In a remarkable fashion, the Bible records a violation of nine of the Ten Commandments in turn, after which ancient Israel is taken into captivity. It shows God gave the nation nine chances, they blew it nine times, and ended up in exile. Of course the Bible records many instances of commandment breaking, but these nine have special significance. They have national consequences. This is the basis of the book The Nine Commandments  by David Noel Freedman. Critics don't all agree with Freedman, I'll first present Freedman's idea, then I'll give some space for the critics - you can decide whether it has merit or not.
People don't agree on the numbering of the Ten. I will give the short form of each as we come to it. I like the King James for the Commandments because it uses Thou which is second person singular - 10 Commandments 
Between The Ears BLOG INDEX, with titles and summaries.
Why National Consequences?
Twelve Tribes of
God spoke the TEN commandments to the people from Mount Sinai - Ex 20. The Ten Commandments are more than a moral code to rule a people, they are a covenant between God and ancient Israel. "And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments." - Ex 34:28. The covenant includes text from chapters 20 - 24 of Exodus, where chapter 20 lists the Ten Commandments, the only part spoken by God Himself from Mount Sinai. This was the first time God made a covenant with a nation. Before this, he had made covenants with individuals, like Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But now He made a nation of Jacob's descendants, and He made a covenant with them. The children of Israel had to obey the voice of God, in return, God promised them this:
Ex 19:5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.'
Ex 24:3 Then Moses came and reported to the people all the words of the LORD and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words which the LORD has spoken we will do!”
Commandments 1 And 2
Thou shalt have
no other gods before me.
Thou shalt not make any graven image or bow down to them.
After the people promised to obey the Ten Commandments, Moses went up the mountain to receive the two tablets from God. He was gone for 40 days, and when he came down, the people had managed to violate Commandments 1 and 2 in the golden calf incident. Here is how God describes their actions to Moses:
Exodus 32:8 How quickly they have turned aside from the way that I commanded them! They have made for themselves a molten calf and have bowed down to it. They have sacrificed to it and said, 'These, O Israel, are your gods, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.'"
Note how this language parallels the commandment.
Exodus 20:3 AFV You shall have no other gods before Me. 4 You shall not make for yourselves any graven image, ... 5 You shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them;
The consequence for this was severe. God threatened to wipe them all out and start over with Moses, though that was probably a test for Moses. A very real consequence was the death of 3000 men.
Exo 32:28 And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.
With the violation of commandments one and two, Israel has begun its downward trek, a trek that will take them through each commandment, one by one, book by book, until all are broken, resulting in their exile from the Promised Land. p 45
Book two – Commandments one and two.
Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain.
Leviticus is known for laws, not for narrative. But there is one story in Leviticus that seems to be out of place. It is the episode of blasphemy. The first half of chapter 24 talks about items in the Tabernacle, and then the text jumps to a story of two men fighting where one of them curses God's name (literally made light of THE NAME), then chapter 24 continues with more laws.
The offender, who is not even named in the story, is jailed, brought to Moses, who appeals to God, who sentences him to death by stoning by the congregation. This sets a legal precedent for Israel. What began as an altercation between two men became the business of the whole nation. The whole congregation participated in the stoning to purge Israel of its guilt. It also shows that the Law applies to the native Israelite and the non-native.
Book three - Commandment three.
Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it Holy.
Book four - Commandment four.
Honor thy father and thy mother.
In Deuteronomy 21, Moses is giving various laws to the people. Verses 18-21 describes what to do with a “stubborn and rebellious son”. The passage reads like a legal proceeding.
- The guilty party is seized by witnesses
- The guilty party is brought to a judging body
- The crime is communicated
- The guilty party is stoned
- Evil is purged
Sound familiar? It's Leviticus 24 and Numbers 15 all over again. “Nowhere else in Deuteronomy do we find all of these elements together.”  Here are some things to note. Both parents bring their son to the elders of the city for judgment. They must testify that he is stubborn and rebellious despite discipline. And that led to unacceptable behavior, namely disobedience, gluttony, and drunkenness.
