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The Decalogue. (A)I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt,(B) out of the house of slavery. (C)You shall not have other gods beside me. You shall not make for yourself an idol or a likeness of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; [a]you shall not bow down before them or serve them. For I, the Lord, your God, am a jealous[b] God, bringing punishment for their parents’ wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation, 10 but showing love down to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

11 You shall not invoke the name of the Lord, your God, in vain.(D) For the Lord will not leave unpunished anyone who invokes his name in vain.

12 (E)Observe the sabbath day—keep it holy, as the Lord, your God, commanded you. 13 Six days you may labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God. You shall not do any work, either you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your ox or donkey or any work animal, or the resident alien within your gates, so that your male and female slave may rest as you do. 15 Remember that you too were once slaves in the land of Egypt, and the Lord, your God, brought you out from there with a strong hand and outstretched arm. That is why the Lord, your God, has commanded you to observe the sabbath day.

16 (F)Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord, your God, has commanded you, that you may have a long life and that you may prosper in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

17 (G)You shall not kill.[c]

18 (H)You shall not commit adultery.

19 (I)You shall not steal.

20 (J)You shall not bear dishonest witness against your neighbor.

21 (K)You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.

You shall not desire your neighbor’s house or field, his male or female slave, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

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  1. 5:9–10 Israel is confronted with a choice, to “love” or to “hate” the Lord, and with the consequences of each choice. “Wickedness” works destruction not only on those who do it but also down the generations, in a sort of ripple effect. Yet, if Israel keeps the commandments, they will experience the Lord’s hesed (“love”) down to the thousandth generation. Thus the Lord’s merciful love is disproportionate to the evil results of iniquity (“down to the third and fourth generation”). To the thousandth generation: lit., “to thousands”; cf. 7:9.
  2. 5:9 Jealous: see note on 4:24.
  3. 5:17 Kill: see note on Ex 20:13.