"The First Commandment" is the sixth episode of the first season of Stargate SG-1.


SG-1 is on a mission to retrieve SG-9, who have been declared MIA on Avnil. The team soon discover that leader of SG-9, Captain Jonas Hanson, is posing as the "god" of the planet's inhabitants, who willingly protect him. SG-1 must interfere and stop Jonas before it's too late.


Two members of SG-9 are running while being pursued by natives wielding spears and wearing imposing domed masks. One member of SG-9 is captured and shot by a soldier with a gun and then set on fire. SG-1 is sent to the planet Avnil after SG-9 is declared MIA. Shortly after their arrival Dr. Daniel Jackson is attacked by the frightened Lt. Laurence Conner, the surviving officer from the earlier chase and witness to the murder of his teammate, Lt. Thomas Frakes.

After setting up camp, Conner explains Captain Jonas Hanson, SG-9's leader, has convinced the planet's primitive inhabitants he is a god and now has them working to build a temple. All who oppose him are tied up in the sunlight to be slowly burned to death by the planet's high ultraviolet radiation levels. Originally, Jonas simply played along with the natives' belief that he was a god, but after disappearing for two days, Jonas came to believe himself to be a god. With the assistance of a fellow soldier, Lt. Matthew Baker, Jonas killed the remainder of the team. Captain Samantha Carter, having previously been engaged to Jonas, tells Daniel that Hanson is a man who always needs control.

During the night, Conner is captured and tied to die in the sun. While Colonel Jack O'Neill investigates, Carter helps a young boy who is being beaten by Baker and is also captured. When she is brought before Hanson, she realizes he has become a megalomaniac, unwaveringly convinced that he is in the right bringing the local inhabitants out of their cave-dwelling squalor. Jack, Daniel, and Teal'c corner Jamala, the slave Sam rescued, who says Hanson has found a device that, when activated, will "turn the sky orange"; this is surmised to be an solar radiation shield left behind by the Goa'uld. By making his people build a temple, Hanson buys himself time to work out the activation of the device. He plans to activate it upon completion of the temple as a divine reward to his people. Hanson admits to Carter his inability to activate the device and forces her to decipher the mechanism.

Skirmish on Avnil 1

Carter tries to force Hanson at gunpoint to surrender.

She tries to force him at gunpoint to surrender, but finds herself incapable of shooting him.

The rest of SG-1 is informed of Hanson's plan by Jamala. Teal'c is aware of this particular form of technology and determines a second device must lie on the other side of the valley, a repeater of sorts necessary to bounce the shielding back and forth thereby stabilizing the field. Daniel and Teal'c search the forest and find the second device sealed in an underground chamber. Jack, in disguise, attempts to rescue Conner from his stake in the middle of the valley quarry. Wearing Jamala's clothing, he unties Conner but is captured by Baker and escorted to Hanson's cave. Hanson threatens Jack's life in front of Carter, and she activates the device, producing a pillar of orange light which strikes the ceiling of the cave but does nothing more.

Hanson decides to execute both Jack and Conner by sending them back to Earth through the Stargate without sending the IDC signal to deactivate the iris. Hanson gathers the natives in front of the 'circle of the gods', which he has had laid on the ground so the wormhole opens vertically. Hanson tells his people he is sending the demons back to hell. Daniel tells the natives that Hanson is not a god, that he does not wield magic, and that he merely uses machines. To prove Daniel's point, Jamala uses Teal'c's staff weapon to shoot Baker. Hanson tells them he can make the sky orange and turns on the device, but the pillar of orange light that erupts from the cave does nothing. Daniel tells the people there are two devices and that anybody can use them. Jamala fires the staff weapon into the air, Teal'c sees the shot and activates the second unit. The shield forms in the sky, and the people of the planet come to understand that Hanson is an impostor who has been working them to death. They fall upon Hanson, and in the ensuing fight, Jack, Conner, and Carter free themselves, and the natives toss Hanson through the gate before anybody can send the IDC signal, resulting in Jonas's death.

As SG-1 and Conner are ready to leave Avnil, Sam is brooding over her inability to end Hanson's reign when she had the chance. Jack assures her "killing a man is no badge of honor" and doing so would only bring her closer to becoming what Hanson was. Jack points out the Fifth Commandment - No Murder. As opposed to Hanson's distortion of the First.

Daniel eventually dials the address to Earth with Sam sending an IDC code through.

As SG-1 and Conner leave, Jamala stares at the Stargate, stunned at the sight before him before the camera pans up to show the sky which is now orange.


