From slave to master

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.
Exodus 20:17

And you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. And you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.
Deuteronomy 5:21

I was at a luncheon a couple months ago with Jim Jordan and seem to recall he made reference to the change made to the tenth commandment between Exodus and Deuteronomy. As you can see from the verses, the wife is moved from a position of being inside the house, one of the possessions of the man that are part of the household, to being outside/above the house, which would put her in a position of mastery over the house and its possessions.

Here’s an idea regarding this change in the command. When the ten commandments were first given, Israel had just left Egypt, the house of slavery (Exodus 5:2). The second telling of the ten commandments takes place right before Israel enters to possess the land (Deuteronomy 5:33) at the end of Moses’ life. I’m wondering if the tenth command mirrors this change in Israel’s status as they move from slaves in Egypt to a position of mastery in the promised land. I’m sure it has significance beyond this reference to the history of redemption, but it seems to tie in with Israel’s changing status.

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  1. Mark Horne » links for 2007-05-16 - [...] House of Horne › From slave to master Why the change in the 10th command? A plausible answer. (tags:…