An archaeologist has found a portion of a stone table engraved 3,000 years ago with an eleventh Commandment!
Oxford University professor Rupert Catchpole, 45, made the Earth-shattering find while heading up an excavation near the summit of the famous mountain where tradition says the Ten Commandments were given to Moses by God.
The biblical hero, famously played by Charlton Heston in the film The Ten Commandments is said to have brought the list of divinely dictated rules to his people on stone tablets.
And in Exodus 32:19, when he catches the Israelites worshiping the golden calf, he’s said to have broken the tablets in frustration.
“The thing with stone is that it’s often brittle,” says Catchpole. “When it breaks, pieces scatter in t every direction.”
“In the heat of the moment, Moses may have broken off the eleventh Commandment and either didn’t realize it, or he was just too tired to remember it when he engraved the new tablets for the Israelites after they repented. Who knows?”
The portion of stone is about 132 inches wide and 3 inches tall. Hebrew writing is engraved across it.
“It’s clearly a part of a larger piece,” says the professor. “The bottom edge is smooth and bordered with a very ornate design – it’s incredible workmanship. The top edge is jagged, so it’s easy to surmise that the piece broke off the bottom of a larger table.”
But what does the Commandment actually say?
“This is the difficult bit,” says Catchpole. “It appears to read, ‘Thous shalt not spend all day on the Internet.” It seems absurd and for many years nobody knew what it meant. But now it is clear.
God must obviously knew that the Internet was coming and that it would be challenge to man’s willpower and moral.
The Egyptian Ministry of State for Antiquities, which is tasked with securing and preserving ancient relics of historic significance, has taken possession of the table fragment, and allowed scholars from Israel to inspect it.
It’s difficult to be sure, says Israeli archaeologist Shlomo Schnur, “but I think the full Commandment reads, “Thou shalt not spend all day on the Internet looking at porn.” That would make sense, as a show of respect for God.
Experts hope further analysis will settle the matter.