Friday, May 6, 2011

The Ten Commandments

Paul from WA asked:

1 comment:

  1. Paul from WA asked:

    I have been focusing my studies on the Book of Exodus - very powerful book.
    EX 32 presents the traditional story of receipt of the two stone tablets written by the finger of God. Upon Moses's return to the Israelites he sees their iniquities and throws the tablets at the foot of mountain where they shatter. In EX 34, I read that in God's second delivery of the Ten Commandants it was the finger of Moses that wrote upon the tables through the tutelage of God. That the stone tablets inscribed with the Commandments, travel before the tribes of Israel in the Ark and was the subject of so much of the amazing history of our Catholic Faith was in fact written by Moses and not God. Is there is any scriptural reference that any pieces or remnants of the original tablets were recovered and preserved by Aaron or Moses?

    Interesting question. As you note, the texts say first God wrote the commandments. But one text (34:27) says Moses wrote them (Ex 24:12; 31:18; 32:15-16; 34:1 and then finally in 34:27).

    I think the answer lies in the difference between the ten commandments and the entire law. God's finger wrote the Ten Commandments (in Hebrew, the Ten Words). Whereas Moses was also given on the mountain the rest of the law we find in sections throughout Exodus and Leviticus (and sections of Deuteronomy, which is simply a review of the Exodus and Leviticus accounts). Anyway, that's how I have always understood the two statements.

    As for the remnants of the original tablets (I assume you mean the ones that were shattered (Exodus 32:19), there is no Scriptural evidence that any were preserved, nor is there any talk of that in Jewish tradition (that I am aware of). Besides, there would have been no need to preserve the original pieces since God gave Moses a second set, which ended up in the Ark.

    The Ark (and all its contents) were lost during the Babylonian captivity (according to Jewish tradition).

    Hope that helps. Thanks for asking.