Stone Tablets



At Exodus 20–32 appears the story of Moses and the Ten Commandments or Decalogue, in which the prophet, while in the wilderness after fleeing Egypt, is claimed to receive a unique, divine revelation endorsing the notion of the Israelites as Yahweh’s “chosen people.”

In the story, Moses spends 40 days and nights on the mountain of Sinai, during which time the commandments are purportedly written by the very finger of God on two tablets of stone. The patriarch brings the tablets down the mountain to the people, but he sees the Israelites “whoring after” other gods, specifically the Golden Calf. 

So, he angrily smashes these valuable tablets “written by God”, after spending 40 long days procuring them.  His reason was … he was mad at the people.  

Fig. 28. Doré, Moses Breaking the Tables of the Law, 1866. (Doré’s English Bible)


And he took the calf the people had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on water and made the Israelites drink it.   Exodus 32:20

Did Moses say it was OK to drink because it was just Kool-aid???  I’m sure many of the people didn’t want to drink into their body water laden with powdered metals and who knows what else.  After all he was ordered by “God” to kill all the people.  Is this just a typical Moses Punishment???  I guess he is immune from a natural criminal law, it doesn’t apply to him!  I wonder if he made the people do the Roman salute to him also.

Moses’s solution to this transgression of his fellow followers is blood spilling, as “God” had ordered him to do it.  So he orders the Levitical war loving priestly tribe to slaughter “ALL” the men, women and children.

27 And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.      Exod 32:27

Apparently, this “God” commanded gang could only manage to massacre 3,000 people (out of 2.5 to 3 million) before losing steam.  They made a good start, 3,000 in the first day.  Moses did the math and figured it would take him two to three years to kill everyone at the rate of 3,000 a day.

Moses then decided to go against what the Lord God of Israel commanded him to do, to slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.  He still had two and a half to three million people to slay (less 3,000).  Too much work!  And … they didn’t have machines guns then! 

“Say hello to my little friend!”

Plus Moses thought if he killed everyone, then there would be no one would follow him!  There would be no one to call him “God-Talker’.  No one to call him a Super Hero.

Maybe he could talk his way out of what God commanded him to do.

28 So the children of Levi did as Moses had commanded: and there fell of the people the same day about three thousand men.

29 (For Moses had said, Consecrate your hands unto the Lord this day, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother, that there may be given you a blessing this day.)

30 And when the morning came, Moses said unto the people, Ye have committed a grievous crime: but now I will go up to the Lord, if I may pacify him for your sin.       Exodus 32:28-30

So Moses said NO to God.  He decided to go against “God’s” command.  He figured it was far easier to negotiate than to go to all that trouble and sweat to keep on killing all the people, even though all the people did deserved it.

Fortunately for Moses God said he, God, would do the punishment.  God’s punishment was severe however it is not written how many people died or not.  

35 And the Lord struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made.     Exodus 32:35

But Moses was not done with the genocidal mania, as, when finally he and his killing gang arrived in Canaan, they massacred everyone in their path who would not kowtow or serve them somehow (virgins would serve them though, so they kept them alive to be later used as sex slaves).

Moses sent Isrealites into battle, a thousand from each tribe, along with Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest, who took with him articles from the sanctuary and the trumpets for signaling. They fought against Midian, as the “LORD GOD” commanded Moses, and killed every man. Among their victims were Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba—the five kings of Midian.  Did Moses tell the people he was psychic and that God talked to him and told him to do killings???

Moses decreed that every man, male child and non-virginal women, to be killed, and that the virgins would be taken and used as sex slaves.  “Lord God” instructed Moses to divide the booty equally between the warriors and the entire congregation.  I’m sure he told his soldiers this ahead of time so he would get them to go along with his genocide. 

As the next verse Lord God states that Moses and his followers were NOT, NOT the “chosen people.”

Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out     Deuteronomy 9:5


So emerges the biblical picture of the great Super-Hero prophet esteemed by the three Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

One does not wonder why there has been so much suffering on Earth when the world’s esteemed hero Moses and his “Godly” killing gang are known for many events of slaughter and genocide one after another.

It would be better for everyone if we accept that this story NOT as historically true, but as representing FICTION and myth and bad fiction/myth at that.


There simply exists no credible, scientific evidence for the alleged events on Mt. Sinai, despite claims otherwise:

For years, scholars have speculated as to the location of the actual Mount Sinai where Moses received the valuable Ten Commandments from God at that location. At least 13 sites have actually been claimed on the Sinai peninsula as being the correct mountain spot.

If the holy mountain location were so concretely established, there would not be so many mountain candidates. This fact of multiple locations is just more proof that the Exodus story is clearly a fiction.

To make “history” of these implausible events, we are told that “world maps will need to be redrawn” to relocate Mount Sinai and that “history books, travel guides and biblical commentaries will need to be rewritten.”  At this point we must ask why God or Moses or the Isrealites never clearly revealed any of these special locations in the holy Biblical Word for the many centuries past.


In addition to the first ten commandments, there is a second set of “Ten Commandments” that Moses spent another 40 days and 40 nights to get! And Moses didn’t eat or drink any water during that time [in the desert] and didn’t die!

28 And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.      Exodus 34:28:

10 And I stayed in the mount, according to the first time, forty days and forty nights; and the LORD hearkened unto me ….      Deut 10:10

We have the ten commandments in two different revisions in different places in the Bible neither of which is based upon the tables themselves, but upon other versions.

Moses must have been an extremely slow writer.  It seems he could have at least wrote one commandment a day and came back after ten days.

The J and E sources of this story differ, as in the Elohist, where Moses never retrieves a second set of tables/tablets; hence, in that case there is nothing to put inside the famous “Ark of the Covenant”.

And the ark … the ark is never mentioned in the E source at all, as if it never existed.


Moses is depicted as spending 40 days and 40 nights on Mt. Sinai/Horeb (twice!):

And Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.   Exodus 24:18

Then he again spent another 40 days and 40 nights to get the second set.

The story of Moses’s 40 days and forty nights on the mountain is reiterated in Deuteronomy chapters 9 and 10.

11 And it came to pass at the end of forty days and forty nights, that the LORD gave me the two tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant.     Deut 9:11

And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the LORD spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and the LORD gave them unto me.      Deut 10:4

10 And I stayed in the mount, according to the first time, forty days and forty nights; and the LORD hearkened unto me ….      Deut 10:10


The 40 years of the Exodus seems to be a reiteration of this mythical and sacred number. In this scenario we have a period of 40 from the barren soil of the desert germinating into the land of “milk and honey.”


The same behavior depicted of Elijah as the prophet is portrayed fasting for 40 days and 40 nights upon Mt. Horeb, the alternate or twin of Sinai.

So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.      1 Kings 19:8


The period of 40 days and 40 nights can be found elsewhere in the Bible, in the story of Noah and the ark,

12 And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.   Gen 7:12


In the tale of Joseph’s father, Jacob/Israel, being embalmed

Then Joseph directed the physicians in his service to embalm his father Israel. So the physicians embalmed him, taking a full forty days, for that was the time required for embalming. And the Egyptians mourned for him seventy days.      Gen 50:2–3


The 40-day motif also appears in the story of spying on Canaan;

25 At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land.      Num 13:25


And in the tale of Jesus and his temptation in the desert by Satan (Mt 4:2; Mk 1:13; Lk 4:2);

After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.      Matt 4:2

And as well as his 40-day post-resurrection appearance to his disciples (Acts 1:3).

After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.      Acts 1:3


This theme appears in Semitic mythology centuries before the time of Moses or Jesus, in the story of the Babylonian hero Enkidu  battling his evil alter ego, Gilgamesh, for 40 days and 40 nights.


