The phrase 'ten commandments' is mentioned in the bible scriptures (Exodus 34:28, Deuteronomy 4:13, and Deuteronomy 10:04). However, the text that outlines the commandments (Exodus 20:3-17 and Deuteronomy 5:7–21) did not get explicitly enumerated in a one-through-ten format. I'm speaking about the law that is said to have come to us from one of the most notorious lawbreakers of them all, Moses himself. His story (history) alleges that God personally scribed these two stone tablets, not once, but twice to account for Moses' temper.
After the first two tablets got scribed, Moses came down from the mountain and saw his people worshipping a giant Golden Calf (or Graven Image), and he was infuriated. His people were already breaking the law. They had molted the idol with their collective gold because of popular demand at the command of Moses's brother Aaron, who apparently, was a populist. Either that or he wanted to distance himself from the idolatry, so he blamed the people. Moses saw his people sing and dance before their holy cow—and this caused him to break the law by physically smashing the stone tablets at the bottom of the mountain.
Even after he allegedly talked God out of killing the people for what they've done, Moses took it upon himself to command the Levites to commit a mass culling in God's name. This to the tune of approximately 3000 men. But it's a little confusing because, depending on the translation, Aaron refers to Moses as "my lord" in Exodus 32:22 NIV. That said, it is sometimes hard to tell where Moses ends—and God begins. Suffice it to say, despite his involvement in the Golden Calf shenanigans, Moses' brother Aaron was not among the slain. If we switch gears back to the ten commandments; Seeing as how we don't have any historical images—the onus is on the reader to translate and innumerate accordingly.
Is this much ado about nothing? Not quite. We have some religious institutions that have thrived off of graven images going all the way back to their origins. Christ on a cross, I kid you not. That said, it would not behoove the Catholic Church to dignify the second commandment with a separate numeral, so they did not. Something like that would call into question their strict and morbid tradition of worshipping at the alter of a slain Jesus. So what the Catholics did in their learning model (Catechism) was to combine the first and second commandments in such a way as to allow for a graven image of the crucified Christ, but no other Gods are acceptable. It reads as follows: "I am the Lord your God: You shall not have strange Gods before me."
Coincidentally or not, trinitarianism further paves the way for the exception to the rule by claiming God and Jesus are the same. If Jesus is God, then an image of Christ on the cross does not compete with God. The problem with combining the first two commandments is that it throws off the order of the other eight, and then you end up short one commandment. The Catholics solved that problem by duplicating "thou shall not covet" into two different categories, and this tops it off, level, just like the bible says, to exactly ten commandments. They read as follows: "(9.) You shall not covet your neighbor's wife. (10.) You shall not covet your neighbor's goods." The problem with this solution is that it is redundant.
To covet is to desire the property of another. Whether animate or inanimate, wife or property, they were both considered property in bible times. So for them to delineate the two at the exclusion of the rest mentioned was entirely unnecessary. Exodus 20:17 also makes mention of male and female servants, oxen, and donkeys. So hypothetically speaking, if you split them all into separate commandments, you could have thirteen or fourteen of them. But that would not jive with the first three scriptures that I mentioned, so they could only get away with doing that once.
And to think, this entire line of thought was inspired by this video of the Pope, who may or may not be guilty of bearing false witness about the true nature of the eighth commandment. You know, the one about stealing. I wrote this post with the aid of the holy sprite and perhaps just a splash of vodka. Thus he spake: "Spectacles, Testicles, Brandy, Cigars." — RAW.
This was the final article of the hidden series from the vault of the
late Pope Imbibe V of the venerable Church of Quantum Distillations.