What is the first of the Ten Commandments? If you are a gentile, you will probably say, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” If you have a Jewish background, you might say, “I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”
The Ten Commandments are spelled out in Exodus 20: 1-17 and restated in Deuteronomy 5: 6-21. Do you see the first and second commandment in the first six verses of Exodus 20 (KJV)?
1 AND God spake all these words, saying,
2 I am the LORD thy God, which have bought 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.
From a traditional Christian point of view, verse 2 is the prologue to the Ten Commandments, and verse 3 is the First Commandment. Verses 4-6 state the Second Commandment.
From a Jewish point of view, verse 2 is the First Commandment, and verses 3-6 comprise the Second Commandment.
I don’t have a strong opinion as to whether verse 2 or verse 3 is the First Commandment. Either works for me. What do you think?’
* I collect vintage postcards. These are part of a series on the Ten Commandments (Copyright 1908, By The Rose Co.).