Jewish Friend asked me about this "discrepency"


Apparently while a Jewish friend and I were looking at scripture, we noticed a difference between the two versions of Exodus. The verses in question come after Exodus: 20:19 and forward. He was inquiring why. Here they are: Jewish Version Christian Version.

Can someone explain?


It would appear that the NIV follows the Greek, as does the Knox.

The Jewish version lists 4 commandments under one verse (v 13), where the Greek gives each its own verse.


Here are the Jewish Bible (JB) text and the NIV text matched up. The only real difference I see comes at verse 13; verse 13 of the Jewish Bible contains verses 13-16 of the NIV, which causes the verses in the JB and NIV to be numbered differently after that point.

JB 12. Honor your father and your mother, in order that your days be lengthened on the land that the Lord, your God, is giving you.
NIV 12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

JB 13. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
NIV 13 “You shall not murder. 14 “You shall not commit adultery. 15 “You shall not steal. 16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

JB 14.You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, his manservant, his maidservant, his ox, his donkey, or whatever belongs to your neighbor."
NIV 17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

JB 15. And all the people saw the voices and the torches, the sound of the shofar, and the smoking mountain, and the people saw and trembled; so they stood from afar.
NIV 18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance

JB 16. They said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear, but let God not speak with us lest we die.”
NIV 19 and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”

JB 17. But Moses said to the people, “Fear not, for God has come in order to exalt you, and in order that His awe shall be upon your faces, so that you shall not sin.”
NIV 20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”

JB 18. The people remained far off, but Moses drew near to the opaque darkness, where God was.
NIV 21 The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.

JB 19. The Lord said to Moses, "So shall you say to the children of Israel, You have seen that from the heavens I have spoken with you.
NIV 22 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites this: ‘You have seen for yourselves that I have spoken to you from heaven:

JB 20. You shall not make [images of anything that is] with Me. Gods of silver or gods of gold you shall not make for yourselves.
NIV 23 Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold.

JB 21. An altar of earth you shall make for Me, and you shall slaughter beside it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your cattle. Wherever I allow My name to be mentioned, I will come to you and bless you.
NIV 24 “‘Make an altar of earth for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, your sheep and goats and your cattle. Wherever I cause my name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you.

JB 22. And when you make for Me an altar of stones, you shall not build them of hewn stones, lest you wield your sword upon it and desecrate it.
NIV 25 If you make an altar of stones for me, do not build it with dressed stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it.

JB 23. And you shall not ascend with steps upon My altar, so that your nakedness shall not be exposed upon it.’ "
NIV 26 And do not go up to my altar on steps, or your private parts may be exposed.’


After providing him a link to this thread, he feels that no one is addressing the crux of the matter: How do Catholics justify painting images of God (think Sistine chapel) when God (according to this text) expressly forbids it.



Did you know that the original Writings did not contain “chapters” and “verses?”

Chapters and Verses are of relatively contemporary history–basically this is a none issue:

Archbishop Stephen Langton and Cardinal Hugo de Sancto Caro developed different schemas for systematic division of the Bible in the early 13th century. It is the system of Archbishop Langton on which the modern chapter divisions are based.[5][6][7]

While chapter divisions have become nearly universal, editions of the Bible have sometimes been published without them. Such editions, which typically use thematic or literary criteria to divide the biblical books instead, include John Locke’s Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistles of St. Paul (1707),[8] Alexander Campbell’s The Sacred Writings (1826),[9] Richard Moulton’s The Modern Reader’s Bible (1907),[10] Ernest Sutherland Bates’ The Bible Designed to Be Read as Living Literature (1936),[11] The Books of the Bible (2007) from the International Bible Society (Biblica), and the ESV Reader’s Bible[12] from Crossway Books.


Since at least 916 the Tanakh has contained an extensive system of multiple levels of section, paragraph, and phrasal divisions that were indicated in Masoretic vocalization and cantillation markings. One of the most frequent of these was a special type of punctuation, the sof passuq, symbol for a full stop or sentence break, resembling the colon ( : ) of English and Latin orthography. With the advent of the printing press and the translation of the Bible into English, Old Testament versifications were made that correspond predominantly with the existing Hebrew full stops, with a few isolated exceptions. Most attribute these to Rabbi Isaac Nathan ben Kalonymus’s work for the first Hebrew Bible concordance around 1440.[6] (

Maran atha!



Thank you for this, but I am missing how it addresses the question I posed.

According to what he sees a “missing” passage, How do Catholics justify painting images of God (think Sistine chapel) when God (according to this text) expressly forbids it.


The prohibition against depicting God was not absolute. This is why, we as Christians, can have depictions of Jesus, as God made himself seen by the world. With regards to Jews depictions of God. The Dura-Europos Synagogue has depctions of the “hand of God” ten times, and this was at about the year 244 ad. The more that archaelogy is learning about the past, the more we learn that the Jews did not have an absolute prohibition on pictoral forms, although 3D art is not exactly common.


It is only because God chose to become man in the person of Jesus. All of creation can be used in art and images. When the 2nd person of the Trinity became incarnate, he became a part of creation, and therefore images can be used to represent God just as images were used to represent angels, who are also part of creation.



