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20121105 God gave the Ten Commandments 天主頒下十誡

Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. The people, however, were often ungrateful to God. Again and again, the Israelites fell into the sin of murmuring, and they even fell into the sin of idolatry!
The Israelites murmured against Moses for their lack of food and drink. God provided food for them by raining down bread from heaven and He gave them water from a dry rock in the desert.
The bread from heaven was called manna. It is a figure of the Blessed Sacrament. The manna came from heaven, and Christ in the Blessed Sacrament comes down from heaven; the manna served as food for the Israelites in their journey through the desert, and the Holy Eucharist is the food of our soul in our journey through life; the manna was bread, and in the Holy Eucharist Christ is present under the appearances of bread.
The miraculous rock was also a figure of Christ, for from Him comes the streams of grace in the seven Sacraments.
Mount Sinai
God prepare the Israelites for the proclamation of the Ten Commandments by renewing the covenant He had made with Abraham and by commanding the people to purify themselves for three days.
The people purified themselves exteriorly by washing their clothes, and interiorly by prayer and penance.
God gave Moses the Ten Commandments: 1. I, the Lord, am your God. You shall not have other gods besides me. 2. You shall not take the name of the Lord God in vain. 3. Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day. 4. Honor your father and your mother. 5. You shall not kill. 6. You shall not commit adultery. 7. You shall not steal. 8. You shall not bear false witness. 9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. 10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.
The first three Commandments refer directly to God, and the remaining seven refer directly to our neighbors.
The stone tablets
God commanded Moses to go up again to Mount Sinai because God wished to instruct Moses concerning the ceremonial of divine worship and to give him the two stone tablets on which were inscribed the Ten Commandments. The tablets were to remind the Israelites of the unchangeableness of the Ten Commandments.
During the absence of Moses, the Israelites committed the sin of idolatry by inducing Aaron to make a golden calf, which they adored. When Moses saw the sin of the people he threw the two stone tablets on the ground and smashes them to bits. The smashing of the tablets was the symbol of the covenant that the Israelites had broken.
Moses inflicted severe punishment on the idolaters, and prayed to God for the people. God showed his pardon by giving Moses a second time the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments.
At the end of the Book of Exodus, Moses built the tabernacle which contained the Ark of the Covenant. Inside the ark were the tablets of the Law, a vase filled with manna, and the rod of Aaron.
The tablets of the Law reminded the Israelites of the covenant; the manna and the rod of Aaron reminded them of God’s providence.
The Book of Leviticus taught the Israelites how to be a holy people. The word “holiness” occurs eighty-seven times in the book.
The Book of Numbers contains a census of all the tribes of Israel. This book also described how the Israelites spent forty years wandering through the wilderness. Again and again the people sinned by grumbling.
The Book of Deuteronomy contains a series of speeches of Moses before his death. Moses gave the people a new constitution for the nation of Israel.