As we begin this this study of what is written in the Book of the Covenant, it’s important to realize that what we call “The Ten Commandments” is really called “The Ten Words”, “The Ten Sayings” or “The Ten Matters” in Greek. The English word “Decalogue” is derived from the Greek word dekalogos, Deka. In Greek this means Ten, and Logous meaning words in other words deka logous. This is where we derive the “Ten Words.”
The tablets that the covenant are made of are stone tablets. They have the book of the covenant inscribed on them. This is called luwach bĕriyth in Hebrew, meaning “tablets of the covenant.” We read about the tablets in Exodus 31:18, “and he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon Mount Sinai, the two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” Notice the Tables of testimony. Why is it called this? We need to get a clearer understanding of what this testimony is and how important it is to our walk with the Lord.
Let’s look at Psalm 119:14-15, “I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.” When you read this psalm it makes it much more clear that David is referring only the Book of the Covenant. The tables (tablets) of the testimony is the book the covenant that David is repeatedly bring into remembrance, the precepts. When we keep them they guide us in the correct path.
Let’s clear up something’s in Exodus 20:1, “And God spake all these words, saying” Notice it does not say “and God spoke these commandments.” In Hebrew the word for commandment is “mitzvah.” It says God spoke “all these words” even though in Exodus 34:8 (King James Bible) it clearly says “Ten Commandments.” It is still translated in Hebrew from the word Dabar Meaning “Word” & “Speak” or even “Thing.” Even thought it could have the meaning of the word “command.” When you look at it in context you realize God is referring to them as sayings, utterances, or statements, but not commandments. Just as a side note, Speaking comes out of the mouth, this is where our thoughts form a connection to the physical world.
In other words, God is giving us his best advice. He is teaching us about the basic rules of the spiritual realm. When we understand that He is giving us His best advice, and we when are willing to obey them, then we can connect more fully with the Lord. Remember just as a good parent teaches by example and gives their children the best advice they can, a good parent wants the best for their children so they can have good relationships with God and man. In turn God gives us a promise in Exodus 19:5, “now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine.” And in Exodus 19:6, “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.”
Let’s take a look in the new testament. We see Jesus speaking to a lawyer in Luke 10:25-28, “and, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law (The Covenant)? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” Jesus is only talking about the book of the Covenant not the book of the Law. We need to remember it was only though the death of Jesus that we are brought back into the Covenant. By just keeping these precepts you will not be saved or have life. Remember Jesus had to die in order to bring us back into the covenant relationship with his father. As James 2:8 says, “if ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well.” James then goes on to talk about the book of the covenant.