The main feature of Exodus Chapter 20 centers around the Ten Commandments. The Lord had spoken the words to Moses which were the laws that the Israelites were to obey.
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The First Few Commandments
The first of the commandments was for there to be no god other than the Lord Himself who had delivered the people of Israel from the hands of the Egyptians. He also told them that they should not make any images of Him from any type of material. Additionally, God commanded that nobody was to use the Lord’s name in vain, or use it improperly.
God also told the people of Israel to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. He explained that He made the land, the seas, and everything on earth in six days. On the seventh, he rested. He wanted His people to honor the Sabbath day similarly and refrain from working on this day.
The Last Few Commandments
The other commandments of the Lord followed. These included commands for people to honor their father and mother. They were not to murder, commit adultery, bare false witness, steal or covet.
The People are Frightened
When the people of Israel saw the thunder and lightning, they were very afraid. They told Moses to tell them what God had said instead of having the Lord speak directly to them. They were afraid that they would die if that happened.
Moses told them not to fear and that the Lord only came to test them. The fear of God that was upon them would keep them from sinning. God also gave further instructions on offerings and building an altar that was suitable for worship. He again told Moses that the people of Israel should not make idols made of silver or gold and that they should not worship anything else but Him.
Exodus 20 (King James Version)
1 And God spake all these words, saying,
2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
13 Thou shalt not kill.
14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
15 Thou shalt not steal.
16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.
19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.
20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.
21 And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.
22 And the LORD said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.
23 Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold.
24 An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee.
25 And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.
26 Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.