Ten Commandments Tablets, plural. Have you ever wondered why there were two Ten Commandments Tablets? There is a very important reason, and it is not because they would not fit on one. All depictions of these stone tablets in movies and most if not all other artwork are wrong. The language used is not what makes them completely inaccurate. They always show half of the commandments on the front of one stone tablet . They show the remaining commandments on the front of the other tablet. Really? As if ten short statements would not fit on one? The Scriptures describing the tablets in detail, tell us there is writing on both the front and the back of each tablet:
15 And Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tables of the Testimony in his hand, tables or tablets that were written on both sides. Exodus 32:15 (AMPC)
Why are The Ten Commandments tablets on two stones?
The tablets, in Exodus 32:15, are more accurately “two tables of the Testimony.” This is a blood covenant term. This is why it is important to have two copies. These represent the blood covenant oaths of the two parties to the agreement, God and the Hebrews. Both God and the descendants of Abraham are entering into an agreement that reflects the (short-sighted) desire of the Israelites. Early on their exodus journey they see the real power of God on display. They do not want to face him. So they send Moses to be their spokesman, and say, “What ever He says, we will do.”
Both parties can swear a verbal oath to the terms of the covenant in a ceremony. The common form of swearing, or testifying to (hence testimony of) the covenant is this. Each party’s representative says, “As for me and my household we agree that . . . (Insert Terms). Example: This water well is now no longer only my kin’s possession. It’s water will be freely and equally shared by both parties to this blood covenant. Just as importantly, the other party to the agreement does likewise. “As for me and mine, we agree that … etc.”
Important covenants are codified in a more permanent form
Private agreements are often oral. Public agreements often are on papyrus. Agreements affecting all inhabitants of a region or to last indefinitely are on lambskin or stone tablets. This was true of the practices in Egypt where the Hebrews sojourned for the immediately preceding 400 years. Stone tablets might seem atypical today. But we can see it was a well-known and oft practiced craft in their era. We can be thankful for this historical practice in America. So many of the monuments of historical significance in America had scripture verses carved into their stones. This preserves what secularist history revisionists would like to deny was in the hearts of their builders.
Without doubt the importance and longevity of this document dictated the use of stone. One tablet included Moses as the representative agreeing to the terms for the people. It was almost identical to the other with small but important differences. Israel’s testimony in stone (indelibly and unalterably) stated that as for Moses and the children of Israel, “We agree to keep these commandments, these terms of the blood covenant.”
The other tablet has the same terms plus God’s stating, “As for M . I promise to honor and bless your keeping these laws. And I warn you that curses are unleashed by your breaking, said terms of the agreement.” Both testimony documents would be required for the agreement to be lawful and enforceable on both parties to the covenant. They are kept together in the Ark of the Covenant. That is why it is called the Ark of the Covenant because it houses the testimony tablets of the covenant.
What happened to the ten commandments tablets?
God inscribes the first set of tablets. Moses is carrying them down the mountain to see the Hebrew children already breaking them. Moses brakes the God-inscribed testimony tablets into pieces.
After returning up the mountain, after another 40 days, he is making another set of tablets. God inscribes the Ten Commandments Tablets again. Then Moses is to add more instructions to this version that you can see in Exodus 34. The second set of tablets lies in the Ark of the Covenant. Priests hide the Ark and other treasures Before enemies destroy the Temple. There is a very interesting recent story about where that might be, let me know if you would find that interesting.
Could Moses really have carved the Ten Commandments Tablets?
One might assume this was no easy task. Some might question the biblical record of this shepherd having the necessary skill set. How can he carve two copies of a long document onto two sides of two stone tablets? But there is evidence in both archeology and scripture, that writing on stone was relatively easy and commonplace in Egypt and Israel. Remember Moses grows up in the Pharos’ house and knew how to write.
1 THE SIN of Judah is written with a pen or stylus of iron and with the point of a diamond; it is engraved on the tablets of their hearts and on the horns of their altars Jeremiah 17:1 (AMPC)
Imagine how hard it would be to carve out hundreds of words with a hammer and chisel. Now realize how easy it would be for a man once in the courts of the Pharaoh, to simply inscribe the words on a stone used for this purpose, with a diamond tipped stylus.
The twin stone documents testifying to the Covenant makers’ agreement are not the stuff of myth or Hollywood props. We see there is evidence by scripture and the common practice of the makers of decrees and covenants in that era. The two stone tablets are twin factual records of God’s being a trustworthy maker of blood covenants.
Photo by Levi Meir Clancy on Unsplash
Thanks for your blog, nice to read. Do not stop.
I would like to know where it is said the artifacts, Ark of the Covenant, etc are as referred to new evidence this article, please. Thanks