This passage might be included because like blasphemy and Sabbath breaking, the penalty for not honoring parents was never given before. But the thing is, there is no case recorded anywhere that this process was ever done. I don't think it means there was never a son in ancient Israel that was stubborn and rebellious. It means that no parents could bring themselves to do it. I never had kids, but I can't imagine doing it. Now bringing someone else's kid to the city elders...
It might be that if stubborn and rebellious sons were brought to justice by their own parents, things would have turned out better for Israel, that is the people would hear and fear. It is remarkable that Jesus became sin for us, and God the Father was willing to put Him to death.
Book five - Commandment five.
This is the end of the Torah, the five books of Moses. Now we move into the section known as the Prophets. In the Hebrew Bible, the first four books in this section are Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. Note that Samuel and Kings are not split in two. And note that Ruth is not here. The Torah plus these four books is sometimes called the Primary History (of Israel).
The question is whether the pattern of commandment violation book by book continues after the Torah. The answer is yes and no. We still see one violation per book, but the order is changed a little. From the pattern so far, we would expect to see a murder in book six (Joshua), but in fact stealing is the next commandment violated. Freedman argues that if we follow the order of Jeremiah 7, the book/commandment correspondence stays aligned.
Jer 7:9 Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, offer sacrifices to Baal, and follow other gods that you have not known,
One way or another, we will get back in sync before we're done.
Thou shalt not steal
After 40 years in the wilderness, Israel begins to conquer the Promised Land, beginning with a memorable victory over Jericho (Josh 6), which gave the Israelites great confidence that God will grant them continuous victories. But the next time out (Josh 7), they got defeated, so Joshua asks God why. The reason is because a man named Achan stole some gold and silver that was forbidden. God reserved the gold and silver spoils from Jericho for the Tabernacle. Ultimately, Achan was found out, and although he confessed (Josh 7:20-21), he was sentenced to death. It was so serious that his family was put to death as well. Normally, the penalty for stealing was to repay what was stolen, in some cases to pay five times over. This is the only instance of the death penalty for stealing . But this was stealing from God, and it affected the whole nation. It is also the only case of anyone stealing from the forbidden spoils . How can we know it is THE Commandment violation for the book of Joshua? Achan's crime is the only sin by an Israelite in the book .
We see that the Lord held the whole camp of Israel accountable for the act of one man and withheld His blessing until the matter was corrected - Sin of Achan .
Josh 6:18 GNT But you are not to take anything that is to be destroyed; if you do, you will bring trouble and destruction on the Israelite camp. 19 Everything made of silver, gold, bronze, or iron is set apart for the LORD. It is to be put in the LORD's treasury.
Josh 7:1 ASV But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the devoted thing; for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the devoted thing: and the anger of Jehovah was kindled against the children of Israel.
Listen to the language used to describe the incident.
Josh 7:11 HOLMAN Israel has sinned. They have violated My covenant that I appointed for them. They have taken some of what was set apart. They have stolen, deceived, and put the things with their own belongings.
Jos 7:21 When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I COVETED them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.
Book six - Commandment eight.
Thou shalt not murder.
If you read this in the KJV, you won't see that this is a case of murder.
Judg 20:4 KJV And the Levite, the husband of the woman that was slain
In nearly all other translations, it reads “the woman who was murdered'. It does not say “the woman who died”, or “the woman who was killed”, but “the woman who was murdered”. In fact, this is the first story since Sinai to use the Hebrew word ratsach as found in the Commandment. Ratsach is a legal term like the English homicide.
The community is required to see that the commands are enforced and violations are punished. If the individual is not held accountable for his or her crime, the entire community becomes guilty - [1 p117].
Book seven - Commandment six.
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
There is only one case of adultery in the Hebrew Bible where the crime, the participants, and the events surrounding it are all made explicit. It is also one of the most famous cases of adultery in all literature - [1 p130].
Nathan Confronts David
Sam 12:10 Now then, the sword shall never leave your house, because
you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to
be your wife.’