There is also the 40-day period of “Lent” and fasting celebrated each year by Christians as a time of the spring blooming. This 40-day period in ancient myth apparently represents the time it takes for certain seeds to germinate after they have been planted in the spring.


The sacred number 40 likewise appears prominently in the origin myth about the Mishnah, the “second law” of the Talmud, said to have been transmitted to Moses on Mount Sinai but in reality representing scriptural analysis and commentary by rabbis from the first century BCE to the second AD/CE. According to this tradition, the Mishnah was passed along orally from Moses by 40 “receivers,” who were “qualified by ordination to hand it on from generation to generation,” until the time of Rabbi Judah “the Holy.”


At Exodus 32 the Golden Calf is worshiped because Moses goes up the mountain for way too long.  They expected a day or two, NOT 40 days. 

This is super strange because it is the lawgiver’s own brother, Aaron (high Priest), who institutes this idolatry while Moses is away.  After finding out about this idol worshiping, the prophet orders the slaughter of ALL the Israelites but only manages to get through a few thousand out of two and a half million people.  Moses stopped following Gods instructions.  However, the instigator of this illicit worshiping by the Isrealites, is spiritualist Aaron the High Priest, and he goes unpunished.  And he even subsequently receives the only priestly ordination, along with his sons (who are slaughtered by Yahweh later).

Curiously, Philo (at Moses 2.28.142) claims Moses chose Aaron as high priest because of his “great virtue.”  Why would God-Yahweh make the instigator of the most infamous episode of idol worshiping in the bible as his sole priest after his un-Godly worshiping acts?

Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.”     Exodus 32:2

One also wonders why, if the Israelites took with them a vast treasure from Egypt, Aaron would need to use the Hebrews’ rings and earrings for the calf, rather than melting down the Egyptian gold?  This element indicates the writer of this passage was not conscious of the future inserted motif of Egyptian booty, because it had not yet been woven into the fictional story, which was embellished over a period of centuries.

As concerns cattle graffiti purportedly found in the Sinai and held up as evidence by literalists as proof of the Golden Calf episode, these markings in fact could have been scratched by any number of nomadic, desert-dwelling Bedouins or others who have passed through the area over the past 70,000 years or so, including during more recent centuries.


27 And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.      Exodus 32:27

In the quest for Yahwist supremacy over these cultic beliefs, Exodus records Moses forcing his men to slaughter their own brothers, companions and neighbors because they were revering the Golden Calf, suggesting that murdering one’s best friends and family members is morally superior to idol worshiping.  Moses believed that re-education is not to be considered an option.

Rather than representing an actual, illogical, irrational, and evil act, it appears that this is an OK “object lesson” composed during a time when the intended audience evidently was worshipping the Golden Calf.  Hence, this Israelites and Jewish behavior required this harsh theological lesson from the Yahwist author(s), who got the behavior they wanted essentially by threatening these worshippers with death or other grievous punishment.

This deadly Mosaic killing episode evidently was composed after Jeroboam’s era, centuries after Moses purportedly lived. This theme appears to reflect the southern kingdom Yahwists’ attempt at intimidating the northerners into the former’s version of the Israelite religion, possibly beginning in the reigns of Hezekiah and/or Josiah.


28 After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods,[Cows Again???] Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”     1 Kings 12:28

According to the Bible (1 Ki 12:25–33), the first Israelite king Jeroboam (fl. 10th century BCE?) set up golden calves in the Northern Kingdom at Dan and Bethel, asserting these calf deities to be the actual gods that had brought Israel out of Egypt. This King was completely oblivious to any Moses’s purported proscription, despite all the miracles and memory-searing bloodshed just a few centuries earlier.


The Golden Calf which so irritated the Yahweh-obsessed Moses that he smashed the valuable tablets with the 10 Commandments is declared to have been transmitted with the Israelites from Egypt;

He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”    Exodus 32:4   [More Cows???]

