The world’s oldest inscribed Ten Commandments, the laws of God passed on to Jewish leader Moses as told in the Bible’s Old Testament, were reportedly sold at auction for $850,000 Wednesday night, according to the Associated Press. The identity of the winning bidder is unknown by their request.
The auction for the two-foot, 115-pounds marble slab was held by Heritage Auctions in Beverly Hills, California. The slab was exported to the U.S. in 2005 with approval from the Israeli Antiquities Authorities, which stressed that the tablet must be presented in public, a condition which the auction house said still stands. The holy laws were up for auction along with a number of Biblical artifacts from the Living Torah Museum in Brooklyn, New York.
"The sale of this tablet does not mean it will be hidden away from the public," director of ancient coins and antiquities David Michaels said. "The new owner is under obligation to display the tablet for the benefit of the public."
It’s believed the tablet originally hung in a temple or synagogue that might have been torn down by the Roman Empire sometime between 400 and 600 AD, or even during one of the Crusades in the 1200s, according to Michaels.
It was originally reported that the auction would open with a bid of $250,000, according to CNN on Wednesday, however, it actually began at $300,000.
While the actual age of the tablet isn’t known exactly, its discovery took place over a century ago. Back in 1913, the slabs were found intact during the building of a railroad in Yavneh, Israel.
It has only nine of the 10 well-known commandments, excluding: "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in Vain."
In the Jewish and Christian faiths, the Ten Commandments were brought down by Moses from Mount Sinai after God spoke to him in the form of a burning bush, as described in the Book of Exodus.