11 This is what the LORD says: ‘Behold, I am going to raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight.
It may be a coincidence, but now that Israel is a monarchy, these last two violations are done by royalty. One near the beginning of the kingdom, one near the end.
Book eight - Commandment seven.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
With Commandment Nine, we get back in sync.
Not bear false witness. This is carefully worded because it is a legal term. The Bible condemns lying in many passages, but this commandment is not a simple injunction against lying in general. It is specific. We might say “Thou shalt not perjure against thy neighbor”.
All false witnessing is a lie, but not all lies are false witnesses Hermeneutics(Lying Tongue) 
False witnessing attempts to pervert the course of justice.
Bearing false witness, on the other hand, is a lie with intent to inflict damage on another innocent party Frontiersman(False Witness) .
In fact, according to Jewish teaching, lying is permitted to deceive the enemy or to save life - Wikipedia(Jewish view on lying) 
|Ahab Asks Naboth|
It didn't end well for Ahab or Jezebel. Some of Ahab's punishment was postponed to his sons days because he humbled himself, but he met his end three years later in 1 K 22. Jezebel met her end in 2 K 9:30-37.
Book nine - Commandment nine.
The Tenth Commandment
Israel has broken the covenant commandment by commandment in order. The end result will be exile, about 100 years after Ahab, as told in the Primary history.
Why is there no tale devoted to the Tenth Commandment? One reason there is no story devoted to coveting is that it has no observable behavior, but it is evident in the violations of commandments six through nine that coveting was the motivation.
Achan coveted the gold and silver.
The Benjamites coveted (lusted after) sex.
David coveted (lusted after) Bathsheba.
Ahab coveted Naboth's vineyard.
Intent is important in modern justice and was important in ancient Israel, but only after a crime is committed. Attitude cannot be punished in the absence of a criminal action, Thought Police notwithstanding.
It's more than exile for Israel. By giving example violations of nine out of ten commandments, the Bible is drawing attention to the one left out. Sin starts in the mind, that's where the battle is. If you would not sin, don't covet. And not just commandments six through nine, consider Col 3.
Col 3:5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
I would have never figured that out on my own.
- Finally, I wonder if these violations are playing out in modern America. Have we not seen public examples of bearing false witness, stealing, adultery, and murder? God exiled Israel for breaking all the commandments of His covenant. Will He do any differently with America?
But, Is It So?
- What about Genesis? Commandment One (no other gods before Me) is violated in the Garden of Eden, but Freedman doesn't start counting till Exodus when Commandments One and Two are violated. Why not start counting in Genesis? The best explanation is that the count couldn't start till the covenant with the whole nation of Israel, which happened in Exodus 20.
"Special pleading", as is the placing of the first two violations in Exodus, with none in Genesis (none that he counts anyway; in reality there are many in Genesis). - Amazon review 
- It really breaks the pattern that the Commandment violations don't follow the order in Exodus 20 or Deuteronomy 5. Dennis T. Olson sums it up this way.
Why would the master editor arrange these narratives in an alternative order of the commandments known only from an obscure reference in Jeremiah 7 (theft, murder, adultery)? - - 2000 Year Secret 
- I pointed out above that there isn't an actual violation of Commandment 5 (Honor your parents). Every other violation is listed, and some quite heinous, so it's surprising this one is left out. Again it ruins the pattern.
2K 17:18 AFV So the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them out of His sight; not one was left, only the tribe of Judah by itself.
- In some of the example violations, other Commandments were broken, arguably more serious ones. For example, in the case of David's adultery, Nathan the prophet rebukes him first for killing Uriah.
2Sam 12:9 AFV Why have you despised the word of the LORD to do evil in His sight? You have stricken Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the children of Ammon.
And in the case of Ahab and Naboth, bearing false witness seems a lesser crime than killing Naboth, stealing his land, or the idolatry of Ahab and Jezebel.
1K 16:31 And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, he took for his wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal and bowed down to him.
- And one critic remarked that no one noticed this pattern for over 2000 years - . To be fair, one point of scholarship is to find new things, even in text that is thousands of years old.