JERUSALEM, ISRAEL -- Over three millennia after He decreed to Moses the rules by which all mankind should live, God finally confessed yesterday that one of the Ten Commandments was "a colossal wind-up."
Giggling almost uncontrollably, the Almighty One told a packed press conference that the Seventh Commandment, popularly translated as "Thou shalt not commit adultery", was the result of a bet between Himself and a couple of "Archangel buddies".
"I always thought Moses was a little stuffy and needed to lighten up a bit," He chortled when questioned over his motives. "I had a few of these rules that I needed to lay down to this rag-tag Israelite mob to stop them getting out of hand. A few of us up here were having a few laughs, a couple of goblets of nectar and kicking around some ideas for this list of commandments."
"Anyway, after a while I was quite happy with it. It was pretty regular, non-controversial stuff: No killing, no stealing, no lying - that kind of thing. I admit I was padding by the end - I mean - "Thou shalt not covert thy neighbour's ox or his ass"? - what was that about?"
"In the end, I was up to nine, and was just about to pootle down to Mount Sinai to give the tablets to Moses when I bumped into Gabriel and Benjamin. They were grumbling about lady problems again, as per, so we had a bit of a natter and were thanking well Me that we had as many birds as we wanted to choose from up here. If one gets out of line, move on to the next - no bother."
"So I thought, natural progression really, what if you had to commit yourself to one woman for the rest of your life? Nightmare, right? Anyway, I was feeling pretty light-headed and silly, so I showed the guys my list and suddenly had a brainwave: Why don't we make it an even ten and yank Moses's chain a little - really give those mortals something to be bitter about."
"Cut a long story short: Gabe bet me his new golden harp that I wouldn't be able to shoehorn an adultery directive into the list without arousing suspicion."
God paused for a moment, doubled over and bellowed with laughter. "I never thought for a second Moses would buy it," He said, wiping his eyes. "I snuck it in at number seven so it didn't look like a crude afterthought, then I just completely brazened it out with him."
"I watched him scan the list and frown when he got half way down the second tablet. 'My Lord,' he stuttered in that irritating nasal drawl of his, 'I I'm not sure I fully understand the meaning of number seven ' 'Are you questioning the will of God Almighty?' I roared, summoning a couple of thunderbolts and shaking the ground a little. 'No, no, no!' he snivelled, prostrate in front of Me. I was corpsing like mad by this stage, but, bless him, earnest little sod that he is, Moses swallowed every word and dutifully trotted off down the mountain to tell the Isrealites."
"Man, were they pissed," He added.
God's revelations generated a murmur of discontent among the assembled members of the press. A smartly turned-out female reporter stood up to confront him.
"Are you saying that the whole of mankind has struggled with lustful urges, guilty secrets and the persistent, blind preservation of strong family values for three thousand years for the sake of some stupid bet?"
God leaned back in His chair and scratched Himself. "You'd better believe it, sweetheart," He grinned. "Nice tits by the way."