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'Ten Commandments' Categories


The book The Dictionary of Cliches gives the origin behind various common sayings. For example, the cliché "Read him the riot act," which we know means to warn or rebuke someone, originated with an actual Riot Act issued by George I in England in 1716 against unruly mobs. The Act declared: "Our Sovereign Lord the King chargeth and commandeth all persons being assembled to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations or to their lawful business … upon the pains contained" in this act. 

The cliché "Eat humble pie" means to admit to a mistake. Originally, there was actually a humble pie, but it was spelled "unmble" pie (without "h"). The "umbles" were the heart, liver and entrails of the deer, which the huntsman put in a pie and ate "while the lord and lady dined on the venison." 

-What about "In a pickle"? We know it refers to being in trouble. Originally, the pickle was "not the edible that you pull out of a jar but the brine or vinegar it was preserved in." So to be "in a pickle" came to mean being in an uncomfortable situation. 

There's one cliché, however, that probably doesn't need much explanation: "The grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence." Its meaning is that other people's lives, or the things in their lives, have a tendency to look better to us than our own.

The 10th Commandment, You shall not covet, (Exodus 20:17), addresses this tendency.

Reference: James Rogers, The Dictionary of Cliches (Ballantine Books, 1985), pp. 257, 90, 164-165

The Difference Between the First and Second Commandments

Thomas Watson, a Puritan preacher back in the 1600's, summarized the difference between the First and Second of the Ten Commandments: "In the first commandment, worshiping a false God is forbidden. In the sec... [Read More]

God's Name in Vain

Let me ask you: How would you like it if every time someone got mad, or stubbed a toe, or just wanted to make a verbal emphasis, they used your name? They're driving along and someone cuts them off and they say, &... [Read More]

God's "Red Lights"

You'll notice that eight of the Ten Commandments are stated as negatives, as "You shall not"s (all except Commandments four and five). Why? These Commandments are warnings: "Stop! Don't ... [Read More]

Reference: The Arizona Republic, 8/28/03, A1 

God's Wisdom vs. Man's

A number of years ago, someone with too much time on his hands counted up the number of words in the Department of Agriculture's guidelines for the price of cabbage: 15,629 words. There are only 285 words in the E... [Read More]

A Sign on the Wall

Chuck Colson—of Watergate fame, who later became a Christian and founded Prison Fellowship—was speaking before a board of Newspaper editors. 

During the question and answer time, an editor boasted how he'd led a... [Read More]

Ted Turner's Ten Voluntary Initiatives

Ted Turner—TV mogul, founder of CNN, and very rich guy—once declared the Ten Commandments to be out of date. He told the National Press Association members in Atlanta, "Nobody around likes to be commanded. Comma... [Read More]


Wacky Laws

People have come up with some wacky laws at times. Here's a sampling of some strange laws that once were or still are on the books in America: 

  • In Phoenix, Arizona, it was against the law for a man to come to t... [Read More]

    Reference: Wacky Laws: Over 100 Ridiculous but Real Laws, and More Wacky Laws, both by Barbara Seuling, 1975.

  • Forgotten Commandment

    We live in a nation in which many people seem to have forgotten God’s commandments. 

    From Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day in 2008, 125 people were shot and killed in the Chicago area. That’s almost twice the numbe... [Read More]

    Reference: Adam Harrington, "125 Shot Dead in Chicago Over Summer," (9-5-08) 

    My Genes Made Me Do It

    Ever since the Garden of Eden people have been shirking responsibility for their sins (Genesis 3:12-13). Now researchers in Sweden have given unfaithful men another excuse: their genes.  

    Researchers at the ... [Read More]

    Reference: "Men’s Fidelity Controlled by Cheating Genetics," (9-3-08).