Linking Catholicism and Judaism



I’ve watched videos from a conservative outlet known as PragerU, and they discuss religion as well as politics. One of the religious topics they discuss is the Ten Commandments. The presenter of the Ten Commandments is the founder, Dennis Prager. Before explaining the first of the Ten Commandments, he comments that Jews and Christians give different answers. For instance…

The First Commandment (Statement, as he refers to it) for Jews says, “I am the Lord your God who took you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” It stops there.

The Christians’ First Commandment says, “I am the Lord, your God; you shall not have strange gods before me.” In this translation, God doesn’t mention how he brought the Israelites out of Egypt.

In the rest of the Commandments, the Christians are one step ahead of the Jews until our Ninth and Tenth Commandments and their Tenth Commandment.

The Christian translation splits the Jewish translation in two, making the Ninth Commandment “Do not covet your neighbor’s wife” and the Tenth Commandment “Do not covet your neighbor’s goods”. Based on sins I know that violate each of the commandments, the Ninth Commandment could be described as a reinforcement of the Sixth Commandment, “Do not commit adultery”. The Tenth Commandment overlaps literally everything else, even the First Commandment, in that being greedy for money could be idolatry.

So, basically, here’s my question: Why do the Catholic (or Christian, if you will) and Jewish translations of the Ten Commandments differ in this manner?


It’s not just two conflicting lists of the Ten Commandments, one Jewish and the other Catholic. It’s more complex than that. For a start, there are two Biblical lists of the Ten Commandments, with slight differences between the earlier list in Exodus and the later one in Deuteronomy.

This is a recurring topic here at CAF. Here is one thread dealing with the question, from March last year. There are several others, if you care to hunt them down.

Did The Catholic Church change the 10 Commandments? Apologetics

Hi members! It is said that Bishop Augustine of Hippo in order to allow use of images & statues in worship services, he deleted the Second Commandment, divided the Tenth into two Commandments and then re-numbered his revised list of 10. This is a constant attack on we Catholics. Can somebody explain to me what was the motive behind those changes? Warm regards, Addoe.

@BoomerangToo’s post #23 or 24 is particularly interesting, with the table showing several different numbering systems that have been used by different churches at different times.


Okay, I understand it now. Would it be safe to regard the Jewish Ten Commandments as acceptable in the Catholic Church, since they both basically say the same thing, just a different way?


If you’re asking whether the Catholic Church has ever handed down an official ruling on that question, the answer is I don’t know. But my own view is that, as far as I can see, the only real difference is in the numbering. Did you look at that diagram in @BoomerangToo’s post?


What is the Catholic explanation for the second set of the Ten Commandments (that are actually called the Ten Commandments) in Ex 34:14 thru 28?

A link for an explanation would be great! Thanks.


I was taught the commandments in the following manner: It started with -
“I am the Lord your God who took you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” , followed by the 10 commandments as we all know them.


Scripture lists the Commandments; It doesn’t say which is which number and how to list them.

The Commandments are only important for the Christian because they reflect the natural moral law. So when it comes down to it, it wouldn’t even matter if we devised a way to list 20 out of the 10 or reduce them to two.

(In fact, Jesus DID reduce them to two, when he said to Love God and Neighbor!)


I don’t think there is just one Catholic explanation. The Bible text for Exodus 34:27-28 in the New American Bible, Revised Edition (NAB-RE), says:

27 Then the LORD said to Moses: Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel. 28 So Moses was there with the LORD for forty days and forty nights,l without eating any food or drinking any water, and he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten words.

The NAB-RE commentary says:

[34:1] Words: a common term for commandments, especially the Decalogue (see v. 28). In v. 27 “words” connotes the commands given in vv. 1126. (source)

So, it appears the NAB-RE commentator thinks that while in v. 27 the LORD directed Moses to write down the various commandments just given in vv. 11-26, in v. 28 the LORD Himself wrote the Ten Commandments, first given in Exodus 20, on the second set of stone tablets. In other words, the pronoun “he” in the phrase “he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten words” in v. 28 refers to the LORD, not to Moses.

Some Catholic commentators on v. 28 mentioned in the 1859 Haydock Bible also attribute the writing on the second set of tablets to the LORD:

Ver. 28. Wrote. God wrote on the tables, as he had promised, ver. 1. (Calmet) — Moses recorded all in this book, as he was ordered, ver. 27. St. Cyprian (de Sp. S.) and St. Augustine (q. 186,) infer, however, from this text, that the second tables had not the same honour as the first. The contrary appears from Deuteronomy x. 4, He (God) wrote…as before. Estius, Calmet, and Menochius think the forty days here mentioned, were those which Moses spent with God to obtain the people’s pardon, and the law, at the same time. See chap. xxxii. 35. He continued all that time without meat or sleep, by the power of God, who supports Enoch and Elias in the vigour of health without corporal sustenance. Salien., year of the world 2544, in which year of the world he fixes the death of Job, the great prophet of the Gentiles.


Thank you.
In Judaism, Moses wrote this set, not God.

Which set was placed in the Ark? The broken set or the rewrite? I should know this!:joy:


Anybody wanting a Jewish overview of problems like this (sometimes rather brain-numbingly detailed) might find the Jewish Encyclopedia interesting, here they are on the Decalogue.


Reply to your comment and where you found the resource.

You might look up this person and read up on his books:

Understanding Genesis (1966) has served as a general introduction to the Bible; it remains in print decades later, and continues to introduce many students to the methods of university biblical scholarship. This was followed by Exploring Exodus (1986) and his Commentary on Genesis (1989) and Commentary on Exodus (1991), and Songs of the Heart: An Introduction to the Book of Psalms (1993), a study of selected psalms from his favorite biblical book.


And, Exodus from Dennis is so far a good read

Who Is This Torah Commentary For? To Jewish Readers To Christian Readers To Non-Religious Readers.

“I have written this book for people of every faith, and for people of no faith. Throughout my years teaching the Torah, I would tell my students, “The Torah either has something to say to everyone or it has nothing to say to Jews.” The idea that the Torah is only for Jews is as absurd as the idea that Shakespeare is only for the English or Beethoven is only for Germans.”


Keep this thought in mind when you read that verse: (it is to “Remember”)

"The American writer Bruce Feiler has an additional insight into this verse— the recurring emphasis on remembering in the Torah and specifically the Book of Exodus: “The story begins with forgetting. The pharaoh does not remember how a son of Israel saved Egypt from famine. The rest of the Five Books of Moses becomes an antidote to this state of forgetfulness. God hears the groaning of Israel and ‘remembers His covenant’ (Exodus 2.24). Moses leads the Israelites from Egypt and urges them to ‘remember this day’ (Exodus 13.3). The Israelites are ordered to ‘remember the Sabbath day ’ (Exodus 20.8), and to observe Passover as a ‘day of remembrance’ (Exodus 12.14). Moses’s goal is to build a counter-Egypt . . . to construct a society that offers an alternative to ignorance and unknowingness. He must devise a community that remembers” Exodus by Dennis Prague

Following what St James said," 22 Be doers of the word, and not hearers only. Otherwise, you are deceiving yourselves. 23 For anyone who hears the word but does not carry it out is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror, 24 and after observing himself goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom, and continues to do so—not being a forgetful hearer, but an effective doer—he will be blessed in what he does."

It’s not so much as in what order the text comes (Christian text vs Jewish text) but the importance of what is being conveyed. It is emphasized to remember them…


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