I have just finished reading an interesting book called “Reformation - Europe’s House Divided, 1490-1700” by Diarmaid MacCulloch.
One fascinating thing I learned is that there are two ways to number the 10 commandments.
Method 1 consists of making the first commanment (I am shortening them here for the sake of brevity)“No other Gods before me”. The part about “no graven images” is simply considered as an illustration of the first commandment, not a commandment by itself. The second commandment is then “Name of the lord your God in vain.”
They then continue in the same order: 3) Sabbath day;4) father and mother; 5)kill; 6) adultery; 7) steal; 8) false witness.
Now then, this brings us to the last 2 which are 9) coveting neighbour’s house and 10) Coveting neighbour’s wife or property.
This system was invented by Augustine of Hippo in the late Roman Empire and used by the Western Latin Christian Church up until the Reformation.
Method 2 was promoted by Protestant reformers because they were against all statues and holy images, so they made the comment about graven images the second commandment. This bumps all the others by one (killing becomes 6, adultery becomes 7) until you get to the “coveting” passage, where ALL forms of coveting (house, wife, goods) are rolled into a tenth commandment.
Now what is really funny is that this is not a straight Catholic/Protestant split. Roman Catholics AND Lutherans use method 1. All other Protestants plus Anglicans (who are really Anglo-Catholics) PLUS JEWS, plus the Orthodox Churches use method 2.
So after that looooong intro, here is my question to Judaic scholars. Where did you folks get your numbering system?
How do you know there are TEN commandments? Also, did you know that the Commandments are enumerated TWICE? Once in Exodus 20 and once in Deuteronomy 5. Now, if you read the end of the list in Deuteronomy, you might get the feeling that coveting your neighbour’s wife (who is a person after all) is meant to stand separately. Why should coveting the house be one distinct commandment and then coveting the wife and all other property lumped together?
Indeed, I seem to remember a Catholic list in which number 9 was coveting the wife and 10 was coveting all property.
Has any Jewish scholar ever advanced the idea that there are 11 commandments?
Or if you lump graven images with the first and lump all coveting together at the end, then you have nine.
The Christian Bible, including the Old Testament, was not divided into verses until the 1500s. Many of the verse divisions are arbitrary decisions of printers. When did Jews start dividing their Torah into verses?
Is there are known Jewish scholar who did the division into 10 commandments that I just described in method 2?
And finally, does it actually say ANYWHERE in Jewish scripture that there are 10 commandments?