In the Bible it is written, "Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments." (Ps 119:6) The Psalmist implies that it is shameful to omit
some of God's commandments. What are all these commandments, exactly?
When we look in the Bible to discover the commandments of God, we find most, if not all of them in the Old Testament. The Law, commonly called
Torah, comprising the first five books of the Bible, contains many commandments, most of which are generally applicable to all people, but some are not. For example, laws governing the maintenance and service of God's Temple
are only relevant when there is a functioning temple and a practicing Levitical priesthood, and laws requiring capital punishment or legal settlements must only be carried out by a duly recognized civil authority and should not be
obeyed independently or in isolation.
What are God's laws, and which ones should we obey today? This is our present pursuit. We will now go through the entire Bible and enumerate every divine command that may be
reasonably understood to be a unique general command or instruction to all men or to a large group of people that can be obeyed today. The entire text of a command is only included for clarity if it is not too long. Redundant
commands, and those given to encourage us to obey other commands, as well as commands given to a small people group which would not be generally applicable today, are noted in sequence but are not enumerated.
Ge 1:28 The very first instruction to mankind is "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it." This
may properly be understood as more of an instructional invitation than a literal command. People are invited and encouraged to: (1) procreate and (2) conquer, overcome and harness the natural realm. We may conclude that it
is a general invitation to mankind rather than an explicit command to every individual since Christ did not obey either of these commands in a significant manner. Most men have a natural inclination to do both of these
things, and this inclination may be seen as the grace of God in men, moving them to do what is healthy and good. Such behavior, when pursued within the proper bounds of all of God's other commands, may be seen as wholesome
and worthy. The first part of this command is repeated to Noah and his family after the Flood. (Gen 9:1,7)
Ge 2:24 Monogamous marriage "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one
As above, this is an instructional invitation to establish monogamous family units by joining a man and a woman together in a single entity through sexual relations. The action is taken on the part of the man separating himself from his original family unit and establishing a new family unity by taking and holding fast to a single woman. The pair become one and are together recognized by God as one in this new entity. This implies that the husband love and care for his wife in the same way, with the same concern and affection, as he cares for himself. ( Eph 5:25
) Both homosexuality and adultery are therefore understood as sin from this command. (Gen 19:7, 20:3) Polygamy, though
tolerated, may be here seen as a departure from the ideal and intent of marriage.
Ge 9:4 Do not eat blood. "But flesh with the life thereof, which is
the blood thereof, shall ye not eat." As God adds certain animals to the human diet he stipulates that the blood of an animal should be removed prior to its consumption. We are not to consume blood as part of our diet. See also Lev 17:10-4.
Ge 9:6 Capital Punishment for murder "Whoso
sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." This command authorizes human societies to implement capital punishment
for murder. This is the foundational principle of civil government.
Ge 17:9-14 Circumcision "And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is
my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token
of the covenant betwixt me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is
not of thy seed. He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant." God wants all males who are in covenant with him to be circumcised. We will confirm in subsequent commands that this includes people of all nationalities and not just physical Israel.
Ex 12 Passover and Unleavened Bread We are to keep the Feast of Passover on the 14th day of the first month, and the Feast of
Unleavened Bread for the week following. This month is the start of the year, generally March or April. See also Le 23:5.
Ex 13:2 The firstborn son of any woman or beast was dedicated to God. The animals were
sacrificed and the sons were bought back by giving money to the priests.
The Ten: the Decalogue
Ex 20:3 Monotheism "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."
Ex 20:4-6 Idolatry "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is
in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am
a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Ex 20:7 Respect God's Name
"Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain."
Exo 20:8-11 Keep the Sabbath holy
"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it
thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in
six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is,
and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it." This is a multi-faceted command to remember Saturday, acknowledge that God has already made it holy, and to keep it that way: set apart. It appears to be a gateway command, one that introduces us to and helps us to keep the moral laws, the laws of the spirit and the heart, helping us to connect the physical to the spiritual. It appears to be the only law of the Ten that is not directly implied, self-evident in the moral law and in the nature of God himself. It is also the only prescriptive, affirmative command of the Decalogue: it is not primarily a prohibition but a call to action: "remember ... keep." The command to work is implied: "six days shalt thou labor," as well as the command to cease from all work on sabbath, which is the primary way to set it apart, ceasing from the regular pattern and duty of work and thereby acting differently on it. God, in not explicitly defining
work, implies that keeping this command is unique in some way for every person: we must each personalize it by remembering and thinking about God's purpose in setting this day apart as his own day and what this means
in our present situation. Isaiah 58:13-14 is very helpful in fleshing this out. God calls sabbath, "my holy day," and indicates that we are to focus on intentionally abiding in and resting in him in our actions ("not doing
thine own ways"), in our motives ("nor finding thine own pleasure"), and in our thoughts and expressions ("nor speaking thine own words"). We are to delight in this and find it honorable. God ends creation week by keeping
this command himself, implying that he keeps all of his own commands and observes all of his festivals with us, his appointed times are times to fellowship with him and participate with him in his ways.
Ex 20:12 "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee."
Ex 20:13 "Thou shalt not kill."
Ex 20:14 "Thou shalt not commit adultery."
Ex 20:15 "Thou shalt not steal."
Ex 20:16 "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour."
Ex 20:17 "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his
maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's."
Ex 20:24-26 Instructions for building an altar for sacrifice.
Patterns of Civil Justice The following unenumerated commands are enforceable only
in Torah-observant culture. Those in free democratic societies should therefore vote and encourage the culture to conform civil law to these principles as closely as possible. However, one should not take matters into their
own hands and act independently of civil government to enforce any of them. We should conform to their principles as much as possible when applicable and consistent with love, the fear of God, and civil law.
Ex 21:2-6 On the treatment of slaves.