Appearances for The First Commandment




Weapons, equipment and technology

Science and biology

Sentient Species



  • Bear (Mentioned)
  • Chicken (Mentioned)
  • Lion (Mentioned)
  • Rabbit (Mentioned)
  • Tiger (Mentioned)



Notable quotes[]

O'Neill: Does it say "Colonel" anywhere on my uniform?

Jackson: This tastes like chicken!
Carter: So what's wrong with it?
Jackson: It's macaroni and cheese.

O'Neill: Hey, how're ya doing? You know, we'd love to stick around but some braindead sycophant left my buddy out here to die so we're outta here.

Jamala: The world outside the caves, it's very big, yes?
Jackson: Yeah, it's bigger than you can imagine.

Teal'c: Power alone does not make one a god.

Hanson: Do as I say, or you will all die!
O'Neill: Do as he says, and you will die!

O'Neill: Look, I'm no expert on this thing. I generally remember one Commandment, I think it's the first.
Carter: I am the Lord, your God, and you shall take no other Gods before me?
O'Neill: Okay, it's not the first one.


Main Characters

Guest Stars


  • The title refers to the Ten Commandments, the first of which is "You will have no other gods before me".
  • This episode is the origin of many of the strong themes throughout the entire run of SG-1: what it is to be a god, to deserve worship and reverence, and what it is to be a false god.
  • This episode marks the first appearance of SG-9.
  • The plot of this episode is similar to, and possibly loosely based on, the plot of the critically acclaimed 1979 classic Apocalypse Now, directed by Francis Ford Coppola (itself inspired by the 1899 novel Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad). There, a decorated US Army Colonel suffers a mental breakdown during the Vietnam War and sets himself up as a rogue commander/cult leader/demigod in the jungles of neighboring Cambodia.
  • O'Neill asks if it says "colonel" on his uniform, but his uniform does not, in fact, say the word "colonel" anywhere on it. O'Neill's inquiry is later referenced by the character Nick Marlowe on the in-universe television program Wormhole X-Treme! in the Stargate episode of the same name. Marlowe's uniform similarly lacks any printed rank indicators. It will also be referenced in "Fragile Balance," when Jonathan O'Neill addresses a fighter pilot briefing, mentioning " doesn't actually say 'Colonel' anywhere on my uniform, but it should!"


  • As Captain Jonas Hanson escorts Captain Samantha Carter out to show her his temple being built, one of the hut's guards can be seen with an athletic supporter strap exposed from beneath the cloth tied around his waist (likely worn to prevent a “wardrobe malfunction”).
  • When Teal'c closes his Staff weapon after blasting open the stone structure, there is no sound of the weapon closing.
  • The clothing style of the Avnilians keeps changing from more primitive looking loin cloths to more advanced looking robes and wraps. When O'Neil sneaks into the quarry, he takes aim with a dart gun at a guard wearing a loincloth. When the dart strikes the guard, he is wearing robes.
  • If the UV radiation is as strong as it is supposed to be, the team should wear UV-blocking sunglasses at all times, (maybe remove them to look in the binoculars, but replace them immediately). That strong radiation would leave them snow blind (sunburn of the eye, very painful) in a couple of hours, although symptoms could appear after up to twelve hours.
  • When Teal'c says that there is a problem in Dr. Daniel Jackson's plan, he calls him "Daniel" instead of "Daniel Jackson."
  • When Jackson, Teal'c and Jamala find the location of the second device, Jamala says the place is like where Hanson found the first device on the far side of the temple. However, according to Jamala's marks on Teal'c's map, the first device was found near the Stargate which isn't near the temple and the second device was found near the temple.
  • Jackson refers to Abraham as the father of man, but no Abrahamic religions consider Abraham to be the first man. That distinction is given to Adam. Abraham is the father of the Hebrew and Ishmaelite peoples.
  • When the team arrives on the planet, Teal’c calls Captain Carter, Dr Carter.

Other languages[]

  • French: Le Premier Commandement (The First Commandment)
  • Italian: Il Primo Comandamento (The First Commandment)
  • Spanish: El Primer Mandamiento (The First Commandment)
  • Czech: První přikázání (The First Commandment)
  • German: Das erste Gebot (The First Commandment)
  • Hungarian: AZ első parancsolat (The First Commandment)
  • Polish: Pierwsze przykazanie (The First Commandment)
  • Russian: Первая заповедь (The First Commandment)

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