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Now ELOHIM spoke all these words

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Now THE CREATOR AND RULER OVER ALL THINGS spoke this covenant code, by saying the following:



The word translated here as “words” had special meaning in the context of a covenant agreement where this noun carried much more meaning that just “words.” It communicated something akin to “covenant code” or “everything that pertains to this covenant.” Those things appear to be primarily the conditions that must be followed by those in the covenant relationship, but it also encompassed all the other aspects of the covenant formula.

However, there’s more. In general usage this word also means “fulfillment, action, an event, a matter or a business, a cause or a purpose.” It carries with it a sense of action and fulfillment. God is committed to action, and He wants us to be committed to action as well; we can’t just say we want to follow Him, or say we love our neighbor, we must be like God and do those things.

It is because of this phrase that the Hebrews called this section of Scripture “the ten words.” We call them “the ten commandments,” because the word can also mean “command or promise.”  It sounds to us like a weakening of their title to call them “the ten words.” In reality the Hebrew title is more elevated, more inclusive and more accurate because it points to doing or living out every aspect of the covenant relationship. Our relationship with God is a covenant relationship, and we don’t have covenants anymore, so we need to understand what that meant to the people of that day and then we need to live that way.