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THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

 
 

 

 

Samaritan understanding

The Samaritans have a slightly different version of the Torah than the Jews, that is written in the original Hebrew script and harmonizes many of its contradictions.

One example of such recension is found in the Ten Commandments: Here the Exodus and Deuteronomy versions have been combined in Exodus, thus removing any difficulties, such as whether to "remember" or "keep" the Sabbath. The commandments are also numbered differently than the Jewish version, making room for a new tenth commandment on the sanctity of Mount Gerizim, which for the Samaritans is equivalent to Jerusalem for the Jews.

Thus the selection of Mount Garizim as the chosen spot where the memorial stones were to be placed, upon which the words of these Commandments were to be written, and where an altar was to be built and the sanctuary established, was thus no longer a mere stray Commandment found in various verses in Deuteronomy.

Exodus 20:24 has been harmonized accordingly. Whereas the Jewish version reads, 'in all places where I will record my Name', the Samaritan version reads, 'in that place where I have caused my Name to be recorded', with that place of course being Mount Gerizim.

   The Samaritan tenth commandment is even present in the Septuagint, though Origenes notes that it is not part of the Jewish text.

The verses which follow the Decalogue in Exodus and in Deuteronomy are a direct continuation of the Revelation, containing additional commandments that God gave to Moses.

In the Jewish Torah, the discrepancies here are greater than those of the Decalogue, but in the Samaritan recension these have mostly been ironed out.

The Samaritan Tenth Commandment and Succeeding Verses [4]

And it shall come to pass when the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land of the Canaanites whither thou goest to take possession of it, thou shalt erect unto thee large stones, and thou shalt cover them with lime, and thou shalt write upon the stones all the words of this Law, and it shall come to pass when ye cross the Jordan, ye shall erect these stones which I command thee upon Mount Gerizim, and thou shalt build there an altar unto the Lord thy God, an altar of stones, and thou shalt not lift upon them iron, of perfect stones shalt thou build tine altar, and thou shalt bring upon it burnt offerings to the Lord thy God, and thou shalt sacrifice peace offerings, and thou shalt eat there and rejoice before the Lord thy God.

That mountain is on the other side of the Jordan at the end of the road towards the going down of the sun in the land of the Canaanites who dwell in the Arabah facing Gilgal close by Elon Moreh facing Shechem.

And all the people heard the voices and the sound of the trumpets and they saw the flames and the mountain smoking, and all the people saw it and they trembled and stood afar off, and they said unto Moses, "Behold the Lord our God hath showed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire; this day have we seen that God doth talk with man and he liveth.

Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us; if we should continue to hear the voice of the Lord our God anymore, then we shall die. For who is there of all flesh that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire as have we, and yet live? Go thou near and hear all that the Lord thy God shall say, and speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God shall speak unto thee, and we will hear and do, but let not God speak with us lest we die."

And Moses said unto the people, "Do not fear, for God is come to prove you, and that the fear of him may be before your faces, that ye sin not." And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near to the thick darkness where was God.

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, "I have heard the voice of the words of this people, which they have spoken unto thee; they have well said all that they have spoken. I that there were such an heart in them that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them and with their children for ever. [Deut. 19:18] I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee; and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.

And it shall come to pass that whosoever will not hearken unto his words which he shall speak in my Name, I will require it of him. But the prophet which shall presume to speak a word in my Name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.

And if thou sayest in thine heart, How shall it be known that the word is not which the Lord hath spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the Name of the Lord, if the thing follow not nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him. [Deut. 5:30] Go say to them, 'Get you into your tents again.' But as for thee, stand thou here by me, and I will speak unto thee all the commandment, the statutes, and the judgments, which thou shalt teach them, that they may do them in the land which I give them to possess it."

[Ex. 20:22] And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, "Speak to the children of Israel, 'Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold. An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, from thy sheep and from thine oxen, and in that place where I have caused my Name to be recorded, thither will I come and bless thee.

And if thou make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone, for thou hast lifted up thy tool upon it, and thou hast defiled it. Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered by it."

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