Kohen or cohen is the Hebrew word for "priest", used in reference to the Aaronic priesthood. Levitical priests or kohanim are traditionally believed and halakhically required to be of direct patrilineal descent from the biblical Aaron, brother of Moses. During the existence of the Temple in Jerusalem, kohanim performed the daily and holiday duties of sacrificial offerings. Today, kohanim retain a lesser though distinct status within Rabbinic and Karaite Judaism, are bound by additional restrictions according to Orthodox Judaism. In the Samaritan community, the kohanim have remained the primary religious leaders. Ethiopian Jewish religious leaders are sometimes called kahen, a form of the same word, but the position is not hereditary and their duties are more like those of rabbis than kohanim in most Jewish communities; the noun kohen is used in the Torah to refer to priests, whether Jewish or pagan, such as the kohanim of Baal or Dagon, though Christian priests are referred to in Hebrew by the term komer.
Kohanim can refer to the Jewish nation as a whole, as in Exodus 19:6, part of the Parshath Yithro, where the whole of Israel is addressed as "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation". The word derives from a Semitic root common at least to the Central Semitic languages. Translations in the paraphrase of the Aramaic Targumic interpretations include "friend" in Targum Yonathan to 2 Kings 10:11, "master" in Targum to Amos 7:10, "minister" in Mechilta to Parshah Jethro; as a starkly different translation the title "worker" and "servant", have been offered as a translation as well. The status of priest kohen was conferred on Aaron, the brother of Moses, his sons as an everlasting covenant or a covenant of salt. During the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness and until the Holy Temple was built in Jerusalem, the priests performed their priestly service in the portable Tabernacle, their duties involved offering the daily and Jewish holiday sacrifices, blessing the people in a Priestly Blessing also known as Nesiat Kapayim.
In a broader sense, since Aaron was a descendant of the Tribe of Levi, priests are sometimes included in the term Levites, by direct patrilineal descent. However, not all Levites are priests; when the Temple existed, most sacrifices and offerings could only be conducted by priests. Non-priest Levites performed a variety of other Temple roles, including ritual slaughter of animals, song service by use of voice and musical instruments, various tasks in assisting the priests in performing their service; the Torah mentions Melchizedek king of Salem, identified by Rashi as being Shem the son of Noah, as a "priest" kohen to El Elyon Genesis 14:18. The second is Potiphera, priest of Heliopolis Jethro, priest of Midian both pagan priests of their era; when Esau sold the birthright of the first born to Jacob, Rashi explains that the priesthood was sold along with it, because by right the priesthood belongs to the first-born. Only when the first-born sinned in the incident of the golden calf, the priesthood was given to the Tribe of Levi, which had not been tainted by this incident.
Moses was supposed to receive the priesthood along with the leadership of the Jewish people, but when he argued with God that he should not be the leader, God chose Aaron as the recipient of the priesthood. Moses is, referred to as a priest in Psalms 99:6 - according to tradition, this refers to his service in the first seven days of the dedication of the Tabernacle. Aaron received the priesthood along with his children and any descendants that would be born subsequently. However, his grandson Phinehas had been born, did not receive the priesthood until he killed the prince of the Tribe of Simeon and the princess of the Midianites. Thereafter, the priesthood has remained with the descendants of Aaron; the Torah provides for specific vestments to be worn by the priests when they are ministering in the Tabernacle: "And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for dignity and for beauty". These garments are described in detail in Exodus 28, Exodus 39 and Leviticus 8; the high priest wore eight holy garments.
Of these, four were of the same type worn by all priests, four were unique to the Kohen Gadol. Those vestments which were common to all priests, were: Priestly undergarments: linen pants reaching from the waist to the knees "to cover their nakedness" Priestly tunic: made of pure linen, covering the entire body from the neck to the feet, with sleeves reaching to the wrists; that of the high priest was embroidered. Priestly sash: that of the high priest was of fine linen with "embroidered work" in blue and purple and scarlet. Priestly turban: that of the high priest was much larger than that of the priests and wound so that it formed a broad, flat-topped turban; the vestments that were unique to the high priest were: Priestly robe: a sleeveless, blue robe, the lower hem of, fringed with
Manna, sometimes or archaically spelled mana, is an edible substance which, according to the Bible and the Quran, God provided for the Israelites during their travels in the desert during the forty-year period following the Exodus and prior to the conquest of Canaan. In the Hebrew Bible, manna is described twice: once in Exodus 16:1–36 with the full narrative surrounding it, once again in Numbers 11:1–9 as a part of a separate narrative. In the description in the Book of Exodus, manna is described as being "a fine, flake-like thing" like the frost on the ground, it is described in the Book of Numbers as arriving with the dew during the night. Exodus adds that manna was comparable to hoarfrost in color, had to be collected before it was melted by the heat of the sun, was like a coriander seed in size but white in color. Numbers describes it as having the appearance of bdellium, adding that the Israelites ground it and pounded it into cakes, which were baked, resulting in something that tasted like cakes baked with oil.
Exodus states that raw manna tasted like wafers, made with honey. The Israelites were instructed to eat only the manna. Stored manna "bred worms and stank": the exception being that stored the day before the Sabbath, when twice the amount of manna was gathered; this manna did not spoil overnight. Exodus 16:23–24 states:This is what the Lord commanded: "Tomorrow is to be a day of rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning." So they saved it until morning, as Moses commanded, it did not stink or get maggots in it. In the Bread of Life Discourse in John's Gospel, the evangelist refers three times to the manna which the Jews' ancestors ate in the desert: the Jews refer to the manna given to them by Moses as a sign of God's promised covenant, Jesus asserts that the manna was from God and not from Moses, that the people who ate it were nourished on their journey but died. In contrast, according to the gospel, Jesus offered living bread, whoever ate this bread would never die.
The word mana appears three times in the Qurʾān, in Quran 2:57, 7:160 and 20:80. It is narrated in the hadith collection Sahih Muslim that the Prophet Muhammad said "Truffles are part of the'manna' which Allah sent to the people of Israel through Moses, its juice is a medicine for the eye." Some scholars have proposed that manna is cognate with the Egyptian term mennu, meaning "food". At the turn of the twentieth century, Arabs of the Sinai Peninsula were selling resin from the tamarisk tree as man es-simma meaning "heavenly manna". Tamarisk trees were once comparatively extensive throughout the southern Sinai, their resin is similar to wax, melts in the sun, is sweet and aromatic, has a dirty-yellow color, fitting somewhat with the biblical descriptions of manna. However, this resin is composed of sugar, so it would be unlikely to provide sufficient nutrition for a population to survive over long periods of time, it would be difficult for it to have been compacted into cakes. Other researchers have believed manna to be a form of lichen – a plant colony that has a low mass per unit volume density and a large "sail area".
In particular, Lecanora esculenta has been postulated. Known natural aerial falls of various lichens have been described as occurring in accounts separate from that in the Bible. "In some parts of Asia Lecanora esculenta covers the soil to such a degree that, according to Parrot, it forms beds 15 to 20 centimetres thick." In the biblical account, the name manna is said to derive from the question man hu meaning "What is it?". Man is cognate with the Arabic term man, meaning plant lice, with man hu thus meaning "this is plant lice", which fits one widespread modern identification of manna, the crystallized honeydew of certain scale insects. In the environment of a desert, such honeydew dries due to evaporation of its water content, becoming a sticky solid, turning whitish, yellowish, or brownish. In particular, there is a scale insect that feeds on tamarisk, the Tamarisk manna scale, considered to be the prime candidate for biblical manna. Another type is turkey oak manna called Persian gezengevi- gezo, Turkish Kudret helvasi, man-es-simma Diarbekir manna, or Kurdish manna.
It appears white. It was common in northern Iraq and eastern Turkey; when dried it forms into crystalline lumps which look like stone. They are pounded before inclusion in breads. Other minority identifications of manna are that it was a kosher species of locust, or that it was the sap of certain succulent plants; some form critics posit conflicting descriptions of manna as derived from different lore, with the description in Numbers being from the Jahwist tradition, the description in Exodus being from the Priestly tradition. The Babylonian Talmud states that the differences in description were due to the taste varying depending on who ate it, with it tasting like honey for small children, like bread for youths, like oil for the elderly. Classical rabbinical literature rectifies the question of whether manna came before or after dew, by holding that the manna was sandwiched between two layers of dew, one falling before the manna, the other after. Manna is from Heaven
The Jordan River or River Jordan is a 251-kilometre-long river in the Middle East that flows north to south through the Sea of Galilee and on to the Dead Sea. Jordan and the Golan Heights border the river to the east, while the West Bank and Israel lie to its west. Both Jordan and the West Bank take their names from the river; the river has a major significance in Judaism and Christianity since many believe that the Israelites crossed it into the Promised Land and that Jesus of Nazareth was baptised by John the Baptist in it. The Jordan River has an upper course from its sources to the Sea of Galilee, a lower course south of the Sea of Galilee down to the Dead Sea. In traditional terminology, the upper course is referred to as passing through the "Hula Valley", as opposed to "Upper Jordan Valley". Over its upper course, fed by the Hasbani River in Banias and Dan, the river drops in a 75-kilometre run to the once large and swampy Lake Hula, above sea level. Exiting the now much-diminished lake, it goes through an steeper drop over the 25 kilometres down to the Sea of Galilee, which it enters at its northern end.
The Jordan deposits much of the silt it is carrying within the lake, which it leaves again near its southern tip. At that point, the river is situated about 210 metres below sea level; the last 120-kilometre -long section follows what is termed the "Jordan Valley", which has less gradient so that the river meanders before entering the Dead Sea, a terminal lake about 422 metres below sea level with no outlet. Two major tributaries enter from the east during this last section: the Yarmouk River and Zarqa River, its section north of the Sea of Galilee is within the boundaries of Israel and forms the western boundary of the Golan Heights. South of the lake, it forms the border between the Kingdom of Jordan, Israel; the streams coming together to create the River Jordan in its upper basin are, west to east: Iyyon, a stream which flows from Lebanon. Hasbani, a stream which flows from the north-western foot of Mount Hermon in Lebanon. Dan, a stream whose source is at the base of Mount Hermon. Banias, a stream arising from a spring at Banias at the foot of Mount Hermon.
South of the Sea of Galilee the Jordan River receives the waters of further tributaries, the main ones being Yarmouk River Zarqa RiverSmaller tributaries in this segment are Wadi al-Far'a Wadi Qelt While several hypotheses for the origin of the river's name have been proposed, the most accepted is that it comes from Semitic Yard|on'flow down' <√ירד reflecting the river's declivity. Cognates of the word are found in Aramaic and other Semitic languages; the first recorded use of the name appears as Yārdon in Anastasi I, an ancient Egyptian papyrus that dates to the time of Rameses II. Early Arab chronicles referred to the river as Al-Urdunn. In the 19th century the River Jordan and the Dead Sea were explored by boat by Christopher Costigan in 1835, Thomas Howard Molyneux in 1847, William Francis Lynch in 1848, John MacGregor in 1869; the full text of W. F. Lynch's 1849 book Narrative of the United States' Expedition to the River Jordan and the Dead Sea is available online. In 1964, Israel began operating a pumping station that diverts water from the Sea of Galilee to the National Water Carrier.
In 1964, Jordan constructed a channel that diverted water from the Yarmouk River, another main tributary of the Jordan River to the East Ghor Canal. Syria has built reservoirs that catch the Yarmouk's waters. Environmentalists blame Israel and Syria for extensive damage to the Jordan River ecosystem. In modern times, the waters are 70% to 90% used for human purposes and the flow is reduced; because of this and the high evaporation rate of the Dead Sea, as well as industrial extraction of salts through evaporation ponds, the sea is shrinking. All the shallow waters of the southern end of the sea have been drained in modern times and are now salt flats. A small section of the northernmost portion of the Lower Jordan, the first ca. 3-kilometre below the Sea of Galilee, has been kept pristine for local tourism. Most polluted is the 100-kilometre downstream stretch—a meandering stream from above the confluence with the Yarmouk to the Dead Sea. Environmentalists say the practice of letting sewage and brackish water flow into the river has destroyed its ecosystem.
Rescuing the Jordan could take decades, according to environmentalists. In 2007, Friends of the Earth Middle East named the Jordan River as one of the world's 100 most endangered ecological sites, due in part to lack of cooperation between Israel and neighboring Arab states; the same environmentalist organization had said in a report that the Jordan River could dry up by 2011 unless the decay was stopped. The flow rate of the Jordan River once was 1.3 billion cubic metres per year. Recent literature sho
According to the Hebrew Bible the tabernacle known as the Tent of the Congregation, was the portable earthly dwelling place of Yahweh used by the children of Israel from the Exodus until the conquest of Canaan. It was constructed of 4 woven layers of curtains and 48 15 foot tall standing wood boards overlayed in gold and held in place by its bars and silver sockets and was richly furnished with valuable materials taken from Egypt at Gods orders. Moses was instructed at Mount Sinai to construct and transport the tabernacle with the Israelites on their journey through the wilderness and their subsequent conquest of the Promised Land. After 440 years, Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem superseded it as the dwelling-place of God; the main source describing the tabernacle is the biblical Book of Exodus Exodus 25–31 and 35–40. Those passages describe an inner sanctuary, the Holy of Holies, created by the veil suspended by four pillars; this sanctuary contained the Ark of the Covenant, with its cherubim-covered mercy seat.
An outer sanctuary contained a gold candlestick. On the south side stood a table, on which lay the showbread. On the north side was the Menorah. On the west side, just before the veil, was the golden altar of incense; this description is identified as part of the Priestly source, written in the sixth or fifth century BCE. However while the first Priestly source takes the form of instructions, the second is a repetition of the first in the past tense, i.e. it describes the execution of the instructions. Many scholars contend that it is of a far date than the time of Moses, that the description reflects the structure of Solomon's Temple, while some hold that the description derives from memories of a real pre-monarchic shrine the sanctuary at Shiloh. Traditional scholars contend that it describes an actual tabernacle used in the time of Moses and thereafter. According to historical criticism, an earlier, pre-exilic source, the Elohist, describes the tabernacle as a simple tent-sanctuary; the English word "tabernacle" is derived from the Latin tabernāculum meaning "tent" or "hut", which in ancient Roman religion was a ritual structure.
In Greek, including the Septuagint, it is translated σκηνή, itself a Semitic loanword meaning "tent." The word sanctuary is used for the biblical tabernacle, as is the phrase "tent of meeting". The Hebrew word mishkan implies "dwell", "rest", or "to live in", that dwelt within this divinely ordained structure. Historical criticism has identified two accounts of the tabernacle in Exodus, a briefer Elohist account and a longer Priestly one. Traditional scholars believe the briefer account describes a different structure Moses' personal tent; the Hebrew nouns in the two accounts differ, one is most translated as "tent of meeting," while the other is translated as "tabernacle." Exodus 33:7-10 refers to "the tabernacle of the congregation", set up outside of camp with the "cloudy pillar" visible at its door. The people directed their worship toward this center. Historical criticism attributes this description to the Elohist source, believed to have been written about 850 BCE or later; the more detailed description of a tabernacle, located in Exodus chapters 25–27 and Exodus chapters 35–40, refers to an inner shrine housing the ark and an outer chamber, with a six-branch seven-lamp menorah, table for showbread, altar of incense.
An enclosure containing the sacrificial altar and bronze laver for the priests to wash surrounded these chambers. This description is identified by historical criticism as part of the Priestly source, written in the 6th or 5th century BCE; some scholars believe the description is of a far date than Moses' time, that it reflects the structure of the Temple of Solomon. This view is based on Exodus 36, 37, 38 and 39 that describe in full detail how the actual construction of the tabernacle took place during the time of Moses; the detailed outlines for the tabernacle and its priests are enumerated in the Book of Exodus: Exodus 25: Materials needed: the Ark, the table for 12 showbread, the menorah. Exodus 26: The tabernacle, the bars, partitions. Exodus 27: The copper altar, the enclosure, oil. Exodus 28: Vestments for the priests, ephod garment, ring settings, the breastplate, head-plate, turban, pants. Exodus 29: Consecration of priests and altar. Exodus 30: Incense altar, anointing oil, incense. In Exodus 31, the main builder and maker of the priestly vestments is specified as Bezalel, son of Uri son of Hur of the tribe of Judah, assisted by Aholiab and a number of skilled artisans.