Ex 21:7-11 On the treatment of wives.
Ex 21:12-14 Punishments for murder and manslaughter.
Ex 21:15-17 Capital punishment for cursing or striking parents, and for kidnapping..
Ex 21:18-19 On restoring a man after wounding him in a fight.
Ex 21:20-21 On striking a slave.
Ex 21:22-23 On the injury to a pregnant woman.
Ex 21:24-25 On the general principle of lawful retribution.
Ex 21:26-27 On permanent serious injury of slaves.
Ex 21:28-36 On criminal negligence. Enforceable only in Torah-observant culture.
Ex 22:1-15 Punishments for stealing and negligence. Enforceable only in Torah-observant culture.
Ex 22:16-17 Consequences for
pre-marital sex. Enforceable only in Torah-observant culture.
Ex 22:18-20 Capital punishment for being a witch, for bestiality, and for offering a sacrifice to a false god.
Ex 22:21-24 Consider the vulnerable
Do not oppress foreigners, widows, orphans, etc. This includes things like taking a widow's raiment as a pledge (De 24:17)
Ex 22:25-7 Be lenient to the poor
When lending, do not charge interest or retain deposits that deprive them of basic needs. This includes any assets or clothing essential to survival. or basic comfort. (De 24:6)
Ex 22:28 Honor civil authority "Thou shalt not
revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people"
Ex 22:29-30 Be prompt in honoring the principle of firstfruits and the firstborn (supporting the Temple).
Ex 22:31 Do not eat the kill of a wild animal.
"And ye shall be holy men unto me: neither shall ye eat any flesh that is torn of beasts in the field; ye shall cast it to the dogs."
Ex 23:1-3 On being honest, and resisting peer pressure, mob influence, and
favoritism, an extension of Ex 20:16 and of many other positive commandments..
Ex 23:4-5 Help your enemy, when he is in a vulnerable state and common sense
dictates that it is reasonable to do so. The text is: "If thou meet thine enemy's ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again. If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden,
and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him." If it applies to enemies then it applies to everyone.
Ex 23:6-9 Be equitable, truthful, upright, refusing bribes in carrying out any duty to
judge, administer justice, or discern in any quarrel.
Ex 23:10-12 Observe Sabbath and the Sabbatical year. Redundant sabbatical law.
Ex 23:13a Be circumspect and alert to obey God's Law. Redundant exhortation.
Ex 23:13b Avoid focus on the demonic "Make no
mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth." By "name" we may think of the reputation and character of someone, not merely their appellation. This command can then be understood as a
command to avoid giving undue, inordinate attention to or having any interest in idols or false gods, which comprise the demonic realm. We are not to focus on the details of how others might worship or serve demons,
or the nature of demons themselves, nor should we recount their supposed exploits or history, or focus on their religions and rituals. Such interest in itself is sensual, fleshly, and devilish. This is not, as it might be
simplistically claimed, a command to never refer to an idol or a demon by their appellation, for God does this in scripture and commands us to read, study, recount and teach his Word. We are not to be ignorant of Satan and
his devices (2 Cor 2:11), but neither are we to be obsessed with him or them at any time.
"Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD." These special
conventions for men are at the feasts of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. This is a unique calling to men, highlighting their leadership role in the nation, in religion, and the family. See also De 16:1-17 and The Feasts of the Lord.
Ex 23:18-19a On proper sacrifices and supporting Levites with the tithe.
Ex 23:19b Respect Creation This command, "Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk," has been inappropriately interpreted by
rabbinic Judaism to forbid the eating of milk and meat together. (They thus bind heavy burdens, grievously borne, and so miss the intent and spirit of the Law.) This command may rather be understood as a directive to avoid
merciless, cruel, brutal practices that afflict or delight in any form of suffering, even vicarious indulgence in something that might cause anguish or suffering, even in an animal. One who respects the dignity and purpose
of Creation will not delight in or participate in such rituals. Its unusual positioning in the overall text of scripture (as it on first glance has no connection with the immediate context, and appears to stand in
isolation) might be explained by the theory proposed by the Kararites that this was a ritual practiced by idolaters, who spread the resulting soup on their crops to humor their idols and increase the fertility of their
lands. Compare with Le 22:28 and De 22:6-7.
Ex 24:1-30:10 Building the Temple and outfitting the priests for the Levitical sacrificial system
Ex 30:11-16 On how to take a census and tax males for the
maintenance of the Temple.
Ex 30:17-21 Instructions for building and using the laver.
Ex 30:22-31 Instructions to make and apply the holy anointing oil for the Temple.
Ex 30:34-36 Instructions to make and apply the holy perfume for the Temple.
Ex 30:32-3, 37-38 Do not duplicate holy oil and perfume
. Replicating these compounds for any other purpose than commanded is a capital offence.
Ex 31:12-17 Exhortation to keep
the sabbaths, particularly the weekly sabbath. It is a capital offense to violate it.
Ex 34:12-16 Exhortation to Israel to not make any leagues with the nations of Canaan, or to intermarry with them, lest the people
of God fall into idolatry.
Ex 34:17 Do not make idols of molten metal. Redundant with Ex 20:4-6.
Repetition of several other commands, such as keeping Sabbath,
Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Pentecost, Tabernacles, the principle of the first born, respecting creation, etc. See also Lev 23:16-21 and De 16:1-17
Ex 35:2 Repetition of the sabbath command.
Ex 35:3 "Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day." To kindle a fire from scratch with
primitive tools is very difficult, and should be taken as an example of the kind of rigorous work prohibited on Sabbath. This command should not be abused to forbid such things as tending or stoking a fire, lighting a
candle or turning on a light switch, or starting a car on Sabbath.
Details of various types of sacrifices and offerings.
Le 6:1-5 Restore 120% When restoring one wronged, the restoration amount is 120% of the amount of the wrong.
