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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

Tables of the Law

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Those that were given to Moses upon Mount Sinai were written by the finger of God, and contained the decalogue or ten commandments of the law, as they are rehearsed in Exodus 20. Many questions have been started about these tables; about their matter, their form, their number, him who wrote them, and what they contained. Some oriental authors make them amount to ten in number, others to seven; but the Hebrews reckon but two. Some suppose them to have been of wood, and others of precious stones. Moses observes, Exodus 32:15 , that these tables were written on both sides. Many think they were transparent, so that they might be read through; on one side toward the right, and on the other side toward the left. Others will have it, that the lawgiver only makes this observation, that the tables were written on both sides, because generally in writing tables they only wrote on one side. Others thus translate the Hebrew text: "They were written on the two parts that were contiguous to each other;" because, being shut upon one another, the two faces that were written upon touched one another, so that no writing was seen on the outside. Some think that the same ten commandments were written on each of the two tables, others that the ten were divided, and only five on one table, and five on the other. The words which intimate that the tables were written by the finger of God, some understand simply and literally; others, of the ministry of an angel; and others explain them merely to signify an order of God to Moses to write them. The expression, however, in Scripture always signifies immediate divine agency. See DECALOGUE .

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Tables of the Law'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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