If you at least have watched the classic Cecil B. DeMille epic “The Ten Commandments” you’d at least have a secular knowledge of what I’m writing about here. It tells the account of Moses leading the Hebrew slaves out of bondage from ancient Egypt, and ultimately receiving the Law of God encapsulated in ten specific commandments which were divinely written upon two stone slabs atop Mt. Sinai. The Ten Commandments have since been one of the many fundamental tenets of the Jewish and Christian faiths, most especially with the former who used the stone tablets with the law as a religious symbol. In olden time days Jewish synagogues would hold a copy of the Commandments writ in stone.
Now according to Fox News, one lucky bidder with a love of history, an appreciation for faith, both, or neither will get a chance to own a an authentic stone copy of the Ten Commandments right out of the lands of Israel. On November 16 this ancient tablet, the oldest known and verified copy of the Ten Commandments in stone, will go under the hammer at Heritage Auctions in the properties of the Living Torah Memorial Auctions, to be held at Beverly Hills, California. Starting bid has apparently been set to $250,000 but there’s also an extra stipulation for anybody who would like to bid for it. And that is that the tablet not be kept in a private collection but instead be put by the new owner on public display.
Considered a national treasure of Israel, the tablet weighs about 115 lbs. and etched with 20 lines of texts containing 11-15 characters each. The language is of the Paleo-Hebrew Samaritan dialect, used in the Samaria region between Judea and Galilee during the Roman occupation of Palestine aka the time of Jesus. It’s believed to have been carved in 300-500AD and lost to the sands of time when the synagogue that housed it was destroyed by either Romans in 400-600AD or Christian Crusaders in the 11 th Century.
Being a Samaritan-use tablet, it apparently replaces the “name of the Lord in vain” commandment with one calling for the building of a temple in the Samaritan mountain of worship at Mt. Gerizim, and lists only nine total instead of 10. Nevertheless it was the oldest known tablet version to have been discovered, unearthed in 1913 in the course of building a railroad station in Yavneh.
Heritage Auctions director David Michaels notes the significance of the tablet and its religious value to two of the world’s major faiths. "Its surface is worn, battered and encrusted in places,” he said, describing the tablet. “But running a gloved finger over it does produce, in some people, a particular thrill of touching a piece of Bible history."
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