Weighing about 200 pounds, the slab of marble is chiseled with 20 lines of script, in Hebrew and Aramaic. After an introductory dedication and invocation, it lists nine of the ten commonly known Biblical Commandments from the Book of Exodus, omitting the “You will not take the name of God in vain,” and adding instead a commandment commonly cited by the Samaritan sect, calling on the worshippers to “raise up a temple” on Mount Gerizim, sacred to the Samaritans, near the city of Shechem . . .
Samaria was the home to of the Samaritan sect, known by Jewish tradition as the “converts by lions,” based on an account of their forced immigration under Assyrian rule from an unknown origin, and their embrace of the local Jewish God for protection from the lions that roamed their new habitat.
Scholars who studied the carved letters believe the stone was carved in the late Roman or Byzantine era, circa 300-500 CE, to adorn the entrance to a Samaritan synagogue.