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(KJV) Deutoronomy 10:1-4

1 At that time the LORD said unto me, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood. 2 And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark. 3 And I made an ark of shittim wood, and hewed two tables of stone like unto the first, and went up into the mount, having the two tables in mine hand. 4 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.

(KJV) Exodus 34:27

27 And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel.

In Exodus it seems Moses wrote the second set of tablets but in Deutoronomy it was the finger of God that did it.

How can we understand the seemingly contradictory texts above?

  • Thank you for the question. Having seen your question and pondered it, I am now clearer myself about the details. – Nigel J Nov 16 '17 at 10:07
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Since it is a covenant between two parties, I take it that Moses wrote, in confirmation - in his own handwriting - the same ten commandments as the Lord had written with his own finger.

In Exodus 24:7 the Lord says specifically that after the tenor of these words He has made a covenant with Moses, and with the children of Israel. He states the fact of the covenant and the two parties write down - each in their own handwriting - the agreed terms of the covenant.

Then the two copies - I assume the two tables are two copies - are kept in storage, archived, as a record of the agreement. One copy for each party to the agreement, I assume.

In Deuteronomy, the incident is being viewed from a different aspect and I take it that the matter of Moses' participation is not, therefore, mentioned.

Thus I do not, personally, see any contradiction in the two accounts, which deal with different aspects of the same transaction. Both accounts state that the Lord wrote with his finger (Deut 10:2 and Exodus 34:1) but only one mentions the writing by Moses (Exodus 34:28).

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Currently, you've given only a conjecture that Moses was the one who wrote upon the tablets in Exodus 34:28. If you were however to compare the imperfect tenses of the verbs in verses 27-28, you might find that because the latter tense('And he wrote') matches the former tense(i.e. God speaking to Moses), that they therefore imply the same subject in both. As for what he commanded Moses to write in verse 27, I am of the opinion that it were the verses that preceded it, namely, verses 10-26.

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