X. (36) This, then, may be enough to say about the divine voice. But a person may very reasonably raise the question on what account it happened, when there were so vast a number of myriads of men collected into one place that Moses chose to deliver each of the ten commandments in such a form as if they had been addressed not to many persons but to one, saying:–

Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Thou shalt not steal.

Thou shalt not Kill.{2}{#ex 20:13.}

And giving the other commandments in the same form. (37) We must say, therefore that he is desirous here to teach that most excellent lesson to those who read the sacred scriptures, that each separate individual by himself when he is an observer of the law and obedient to God, is of equal estimation with a whole nation, be it ever so populous, or I might rather say, with all the nations upon earth. And if I were to think fit I might proceed further and say, with all the world; (38) because in another passage of the scriptures God, praising a certain just man, says, “I am thy God.”{3}{#ge 17:1.} But the same being was also the God of the world; so that all those who are subject to him are arranged according to the same classification, and, if they be equally pleasing to the supreme Governor of them all, they partake of an equal acceptance and honour. (39) And, secondly, we must say that any one addressing himself to an assembly in common as to a multitude is not bound to speak as if he were conversing with a single individual, but sometimes he commands or forbids a thing in a particular manner in such a way that whatever he commands does at once appear requisite to be done by every one who hears him, and does also seem to be commanded to the whole collective multitude together; for the man who receives an admonition as if addressed to himself personally is more inclined to obey it; but he who hears it as if it were only directed to him in common with others is, to a certain degree, rendered deaf to it, making the multitude a kind of veil and excuse for his obstinacy. (40) A third view of the question is, that no king or tyrant may ever despise an obscure private individual, from being full of insolence and haughty pride; but that such an one, coming as a pupil to the school of the sacred laws, may relax his eyebrows, unlearning his self-opinionativeness, and yielding rather to true reason. (41) For if the uncreated, and immortal, and everlasting God, who is in need of nothing and who is the maker of the universe, and the benefactor and King of kings, and God of gods, cannot endure to overlook even the meanest of human beings, but has thought even such worthy of being banqueted in sacred oracles and laws, as if he were about to give him a lovefeast, and to prepare for him alone a banquet for the refreshing and expanding of his soul instructed in the divine will and in the manner in which the great ceremonies ought to be performed, how can it be right for me, who am a mere mortal, to hold my head up high and to allow myself to be puffed up, behaving with insolence to my equals whose fortunes may, perhaps, not be equal to mine, but whose relationship to me is equal and complete, inasmuch as they are set down as the children of one mother, the common nature of all men? (42) I will, therefore, behave myself in an affable, and courteous, and conciliatory manner to all men, even if I should obtain the dominion over the whole earth and the whole sea, and especially to those who are in the greatest difficulties and of the least reputation, and who are destitute of all assistance from kindred of their own, to those who are orphaned of either or of both their parents, to women who have experienced widowhood, and to old men who have either never had any children at all, or who have lost at an early age those who have been born to them; (43) for, inasmuch as I myself am a man, I will not think it right to cherish a pompous and tragedian-like dignity of manner, but I will keep myself within my nature, not transgressing its boundaries, but accustoming my mind to bear human events with complacency and equanimity. Not only because of the unforeseen changes by which things of one character assume a different appearance, both in the case of those in prosperity and of those who are in adversity, but also because it is becoming, even if prosperity were to remain unaltered and unshaken that a man should not forget himself. For these reasons it appears to me to have been that God expressed his oracular commandments in the singular number, as if they were directed to a single individual.