Moses is clearly about to smash the stone tablets, which he has just received, in rage and sorrow over the golden calf that has been erected in his absence. The skin of his face is shining, though in fact this is not mentioned until the tablets had been handed over for the second and final time. The writing on the tablets seems to translate the prophet’s inner torment into outward distress. It is uncertain whether the 'Jacob Wrestling with the Angel' in Berlin, slightly smaller because the canvas has been cut down, was intended as a companion piece. It is clear that the pictures were painted at almost the same time and are similar in content; moreover, the figures in both works have a similarly overwhelming presence. The monumental quality derives not least from the placing of the figures at the front edge of the picture, from the almost abstract handling of the background, the highly expressive brushwork and neglect of details, as well as the reduced colour range, which is taken to an almost monochrome extreme in the “Moses”. The greyish veils emphasize the figure’s isolation. The accurate Hebrew transcription, shows Rembrandt’s characteristic attention to detail.