor] sleep? Therefore, if that person cries out to Me, I will pay heed, for I am compassionate. (27) You shall not revile God, nor put a curse upon a chieftain among your people. (28) You shall not put off the skimming of the first yield of your vats.*put off the skimming of the first yield of your vats Meaning of Heb. uncertain. You shall give Me the male first-born among your children. (29) You shall do the same with your cattle and your flocks: seven days the male first-born*the male first-born Lit. “it.” shall remain with its mother; on the eighth day you shall give it to Me. (30) You shall be holy people to Me: you must not eat flesh torn by beasts in the field; you shall cast it to the dogs. (1) You must not carry false rumors; you shall not join hands with the guilty to act as a malicious witness: (2) You shall neither side with the mighty*mighty Others “multitude.” to do wrong—you shall not give perverse testimony in a dispute so as to pervert it in favor of the mighty— (3) nor shall you show deference to a poor person in a dispute. (4) When you encounter your enemy’s ox or ass wandering, you must take it back. (5) When you see the ass of your enemy lying under its burden and would refrain from raising*raising For this use of the verb ‘zb, cf. Neh. 3.8, 34. For the whole verse, see Deut. 22.4. it, you must nevertheless help raise it. (6) You shall not subvert the rights of your needy in their disputes. (7) Keep far from a false charge; do not bring death on those who are innocent and in the right, for I will not acquit the wrongdoer. (8) Do not take bribes, for bribes blind the clear-sighted and upset the pleas of those who are in the right. (9) You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt. (10) Six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield; (11) but in the seventh you shall let it rest and lie fallow. Let the needy among your people eat of it, and what they leave let the wild beasts eat. You shall do the same with your vineyards and your olive groves. (12) Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall cease from labor, in order that your ox and your ass may rest, and that your home-born slave and the stranger may be refreshed. (13) Be on guard concerning all that I have told you. Make no mention of the names of other gods; they shall not be heard on your lips. (14) Three times a year you shall hold a festival for Me: (15) You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread—eating unleavened bread for seven days as I have commanded you—at the set time in the month*in the month See note at 13.4. of Abib, for in it you went forth from Egypt; and none shall appear before Me empty-handed; (16) and the Feast of the Harvest, of the first fruits of your work, of what you sow in the field; and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in the results of your work from the field. (17) Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Sovereign, ה'. (18) You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with anything leavened; and the fat of My festal offering shall not be left lying until morning. (19) The choice first fruits of your soil you shall bring to the house of your God ה'. You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk. (20) I am sending a messenger before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have made ready. (21) Pay heed to him and obey him. Do not defy him, for he will not pardon your offenses, since My Name is in him; (22) but if you obey him and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and a foe to your foes. (23) When My messenger goes before you and brings you to the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, and I annihilate them, (24) you shall not bow down to their gods in worship or follow their practices, but shall tear them down and smash their pillars to bits. (25) You shall serve your God ה', who will bless your bread and your water. And I will remove sickness from your midst. (26) No woman in your land shall miscarry or be barren. I will let you enjoy the full count of your days. (27) I will send forth My terror before you, and I will throw into panic all the people among whom you come, and I will make all your enemies turn tail*tail Lit. “back.” before you. (28) I will send a plague*plague Others “hornet”; meaning of Heb. ṣir‘ah uncertain. Cf. Deut. 7.20. ahead of you, and it shall drive out before you the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites. (29) I will not drive them out before you in a single year, lest the land become desolate and the wild beasts multiply to your hurt. (30) I will drive them out before you little by little, until you have increased and possess the land. (31) I will set your borders from the Sea of Reeds to the Sea of Philistia, and from the wilderness to the Euphrates; for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hands, and you will drive them out before you. (32) You shall make no covenant with them and their gods. (33) They shall not remain in your land, lest they cause you to sin against Me; for you will serve their gods—and it will prove a snare to you. (1) Then [God] said to Moses, “Come up to ה', with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy elders of Israel, and bow low from afar. (2) Moses alone shall come near ה'; but the others shall not come near, nor shall the people come up with him.” (3) Moses went and repeated to the people all the commands of ה' and all the rules; and all the people answered with one voice, saying, “All the things that ה' has commanded we will do!” (4) Moses then wrote down all the commands of ה'. Early in the morning, he set up an altar at the foot of the mountain, with twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel. (5) He designated some assistants*some assistants Heb. na‘arim (in construct); NJPS “some young men.” See the Dictionary under na‘ar. among the Israelites, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed bulls as offerings of well-being to ה'. (6) Moses took one part of the blood and put it in basins, and the other part of the blood he dashed against the altar. (7) Then he took the record of the covenant and read it aloud to the people. And they said, “All that ה' has spoken we will faithfully do!”*we will faithfully do Lit. “we will do and obey.” (8) Moses took the blood and dashed it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that ה' now makes with you concerning all these commands.” (9) Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy elders of Israel ascended; (10) and they saw the God of Israel—under whose feet was the likeness of a pavement of sapphire, like the very sky for purity. (11) Yet [God] did not raise a hand against the leaders*leaders Meaning of Heb. ’aṣilim uncertain. of the Israelites; they beheld God, and they ate and drank. (12) ה' said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and wait there, and I will give you the stone tablets with the teachings and commandments which I have inscribed to instruct them.” (13) So Moses and his attendant Joshua arose, and Moses ascended the mountain of God. (14) To the elders he had said, “Wait here for us until we return to you. You have Aaron and Hur with you; let anyone who has a legal matter approach them.” (15) When Moses had ascended the mountain, the cloud covered the mountain. (16) The Presence of ה' abode on Mount Sinai, and the cloud hid it for six days. On the seventh day [God] called to Moses from the midst of the cloud. (17) Now the Presence of ה' appeared in the sight of the Israelites as a consuming fire on the top of the mountain. (18) Moses went inside the cloud and ascended the mountain; and Moses remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights.