General Question

cage's avatar

How many commandments are there?

Asked by cage (3111points) January 30th, 2009

Exodus chapter 20 states that there are 14 commandments. elsewhere in the bible we see up to 113 commandments.
And obviously we have the traditional 10.
Is this another one of those moments where the bible contradicts itself?

thank you QI if anyone watched it

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40 Answers

Allie's avatar

Here’s a commandment for you. I command you to take a picture of the cd like you said you would. Please? You know.. or not.

Bluefreedom's avatar

If my math is correct after reading your question and adding up everything you listed, there are 137 total commandments right?

I triple dog dare you to list all of them here on Fluther! :o)

justn's avatar

You missed the two greatest commandments said by Jesus in Matthew 22:34–40. They are to “Love the Lord your God with all your heat and with all your soul and with all your mind…” and to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Jack79's avatar

Exodus is from the Old Testament, so perhaps there were some Jewish commandments that later became obsolete? Such as “don’t eat pork on the Sabbath” or “never wash on a full moon” or “only beat your second wife, but not the first one” or “circumcise thy son”. There you go. Four.

I wonder what they really were though. I only have the New Testament.

DrBill's avatar

I have several bibles and none of them mention 14 commandments, where did you find this?

aprilsimnel's avatar

Hey, we don’t get QI in the US, cage! Which stinks, because Stephen Fry is awesome.

cage's avatar

@aprilsimnel Stephen Fry is my personal hero

TaoSan's avatar

When it comes to commandments I strongly recommends to watch THIS

Not for kids!

WastaBwoy's avatar

10. Plus the 11th one I threw in myself involving chocolate.

TaoSan's avatar


He was, wasn’t he? The man had a mind as sharp as a scalpel and wasn’t afraid of speaking it.

I have very few regrets in my life, but never having seen him live before he passed away is one of them.

simone54's avatar

“The Lord, the Lord Jehovah has given unto you these fifteen…
[drops one of the tablets] Oy! Ten! Ten commandments for all to obey!”

Bluefreedom's avatar

@simone54. “History of the World: Part 1” was a great movie. Good humor in your answer there.

TaoSan's avatar


Gotta love Monty Python :)

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

Ketchup, Mustard, Relish, Horseradish, Mayo. That’s it. there are five condiments.

Noah_D's avatar

Well, there’s the original 10. God later gives the nation of Israel quite a few laws, but those first 10 are kinda the ‘major’ ones. All in all I think there’s 600something laws that God gives the nation of Israel – anyone ever read Leviticus?

@TaoSan thats Mel Brooks, not Monty Python (though I do love Monty Python)

TaoSan's avatar


Ah! Brainfart! Was thinking of Life of Brian, of course, Mel Brooks

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Evelynism has no commandments, but there are The Seven Vague Suggestions. Only people who cannot make up their mind about stuff need to be commanded. If you are mature enough to make up your own mind about right and wrong, then a simple suggestion is going to work better than outright tones of domineering blather.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I was under the impression that there are 11 Commandments, the 11th being “Thou shalt not pay retail.”

Am I wrong, here?

aidje's avatar

Jewish law includes 613 commandments.

Christians only really talk about the Ten that were given on Mt Sinai (though different denominations divide them in different ways, somehow always coming out with ten).

Jesus condensed the Law and the Prophets down to two commandments.

MacBean's avatar

They can pretty much all be boiled down to “Don’t be an ass.”

Sorceren's avatar

The really most important commandment was inside the front matter of the original Bible. In tiny little Aramaic letters, it read, “This is a work of fiction designed for entertainment purposes only. No characters or scenes in this book should be taken to represent real people or actions by anyone, living or dead.”

Seriously, Jesus’ original commandment was, “Listen to me and pass it on verbally. Do NOT write down what I say, or there will be trouble!” (He hated priests and lawyers, not to mention agents and publishers. And he knew a scribe or two, so he rightly feared editing.)

aidje's avatar

@Sorceren – Where did he say to not write anything down?

Sorceren's avatar

@aidje, we can’t know where, because the faithful did not write it down!

I believe he’s quoted (hearsay) as saying he didn’t want his words written down and interpreted several times, even in the heavily edited Bible. He wanted people to take his message to heart and live it; that way they could pass it on by example instead of having to memorize a catechism.

“Example is better than precept.”

aidje's avatar

@Sorceren – Ah. Clever. Also, I’m having a really hard time taking your arguments seriously, even though I agree with a little bit of what you’re saying. Yes, Jesus “wanted people to take his message to heart and live it.” But I don’t see what the basis is for your other claim (the serious one, that is; I’m assuming that first thing you said was a joke, although I get the impression that you do see some truth in it). You’re saying that Jesus said a certain thing, but you offer no evidence other than the admission that your suggestion is unfalsifiable.

Interpretation is a necessary part of experience, whether a thing is read, heard, or seen. Confining something to oral dissemination does not guaratee accuracy in transmission.

fundevogel's avatar

I read “The Year of Living Biblically” last year and the author compiled a list of something like 700 Biblical instructions. I don’t know if every single Biblical instruction should be considered a commandment but either way it was a lot to keep track of.

Sorceren's avatar

@aidje — “Confining something to oral dissemination does not guarantee accuracy in transmission.”

No. But living it does.

aidje's avatar

@Sorceren – I disagree. Intepretation is always a part of experience. Nothing will take away that factor. I’m not disagreeing with you about the value of “living it.” I agree with you on that point (even though neither of us has really offered a definition). But still, this doesn’t say anything regarding your claim that Jesus didn’t want anything written down.

jayson's avatar

There is one.
The 10 commandments (and all the others for that matter) spin off from the first commandment : ‘have no other gods before me’. This commandment outworks itself in life into what Jesus says : ‘love as I have loved you’. I.e. Love who I am; a God of grace. Love God by displaying in your life the grace He shows us, namely laying down His life for those who reject him.
If that makes sense. If not let me know.

Sorceren's avatar

@aidje, I finally remembered where I saw that, about Jesus not wanting people to write down his words.

It’s in The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, by Dr. Leonard M. Shlain. He provides citations, but I can’t give them to you because the guy I loaned my book to failed to return it. (He probably can’t; the curse I place on borrowers who don’t return books must have taken effect years ago.)

That’s a fascinating work, by the way, if you’re interested in the effects the inventions of letters and numbers have had on the way our brains evolved. The author is a brain surgeon, but damn, he can write! He explains his thesis, that literacy and numeracy took us away from goddess worship and led to linear, patriarchal/hierarchical “logic” and law, by tracing the mythos (or lack thereof) from earliest to latest. Jesus gets a big chapter.

aidje's avatar

Okay; thanks. I might check that out.

fundevogel's avatar

@jayson I pretty sure that not eating shellfish or wearing mixed fibers weren’t derived from any of the ten commandants.

Sorceren's avatar

@fundevogel, check out Leviticus — those two you mentioned aren’t even the most restrictive commandments in there. I’m serious! That may be where the restrictive Jewish dietary laws come from.

fundevogel's avatar

I know I’ve seen them, not exactly my favorite book of the bible.

jayson's avatar

@fundevogel, the Shellfish, fibres, nats, etc. are all because of the one commandment. They all show that what God requires is perfection in unobtainable abundance. And those laws show man cannot under any circumstance keep all the laws. They are to make us see that it is impossible to meet God’s standard and therefore we need grace to make us good enough – grace that comes by God blotting out our failure to be perfect enough at the cross.

fundevogel's avatar

Wow, that fits perfectly. In a sadistic, and insecure kind of way.

Wozzo's avatar

I’m just reading a book by James Becker called the Moses Stone, having found his earlier novel (The First Apostle) quite rivetting. Anyway in the oblighatory explanatory text (Dan Brown has a lot to answer for) James Becker mentions the 14 Commandments, and I can’t recall having seen reference to 14 (or any number other than 10) Can anyone point me at the appropriate passage ?

livingchoice's avatar

While it is true that there are many commandments in the bible there are only one set of commandment which were written with the finger of God. These are the 10 commandments found in Exodus chapter 20. God wrote these specifically with his own finger.

The other commandments you are speaking of were also written by God but through the medium of his prophets, messengers, followers. Though these were not written with the finger of God they do come from him. For the bible says in 2 Peter 1:21 ” For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost.”

Meaning God spoke to them through the Holy Spirit and told them what to write and that is what they wrote.

Erica72's avatar

There are 613 Commandments in the Torah. This is the covenant between the Jewish people and G-d. These commandments are the 613 obligations that the Jewish people agreed to keep when they entered the covenant. Here is a list of the commandments:

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