There is a strict set of rules to be followed for the carriage of the tabernacle laid out in the Hebrew Bible. For example: "You must put the Levites in charge of the tabernacle of the Covenant, along with its furnishings and equipment, they must carry the tabernacle and its equipment as you travel, they must care for it and camp around it. Whenever the Tabernacle is moved, the Levites will set it up again. Anyone else who goes too near the tabernacle will be executed.'". As well, individuals with the Tzaraat skin affliction were not permitted entry to the tabernacle; the tabernacle during the Exodus, the wandering in the desert and the conquest of Canaan was in part a portable tent, in part a wooden enclo
Ark of the Covenant
The Ark of the Covenant known as the Ark of the Testimony, is a gold-covered wooden chest with lid cover described in the Book of Exodus as containing the two stone tablets of the Ten Commandments. According to various texts within the Hebrew Bible, it contained Aaron's rod and a pot of manna. Hebrews 9:4 describes: "The ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in, a golden jar holding the manna, Aaron's rod which budded, the tablets of the covenant."The biblical account relates that one year after the Israelites' exodus from Egypt, the Ark was created according to the pattern given to Moses by God when the Israelites were encamped at the foot of biblical Mount Sinai. Thereafter, the gold-plated acacia chest was carried by its staves while en route by the Levites 2,000 cubits in advance of the people when on the march or before the Israelite army, the host of fighting men; when carried, the Ark was always hidden under a large veil made of skins and blue cloth, always concealed from the eyes of the priests and the Levites who carried it.
God was said to have spoken with Moses "from between the two cherubim" on the Ark's cover. When at rest the tabernacle was set up and the holy Ark was placed in it under the veil of the covering, the staves of it crossing the middle side bars to hold it up off the ground. According to the Book of Exodus, God instructed Moses on Mount Sinai during his 40-day stay upon the mountain within the thick cloud and darkness where God was and he was shown the pattern for the tabernacle and furnishings of the Ark to be made of shittim wood to house the Tablets of Stone. Moses instructed Oholiab to construct the Ark.. In Deuteronomy, the Ark is said to have been built by Moses himself without reference of Bezalel or Oholiab; the Book of Exodus gives detailed instructions on. It is to be 21⁄2 cubits in length, 11⁄2 in breadth, 11⁄2 in height, it is to be gilded with gold, a crown or molding of gold is to be put around it. Four rings of gold are to be attached to its four corners, two on each side—and through these rings staves of shittim-wood overlaid with gold for carrying the Ark are to be inserted.
A golden lid, the kapporet, covered with 2 golden cherubim, is to be placed above the Ark. Missing from the account are instructions concerning the thickness of the mercy seat and details about the cherubim other than that the cover be beaten out the ends of the Ark and that they form the space where God will appear; the Ark is to be placed under the veil of the covering. The biblical account continues that, after its creation by Moses, the Ark was carried by the Israelites during their 40 years of wandering in the desert. Whenever the Israelites camped, the Ark was placed in a separate room in a sacred tent, called the Tabernacle; when the Israelites, led by Joshua toward the Promised Land, arrived at the banks of the Jordan river, the Ark was carried in the lead preceding the people and was the signal for their advance. During the crossing, the river grew dry as soon as the feet of the priests carrying the Ark touched its waters, remained so until the priests—with the Ark—left the river after the people had passed over.
As memorials, twelve stones were taken from the Jordan at the place. In the Battle of Jericho, the Ark was carried round the city once a day for seven days, preceded by the armed men and seven priests sounding seven trumpets of rams' horns. On the seventh day, the seven priests sounding the seven trumpets of rams' horns before the Ark compassed the city seven times and, with a great shout, Jericho's wall fell down flat and the people took the city. After the defeat at Ai, Joshua lamented before the Ark; when Joshua read the Law to the people between Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal, they stood on each side of the Ark. We next hear of the Ark in Bethel where it was being cared for by the priest Phineas the grandson of Aaron. According to this verse it was consulted by the people of Israel when they were planning to attack the Benjaminites at the battle of Gibeah. However, the Ark was kept at Shiloh, another religious centre some 16 km north of Bethel, at the time of the prophet Samuel's apprenticeship, where it was cared for by Hophni and Phinehas, two sons of Eli.
