Deuteronomy 5:6–21—How could Moses alter the wording of the Ten Commandments from that which God spoke to him?
Problem: In Deuteronomy 5:6–21 Moses repeats the Ten Commandments to Israel. In reviewing the covenant which God made with Israel, Moses reviews the commandments which God gave to Israel at Sinai. However, Moses’ wording of the commandments in this passage is not exactly the same as the wording of God in Exodus 20:2–17. How could Moses alter the wording of the Ten Commandments from wording which God gave to him?
Solution: First, it must be remembered that Moses’ purpose in reviewing the Law is not to provide an exact word-for-word recitation of the statements in Exodus. Moses is not only reviewing the Law, but he is expounding and explaining the Law and its implications and applications for entrance into and life in the Promised Land.
Second, Moses was also under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as he spoke and wrote the words in these passages in Deuteronomy. Consequently, it is under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that Moses altered, omitted, or added a word or phrase in his presentation of the Decalogue.
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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.