Exodus 20:3

3 “You shall have no other gods before[a] me.

Exodus 20:3 in Other Translations

King James Version (KJV)
3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
English Standard Version (ESV)
3 "You shall have no other gods before me.
New Living Translation (NLT)
3 “You must not have any other god but me.
The Message Bible (MSG)
3 No other gods, only me.
American Standard Version (ASV)
3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
GOD'S WORD Translation (GW)
3 "Never have any other god.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
3 Do not have other gods besides Me.
New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
3 "Do not put any other gods in place of me.

Exodus 20:3 Meaning and Commentary

Exodus 20:3

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
] This is the first command, and is opposed to the polytheism of the Gentiles, the Egyptians, from whom Israel was just come, and whose gods some of them might have had a favourable opinion of and liking to, and had committed idolatry with; and the Canaanites, into whose land they were going; and to prevent their joining with them in the worship of other gods, this law was given, as well as to be of standing us to them in all generations; for there is but one only living and true God, the former and maker of all things, who only is to be had, owned, acknowledged, served, and worshipped as such; all others have only the name, and are not by nature gods; they are other gods than the true God is; they are not real, but fictitious deities; they are other or strange gods to the worshippers of them, that cry unto them, for they do not answer them, as Jarchi observes: and now for Israel, who knew the true God, who had appeared unto them, and made himself known to them by his name Jehovah, both by his word and works, whom he had espoused to himself as a choice virgin, to commit idolatry, which is spiritual adultery with other gods, with strange gods, that are no gods, and this before God, in the presence of him, who had took them by the hand when he brought them out of Egypt, and had been a husband to them, must be shocking impiety, monstrous ingratitude, and extremely displeasing to God, and resented by him; and is, as many observe, as if a woman should commit adultery in the presence of her husband, and so the phrase may denote the audaciousness of the action, as well as the wickedness of it; though, as Ben Melech from others observes, if it was done in secret it would be before the Lord, who is the omniscient God, and nothing can be hid from him: several Jewish commentators, as Jarchi, Kimchi, and Aben Ezra, interpret the phrase "before me", all the time I endure, while I have a being, as long as I live, or am the living God, no others are to be had; that is, they are never to be had; since the true God will always exist: the Septuagint version is, "besides me", no other were to be worshipped with him; God will have no rivals and competitors; though he was worshipped, yet if others were worshipped with him, if others were set before him and worshipped along with him, or it was pretended he was worshipped in them, and even he with a superior and they with an inferior kind of worship; yet this was what he could by no means admit of: the phrase may be rendered "against me" F3; other gods opposition to him, against his will, contrary to obedience due to him and his precepts: this law, though it supposes and strongly inculcates the unity of the divine Being, the only object of religious adoration, yet does not oppose the doctrine of the trinity of persons in the Godhead; nor is that any contradiction to it, since though the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, there are not three Gods, but three Persons, and these three are one God, ( 1 John 5:7 ) .


F3 (ynp le) "contra me", Noldius, No. 1801. p. 731.

Exodus 20:3 In-Context

1 And God spoke all these words:
2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.
5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,

Related Articles

Cross References 1

  • 1. ver 23; Exodus 34:14; Deuteronomy 6:14; Deuteronomy 13:10; 2 Kings 17:35; Psalms 44:20; Psalms 81:9; Jeremiah 1:16; Jeremiah 7:6,9; Jeremiah 11:13; Jeremiah 19:4; Jeremiah 25:6; Jeremiah 35:15

Footnotes 1

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