Le 11 Do not eat unclean things Clean beasts are those that have a cloven hoof and chew the cud. Of water
animals, those that have fins and scales are clean. Of fowl, scavengers, birds of prey, and those that crawl (like bats) are unclean, along with any animal that creeps or crawls. Clean insects include locusts, grasshoppers
and beetles. Do not eat or touch the dead body of any unclean animal. Touching the carcass makes one unclean for the rest of the day. One carrying a carcass must also wash his clothes. If clothing or a wooden vessel touches
the carcass of an unclean animal it must be cleaned with water and is unclean for the rest of the day. If the vessel is clay it must be destroyed along with anything in it. Seeds touched by a carcass become unclean if they
have any water on them. Even a clean beast becomes unclean if it dies on its own. Anyone eating the flesh or carrying the carcass must wash their clothes and be unclean for the rest of the day.
Le 12:1-5 Childbirth
A woman is unclean for a period of 40 days after giving birth to a son and 80 days for a daughter. Included is a command to circumcise a male child on the 8th day of his life, which is redundant with Ge 17:9-14.
Le 12:6-8 Sacrifices for a woman to offer after childbirth.
Le 13-14 Leprosy. Detailed instructions are given on how to identify this plague and how to treat
infected persons, garments and dwellings. The sacrifices offered by the high priest when healing occurs are not possible without a temple, and the formal identification of the disease may not be feasible without access to
the Levitical priesthood, but the principle of quarantining infected persons (however they are positively identified), warning others who might approach them, and disposing of infected objects is certainly applicable today.
Le 15:1-14 Infections "When any man hath a running issue out of his flesh, because of his issue he is
unclean ... And whosoever toucheth his bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even." When a person has an oozing infection the infected person is unclean, along with
his bedding, any place he sits and anything underneath him. Anyone touching him, his bed, sitting where he sat, carrying anything that was under him, contacting his saliva, or that is touched by him without him having first
washing his hands must wash his clothes and take a bath and is unclean for the rest of the day. Anyone merely sitting on a saddle or touching something that was under the infected person without being touched by the
infected person is just unclean for the rest of the day (but doesn't have to take a bath and wash their clothes). If the infected person touches a clay vessel it must be broken. If it is a wooden vessel it must be rinsed
with water. When the person's infection heals so that it is no longer oozing, he remains unclean for another week, and mush wash his clothes and take a bath.
Le 15:15: On the eighth day the above infected person, being now clean, must offer a sacrifice to make an atonement for his infection.
Le 15:16-18 Semen
"And if any man's seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even." When sperm comes out of a male this makes him unclean, and if this was during intercourse with a woman then she is also unclean. He/They must bathe and are unclean for the rest of the day.
Any clothing or other bedding material which contacts semen should be washed in water and be considered unclean for the rest of the day.
Le 15:19-30 Menstruation
A menstruating woman is unclean for a period of seven days from the start of her cycle. Anything she lies down on or sits on is unclean. Anyone touching any of these things must take a bath, wash his clothes, and be unclean for the rest of the day. Anyone she touches is also unclean. If she has sex with a male (who, by implication, doesn't happen to know that she is menstruating) and the male gets any of the vaginal discharge on him then the male and his bed will be unclean for a week. If a woman continues menstruating well beyond the typical 4-5 day pattern, then the uncleanness extends for the entire time she is menstruating plus an additional week after she stops. On the 8th day after she stops, if there were a functioning temple she would offer a sacrifice for ritual cleansing.
Le 16 Detailed instructions for priestly activity on the Day of Atonement.
Le 16:29 Afflict yourself on the Day of Atonement. "And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that
in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you
." On the 10th day
of the 7th month God wants us all, both the physical people of Israel and all who dwell among them and seek God, to mourn the existence of sin. We are to cease from our customary work on that day and set the day apart as a
day of rest. We should focus on what God has done to free us from the penalty of sin and mourn with him over the constant continuation of sin in ourselves and others. The article Be Afflicted
may be helpful.
Le 17:1-9 Sacrifice only at the Temple.
While God's name is identified with a particular location through an operating Levitical temple, no one may offer a ritualistic or religious sacrifice in any place other than at this temple of God. This is to prevent false religion and devil worship. (vs 7) It implies that all sacrifices described elsewhere in Torah are currently suspended, since they all require the Temple and a Levitical priest, but the absence of the Temple does not imply that this sacrificial necessarily yas been abolished yet. See also
De 16:5-7, and A Disannullling of the Commandment
Le 17:10-12 Capital punishment for eating blood. "And whatsoever man there be
of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh
is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that
maketh an atonement for the soul. Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood." Here, we find that the death penalty is imposed for eating flesh without first removing the blood. This is not a command that one would follow today in societies where such civil penalties are not the cultural norm.
Le 17:13 Dispose of blood. "And whatsoever man there be
of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust. " (vs 13) When an animal is slaughtered its blood must be poured out and covered up (disposed of properly). Much of the surrounding
text is redundant with Ge 9:4 in the prohibition regarding eating blood. Here, we find that the death penalty is imposed
Le 17:14 "For it is
the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is
the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off." Redundant with the above.
Le 17:15-16 Cleanse after eating any meat not slaughtered specifically for food. "And every soul that eateth that which died
of itself, or that which was torn with beasts, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger, he shall both wash his clothes, and bathe himself
in water, and be unclean until the even: then shall he be clean. But if he wash them not, nor bathe his flesh; then he shall bear his iniquity."
Sexual Prohibitions and Child Sacrifice
Le 18:1-18 Near Kin. We should not engage in any kind of sexual activity with near kin (vs 6), such as father, mother, children, siblings,
niece, nephew, aunt or uncle, cousin, step parent or step sibling or step children, son- or daughter-in-law, sister- or brother-in-law, grand parents or grand children. This includes exposing or exploiting their nakedness,
as when Ham published the fact that Noah was lying uncovered in his tent. If a man takes multiple wives, they cannot be of near kin to each other, such as a mother and a daughter, or two sisters.
Le 18:19 Menstruation "Also thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put apart for her uncleanness."
Men should not intentionally have sex with a woman separated for menstruation.
Le 18:20 Adultery "Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour's wife, to defile thyself with her." Men should not
approach another man's wife sexually. This is redundant with Ex 20:14.
Le 18:21 Child Sacrifice "And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire
to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD." Sacrificing children under any context may be understood here. Such activity profanes the character of God.
Le 18:22 Sodomy "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."
Le 18:23 Bestiality "Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie
down thereto: it is confusion."
Be Holy Le 19:2b "
Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am
holy." This is a general command to obey all of God's other commands. It is referenced in 1 Peter 1:16 as an encouragement to walk in humble obedience in all aspects of our lives.
Le 19:3a Reverence Parents "Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father."
Le 19:3b "and keep my sabbaths: I am
the LORD your God." A command to keep God's appointed feast days and rest days, redundant with similar commands..
Le 19:4 "Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the LORD your God
.." See Exodus 20:3-5.
Le 19:5-8 Details of the Peace Offering
Le 19:9-10 Care for the poor
"And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather
every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God." This is God's welfare
system. It does not enable the poor to live in comfort without working, but gives the poor an uncertain opportunity to feed themselves without placing an undue burden on those who do work. The amount of crop left over was uncertain and significant effort was required to obtain it.
Le 19:11-13 Honesty "Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another. And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the
name of thy God: I am the LORD. Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him:
the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning." This is a general set of commands to deal honestly with others and treat them uprightly. Uniquely here, God
explicitly forbids lying (Eph 4:25, Col 3:9), and notes that swearing by God's name falsely is a kind of lying that treats God's name improperly and irreverently. Dealing honestly is seen here to include, for example,
paying employees in a timely manner.
Le 19:14 Respect the handicapped "Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD
." These commands highlight a specific kind of irreverent, perverse maliciousness: taking advantage of a person's defenseless vulnerability to bring harm to them. Cursing another is generally inappropriate, as is placing
traps and stumblingblocks. Yet doing these things in the context of exploiting natural vulnerabilities and handicaps is seen as perverse, a violation of the fear of God that demonstrates a contempt for his creation, order
Le 19:15 Judge Righteously "Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor
honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour." All discernment and dealings related to interpersonal conflict must be done without favoritism or bias of any sort. This
is redundant with Ex 23:2-3.
Le 19:16a Gossip "Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am
the LORD." Seeking to damage the reputation of others is forbidden, especially of the deceased. This is partly redundant with Ex 23:1, which deals with slander in legal proceedings. Here, even truthful tales spread with the intent to damage others, and the taking of any pleasure in scandalous behavior as an end in itself, as in giving one's self to interest in such things, is evidently the concern
Le 19:17 Passive aggression. "Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him." Concealed enmity is forbidden,
which generally produces a type of passive aggression that neglects to properly care for and respect others. Offenses that cannot be easily overlooked and forgotten should be dealt with personally and publicly as needed
through confrontation and appeal. Neglect of the genuine care of others is not permitted.
Le 19:18a Vengeance and bitterness
"Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people." Taking vengeance is forbidden (Rom 12:17), as well as harboring or continuing in bitterness towards others. (Eph 4:31)
Le 19:18b "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am
the LORD." This is the second greatest commandment, from which all man-ward commandments spring. (Matt 22:39-40)
Le 19:19 Unholy Mixtures
"Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee." This promotes a respect for God's design in Creation. In particular, it is forbidden to mix incompatible (
diverse) things together. This is not a prohibition to recognize and exploit the natural synergies that may often be observed in bringing two different things together, but against an unnatural or perverted mingling
of things that are typically separate in God's order. A garment of linen, a plant fiber, with wool, an animal fiber, would be quite useless: the two types of fibers would tend to both shrink and wear much differently. It is
also claimed that the electrical properties of the two materials do not combine well, tending to sap the strength of the wearer. Concerning hybrid offspring, they are sterile and generally not as useful as either kind
producing them. Mixing seeds of incongruous types and sowing them together in an unorganized fashion makes harvesting more difficult and may often causes a type of unhealthy cross pollination that pollutes the usefulness
and healthiness and nutritional value of the crop. Basic respect for God's natural order, as a general principle extrapolated from these examples, has many helpful and useful applications.
Le 19:20-22 Adultery with a slave "And whosoever lieth carnally with a woman, that is
a bondmaid, betrothed to an husband, and not at all redeemed, nor freedom given her; she shall be scourged; they shall not be put to death, because she was not free. And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation,
a ram for a trespass offering. And the priest shall make an atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering before the LORD for his sin which he hath done: and the sin which he hath done shall be forgiven him." Stiff punishment was in order for adultery when the woman involved was a slave. In normal cases, both adulterers were stoned. (De 22:23-4) Leniency was evidently provided in this case because of the woman's presumed weaker will in resisting the male rooted in her legal status as a slave. This condition warranted leniency in punishing both parties. This principle is both interesting and valuable in any case where the will of a person is intrinsically weaker than expected due to an unhealthy cultural norm.
Le 19:23-5 Fruit Trees
"And when ye shall come into the land, and shall have planted all manner of trees for food, then ye shall count the fruit thereof as uncircumcised: three years shall it be as uncircumcised unto you: it shall not be eaten of. But in the fourth year all the fruit thereof shall be holy to praise the LORD
withal. And in the fifth year shall ye eat of the fruit thereof, that it may yield unto you the increase thereof: I am
the LORD your God." This agricultural principle was not scientifically recognized until fairly recently. Removing the budding fruit from young trees eventually produces trees with much greater yield and fruit quality by allowing more nourishment to remain in the tree during initial stages of growth. This principle may be usefully extended to employees, wives and children; providing early leniency and freedom to grow may help others to eventually achieve increased productivity and/or quality in the relational or occupational goals.
Le 19:26a Do not eat blood "Ye shall not eat any thing with the blood." Redundant with Ge 9:4.
Le 19:26b "Neither shall ye use enchantment, nor observe times." This evidently forbids employment of any kind of ritual to
manipulate either other people the physical realm, or a superstitious regard for certain days, times or seasons as lucky or unlucky. This is a general instruction to avoid thinking superstitiously and to avoid any type of
occultic mentality. Any reference to the mystic or supernatural, either direct or indirect, must be careful to acknowledge, reverence, and obey only God and no other supernatural force or power, including Man.
Le 19:27 Personal Dignity "Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard." This is a
general command to maintain a proper respect of one's self, honoring one's own dignity, as evidenced in a natural care for a proper appearance of the hair. Both actions here mentioned relate to disfiguring or corrupting the
physical appearance, particularly through the hair. Performing such self-deprecating acts out of either self-loathing or in deep mourning, even if the damage is only temporary, is here forbidden. As a boundary condition,
this implies that we are not to do such things for frivolous motives either. The principle is that self-love and care is good and commended by God, only evil in itself when perverted to extremes of pride or vanity or to the
neglect or abuse of others. It is presumed in the text that men have beards, that being a natural expression of gender distinction that is normative in most cultures. In cultures where gender differences are blurred this
distinction may be even more important and useful, though not explicitly commanded.
Le 19:28 Self-mutilation "Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am
the LORD." Similar to the above, no permanent disfigurement of the body is permitted for any reason. It is evidently a disregard for God's creative work and image in mankind.
Le 19:29 Forced Prostitution
"Do not prostitute thy daughter, to cause her to be a whore; lest the land fall to whoredom, and the land become full of wickedness." Families, particularly fathers, should care for unmarried daughters. Woman are not to be forced or coerced in this way.
Le 19:30a "Ye shall keep my sabbaths" Redundant with other sabbatical commands.
Le 19:30b "Reverence my sanctuary: I am
the LORD." A unique command to reverence God's temple and the elements and people of the sacrificial system. This is important as an overall principle, but is not enumerated as applicable today due to the Temple dormancy.
Le 19:31 Disregard spiritists and occultists
"Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am
the LORD your God." Similar to 19:26b above, which forbids the use of enchantments and a superstitious mindset, this prohibition forbids acknowledging, respecting or seeking out those who interact with (or pretend to) any entity in the spiritual realm other than the Godhead or the holy angels.
Le 19:32 Honor the aged "Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am
Le 19:33-4 Prejudice and Racism "And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. But
the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am
the LORD your God." This is a specific command to physical Israel that as they occupy the promised land they are to treat as a brother any foreigner who comes to dwell peaceably among them. This is an explicit prohibition against Jewish racism, implying that all nations are invited to join with Israel in keeping Torah, worshipping and following after God. By direct application, it can be applied to any form of racism or prejudice against foreigners or a minority.
Le 19:35-6 Just Measures
"Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure. Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am
the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt." This is an extension of verses 11-13, providing specific prohibitions against unjust measuring devices. This is basic to a functioning, healthy economy.
Those participating in the following activities
deserve the death penalty. This gives us an idea of the severity of these sins. Those in free democratic societies should vote and encourage the culture to conform civil law to these principles as closely as possible.
However, believers should not take matters into their own hands and act independently of civil government.
Le 20:2-5 Child sacrifice
Le 20:6 Necromancy
Le 20:9 Cursing parents
Le 20:10 Sex with man and another man's wife
Le 20:11 Sex with a man and his step-mother
Le 20:12 Sex with a man and his daughter-in-law
Le 20:13 Sodomy
Le 20:14 Sex with a man and both a woman and her mother
Le 20:15-16 Bestiality
Le 20:17 Sex with a man and his sister
Le 20:18 Intentional sex with a man and a menstruating woman
Le 20:19 Sex with a man and his grandmother
Le 20:20 Sex with a man and his aunt
Le 20:21 Sex with a man and his sister-in-law
Le 20:27 Those practicing wizardry, witchcraft, or harboring a familiar spirit
Le 21 Various requirements of the Aaronic priesthood.
Le 22 Various requirements of the temple and the sacrificial system.
Le 22:27 An animal must be at least 8 days old to be eligible to be sacrificed.
Le 22:28 Do not kill a female domesticated beast and her offspring on the same day.
The Feasts of the Lord
Le 23:2 "Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them,
Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts." The following texts define one weekly and seven annual feasts that belong to God.
Le 23:3 Sabbath "Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is
the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings." The Sabbath is more than a rest day. Since this holy day is listed with
the feasts of the Lord, we are also to formally gather with others to feast on the weekly sabbath day.
Le 23:5 Passover "In the fourteenth
day of the first month at even is the LORD'S Passover." This is redundant with Ex: 12:1-14.
Le 23:6-8 Unleavened Bread "And on the fifteenth day of the same month is
the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread." This is redundant with Ex: 12:15-20. There is a sabbath on the first day and on the 8th day.
"And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it." On the first Sunday after Passover, which is during Unleavened Bread, is a celebration of the beginnings of a harvest. This involved a temple sacrifice and priestly activity.
Le 23:15-21 Pentecost This is another harvest-related feast, on the 50th day after First Fruits,
also on a Sunday, defined here in detail for the first time in Torah, but introduced in Ex: 23:16. It is also a sabbath. The levitical sacrifices are specified here, but detail for the observer is provided in De 16:9-17.
Le 23:22 Care
for the poor, as in Le 19:9-10.
Le 23:24-5 Trumpets "Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day
of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD."
Day of Atonement This is redundant with Le 16.
Le 23:33-44 Tabernacles "Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be
the feast of tabernacles for
seven days unto the LORD." This is another harvest-related festival, mentioned in Ex 23:15 and Ex 34:22, but not in any detail. It is the end of the harvest season and has a sabbath at on the 1st and 8th days.
Le 24:1-9 Caring for the poor, redundant with Le 19:9-10.
Le 24:15-17 Capital punishment for blaspheming or cursing God, and for murder.
Le 24:18-21 Laws of restitution, redundant with Ex 21:23-5, 34-6.
Le 25 Of sabbatical years, applicable to farmers, and the Year of Jubilee, another means of caring for the poor.
Le 26:1 On idolatry, redundant with Ex 20:3-6.
Le 27 On tithing and dedicating or giving
things to God and to the Levitical priesthood.
Nu 1 On tithing and dedicating or giving things to God and to the Levitical priesthood.
Nu 2 The numbering and arrangement of the tribes in their encampment about
Nu 3-4 The numbering of the Levites and their various priestly duties by family.
Nu 5:2-3 Lepers, those with oozing infections, and those defiled by carcasses were to remain outside the camp of
Israel as long as they were unclean.
Nu 5:5-10 On the management of the offerings of restitution and of the common sacrifices.
Nu 5:11-31 The law of jealousy, when a man suspects his wife is guilty of adultery
but cannot prove it.
Nu 6:1-21 The law of the Nazarite Vow.
Nu 6:22-27 The Aaronic blessing or benediction.
Nu 7 The tribal offerings to God at the dedication of the Temple.
Nu 8 The giving of
the tribe of Levi in place of the firstborn to Aaron's family for the service of the Temple, and their sanctification, dedication and cleansing..
Nu 9:1-5 God reminds Israel to keep Passover and they do so.
9:6-12 Provision of a Passover in the second month for those who cannot keep it in the first month due to uncleanness.
Nu 9:13 Capital punishment for anyone of Israel neglecting Passover..
Nu 9:14 Invitation
for foreigners to keep Passover, and that the rules are the same: they are to keep it the same way as Israel.
Nu 10:1-10 On making two silver trumpets and how to use them to notify the tribes.
Nu 11:16-17 The dedication and anointing of the 70 elders to help Moses.
Nu 13 Moses instructed to choosing and send the 12 spies to search the land.
Nu 15:1-16 The law of offerings for the native born and the foreigner are the same.
Nu 15:17-21 The law of the offering of firstfruits.
Nu 15:22-29 The law of sacrifice sins of individual and corporate ignorance.
Nu 15:30-31 Capital punishment for despising the Law and purposefully disobeying it.
Nu 15:37-41 God's people are to wear tzit-tzit, or fringes. We are to put fringes or tassels in the borders of our garments, and within
each fringe/tassel a ribbon or thread or strand of blue. The purpose of the tassels is to remind us to keep God's commandments. The placement of the tassel in the border or edge of the garments is such that these tassels
will be easily and often seen, regularly reminding us as we look upon them that we are to be obedient. This suggests an external placement (not in the under garments) where others may also see the tassels, be reminded by
each other's tassels and to hold each other accountable to serve and obey God.
Nu 16 The rebellion of Korah, and the making of brazen plates to cover the altar to remind strangers not to offer strange fire or incense
Nu 17 Taking a rod from each tribe, and seeing Aaron's rod bud, and placing that rod before the ark for a testimony as a token of Israel's rebellion
Nu 18: The charge of the priests and the dedication
of the tithe, the firstborn, and the first fruits for the support of the priests. For men and unclean beasts money was given rather than the firstborn.
Nu 19 The law of the red heifer and the water of purification
for those who are defiled by the dead. It is a capital offense to neglect this rite.
Nu 25:17 Israel instructed to vex the Midianites for their enticement of Israel into idolatry.
Nu 26 The numbering of Israel and instructions for dividing the land..
Nu 27:1-11 The law of inheritance when there are no sons, close family, etc.
Nu 27:18-23 The ordination of Joshua.
Nu 28-29 Details
of the offering to be made daily, on the sabbath, at the new moon, and on the various feast days.
Nu 30 Vows
Those who make a vow, having authority over themselves, must honor their vow. Husbands or fathers may annul any vows made by wives and/or daughters when they hear about the vow.
Nu 31 The defeat of the Midianites and how to manage the spoils of this war.
Nu 33:51-56 Instructions to Israel upon entering the land.
Nu 34 The borders of the land are defined.
Nu 35:1-8 Forty-eight
cities are to be given to the Levites, including 6 cities of refuge..
Nu 35:9-29 The law of manslaughter, the accidental, unintentional killing of another, and the law of murder. Capital punishment for intentional
murder, or for not abiding in the city of refuge if the avenger finds him out of place.
Nu 36 The law of inheritances: women who inherit land should not marry outside the tribe.
De 1:17 "Ye shall not respect persons in judgment." Redundant with Ex 23:6-9.
De 4:2 "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it." We are not to edit
or extend any commandment of God. We may certainly infer commands from others by logical deduction and by looking at the spirit and intent of the law, but we are not to formally add new laws
De 4:9 Parental Instruction
"teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons." Parents, particularly fathers, have a duty to teach God's commandments to their children, particularly to their sons and grandsons
Deu 4:39 "Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else." Redundant with Ex 20:3.
Deu 5:6-22 A repeating of the Decalogue. Redundant with Ex 20.
De 6:5 Love God
"Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." We are to have an intense affection for God that engages and involves our entire being, heart, soul, strength and mind. Christ refers to this as the first and great commandment. (Matt 22:37) All other commandments depend on and point to this one.
De 6:6 Memorize the words of God's instructions
"These words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart." This is a command to have the actual words of the commands of God in our hearts and minds. We must not only have the sentiment and spirit of the commands embedded and interwoven in how we think and feel, we must also memorize the texts and meditate on them. This is necessary as a plumb line and a rule by which to measure, check, and validate our thoughts, feelings, motives and sentiments.
De 6:7 Speak often about God's instructions
"Teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." The first portion is redundant with 4:9. The remainder of the command, which is to constantly speak about all of the other commands, reinforces the necessity of memorizing the relevant texts. Once we have them memorized we can meditate on them constantly, and the spirit of God will be continually teaching and applying its principles to orient our thoughts, feelings and motives. We can then be constantly sharing these applications, our leaning and our understanding, with others, especially with our family.
De 6:8 Think often about God's instructions
"And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes." As if the commandments were bound to our hands or constantly dangling before us, we are to be always pondering and meditating on the commands of God throughout the course of each day. This is actually implied by the foregoing commands. Some, in trying to obey the text more literally, write the commandments on straps or bands and bind these to the hands, or write them on little strips of paper in a little box tied to the forehead. The intent may be noble, but in this case such souls are not taking the text literally enough. In trying to obey this literally one must in some way concede that the text is speaking figuratively: the commandments in themselves are in the abstract, they do not exist in a material sense such that we can literally strap them upon us. This is, nonetheless, our directive. Since the command cannot be obeyed literally we understand from the context the intent that God does not want us to forget about his commandments, not even for a little while. Compare this with Pr 3:3, where we are commanded to write mercy and truth upon the table of our heart.
De 6:9 Make God's instructions available to all
by writing them out in prominent, public locations within and about our dwelling places. "And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates." This command can be obeyed literally, and is particularly helpful in cultures where printed material is rare, such as most all ancient cultures. Today, many attempt to obey this command through a mezuzah, a small box affixed to the post of the front door which contains a small scroll displaying some command. However, in few if any such cases is the text of the command actually visible to those who pass by, such that the box is only a token or symbolic reminder of God's commands. This is not, however, what the text says to do. The commands are to be actually written out clearly in prominent places so that we will read them and not forget the details of God's commands. Doing so serves to make God's word available to all people rather than to just a few, and to help everyone correctly recall the commands. In particular, the intent of the command suggests that if the people of a community coordinate among themselves in doing this, so that all of the commandments are written permanently in prominent places within walking distance of everyone, God's Word is preserved publicly for all. Each one may then, by periodically frequenting the other dwellings in a community, be continually reinforced in their memory and recall of God's commands even in cultures with no books, paper, or other printed materials. This encourages community unity as well as accurate recall of the commandments by all rather being in the hands and under the control of just a few priests. Derived from this command is an instruction to teach everyone to read so that we can all see God's word for ourselves in its undiluted, untampered form.
De 6:12 Be careful not to forget God himself. "Beware lest thou forget the LORD," particularly in times of prosperity. This is a command to remember God himself,
and not just his commands. Ritual and religion is not the aim of Torah, but the goal is ultimately relationship. If we are not delighting in God as a manner of life, we will tend to run to God only in danger, distress, pain
and despair, and to neglect him when things are going well. As God desires that we walk in constant fellowship with him, we ought not to tempt him to arrange unfavorable circumstances to help us out here.
De 6:13a Fear God. "Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God." We are to have a deep reverence and respect for God, and an actual fear of
disobeying him in any way.
De 6:13b Serve God. "Serve him" means that all should be done from a motive of pleasing God. There is no act or thought that lies
outside of this command, but God looks at our motive in every particle of life. See 1 Cor 10:31.
De 6:13c Publicly acknowledge accountability to God. "Swear by his name" speaks to how we are to affirm and confirm to others our
constant acknowledgement that we are accountable to God for our actions. People often swear in the context of extenuating or difficult circumstances, when their motives might be suspect, that they intend to be true and
righteous in their behavior. When others evidence some doubt in this we should address it for them as appropriate. Christ's commands to not swear at all (Matt 5:34, James 5:12) can be understood in this light to mean that
we are to constantly live so as to affirm our accountability to God as a manner of life, and not give any indication that we are merely truthful and righteous on an exceptional basis.
De 6:14 Do not pursue
false gods, redundant with Ex 23:13. "Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you." To pursue an idol, to try to acquire an understanding of it, what is believed about it and how it
is worshipped, or to try and interact with it in any way, or even to intend to do such things, is evil. God does not want us to be commonly familiar with idolatrous beliefs or practices for such familiarity is in itself a
pollution to the heart and mind. See Eph 5:11-12.
De 6:16 Do not tempt God. "Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah." To tempt is to try or test, to try
to get God to do something by manipulating our circumstances to try to compel him to act. At Massah (which is Rephidim, Ex 17:1-7), Israel angrily confronted Moses because they didn't have water, to the point that they were
threatening to stone him. (vs 4) God expects us to bear up under discomfort at his hand without threatening to turn from him or purposing any kind of evil. Christ appeals to this command during his temptation in the
wilderness when asked to cast himself down from the temple. (Mt 4:7)
De 6:17-18 Redundant command to keep God's commandments and to do that which is right and good.
De 6:20-25 Redundant commands to
teach our history of deliverance to our children.
De 7:2 Due to the extreme iniquity of the peoples of Canaan, Israel was to utterly destroy the inhabitants of the land along with all of their religious
artifacts, and not intermarry with any of them. The explicit reason for this was that these particular peoples were intensely committed to their idolatry.
De 7:9 Know that God is faithful and just. "Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth
covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; and repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him
to his face." God is concerned when we believe lies about him. Thinking that God is unfaithful or untrustworthy or unjust is particularly debilitating and destructive, and comprises the root of most all anxiety and
De 7:11 Redundant command to keep God's commandments.
