Exodus 20:3-6

3 “You shall have no other gods before[a] 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,
6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Exodus 20:3 in Other Translations

KJV
3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
ESV
3 "You shall have no other gods before me.
NLT
3 “You must not have any other god but me.
MSG
3 No other gods, only me.
CSB
3 Do not have other gods besides Me.

Exodus 20:3-6 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO EXODUS 20

In this chapter we have an account of the giving of the law on Mount Sinai; the preface to it, Ex 20:1,2, the ten commandments it consists of, Ex 20:8-17, the circumstances attending it, which caused the people to remove at some distance, Ex 20:18, when they desired of Moses, that he would speak to them and not God, who bid them not fear, since this was for the trial of them; but still they kept at a distance, while Moses drew nigh to God, Ex 20:19-21 who ordered him to caution the children of Israel against idolatry, and directed what sort of an altar he would have made whereon to offer their sacrifices, promising that where his name was recorded he would grant his presence and blessing, Ex 20:22-26.

Exodus 20:3-6 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,
6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.

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Cross References 7

  • 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
  • 2. ver 5,23; Exodus 32:8; Exodus 34:17; Leviticus 19:4; Leviticus 26:1; Dt 4:15-19,23; Deuteronomy 27:15; 2 Samuel 7:22; 1 Kings 14:9; 2 Kings 17:12; Isaiah 40:19; Isaiah 42:8; Isaiah 44:9
  • 3. Exodus 23:13,24; Joshua 23:7; Judges 6:10; 2 Kings 17:35; Isa 44:15,17,19; Isaiah 46:6
  • 4. Exodus 34:14; Deuteronomy 4:24; Joshua 24:19; Nahum 1:2
  • 5. S Genesis 9:25; S Leviticus 26:39
  • 6. Exodus 34:7; Numbers 14:18; Jeremiah 32:18
  • 7. Exodus 34:7; Numbers 14:18; Deuteronomy 7:9; Jeremiah 32:18; Luke 1:50; Romans 11:28

Footnotes 1

Scripture quoted by permission.  Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.