Duty and the Ten Commandments - Page 2


The Ten Commandments

Mount Sinai

Up to that time they had worshipped God, but they thought that was all he expected from them.  To put it in modern terms, they thought that as long as you went to church, you could do what you liked outside it.  They were now to learn very differently.  The Israelites camped for three days at the foot of Mount Sinai and then God gave them the Ten Commandments, the first four of which told them of their duty to God, and the last six of their duty to their neighbour.  Later Moses went up the mountain alone and remained there for 40 days, and when he came down again he brought with him two tablets or slabs of stone on which were written the Ten Commandments.  Later these stones got broken and were replaced with new ones exactly the same as the first (Exodus 32:19; 34:4).

The stone tablets and the ark

These stone tablets were placed in an ark or chest of acacia wood which was covered inside and out with gold, and had two golden angels on top of it.  Two rings were fastened on either side, and through them were put two poles by which the ark was carried.  The ark, containing the two tablets of stone with the Ten Commandments written on them, accompanied the Israelites all through their wanderings in the wilderness, and they took it with them when they entered the Holy Land when at last it was put in the Holy of Holies in King Solomon’s Temple.