De 7:18-19 Israel instructed to not fear the Canaanites, but to recall his miraculous destruction of Egypt..
7:25-26 Israel instructed to not desire any of the remnants of the Canaanite idols, any of the precious metals from them, or take any of it or the idols themselves into their homes lest they be allured by it and
become like the idols..
De 8:1 Redundant command to keep God's commandments.
De 8:2-5 Israel to recall God's dealings with them as a nation as they wandered in the wilderness and to be aware that
God has been chastening them as a father does his son..
De 8:6 Redundant command to keep God's commandments.
De 8:10 Bless God for bestowing good things, such as meals. "When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD
thy God for the good land which he hath given thee."
De 8:11-20 Redundant commands with 6:12, that Israel should not forget God and his commandments when they get into the land and things are going well, or to
think that they acquired this wealth in their own power, or that they deserved it. They are to recall his dealings with them, how they have continually rebelled against him, his chastening of them and his mercy toward them
and his great deliverances and redemption. They are to love God and fear him and obey his commandments.
De 10:16a Remove the protective covering from your heart. "Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart." We are not to hide
our heart from God, or put anything between our innermost being and him. This is symbolized in the rite of circumcision.
De 10:16b Do not be stubborn, obstinate and rebellious. "Be no more stiffnecked." We are to be compliant and obedient and
responsive to God.
De 10:19 Love strangers. "Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt." Those who seek to join
themselves to God by associating with his people are to be received regardless of their culture, race, disposition or personality. God has a special love for those who find themselves misfits, out of place, because they are
De 10:19 Cleave to God. "Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his
name." The rest of the text is redundant with earlier commands in this chapter. To cleave to God seems to sum up all of the other commands to obey, honor, love, be continually aware of, loyal to, affectionate towards, etc.
De 11 Repetition of various commands to love and obey God and to have his commandments continually before us.
De 12:2-3 Repetition of command to destroy the religious high places of the Canaanites.
12:2-14 Repetition of command to bring God's sacrifices to the place where he places his name. The spirit seems to be that they were not to make their own altars to God but to only use his altar. This would help them avoid
falling into idolatry.
De 12:2-16 Repetition of command to not eat blood with flesh.
De 12:17-31 Repetition of command to not eat the tithe, sacrifices or any offerings at home but at the place God chooses,
nor to forsake the provision of the Levites. If it is too far to the temple then the tithe may be eaten at home, but any sacrifices or offerings must only be made at the temple of God. Basically, if an altar is needed, you
can't build another one; you may only use the alter which God has designated as his.
De 12:32 Do not edit God's commands "What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor
diminish from it." Redundant with De 4:2
De 13 Capital punishment for enticing others to worship a false god or doing so ourselves. If a community is enticed into idolatry the entire place is to be destroyed, left in
a heap, no spoil taken and it is never to be rebuilt.
De 14:1-2 Do not desecrate your body, such as by cutting or removing hair, even for the most intense of reasons, such as mourning the dead. Redundant with Le
De 14:3-20 Do not eat unclean animals. Redundant with Le 11.
De 14:21a Do not eat animals that die naturally. "Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of itself: thou shalt give it unto the
stranger that is in thy gates, that he may eat it; or thou mayest sell it unto an alien: for thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God." See also Le 11:39-40. This text is used to demonstrate that Torah is only for
Jewish people. This allowance may rather be understood as a mercy to those who do not live in Torah-observant culture and might see the waste of such provision as uncharitable. Essentially, if the unbelieving and ignorant
want to eat unclean things we ought not forbid or hinder them, especially in times of scarcity and necessity.
De 14:21b "Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk." Redundant with Ex 23:19 and 34:26.
De 14:22-29 Every third year lay up a tenth of the harvest at home for distribution to the poor, needy travelers, widows and fatherless children. In intervening years take the tithe and the firstborn of the
animals to the temple to feast with the Levites and the destitute. If it is too far to transport the actual goods they may be sold and the money used to buy provisions for a lavish feast at the temple.
15:1-11 Cancel debts to the poor among God's people every seventh year, and to be kindly generous in lending regardless of the timing of the debt release.
De 15:12-18 Laws concerning Hebrew slaves, to be
generous to them when they depart, and how to mark them if they choose to stay when their service is complete.
De 15:19-22 The firstborn of the flock to be sacrificed to God if it is unblemished. No work or
practical use may be made of them. Redundant with other commands related to the firstborn.
De 15:23 Do not eat blood. Redundant with Ge 9:4 and other commands.
De 16:1-8 Keep Passover and
Unleavened Bread. Passover may only be killed and eaten at the temple. Redundant with Ex 12 and Le 17:1-9.
De 16:9-12 Rejoice in the Feast of Weeks. Mentioned also in
Ex 23:16, Ex 34:22, in
Lev 23:15-21 where sacrifical details are given, and now here with more practical detail: "And thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy
manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are among you, in the place which the LORD thy God hath chosen to place his name there."
(vs 11) See also The Feasts of the Lord.
De 16:13-15 Keep the Feast of Tabernacles. Redundant with Le 23:34-36.
De 16:16-17 All males must assemble at the Temple three times each year: Unleavened Bread, The Feast of Weeks and the Feast of
Tabernacles. Each male is to bring a voluntary freewill offering gift to God. Otherwise redundant with Ex 23:17 and 34:23.
De 16:18-20 Each city is to appoint judges to arbitrate quarrels and disputes. These men are to judge righteously, not
take bribes, etc.
De 16:21 Do not plant a grove of trees near the Temple.
De 16:22 Do not erect any image of God. Redundant with Ex 20:4, Le 26:1.
De 17:1 Do not sacrifice any animal
to God with a blemish or any illfavoredness. