And beside the boulder is a Tamarisk, a tree species native to the Middle East and which, according to the New American Standard version of the Bible, is what Abraham planted at Beersheba when he called on the name of the Lord.
The stone has been a mystery for years, but now an expert in the Ten Commandments who works with The Foundation for Moral Law, founded by former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who lost his position in a fight over the Ten Commandments, has investigated.
In a report posted on the Foundation for Moral Law website following his trip to the mystery stone, Col. John Eidsmoe, the foundation’s legal counsel, offers a possible explanation to how the engravings came to be
The writing, when translated, roughly is:
“I [am] Jehovah your God who has taken you out of the house of slaves of land of Egypt. Not there be other gods before my face. You shall not make idol. [You must] not take name Jehovah in vain. Remember day of the sabbath to keep holy. Honor your father and your mother so that will be long your days upon that ground that Jehovah your God to you has given. You must murder not. Not you commit adultery. You must steal not. [You must] not give testimony against neighbor as witness false. You must desire not [the] wife of your neighbor and all that is your neighbor’s.”
An Internet search offers some interesting perspectives on the stone.
A report posted on the Ohio State website says the script is the Old Hebrew alphabet and documents that James Tabor of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte in 1996 interviewed the now-deceased Frank Hibben, a retired New Mexico archaeologist.
The report said Hibben first saw the text in 1933, and was taken to the site by a guide who had seen it as a boy in the 1880s. Estimates then were that the carvings were 500-2,000 years old.
Another idea floated was that the engravings are a Samaritan mezuzah, a large slab of stone containing the Ten Commandments. And since Samaritan shipowners were known to live in Greek communities, it could place the artifact in the Byzantine period.
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