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Earliest-known tablet with Ten Commandments sold for $850,000, with one surprising condition

The oldest Ten Commandments tablet sold for $850,000, with one surprising condition — that the tablet still be placed on display.
The oldest Ten Commandments tablet sold for $850,000, with one surprising condition — that the tablet still be placed on display.
Twitter via WishFMRadio

The world’s earliest known version of the Ten Commandments recently sold at auction for $850,000, according to The Huffington Post.

The marble tablet inscription, which is believed to have originated from A.D. 300 to 830 and weighs about 115 pounds, went up for sale at the Beverly Hills auction on Wednesday.

The new owner of the tablet, who remains anonymous, bought the religious artifact under a strict condition from Heritage Auctions, The Los Angeles Times reported.

"The new owner is under obligation to display the tablet for the benefit of the public,” David Michaels, who oversees ancient coins and antiquities for Heritage Auctions, told The Los Angeles Times. "The sale of this tablet does not mean it will be hidden away.”

The tablet, which has Samaritan writing, was previously shown in an ancient Roman synagogue sometime between A.D. 400 and 600 or even the 11th century, The Huffington Post reported.

Researchers first discovered the tablet in 1913 when it was uncovered in a railroad excavation near Yavneh, Israel, according to The Huffington Post.

After being sold after its finding, the tablet was sold again in the early 1940s. Since then, researchers found that it had the Ten Commandments written on it. It was in 2005 that the Israel Antiquities Authority asked it be moved to the Living Torah Museum in Brooklyn, N.Y., which put the item up for sale, according to The Huffington Post.

Bidding started at $300,000, HuffPost reported.

Michaels told CNN that the product is a national treasure of Israel that will certainly connect people with biblical history.

But the artifact isn’t as complete you'd think, according to CNN. The tablet doesn't include the commandment “you shall not take the Lord’s name in vain."

Rather, it contains nine of the 10 commonly known commandments, along with an additional commandment “to worship on the sacred mountain of Mount Gerizim, near Nablus, which is a now a city in the West Bank,” CNN reported.

This was done so that the tablet could keep the list limited to 10 Commandments, according to CNN.

Still, the recently sold tablet offers people a glimpse into religious history.

"The tablet's significance is testament to the deep roots and enduring power of the commandments that still form the basis of three of the world's great religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam," Michaels said, according to CNN. "Its surface is worn, battered and encrusted in places, but running a gloved finger over it does produce, in some people, a particular thrill of touching a piece of Bible history."