Thou shalt have no other gods before me

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Ten Commandments
Protestant numbering
1st 6th
2nd 7th
3rd 8th
4th 9th
5th 10th
Catholic numbering
1st a b 6th
2nd 7th
3rd 8th
4th 9th
5th 10th

Exodus 20:1-3 Bible-icon.png:

1 And God spake all these words, saying,

2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Deuteronomy 5:6-7 Bible-icon.png:

6 I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

7 Thou shalt have none other gods before me.

Exodus 34:12-13 Bible-icon.png:

12 Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee:

13 But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves:


  • What other gods? We are constantly told that there is one god and this god is clearly telling us to not accept any other gods, at least not before him. “I am your Lord thy God, thou shall not have any other Gods before me.” Notice it says ‘before me’ does that imply that other gods do indeed exist? What about any gods after him? This was spoken by Elohim (ironically, a plural name for the god El), who is the “Lord” of the Israelites.
    • The commandment may be referring to man-made idols such as the golden calf made by the Israelites in Exodus 32:4 (ironically it was because of the absence of Moses who was on Mount Sinai allegedly receiving the Ten Commandments that the Israelites made the idol in the first place). It may also be referring to the gods of other cultures, such as Baal.
  • In Exodus, God also hardened the heart of the pharaoh on several occasions prolonging their 'house of bondage' and having them chased unnecessarily.

In United States law

  • The 1st commandment is not a part of U.S. law or customs. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution specifically states that any such requirement cannot be made into law. In the U.S. Americans are free to worship any god or no god.
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