In Exodus 34:4 we read

And Moses cut two stone tablets like the first ones, and he started early in the morning, and he went up to Mount Sinai, as Yahweh had commanded him, and he took in his hand the two stone tablets.

How big were the tablets?

The verse seem to indicate that the two tables of stone were small and light.

Also, if possible, what kind of stone were they made of?

2 Answers 2


Deuteronomy 10:1, 2

1 At that time the Lord said to me, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones and come up to me on the mountain. Also make a wooden ark. 2 I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. Then you are to put them in the ark.”

They wouldn't be too big for Moses to carry them up the mountain and smaller than the dimensions of the ark.

Exodus 37:1

Bezalel made the ark of acacia wood--two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high.

It was approximately 131×79×79 cm or 52×31×31 in.

Wikipedia: Tablets of Stone

According to the Talmud, the length and width of each of the Tablets was six Tefachim, and each was three Tefachim thick – roughly 50 and 25 centimetres (20 and 10 in) respectively

According to traditional teachings of Judaism in the Talmud, they were made of blue sapphire stone as a symbolic reminder of the sky, the heavens, and ultimately of God's throne. Many Torah scholars, however, have opined that the biblical sapir was, in fact, lapis lazuli (see Exodus 24:10, lapis lazuli is a possible alternate rendering of "sapphire" the stone pavement under God's feet when the intention to craft the tablets of the covenant is disclosed Exodus 24:12).

  • It is interesting to notice that in the first use of the word 'ark' at the very end of Genesis, it is in reference to the coffer carrying Joseph's bones back from Egypt and that the dimensions of the ark would enclose a dead body in a foetal position (the position in which bodies were most usually buried prior to mechanical digging allowing of bodies to be stretched out in burial). Thus the concepts of death, corpse and written law being gathered into one ere Christ died and the handwriting was nailed to the cross.
    – Nigel J
    Feb 1, 2021 at 17:18
  • You are the spiritual one :)
    – user35953
    Feb 1, 2021 at 17:22

How big were the tablets?

The British Museum exhibits stone and clay tablets from several cultures over the relevant span of OT time and locations. The tablets are typically no larger than a modern mobile phone, and smaller ones comfortably fit in the palm of a hand. They appear strangely modern.

Typically 1cm or so thick.

Stone ones white. Clay ones reddish brown - clay ones were erasable and reusable, or could be fired.

Not much space for writing, and in more primitive examples language was mostly symbolic. Surprisingly small characters so as to fit and quite fine work needing good eyesight. Even so, limited space for expression.

So yes, a few of those could be carried in the hand. And could be readily moved up/down a mountain about the person.

Also Exodus 32:15 refers to the original tablets (i.e. the ones Moses threw from his hands and broke) being carried in the hand, written on both sides. The British Museum exhibits small tablets, written on both sides. It also exhibits several such broken tablets, which seems to demonstrate they could be readily broken, for example by throwing to the ground.

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