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.
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.
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:
- This commandment introduces God as the god that frees people in contrast to the gods of Egypt which enslave. It sets freedom as the "theme" for the following commandments. It forbids the creation of other gods which would only be used to legitimate the power of their priests and thus enslave the people again.
- 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.
- 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. Laws in the U.S. specifically state that any such requirement cannot be made into law.