Q: Is it true that the Ten Commandments do not apply to non-Jews?
Q: Is it true that the Ten Commandments do not apply to non-Jews? I do not understand. Shouldn’t such commands as to honor a father or mother or the prohibition of adultery be respected by all mankind? Does this mean that non-Jews are not bound by these commands?
A: I do not know any source for such a statement. It is true that the Ten Commandments were specifically given to the Jews, as is indicated by the first commandment: “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt.” Similarly the reason for the command to rest on Shabbat is, according to the version of of the Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy, “Remember that you were a slave in Egypt.” And the reason given for the command to respect parents is, “So that your days on the land that God gave you will be increased.”
However, the Ten Commandments correspond in essence to natural moral duties and to the Noachide laws, which were in effect before the revelation at Mount Sinai. A non-Jew is therefore bound by the requirements of the Ten Commandments to respect parents or not to commit adultery, because the formal source of these commands is older than the specific text.