Don Isaac Abravanel (1437-1508) was a preeminent Jewish thinker, scholar, and prolific Biblical
commentator. We read in Exodus chapter 20 that the Ten Commandments were transmitted to the
Hebrews on Mount Sinai.

“And God spoke all these words saying: I am God, Who brought you out
of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no
other gods before Me…”

Abravanel discusses exactly what makes the Ten Commandments stand out from the rest of the Bible. It
is, not surprisingly, an elaborate discourse. See Abravanel’s World for the entirety of it. Here, we will
share with Bible students Abravanel’s three, salient observations.

One has to do with the Speaker – God. In contrast to all of the other divine commandments, only the
Decalogue was from Heaven, sans an intermediary. That is, when it came to the other commandments,
Moses delivered them to the Hebrews, at God’s behest. Not so with the Ten Commandments. Neither
angel or seraph or prophet uttered them; they came directly from Above. On that historic day, the
Creator of heaven and earth descended, as it were, and addressed His nation. Understand, therefore,
the Decalogues’ intrinsic prominence.

Two stresses the audience, the Chosen People. With the other commandments, God transmitted them
to a single person, Moses, albeit His specially-designated messenger who had shown himself worthy.
Moses’ brethren were not privy to hear what Moses heard, nor see what he had seen. How different
were the Ten Commandments! Every person, young and old, heard and understood God’s words. The
myriads of Jews were an integral part of the conversation with the Divine. The fire at Sinai they beheld;
the audible voice they heard.

Three emphasizes the material upon which the Ten Commandments were written – all etched in stone.
No other verse in the Torah, no other commandment had been so indelibly engraved. Rather, they were
transcribed from God to Moses, who wrote them on parchment. As for the Ten Commandments,
moreover, no engraver’s tool had been utilized. It was the Maker’s handiwork, His imprint upon rock.
Moses hadn’t participated an iota in it.

In brief, Bible students are hereby apprised of the Ten Commandment’s uniqueness, their
otherworldliness. The Almighty alone put His imprimatur on them, in a manner of speaking, as
evidenced by the three reasons stated above.