…from what was cited by Todd, you are referring to Exodus 20:20 (Jewish) and 20:23 (Christian).

This of course is a Jewish and non-Catholic conundrum…

I prefer the Bible version that includes the term “graven images.”

What Scriptures are conveying is that Yahweh God (a Jealous God) refuses to share His Glory with idols (non-gods); so He Commands that no graven image be made of anything on earth, above the earth, sea… for the purpose of idol worship.

Nothing can be placed side by side to God… this of course includes all of man’s values… including self, family, friends and country…

…now the conundrum…

That same Yahweh God that Commands that no graven images be made and placed side by side next to Him (making non-gods into idols [things of worship]), Yahweh God, Commands Moses to make:

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]an ark, tablets of the covenant law, make two cherubim, make its plates and dishes of pure gold, as well as its pitchers and bowls, Put the bread of the Presence, a lampstand, make its flowerlike cups, buds and blossoms, Six branches, four cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms, seven lamps, wick trimmers and trays are to be of pure gold, 40 See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.

(Exodus 25:10-40)
Now, all of these are images… not only images, but specific designs Commanded by God… and what is the purpose? All of these images/designs are to be used for the Purpose of Worship:

22 There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the covenant law, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites.

(Exodus 25:22)
…these crafts/images, including the cherubim–which clearly are standing figures of heavenly visions, are to be set in a place where God Himself will make His Presence amongst the Hebrews.

Is God contradicting His Own Command (Exodus 20:20) or is He employing Sacramentals?

In the proceeding chapters we have more Commands about creating Sacramentals… God is so particular that He even designs the Priestly Garments (Exodus 28) which contain, among other things, specific designs and stones, to represent very specific symbols.

Conversely, there are people who exalt themselves, their children, spouses, and other men/women, as well as animals, possessions and other things (country, religion, Sacred Scriptures, ethnicity, intelligence, physical attributes, money, etc.) to graven images; they may hold fast to the legalism of Exodus 20:20/20:23, but they fail to uphold the True Command: God Above All!

Maran atha!





…I was addressing the seeming incongruity, not the Command itself… though I did so on my previous post: #9.

Maran atha!



Thank you!


I blame Moses, he should have written everything down with chapter and verse clearly in every language.



…yeah… and Christ should have employed a whole bunch of scribes to put Scriptures together so that there would be no problems with interpretation as He would have included extensive footnotes with thousands of clarifications…

…however, the reality is that God wants man to depend on Him for Salvation and not to arrive at personal conclusions by interpreting Scriptures outside of the Fullness of the Body… the fact that a Jew and a Christian are engaging Sacred Writings is a testament for Unity: Christ came to make one Fold out of the two!

Maran atha!



That was excellently answered. Kudos.


Yes jcrichton.

Excellent work.

God bless.



Not to forget the bronze serpent which God the Father also commanded Moses to make, so that those Israelites who were bitten by the seraph serpents (Numbers 21:4-9) could look upon it and be saved. Jesus references the serpent in John 3:14, and related it to His crucifixion in John 12:32-34.


Hi, Vonsalza!

…thank you for the kind words!

…I think that part of the problem lies when people attempt to understand Scriptures (God’s Revelations) outside of the completeness of Revelation (all of the Sacred Writings and the Church).

Maran atha!



Hi, Cathoholic!

Thank you for your kindness!

Maran atha!



In Ezekiel 1:26, the prophet said of God, he saw “a likeness like the appearance of a man.” In Daniel 7:9, the prophet said of God, the Ancient of days, “the hair on his head like pure wool,” i.e., white.

To say that it is ok to have the mental image of God as an old, white-haired man and it is ok to write about it and read about it and speak about it but not ok to paint scenes from the Bible depicting God as an old, white-haired man seems to be illogical to me.


Hi, P!

…this is an excellent example of what a non-graven image means/looks like!

…the serpents were a curse for their disloyalty to Yahweh God… and God Commanded Moses to create a replica symbol of the creature that caused the Hebrews so much anguish, fear and death… and He Commanded that in order to be “saved” from the torment of the venom and pending death, once bitten, they had to look upon the image (not graven) of the serpent.

The Hebrews’ “salvation” was not in the image that they were forced to look upon but in their obedience to Yahweh God: “look upon the cause of your affliction, and you will gain life!” (paraphrased)

Conversely, as you’ve pointed out, man is to look upon the cause of his affliction, which is nailed to the Cross through Jesus’ replacement of man’s unrighteousness, so that he may gain Life (Eternal Salvation).

St. Paul understands this so clearly that when issues stir he admonishes that he knows nothing else but Christ, and Him Crucified! (1 Corinthians 2:2)

Salvation, then, is found in an image… the image of God Surrendering Himself/His Love for man in a symbol that was deemed the worst offense to criminal and foe alike: death on the Cross… this fully brings to mind Scriptures that demonstrates the difference between God and man… how God’s foolishness is Wiser than men, and the weakness of God being stronger then men (1Corinthians 1:25).

Maran atha!


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