ON THE TENTH day of Christmas my True Love sent to me ten lords a-leaping.
Ten lords a-leaping depicts the sort of image we would expect: commandments of God ought to compel us to answer at God’s command “Jump!” with “How high?”
Here are the Ten Commandments of Exodus 20:3-17 from the Holman Christian Standard Bible. These are the words of God as given to Moses:
1. Do not have other gods besides Me. Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the fathers’ sin, to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing faithful love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commands.
2. Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God, because the Lord will not leave anyone unpunished who misuses His name.
3. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy: but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. You must not do any work — you, your son or daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the foreigner who is within your gates. For the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything in them in six days; then He rested on the seventh day. Therefore theLord blessed the Sabbath day and declared it holy.
4. Honor your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
5. Do not murder.
6. Do not commit adultery.
7. Do not steal.
8. Do not give false testimony against your neighbor.
9. Do not covet your neighbor’s house. Do not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female slave, his ox or donkey…
10. [Do not covet] anything that belongs to your neighbor.
On the tenth day of Christmas my True Love sent to me ten lords a-leaping, nine ladies dancing, eight maids a-milking, seven swans a-swimming, six geese a-laying, five golden rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtledoves and a partridge in a pear tree.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.