Commandments, the Ten

(Ex. 34:28; Deut. 10:4, marg. "ten words") i.e., the Decalogue
(q.v.), is a summary of the immutable moral law. These
commandments were first given in their written form to the
people of Israel when they were encamped at Sinai, about fifty
days after they came out of Egypt (Ex. 19:10-25). They were
written by the finger of God on two tables of stone. The first
tables were broken by Moses when he brought them down from the
mount (32:19), being thrown by him on the ground. At the command
of God he took up into the mount two other tables, and God wrote
on them "the words that were on the first tables" (34:1). These
tables were afterwards placed in the ark of the covenant (Deut.
10:5; 1 Kings 8:9). Their subsequent history is unknown. They
are as a whole called "the covenant" (Deut. 4:13), and "the
tables of the covenant" (9:9, 11; Heb. 9:4), and "the
testimony."

They are obviously "ten" in number, but their division is not
fixed, hence different methods of numbering them have been
adopted. The Jews make the "Preface" one of the commandments,
and then combine the first and second. The Roman Catholics and
Lutherans combine the first and second and divide the tenth into
two. The Jews and Josephus divide them equally. The Lutherans
and Roman Catholics refer three commandments to the first table
and seven to the second. The Greek and Reformed Churches refer
four to the first and six to the second table. The Samaritans
add to the second that Gerizim is the mount of worship. (See LAW
T0002249.)