In his brilliant book, ‘If: The End of a Messianic Lie’, Jewish author and teacher, Uriel ben Mordechai points out that most English translations of Exodus 20:3, which is the 2nd Word (Commandment) are incorrect.
He points out the the phrase עַל-פְּנֵי (Al Panai) has been mistranslated as ‘before me’ or ‘over me’, wherein fact the phrase should be translated as ‘upon the face of’. This phrase occurs in Genesis 1:2 for example and is translated as ‘upon the face of’.
The Hebrew for Ex 20:3 is לֹא-יִהְיֶהלְךָאֱלֹהִיםאֲחֵרִים, עַל-פָּנָי and this is transliterated as “Lo yihyeh lecha elohim acherim al-panai.”
Most translations put this is English as “You shall have no other gods before Me.”.
Commentaries such as the Pulpit Commentary explain that “Before me” literally means, “before my face,” and is a Hebrew idiom, and equivalent to “beside me,” “in addition to me.”
However, Uriel goes into great detail to point out that a more accurate translation is “You shall have no other gods before me” or better still “There shall not be for you another G-d of Israel upon My Face’.
He then goes on to explain that the Almighty is making it clear that the Jewish people were called to never, ever place a face of any being, man, animal or spiritual entity onto the image of God. No being with a face of any sort can fully be YHWH.
As Uriel ben Mordechai puts it “.. we are forbidden to ASSIGN OR ATTACH ANY (visible) FACE, ON OR UPON THE FACE OF GOD’.”
Therefore, this commandment means “You shall not regard another persona imposed upon My Face, as the G-d of Israel’.
What a prophetic statement!
How many have tried to place a ‘face’, a persona upon the Face of the God of Israel and tried to call someone else the Creator and King of the Universe?!
This is a great book – get it now – see http://above-and-beyond-ltd.com/store/books/if.html
A couple of others who share this understanding:
“It is crystal clear in many, many verses that the Almighty G-d of Israel is the ONE and only creator. He was, is and will continue to exist forever. He shares his glory with NO ONE. He is the only Rock and Saviour.
There is NO ONE else. That is the crux of Judaism’s belief. G-d made that very clear to my people at Mt. Sinai from the Ten Commandments alone. Why does it say as part of the Second that you shall not have any G-d’s upon my face?
It means that you shall not add on any additional G-ds. We must worship the One and only G-d of Israel.”
– Rebecca – http://disqus.com/proud_conservative_mom/
“After witnessing what Israel had witnessed in Egypt, the mere thought of projecting onto G-d an image or “Face” was not an option.
The second commandment accurately states this. In English, it is translated as; “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Ex.20:3).
Actually a correct translation should read, “You shall have no other gods upon my Face.”
– Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok – http://www2.mrbrklyn.com/resources/avodah-zara.pdf