What was written on the stone tablets?

The wikipedia page, and most other depictions of the tablets are that they are of the ten commandments. When I read Exodus, it seems at least to me a little less clear as to what exactly was written, i.e. they have the law and the commandment.

(Ex. 24:12) Now the LORD said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and remain there, and I will give you the stone tablets with the law and the commandment which I have written for their instruction.”

(Ex. 31:18) When He had finished speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God.

Which makes it seem to me that perhaps not just Exodus 19:1–9 was on the tablets, but perhaps all the “laws”, i.e. 20:1-17 and maybe even 20:22–23:33 were written on the tablets.

So my question is what was written on the tablets? Is there evidence that makes it clear what exactly was written on the tablets? (i.e. internal evidence within Exodus or the Torah, the hebrew language, etc..)

There does appear to be at least some Jewish schools of thought that believe this verse implies more than just the ten commandments were on the tablets:

Teachings and commandments. הַתּוֹרָה וְהַמִּצְוָה (ha-Torah v’ha-mitzvah). The expression seems too large for the Decalogue, hence Rashi explains that God’s inscription on the tablets comprised all 613 mitzvot of tradition. The 19th-century scholar Meir Lev ben Yechiel Michael (Malbim) took this phrase as the title of his popular Torah commentary. [Torah][1]

There does also appear to be some debate that weight of stone would limit the size, and hence the number of words that could fit on a tablet.

[1]: Torah: a modern commentary

Why Was Terah Travelling to Canaan?

Genesis 11:31 states: וַיִּקַּ֨ח תֶּ֜רַח אֶת־אַבְרָ֣ם בְּנ֗וֹ וְאֶת־ל֤וֹט בֶּן־הָרָן֙ בֶּן־בְּנ֔וֹ וְאֵת֙ שָׂרַ֣י כַּלָּת֔וֹ אֵ֖שֶׁת אַבְרָ֣ם בְּנ֑וֹ וַיֵּצְא֨וּ אִתָּ֜ם מֵא֣וּר כַּשְׂדִּ֗ים לָלֶ֙כֶת֙ אַ֣רְצָה כְּנַ֔עַן וַיָּבֹ֥אוּ עַד־חָרָ֖ן וַיֵּ֥שְׁבוּ שָֽׁם׃: “And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law the wife of Abram his son; and they left together from Ur Kasdim to travel to the land of Canaan and they came until Charan and they dwelled there.”

My question is why was Terah heading towards Canaan? There had not yet been any commandment for Abram to go to Canaan and Canaan was not yet the “holy land.” Nor was Canaan their home country or a place where they had relatives.

I can think of an answer to this question based the Jewish Oral Tradition. Is there a way to explain Terach’s attempt to travel to Canaan based solely on the text?

Did Jesus re-visit John after his wilderness experience?

Did Jesus re-visit John after his wilderness experience?

The Gospel of John describes a scene where John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and he made the following statement:

“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is
the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed
me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the
reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to
Israel.” Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down
from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know
him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man
on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one.” (John

At first sight, it seems the writer was describing the actual baptism itself, as per Matthew’s account. However, the next few days finds Jesus choosing his disciples – not going into the wilderness as the Synoptics relate it. So, is this scene a ‘revisit’ so to speak? Is it Jesus coming out of the wilderness, walking past John, at about Passover season, some months following his actual baptism?
If so, then the Gospel of John is not recording the baptism event directly, but is recording John B’s testimony of that event. In other words, John B. sees Jesus returning, and calls out, “This is the man I baptised several months ago! This is the man the dove descended upon!”

So, is the Gospel of John recording the actual baptism event, or is he recording an occasion when Jesus revisited the same place on his way back from the wilderness? The latter explanation may reconcile some of the perceived differences between John and the Synoptic Gospels.

Does being "least in the kingdom" signify hell in Matt 5:19?

(NET) Matt 5:19 So anyone who breaks one of the least of these commands
and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of
heaven, but whoever obeys them and teaches others to do so will be
called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness goes beyond that of the experts in the law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

There are some commentators who says it signifies exclusion from the kingdom of heaven, ie. hell; whereas some argue that they remain in kingdom as least, meaning they remain saved in heaven. Which one is accurate? Is Christ giving a provision for small sins here or giving no provision at all?

