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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Law of Moses (Hebrew: תֹּורַת מֹשֶׁה Torat Moshe), also called the Mosaic Law, primarily refers to the Torah or the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. Traditionally believed to have been written by Moses, most academics now believe they had many authors.[1]

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  • ✪ The Law
  • ✪ The Law of Moses: Ex. 21-24 31-35
  • ✪ The Law of Moses, the Gentiles and Jesus: Hebrew Roots part 2


You're most likely familiar with the Ten Commandments in the Bible stuff we generally take as good advice don't murder, don't steal, honor your parents the list goes on and those are just the first 10 they're actually a total of six hundred and thirteen commands all given to ancient Israel found in the first five books of the Bible which in hebrew are called the torah now the word Torah is usually translated in english as the law because it has all of these laws in it as you read through them you wonder am I supposed to obey some of these all of these and what's the purpose of the law well that translation is kind of confusing because while the torah has laws in it the book itself is fundamentally a story about how God is creating new kinds of people who are fully able to love God and love others and when Jesus taught about the torah he said he was bringing that story to its fulfillment. So walk me through the story and how it's fulfilled. So the story begins with God creating humanity who rebels and God chooses Abraham to bless all of the nations through his family who end up in slavery down in Egypt and so Guard rescues them then at Mount Sinai God makes a covenant with Israel like an agreement and all the laws that Moses gives to Israel are the terms of that agreement they're like a constitution. So some of the laws they are about rituals and customs that set Israel apart from the nation other laws are about social justice or morality and by following these Israel would show the other nations what God is like. Okay so the rest of the Torah is just the complete list of laws that Moses gives Israel? No, the rest of the Torah just continues the story and the six hundred and thirteen commands are only a selection from that original Constitution and even these have been broken up and placed at strategic points within the story now pay attention because you'll see a really clear pattern Moses gives the first laws to Israel. Don't worship other gods and don't make idols and then right after that there's a story of Israel breaking those very laws they worship the golden calf and so Moses gives some more laws and then you get more stories of rebellion. Some more laws, rebellion again, more laws more rebellion and you start to see the point right no matter how many laws they're just gonna continue to rebel. So at the conclusion of the torah's story of Moses gives this final speech to Israel as they prepared to go into their new home and he tells them you guys I know that you're not going to follow all of God's laws you've proven to me that you're incapable and Moses says the problem is that the hearts are hard and that they're going to need new transformed hearts if they're ever going to truly follow God's law and he was right to me the story goes on to recount Israel's total failure. They go into the land they break all the laws. Right now the next section of books in the Jewish tradition are the fifteen books of the Prophets and they reflect back on the story for example Ezekiel he said that if Israel is ever going to obey the law God's Spirit would have to transform their hard hearts into soft hearts and Jeremiah said that's when obedience to God's commands wouldn't feel like a duty that they would be written deep in their hearts and Isaiah he promised a future leader Israel's Messiah who will lead all of the people in obedience to the law. Now in Jewish tradition all of these books together are called the prophets even historical books because they're continuing the story told from the perspective of the profits ok so we have the law and the prophets and they're telling one connected story about God's desire to bless the whole world through a people Israel who it turns out needs a new heart yes and Jesus saw himself as continuing that story so he agreed with the law and the prophets when he taught that it's out of the human heart that come the most ugly parts of human nature is like the default setting of our hearts is opposed to God's law but Jesus also said that he came to solve that problem and in his words to fulfill the law. So what does he mean there to fulfill the law? Well, first he said that the demand of all of the laws in the Torah could be fulfilled by what he called the great command, that we are to love God and love others. So that seems pretty easy I mean we all want to love. Well, we think we want to love, but Jesus showed how love this far more demanding than we realize. So he quotes the law do not murder and he says yes not killing someone is very loving thing to do, but then he also says that when you treat someone with disrespect or when you nurse resentment against them you're also violating God's moral ideal because you're not treating that person with love. So Jesus said true love ought to extend even to our own enemies so even though this command seems very simple Jesus showed how our hearts are not currently equipped to fulfill even this basic command of God to love others. And that's kind of a downer. But where Israel failed Jesus brought the story to it's fulfillment as Israel's Messiah he fully loved God and others and he showed all of the nation's what God is truly like. He did this through his acts of compassion and mercy and ultimately by loving his enemies even unto death and after his resurrection he told his followers that he would send God's Spirit to transform their hearts so that they could follow him and fulfill the purpose of the law to love God and to love their neighbor. So this fulfills the story of the law and the prophets. Or, in the words of the Apostle Paul the one who loves fulfills the law. This video was made possible by over 1,300 people who chipped in and most of those are monthly givers to the Bible project thank you guys so much! We make a lot of videos like this one the trace a biblical theme from the beginning to the end of Scripture we're also making videos about every book of the Bible helping you learn about its design and overall message we're committed to keeping these videos free and we're able to do that because of your support if you want to see more videos and other resources we have good to



