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The third Commandment has always been understood in Judaism to refer to blaspheming G-d's name. There are several examples in Tanach which support your hunch that the third Commandment refers to speaking the name of G-d in manner which lacks proper reverance. In Leviticus 24:11, there is an episode of a man publicly profaning G-d's name: וַיִּקֹּב בֶּן ...


"In vain", I believe, maps pretty well to "without due reverence" as can be seen in other examples: Psa_139:20 For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain. Pro_30:9 Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain. It is parallel to ...

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