Ancient marble slab with nine commandments of Moses and one of the Samaritans sold at auction in the US for $850 thousand
The oldest known copy of the ten commandments is a marble tablet on which are carved the commandments of the Samaritan letter auctioned by Heritage in California for 850 thousand dollars.
The starting price of rarity was almost four times smaller – 220 thousand dollars.
On a rectangular stone weighing more than 50 kg in size 57 63,5 cm is cut to 20 lines in dialect, distinctive forms of letters and punctuation which is characteristic of the Samaritan inscriptions from the IV to the VIII centuries of our era.
It is interesting that in the text there is no commandment “thou shalt Not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain”. Instead, it added Samaritan commandment to build a temple on a sacred site for the Samaritans mount Gerizim in the region of Samaria, is now located within the Palestinian authority near the city of Nablus (Shechem) in the West Bank of the Jordan river.
The tablet, Dating from about IV century ad, was discovered in 1913 during the excavation works for the laying of railroad tracks in Palestine, in the southern part of the Mediterranean Coastal plain near the town of Yavne.
The workers who discovered it, did not attach importance to the discovery and was sold to a local Arab who established a marble plaque at the threshold to his house. Tablets have been there for three decades, and part of the carved lines were erased under the feet to walk on them.
In 1943, the stone fell to the historian Kaplan, who together with an expert of the history of the Samaritans Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, who founded the Institute for the study of Jewish communities, presented the tablet of the world community in their published in a 1947 article. By the way, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, born in the Russian Empire in the city of Poltava, later became the second President of Israel (1952-1963).
In the 1990-ies the tablets acquired well-known Israeli antique dealer and specialist in epigraphy Robert Deutsch, who in the early 2000s, took on the case of forgery of inscriptions on funerary ark “the Lord’s brother” James.
Despite the fact that marble slab was recognized as a national
the heritage of Israel, in 2005, Deutsch received permission from the Israel antiquities authority to export her to the USA, provided that the tablet will be exhibited in a public Museum.
As this condition remains in effect, to buy something rarity could either major public educational structure with the intention to exhibit this historical value, or private entity for the same purpose, or a private buyer, who undertakes to return the tablets to Israel. At the moment it is not known who exactly bought a marble slab with the commandments. The buyer chose to remain anonymous.