Were you aware that different people count the Ten Commandments differently? It's always an interesting subject to explore. "Honor thy father and mother,"
for instance: is that the fourth, or the fifth? If you answered fifth, you're probably a Protestant. If you answered fourth, you're probably Jewish or Catholic. (If you answered that you have no idea, then you're probably [insert name of denomination famous for their Biblical illiteracy]
Yep, it's true. The commandments take up sixteen verses in both their iterations (Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5). How you divvy those into ten is a different matter. Jews and Catholics seem to take the view that the second iteration is the most current one (and Jews especially unite it with what comes shortly after, in chapter 6, the Sh'ma Yisrael, which begins with "Hear O Israel" and is considered a central statement of the faith). So they do it like this:
1. Worship no god but Jehovah
2. Don't take the Lord's name in vain
3. Keep the Sabbath
4. Honor your parents
5. Don't kill
6. Don't commit adultery
7. Don't steal
8. Don't bear false witness
9. Don't covet your neighbor's wife
10. Don't covet your neighbor's possessions
Protestants do it like this:
1. Worship no god but Jehovah
2. No graven images
3. Don't take the Lord's name in vain
4. Keep the Sabbath
5. Honor your parents
6. Don't kill
7. Don't commit adultery
8. Don't steal
9. Don't bear false witness
10. Don't covet
Protestants seem to take the view that the earlier iteration is the original and better one. Just about the only difference between the two is the wording of the part about coveting: in Exodus, the earlier one, it lists things you shouldn't covet in order as house, wife, servants, animals, anything else
. In Deuteronomy, the later one, it's wife, house, field, servants, animals, anything else
. If you take the earlier account, you can't very well separate the human possession (wife) from the other possessions and keep it in order. Therefore, you lump all the covets as one big thing, and you split the first commandment, about having no other gods, into two, with the second talking about graven images. Theoretically, you could consider all the bit about idols as part and parcel of the "no other gods" clause, but then you wouldn't have the immense satisfaction of saying the idolatrous Popish Catholics, with their stained glass windows and statues of Mary, are actually breaking one of the Ten Commandments.
Not that any of it actually matters, of course: all the bases are covered, no matter how you number them. Still, interesting questions arise. How are they displayed in a place of worship? No problem at all: you do it according to your faith's tradition. How are they displayed in a public place? Again, no problem: you do it according to the tradition of whoever's displaying them. How are they displayed publicly on government property, paid for by taxpayers, who may be Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, or something else entirely, or nothing? (Good question. For this reason among others, I like the traditional Baptist answer, and humbly suggest that we practice civil discourse with our brethren of different faiths and no faith by ... spending our hard-earned taxpayer money on something other than religious monuments.)
All this is pretty interesting to me, and it offers an explanation for a phenomenon you may have wondered about: whenever Moses is pictured holding the tablets, they often have no writing on them but simple numbers (usually, preposterously, Roman numerals). But they're almost never evenly split, 1-5 and 6-10. Instead, it's either 1-3 on the first tablet and 4-10 on the second, or 1-4 on the first and 5-10 on the second. The split, then, in both Protestant and Jewish/Catholic cases, is the split between matters of faith and matters of civil law; between rules that govern the relation of person to religion and the relation of person to person.
Catherine, who went to eight years of Catholic school and attended a Church of Christ college, reports having had several Nowwaitjustaminute!
moments as she tried to reconcile two branches of the faith that expressed such different theological understandings with such similar terms. Must be like listening to two people with the same vocabulary but different dictionaries, or sitting at the same board and discovering one's playing checkers and the other's playing chess.
The whole thing makes me think Jews (of which Jesus was most definitely one) have the right idea in Deuteronomy 6: you can hardly go wrong regarding your neighbor as you regard yourself.