It may surprise many people to learn that the oldest known Ten Commandments written in Hebrew on stone may not be in the Holy Land, but in America. The controversial carving resides west of Los Lunas, New Mexico at the bottom of a place called Hidden Mountain. Named the Los Lunas Decalogue Stone, it is also known as “Mystery Stone”, “Phoenician Inscription Rock”, or “Mystery Rock”. It contains the text of the Ten Commandments written in ancient Paleo-Hebrew.
“Paleo-Hebrew predates our modern style of Hebrew writing,” Roni Segal, the academic adviser for eTeacher, an online language academy, explained to Breaking Israel News. “This form of Hebrew writing was used for approximately one thousand years and fell into disuse around 500 BC.”
The 80-ton boulder on which the writings were carved is so large that it may have been in its present-day location since the time of King Solomon, who ruled from 1014 BC to 974 BC. “The more square-like Hebrew script used today came into common use after King Solomon’s reign,” continued Segal. “Since the writing on this stone is in Paleo-Hebrew script, archaeologists surmise that this stone dates back to Biblical times.”
During King Solomon’s rule, it is known that the Israelites maintained reverence for the Ten commandments and wrote with Paleo-Hebrew characters. As the Hidden Mountain site was accessible by ship in ancient times, it is plausible that the Israelites landed there during their voyages.
King Solomon was an affluent and powerful king whose monarchy was marked by many years of peace. He is considered “the wisest of all men” who ordered sea voyages around the world to satisfy his curiosity about all things near and far. In addition, it is possible that the Israelites had been sent to the Hidden Mountain to find raw materials for King Solomon’s vast building projects, which included the building of the first Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
King Solomon also built ships at Ezion Geber, which is near Elath in Edom, on the shore of the Red Sea.
And Hiram sent his men–sailors who knew the sea–to serve in the fleet with Solomon’s men. 1 Kings 9: 26-27
Harvard scholar Robert Pfeiffer, an expert in Semitic languages, confirmed the Paleo-Hebrew script and translated the writings as the Ten Commandments which include, “I am the Lord, thy God, who brought you out of the land” and “Thou shalt have no other gods”.
The stone is not without detractors. Professor of archaeology at Central Connecticut State University, Kenneth Feder has declared that “the stone is almost certainly a fake” as it seems to make use of some modern Hebrew punctuation and contains numerous stylistic and grammatical errors.
The late professor and archaeologist Frank Hibben was the first to mention the stone in 1933. He stated that he was first shown the Decalogue by a guide who claims to have found it in the 1880s. However, Hibben had a reputation for fabricating archaeological data. Unfortunately, because of the stone’s enormous weight and years of unprofessional cleaning the inscriptions, its authenticity has never been proved by a laboratory.
However, Hebrew scholar Cyrus Gordon of Brandeis University near Boston, among others, has vouched for the stone’s authenticity.
“We know that Hebrew was important to America’s founding fathers and that other ancient Paleo-Hebrew inscriptions have been found in North America,” Segal told Breaking Israel News. “Hebrew not only connects us back to our Godly and Biblical roots but also connects people back to their North American roots!”