The Law of Moses or Torah of Moses (Hebrew: תֹּורַת מֹשֶׁה, Torat Moshe, Septuagint Ancient Greek: νόμος Μωυσῆ, nómos Mōusē, or in some translations the "Teachings of Moses" [2]) is a biblical term first found in the Book of Joshua 8:31-32, where Joshua writes the Hebrew words of "Torat Moshe תֹּורַת מֹשֶׁה" on an altar of stones at Mount Ebal. The text continues:

And afterward he read all the words of the teachings, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the Torah (Joshua 8:34).[3]

The term occurs 15 times in the Hebrew Bible, a further 7 times in the New Testament, and repeatedly in Second Temple period, intertestamental, rabbinical and patristic literature.

The Hebrew word for the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, Torah (which means "law" and was translated into Greek as "nomos" or "Law") refers to the same five books termed in English "Pentateuch" (from Latinised Greek "five books," implying the five books of Moses). According to some scholars, use of the name "Torah" to designate the "Five Books of Moses" of the Hebrew Bible is clearly documented only from the 2nd century BCE.[4]

In modern usage, Torah can refer to the first five books of the Tanakh, as the Hebrew Bible is commonly called, to the instructions and commandments found in the 2nd to 5th books of the Hebrew Bible, and also to the entire Tanakh and even all of the Oral Law as well. Among English-speaking Christians the term "The Law" can refer to the whole Pentateuch including Genesis, but this is generally in relation to the New Testament where nomos "the Law" sometimes refers to all five books, including Genesis. This use of the Hebrew term "Torah" (law), for the first five books is considered misleading by 21st-century Christian bible scholar John Van Seters, because the Pentateuch "consists of about one half law and the other half narrative."[5]

Law in the Ancient Near East

The "Law of Moses" in ancient Israel was different from other legal codes in the ancient Near East because transgressions were seen as offenses against God rather than solely as offenses against society (civil law).[6] This contrasts with the Sumerian Code of Ur-Nammu (c. 2100-2050 BCE), and the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi (c. 1760 BCE, of which almost half concerns contract law). However the influence of the ancient Near Eastern legal tradition on the Law of ancient Israel is recognised and well documented.[7] For example, the Israelite Sabbatical Year has antecedents in the Akkadian mesharum edicts granting periodic relief to the poor.[8] Another important distinction is that in ancient Near East legal codes, as in more recently unearthed Ugaritic texts, an important, and ultimate, role in the legal process was assigned to the king. Ancient Israel, before the monarchical period beginning with David, was set up as a theocracy, rather than a monarchy, although God is most commonly portrayed like a king.[9]

Hebrew Bible

Moses and authorship of the Law

According to the Hebrew Bible, Moses was the leader of early Israel out of Egypt; and traditionally the first five books of the Hebrew Bible are attributed to him, though most modern scholars believe there were multiple authors. The law attributed to Moses, specifically the laws set out in the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, as a consequence came to be considered supreme over all other sources of authority (any king and/or his officials), and the Levites were the guardians and interpreters of the law.[10]

The Book of Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 31:24–26) records Moses saying, "Take this book of the law, and put it by the side of the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD." Similar passages referring to the Law include, for example, Exodus 17:14, "And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven;" Exodus 24:4, "And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and built an altar under the mount, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel;" Exodus 34:27, "And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words, for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel;" and Leviticus 26:46 "These are the decrees, the laws and the regulations that the LORD established on Mount Sinai between himself and the Israelites through Moses."

Later references to the Law in the Hebrew Bible

The Book of Kings relates how a "law of Moses" was discovered in the Temple during the reign of king Josiah (r. 641–609 BCE). This book is mostly identified as an early version of the Book of Deuteronomy, perhaps chapters 5–26 and chapter 28 of the extant text. This text contains a number of laws, dated to the 8th century BCE kingdom of Judah.[citation needed]

Another mention of the "Book of the Law of Moses" is found in Joshua 8:30-31.


The content of the Law is spread among the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, and then reiterated and added to in Deuteronomy. This includes:

Rabbinical interpretation

The content of the instructions and its interpretations, the Oral Torah, was passed down orally, excerpted and codified in Rabbinical Judaism, and in the Talmud were numbered as the 613 commandments. The Law given to Moses at Sinai (Hebrew Halakhah le-Moshe mi-Sinai הלכה למשה מסיני) is a halakhic distinction.

Rabbinic Judaism[11] asserts that Moses presented the laws to the Jewish people, and that the laws do not apply to Gentiles (including Christians), with the exception of the Seven Laws of Noah, which (it teaches) apply to all people.

Christian interpretation

Most Christians believe that only parts dealing with the moral law (as opposed to ceremonial law) are still applicable, others believe that none apply, dual-covenant theologians believe that the Old Covenant remains valid only for Jews, and a minority have the view that all parts still apply to believers in Jesus and in the New Covenant.

See also


  1. ^ Marc Z. Brettler. “Introduction to the Pentateuch.” The New Oxford Annotated Bible, 4th ed., pp. 5-6: “Additionally, most scholars no longer see each source [of the Torah] as the work of a single author writing at one particular time but recognize that each is the product of a single group or ‘school’ over a long time…. Most scholars posit an editor or series of editors or redactors, conventionally called R, who combined the various sources, perhaps in several stages, over a long time.”
  2. ^ e.g. New Century Version, Joshua 8:32
  3. ^ Kristin De Troyer, Armin Lange Reading the present in the Qumran library 2005 p158: "Both at the beginning and at the ending of the Gibeonites' story there is now a reference to the law of Moses and to the fact that ... The building of the altar happens on Mount Ebal, not in Gilgal — Joshua gets to Gilgal only in 9:6."
  4. ^ Frank Crüsemann, Allan W. Mahnke The Torah: theology and social history of Old Testament law p331 1996 " there is only clear evidence for the use of the term Torah to describe the Pentateuch as a ..."
  5. ^ John Van Seters The Pentateuch: a social-science commentary 2004 p16 "Furthermore, the Hebrew term Torah, 'Law', is a little misleading as a description of the content of the Pentateuch, since it consists of about one half law and the other half narrative."
  6. ^ John H. Walton Ancient Israelite Literature in Its Cultural Context 1994 p233 "The ancient Near Eastern collections do not include cultic law; rather, their focus is on civil law. As a generalization, in the ancient Near East violation of law is an offense against society. In Israel a violation of law is an ..."
  7. ^ A survey of the Old Testament p52 Andrew E. Hill, John H. Walton - 2000 "The influence of the ancient Near Eastern legal tradition on the form and function of Hebrew law is undeniable and widely documented.2 Along with this contemporary cultural influence, the Old Testament affirms the divine origin of "
  8. ^ The Bible and the ancient Near East: collected essays Jimmy Jack McBee Roberts 2002 p46 "The Israelite Sabbatical Year, which seems to have the same purpose and recurs at about the same interval, appears to be an Israelite adaptation of this mesharum-edict tradition."
  9. ^ Adrian Curtis in Law and religion: essays on the place of the law in Israel ed. Barnabas Lindars - 1988 p3 Chapter 1 GOD AS 'JUDGE' IN UGARITIC AND HEBREW THOUGHT "The many legal texts discovered at Ugarit make it clear that the king played an important legal role; although legal transactions could be carried out before witnesses, "
  10. ^ Graham, M.P, and McKenzie, Steven L., "The Hebrew Bible today: an introduction to critical issues" (Westminster John Knox Press, 1998) p.19ff
  11. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia: Gentiles: Gentiles May Not Be Taught the Torah

External links

This page was last edited on 22 September 2019, at 13:49
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