Bible study 162 – Deuteronomy 10

This chapter is a retelling of how Moses got the second set of stone tablets, and it is an absolute mess.

First, it claims that Moses made the Ark of the Covenant himself on Mount Sinai, directly contradicting Exodus 37 (and lots of other places in Exodus), which claims it was made later by a guy named Bezalel.

Then it claims that it was God who wrote on the stone tablets, directly contradicting Exodus 34, which claims that Moses wrote on them.

Then it claims that the ten commandments written on the second set of tablets are the same as those God spoke the first time Moses ascended Mount Sinai, even though the First Ten Commandments and the Second Ten Commandments are demonstrably completely different.

So, now I finally understand why the first set of ten commandments have become so famous and the only commandments anyone ever talks about, even though the second set of ten commandments are the ones that Exodus claimed were put in the Ark of the Covenant. It is simply because everyone ignores Exodus 34, and assumes Deuteronomy 10 speaks the truth. I have no idea why Christians have tended to prefer Deuteronomy over Exodus, though. I’ve made a chart below that shows the differences between the texts in Exodus and Deuteronomy.

Exodus Deuteronomy
First set of tablets Contents The First Ten Commandments, and probably other laws The First Ten Commandments
Who wrote on them? God God
Second set of tablets Contents The Second Ten Commandments The First Ten Commandments
Who wrote on them? Moses God

Then Moses’ speech, which has been going on for ten chapters and is in the middle of a story, is suddenly interrupted by a completely unrelated paragraph written in the third person. It says that God made the Levites a holy tribe after Aaron died, which directly contradicts Numbers.

Then Moses goes on again about how awesome, great and loving God is.

Really, why did anyone think it was a good idea to put Deuteronomy together with the rest of the Pentateuch?

Deuteronomy 10:17-18
For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing the food and clothing.

Full text.


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