ten commandments

basic rules or principles of an activity or situation
—Her ten commandments of friendship begin with “Thou shalt not disagree with me.”

Three months after leaving their captivity in Egypt, the Israelites came to the foot of Mt. Sinai. God told Moses to meet him at the top of the mountain, where he gave Moses two stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments:

You shall have no other gods before me.
You shall not [Thou shalt not—KJV] make for yourself a carved image. . . .
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. . . .
Remember the Sabbath day to set it apart as holy. . . .
Honor your father and your mother. . . .
You shall not murder.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal. . . .
You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
You shall not covet. . . . (Exodus 20:3,4,7,8,12-17)

Because most of the commandments begin with Thou shalt not in the King James translation, rules are sometimes called “thou shalt nots.”

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