A few years the elders of Israel decided to take the Ark out onto the battlefield to assist them against the Philistines, after being defeated at the battle of Eben-Ezer. They were, however defeated with the loss of 30,000 men; the Ark was captured by the Philistines and Hophni and Phinehas were killed. The news of its capture was at once taken to Shiloh by a messenger "with his clothes rent, with earth upon his head." The old priest, fell dead when he heard it. The mother of the child Ichabod died at his birth; the Philistines took the Ark to several places in their country, at each place misfortune befell them. At Ashdod it was placed in the temple of Dagon; the next morning Dagon was found prostrate, bowed down, before it. The people of Ashdod were smitten with tumors; the affliction of boi
High Priest of Israel
High priest was the title of the chief religious official of Judaism from the early post-Exilic times until the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE. In the Israelite religion including the time of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, other terms were used to designate the leading priests; the official introduction of the term "high priest" went hand in hand with a enhanced ritual and political significance bestowed upon the chief priest in the post-Exilic period from 411 BCE onward, after the religious transformations brought about by the Babylonian captivity and due to the lack of a Jewish king and kingdom. The high priests belonged to the Jewish priestly families that trace their paternal line back to Aaron, the first high priest of Israel in the Hebrew Bible and elder brother of Moses, through Zadok, a leading priest at the time of David and Solomon; this tradition came to an end in the 2nd century BCE during the rule of the Hasmoneans, when the position was occupied by other priestly families unrelated to Zadok.
Though Aaron was the first high priest mentioned in the Book of Exodus, Louis Ginzberg in Legends of the Jews noted that in legends the first man that assumed the title of high priest of God is Enoch, succeeded by Methuselah, Noah, Abraham and Levi. Aaron, though he is but called "the great priest", being simply designated as "ha-kohen", was the first incumbent of the office, to which he was appointed by God; the succession was to be through one of his sons, was to remain in his own family. If he had no son, the office devolved upon the brother next of age: such appears to have been the practise in the Hasmonean period. In the time of Eli, the office passed to the collateral branch of Ithamar, but King Solomon is reported to have deposed the high priest Abiathar, to have appointed Zadok, a descendant of Eleazar, in his stead. After the Exile, the succession seems to have been, in a direct line from father to son. Antiochus IV Epiphanes for instance, deposed Onias III in favor of Jason, followed by Menelaus.
Herod the Great nominated no less than six high priests. The Roman legate Quirinius and his successors exercised the right of appointment, as did Agrippa I, Herod of Chalcis, Agrippa II; the people elected candidates to the office. The high priests before the Exile were, appointed for life; the age of eligibility for the office is not fixed in the Law. Aristobulus, was only seventeen when appointed by Herod; the age a Levite entered. Legitimacy of birth was essential; the high priest had to abstain from ritual defilement. He may marry only an Israelite virgin. In Ezekiel 44:22 this restriction is extended to all kohanim, an exception being made in favor of the widow of a priest. According to Leviticus 21:11 He was not permitted to come in contact with the bodies of the dead, not for his parents Leviticus 21:1-3. According to Josephus, birth on foreign soil was not a disqualification; the Torah provides for specific vestments to be worn by the priests when they are ministering in the Tabernacle: "And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for dignity and for beauty".
These garments are described in detail in Exodus 28, Exodus 39 and Leviticus 8. The high priest wore eight holy garments. Of these, four were of the same type worn by all priests and four were unique to the Kohen Gadol; those vestments which were common to all priests, were: Priestly undergarments: linen pants reaching from the waist to the knees "to cover their nakedness" Priestly tunic: made of pure linen, covering the entire body from the neck to the feet, with sleeves reaching to the wrists. That of the high priest was embroidered. Priestly sash: that of the high priest was of fine linen with "embroidered work" in blue and purple and scarlet. Priestly turban: that of the high priest was much larger than that of the priests and wound so that it formed a broad, flat-topped turban; the vestments that were unique to the high priest were: Priestly robe: a sleeveless, blue robe, the lower hem of, fringed with small golden bells alternating with pomegranate-sh
The Ten Commandments known as the Decalogue, are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship, which play a fundamental role in Judaism and Christianity. The commandments include instructions to worship only God, to honour one's parents, to keep the sabbath day holy, as well as prohibitions against idolatry, murder, theft and coveting. Different religious groups follow different traditions for numbering them; the Ten Commandments appear twice in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy. Modern scholarship has found influences in Hittite and Mesopotamian laws and treaties, but is divided over when the Ten Commandments were written and who wrote them. In biblical Hebrew, the Ten Commandments are called עשרת הדברים and in Mishnaic Hebrew עשרת הדברות, both translatable as "the ten words", "the ten sayings", or "the ten matters"; the Tyndale and Coverdale English biblical translations used "ten verses". The Geneva Bible used "tenne commandements", followed by the Bishops' Bible and the Authorized Version as "ten commandments".