They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’       Exodus 32:8

Philo of Alexandria and various Church fathers also claimed that the Golden Calf came from Egypt, following the Bible.  We have seen already how Egypt adopted various Semitic deities; this cultural exchange occurred in the other direction as well. Regarding Egyptian religious influence on the Levant, including its deities, Dr. Tryggve N.D. Mettinger, a professor of Old Testament Studies at the University of Lund, comments:

Egyptian gods must have been known in the Levant during the Late Bronze Age, the time of the Egyptian empire, and probably already during the latter part of the Early Bronze Age. During later periods, names of Egyptian deities even occur as theophoric elements in Phoenician and Punic personal names. This testifies to the continued importance of cultural contacts between Egypt and the rest of the Mediterranean world. Thus, Isis occurs as an onomastic element from the eighth century and onwards and Osiris as early.

This exchange included a temple of Osiris at pre-Israelite Jerusalem, previously noted. In this regard, the solar deity Horus was portrayed as the son of Hathor, “the cow.”  Hence, he would be a “golden calf,” while, as discussed, Marduk too was the “solar calf” who was “broken into pieces.” 

Declare ye among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and conceal not: say, Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces; her idols are confounded, her images are broken in pieces.      Jer 50:2


The Golden Calf has been identified also with the Semitic god Molech, whom, according to the Bible (Hos 8), the Israelites had been worshipping for years, even though they supposedly were in Egypt during that time.

Samaria, throw out your calf-idol!
    My anger burns against them.
How long will they be incapable of purity?
    They are from Israel!
This calf—a metalworker has made it;
    it is not God.
It will be broken in pieces,
    that calf of Samaria.        Hos 8:5-6

Since the Bible depicts the Israelites isolated in the wilderness as spontaneously worshipping the Golden Calf, it is inferred that they had known this worship well, such that it was so familiar to them naturally.  This idea seems strange considering that the Israelites purportedly had been in Egypt for some 600 years with God El and Yaweh, since the time of Joseph.  How then did they become so acquainted with Molech?


Another candidate for the Golden Calf is Baal, depicted as horned and representing the bull.  The Canaanite “father of the gods” is also “El the Bull” or “Bull El” (ṯr ’il).  As Mark Smith remarks:

Many scholars are inclined to see El’s rather than Baal’s iconography behind the famous “gold calf” of Exodus 32 and the bull images erected by Jeroboam I at Bethel and Dan (above verse 1 Kings 12), but this iconography has been traced back to Baal as well. Here we might include not only the depiction of Baal in the Ugaritic texts but also the “fierce young bull” (symbol) of the storm-god Adad.  Nonetheless, the tradition in ancient Israel favors Bethel originally as an old cult-site of the god El (secondarily overlaid—if not identified—with the cult of Yahweh), perhaps as the place-name Bethel (literally, “house of El”) would suggest (Genesis 28:10– 22).

19 And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first.      Gen 28:19

The confusion that the Golden Calf is both Semitic and Egyptian may result in part from the fact of Baal syncretized with the Egyptian Seth, the result of which, Baal-Seth, is depicted with horns.

The biblical destruction of the golden calf also appears to be a mythical motif in itself, found in Ugaritic texts such as KTU 1.3:III:46, which recites acts by Baal, including the smiting of Yamm and the annihilation of the god of “immense waters.”  At one point, the speaker says: “I destroyed the calf of ’Ilu, ‘tk…”  

The calf of the Canaanite high god El—one of the major deities in the Old Testament—is the god ‘tk or  Atk/Atak/Atik/Atiku/Ataku, the “divine bull-calf” or “divine bullock.”

In any event, it is possible that any one or all of these gods could have been in the mind of the biblical writers attempting to outlaw the worship of all but Yahweh.  This suggestion is especially true in consideration of how popular was the calf-god motif in the region, reflecting the significance of the bull and cow in the sustenance of life in antiquity.