For example, Daniel Whedon commentary:

Many of the best commentators understand this as signifying that he
shall be excluded. Yet such, surely, is not its exact meaning. Clearly
to be least IN the kingdom of heaven is far less than shall in no
case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Heinrich Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament mentions:

He is not to be excluded (as Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Calovius,
Wolf, Bengel, and others have misinterpreted the meaning of ἐλάχ.
κληθ.), because his antinomianism is not a principle, not directed
against the law as such, but only against individual precepts of the
law, which in themselves are small, and whose importance as a whole he
does not recognise

Johann Albrecht Bengel’s Gnomon of the New Testament

Mat 5:19. Αύσῃ, shall break) The antithetical word to this is
ποιήσῃ, shall do, which occurs further on in this verse. The Scribes,
who thought themselves “great,” were in the habit of breaking them.
The same verb, λύω, occurs in Joh 7:23; Joh 10:35.—τούτων, of these)
those, namely, which follow in Mat 5:22; Mat 5:28, etc.—τῶν ἐλαχίστων,
of the least) These precepts, “Thou shalt not kill,” etc., are not
essentially the least, for in them the whole law is contained. But
they are so only inasmuch as, when rightly explained, they regulate
even the most subtile affections and emotions of the soul, and the
slightest movements of the tongue, and thus, when compared with other
precepts, appear to men to be the least.—ἐλάχιστος, least) Referring
to the preceding ἐλαχίστων. An instance of Ploce.[191] As we treat the
Word of God, so does God treat us; see Joh 17:6; Joh 17:11; Rev 3:10.
“A little” signifies “almost nothing,” whence “the least” comes to
mean “none at all” (for they considered anger, for instance, as of no
consequence whatever); cf. in Mat 5:20, “ye shall not enter.”
ἐλάχιστος; has a different force in this passage from that which ὁ
μικρότερος (the least) “in the kingdom of heaven” has in ch. Mat
11:11.—ἐν τῂ βασιλείᾳ τὼν οὐρανῶν, in the kingdom of heaven) which
cannot endure the presence of the unrighteous.—ποιήσῃ καὶ διδάξῃ,
shall do and teach) The same order of words occurs in Act 1:1.—ποιήσῃ,
shall do them, sc. all; for it is not lawful to break or neglect even
one of them.—οὗτος, this man, he) A pronoun used emphatically. Comp.
with this use of οὗτος, ch. Mat 7:21 (Latin Version[192]); Luk 9:24;
Joh 7:18.—μέγας, great) All the commandments are of great account to
him, especially in their full compass[193] (see Mat 5:18); therefore
he shall be called great.


Original published date: November 15, 2010 Tag: Cup & Cross Ministries’ web research team has just released a new internet Bible study project called ProBible.Net….

In Luke 23:54 – Was Jesus Entombed Right Before the Sabbath Dawn?


The meaning of παρασκευή (‘day of preparation’)

Re. The Passover: Why do Christians Assert the Calendar Day Began at Sunset?

Re. The Crucifixion: Possible to Correlate Timekeeping and Calendar Days?

Historical Evidence that the Sabbath Rest Began at Sunset – Prohibiting Work During the Preceding Night?

1. Question – Word Study, Greek Semantics

Why is ἐπιφώσκω, (Dawn) translated completely differently in Matthew and Luke?

2. The Texts

NASB / Interlinear Matthew 28:1 – Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn, (ἐπιφωσκούσῃ) toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.

NASB, Luke 23:54, Interlinear – It was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin, (dawn?, ἐπέφωσκεν).

In English, the Idiom Seems Counter-Intuitive:

English Analogy: The Dawn of Christmas Eve.

What is the Fear/fear of Isaac?

The ESV renders Genesis 31:42 like so (emphasis mine):

If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been on my side, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God saw my affliction…

What is the significance of "east" in the Scriptures?

There seems to be some significance to the east in the Scriptures.

The garden is planted in the east of Eden
Cherubim are stationed on the east side of the Garden of Eden
Parts of the burnt offering are to be thrown to the …

Is Joshua 21:36-37 authentic or an addition?

These two verses are not found in the NJPS:

and out of the tribe of Reuben, Bezer with its pasturelands, Jahaz with its pasturelands, Kedemoth with its pasturelands, and Mephaath with its pasturelands—four cities; (Joshua 21:36-37, ESV)

I’ve found a few pages around the net discussing it, but a definitive answer on this site is needed ;).

  • What is the manuscript evidence for these verses?
  • What is an overview of the arguments for and against its authenticity?