Most major English versions use "commandments."The English name "Decalogue" is derived from Greek δεκάλογος, the latter meaning and referring to the Greek translation δέκα λόγους, deka logous, "ten words", found in the Septuagint at Exodus 34:28 and Deuteronomy 10:4. The stone tablets, as opposed to the commandments inscribed on them, are called לוחות הברית, Lukhot HaBrit, meaning "the tablets of the covenant". Different religious traditions divide the seventeen verses of Exodus 20:1–17 and their parallels at Deuteronomy 5:4–21 into ten "commandments" or "sayings" in different ways, shown in the table below; some suggest. All scripture quotes above are from the King James Version. Click on verses at top of columns for other versions. Traditions: LXX: Septuagint followed by Orthodox Christians. P: Philo, same as the Septuagint, but with the prohibitions on killing and adultery reversed. S: Samaritan Pentateuch, with an additional commandment about Mount Gerizim as 10th. T: Jewish Talmud, makes the "prologue" the first "saying" or "matter" and combines the prohibition on worshiping deities other than Yahweh with the prohibition on idolatry.
A: Augustine follows the Talmud in combining verses 3–6, but omits the prologue as a commandment and divides the prohibition on coveting in two and following the word order of Deuteronomy 5:21 rather than Exodus 20:17. C: Catechism of the Catholic Church follows Augustine. L: Lutherans follow Luther's Large Catechism, which follows Augustine but subordinates the prohibition of images to the sovereignty of God in the First Commandment and uses the word order of Exodus 20:17 rather than Deuteronomy 5:21 for the ninth and tenth commandments. R: Reformed Christians follow John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion, which follows the Septuagint; the biblical narrative of the revelation at Sinai begins in Exodus 19 after the arrival of the children of Israel at Mount Sinai. On the morning of the third day of their encampment, "there were thunders and lightnings, a thick cloud upon the mount, the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud", the people assembled at the base of the mount. After "the LORD came down upon mount Sinai", Moses went up and returned and prepared the people, in Exodus 20 "God spoke" to all the people the words of the covenant, that is, the "ten commandments" as it is written.
Modern biblical scholarship differs as to whether Exodus 19-20 describes the people of Israel as having directly heard all or some of the decalogue, or whether the laws are only passed to them through Moses. The people were afraid to hear more and moved "afar off", Moses responded with "Fear not." He drew near the "thick darkness" where "the presence of the Lord" was to hear the additional statutes and "judgments", all which he "wrote" in the "book of the covenant" which he read to the people the next morning, they agreed to be obedient and do all that the LORD had said. Moses escorted a select group consisting of Aaron and Abihu, "seventy of the elders of Israel" to a location on the mount where they worshipped "afar off" and they "saw the God of Israel" above a "paved work" like clear sapphire stone, and the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, be there: and I will give thee tablets of stone, a law, commandments which I have written. 13 And Moses rose up, his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.
The mount was covered by the cloud for six days, on the seventh day Moses went into the midst of the cloud and was "in the mount forty days and forty nights." And Moses said, "the LORD delivered unto me two tablets of stone written with the finger of God. Before the full forty days expired, the children of Israel collectively decided that something had happened to Moses, compelled Aaron to fashion a golden calf, he "built an altar before it" and the people "worshipped" the calf. After the full forty days and Joshua came down from the mountain with the tablets of stone: "And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot, he cast the tablets out of his hands, brak