Numerous Commandments [draft]
Back on the mountain, God said to Moses, 2 ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.’
‘I know,’ interrupted Moses. ‘We’ve met before.’
‘No,’ groaned God. ‘I’m dictating my commandments.’
‘How’s that a commandment?’
‘It’s not. It’s kind of a preamble.’
‘Oh okay,’ said Moses, and he started chiselling what God had said onto a nearby stone tablet.
3 God continued his dictation: ‘You shall have no other gods before me.’
‘So, we can have other gods as long as you’re first?’ asked Moses.
‘No!’ exclaimed God.
‘Then, shouldn’t it be, “You shall have no other gods,” full stop?’
‘Just write it as I wrote it, and we can change it later if we need to!’
‘How can I change it?’ snorted Moses. ‘I’m chiselling this in stone!’
‘Figure it out!’ snapped God. 4 ‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image-any likeness of anything that is in Heaven above, or that is in the Earth beneath, or that is in the water under the Earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them.’
‘Why not worship idols?’ barked God.
‘No,’ sighed Moses, ‘why can’t we make images?’
‘I didn’t say you couldn’t make any images, I said you can’t make them to worship them!’
‘Well, it sounds like you’re telling people not to make any either.’
‘They’ll understand!’ spat God. ‘For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God.’
‘Who exactly are you jealous of?’ asked Moses.
‘Other gods! Will you quit interrupting me?’
‘There are other gods?’
‘No! I am the only god!’
‘Then why are you jealous?’
‘Because people worship them instead of me !’
‘Well, I can see why you’d prefer people not to worship them, but being jealous of them doesn’t make sense…’
‘But they should be worshipping me!’ screamed God.
‘I’m still kind of confused about that,’ sighed Moses. ‘Why do you want worship so badly anyway? Do you get more powerful the more people worship you or something?’
‘No, but don’t you think they should worship me? I mean, I made everything.’
‘Well, they could be thankful… Although, you also made pain and suffering, and we keep getting sick and stuff, not to mention that we spent all of those centuries as slaves…’
‘Yeah, but I could kill you if I wanted to,’ said God matter-of-factly. ‘Ever thought of that?’
‘So, you’ll kill us if we don’t worship you?’
‘No, not all the time. I mean… if you stone anyone to death who doesn’t worship me, I won’t need to. 6 Anyway, I punish children for the sins of their parents to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, but show mercy to thousands, to those who love me and keep my commandments.’
‘But we have no control over what our ancestors did!’ objected Moses.
‘I didn’t say you did!’ snapped God. ‘Quit putting words in my mouth!’
‘So, how can we be held responsible?’
‘Then why should we be punished for their sins?’
‘Because you’re sinful too!’
‘Then punish us for our own sins!’ growled Moses.
7 The Lord shot him an evil look, and continued, ‘You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.’
‘What does that mean exactly?’
‘Don’t misuse my name.’
‘How could somebody misuse your name? Calling someone who isn’t you Yahweh?’
‘No,’ huffed God, ‘saying things like, “God damn it!”’
‘Oh,’ said Moses. ‘How about “oh my God”?’
‘Erm… not really…’
‘How about “Jesus fucking tapdancing Christ”?’
‘What if someone, thousands of years from now, were to write stories where they had you acting like a whiny little bitch?’
‘Who the fuck would do such a thing?’ squealed God, stamping his foot. ‘Now will you let me finish?’
8 ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labour and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male slave, nor your female slave...’
‘Wait, we can own slaves?’ interrupted Moses.
‘Yes, of course!’ declared God. ‘What’s wrong with owning slaves?’
‘We were enslaved by the Egyptians!’ yelled Moses.
‘But that was different!’
‘No, it wasn’t!’
‘Look, I’ve lost my place!’ snarled God. ‘What was the last thing I wrote?’
‘“Nor your female slave”.’
‘Nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the Heavens and the Earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.’
‘Well, I can get behind people having a rest,’ said Moses.
12 ‘ Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.’
‘But what if your parents are abusive?’
‘Doesn’t matter. They’re your parents.’
Moses tried to object, but God continued, 13 ‘You shall not murder. 14 You shall not commit adultery. 15 You shall not steal. 16 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.’
‘Finally, some good ones!’ cheered Moses.
‘They’re all good!’ retorted God. 17 ‘You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, nor his male slave, nor his female slave, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbour’s.’
‘What’s wrong with wanting things?’ asked Moses.
‘Well, if you want their stuff, you might be tempted to steal them, or worse, you might kill them for them.’
‘But you already commanded us not to steal or murder.’
‘Oh, I forgot one commandment,’ replied God.
God inhaled deeply and bellowed, ‘Don’t question me! Just shut the fuck up and do as you’re told!’
‘I’ve run out of room on the tablet…’