An­cient Ten Com­mand­ments tablet sold at auc­tion for $850,000

Kuwait Times - - WEEKENDER -

The world’s ear­li­est-known com­plete stone in­scrip­tion of the Ten Com­mand­ments, de­scribed as a “na­tional trea­sure” of Is­rael, sold at auc­tion in Bev­erly Hills for $850,000. Her­itage Auc­tions said the two-foot square mar­ble slab sold Wed­nes­day night at a pub­lic auc­tion of an­cient Bib­li­cal ar­chae­ol­ogy ar­ti­facts. The tablet weighs about 115 pounds and is in­scribed in an early He­brew script called Sa­mar­i­tan.

It likely adorned the en­trance of a syn­a­gogue that was de­stroyed by the Ro­mans be­tween AD 400 and 600, or by the Cru­saders in the 11th cen­tury, said David Michaels, Her­itage Auc­tions di­rec­tor of an­cient coins and an­tiq­ui­ties. The auc­tion house said the Is­raeli An­tiq­ui­ties Au­thor­i­ties ap­proved ex­port of the piece to the United States in 2005. The only con­di­tion was that it must be dis­played in a pub­lic mu­seum. “The sale of this tablet does not mean it will be hid­den away from the pub­lic,” Michaels said. “The new owner is un­der obli­ga­tion to dis­play the tablet for the ben­e­fit of the pub­lic.”

The tablet lists nine of the 10 com­monly known com­mand­ments, leav­ing out “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain” (King James trans­la­tion), and adding one of­ten em­ployed by the Sa­mar­i­tan sect, en­cour­ag­ing wor­ship­pers to “raise up a tem­ple” on Mount Ger­izim, the holy moun­tain of the Sa­mar­i­tans, ac­cord­ing to Her­itage Auc­tions. The tablet was one of a num­ber of Bib­li­cal ar­ti­facts owned by the Liv­ing To­rah Mu­seum in Brook­lyn, New York, that were up for auc­tion. The auc­tion opened with a $300,000 bid on the piece. The win­ning bid­der does not wish to be iden­ti­fied.

This un­dated photo pro­vided by Her­itage Auc­tions, shows the world’s ear­li­est­known stone in­scrip­tion of the Ten Com­mand­ments - a two-foot square slab of white mar­ble, weigh­ing about 115 pounds and in­scribed in an early He­brew script called Sa­mar­i­tan.

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