Words of Praise
In the silence before time began,
in the quiet of the womb,
in the stillness of early morning
is your beauty.
At the heart of all creation.
at the birth of every creature,
at the center of each moment
is your splendor.
Sounds of the Eternal: A Celtic Psalter, p. 38
1. The Ten Commandments are understood as a form of a “higher law” that stands behind and above all human systems of law. They do not, however, elaborate new areas of life that need to be regulated. These subjects have formed the basis of numerous statements of religious law. As part of Torah, the Commandments are a document of Israel’s faith. Yet they have been understood within both Judaism and Christianity as an essentially universal ethical document.
2. The ten provisions combine one’s duties to God (verses 6-15) and one’s duties to fellow human beings (verses 16-21).
3. Despite much speculation, it is of no great significance that eight of the ten are set out as prohibitions.
4. The Commandments are distinguished as direct speech of God. They are not simply the speech of Moses. In almost all other cases, it is the prophets who utter such directives, but only “in the name of the Lord.” In the Commandments we hear the voice of God.