Why two? Is there a reason why they weren't written on just one tablet?
ESV - 18 And he gave to Moses, when he had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.
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One perspective I have heard is that there were two tablets because the first tablet contained those commandments dealing with people's relationship to God (not having other gods; not making graven images; not taking the name of God in vain; and keeping the Sabbath), and the second tablet contained those commandments dealing with people's relationships with one another (honoring parents, and not stealing, murdering, committing adultery, bearing false witness, or coveting).
As far as I can deduce, there is no Biblical significance to Moses receiving the 10 Commandments on two stone tablets, versus any other number. To read anything else into the number of tablets would be pure speculation. Since no apparent reason is given in Scripture, God's choice of two is sufficient.
This is a good spiritual question. In my opinion, there were two tablets because there would be two great lawgivers for Israel, Moses and Christ. Christ will be giving the law for the Jews when he comes again to judge the nations. It is not as if Christ's new law will contradict the old, rather it will update and reaffirm the 10 commandments and, since they are written on stone, they will not be contradicted. The two days of Christ's activity casting out demons and doing cures (Luke 13:32) correspond to the 2,000 years of the Christian era. This is the time interval between the two tablets. On the third day the Jews will be accepting Christ and the second tablet will be in full force, spiritually speaking.
My analysis of the whole situation is that there is great significance in having two tablets of stone rather than one. The first one is that both are written "by the finger of God" Exod 31:18. That is truly frightening when one considers it deeply. God in all His majesty takes time to reduce His thoughts about managing human lives and conduct by personally writing and engraving permanently His laws. You could actually call it a manual straight from the manufacturer. Written in stone so that no one could change it. Today we have stone engravings made since the dawn of handwriting. The law of God is eternal, not to be changed or deleted. You can only choose to put it aside. Did God write His law on two tablets because one was going to be too heavy for Moses considering that he had to negotiate his way down a steep rugged mountain? I am not sure, but I think there is greater meaning there. On closer scrutiny it appears that one tablet contained 4 laws that deal with personal worship experience (which cannot be enforced by any external force). Making a law that forces people to worship God, keep His Sabbath, not to make graven images, no idol worship and not take the name of God in vain is contrary to the principles of heaven. Each person must decide freely if they want to worship God. Daniel 2 and 6 show us clearly what happens when Man tries to venture into that area of spiritual life, it ends badly. Sadly Revelation 13 and 17 predict that this is going to happen again with consequent great suffering. The other tablet deals with human social relationships which are actually enshrined in the laws of Man on earth. As far as I can tell every society on earth enforces the laws on the second tablet. Acting contrary to these laws is either frowned upon or punished outright. Governments and authorities on earth are required by God to enforce the laws on this tablet. As far as I know there is no society that permits its people to murder, steal, lie, dishonor parents, commit adultery, and covet other people’s belongings. God put these laws in place to manage human affairs and create a society that cultivates personal growth and development without fear. Thank God all governments on earth have not abdicated their God given authority. Finally I think there is significance in that Moses carried the two tablets one on each hand. In order for the laws on the second tablet to be voluntarily obeyed, a person must have a personal relationship with God. Prisons are full in many countries because those first neglected the laws on the first tablet. God wants to write His laws in our “hearts”. In other words He wants us to love His law and make it a permanent feature in our lives as the blood that that is pumped by the heart. Outward manifestation of our love for God will be shown by a people who then keep the other six commandments on the second tablet. The laws on the second tablet can be considered as the fruit of the laws on the first.
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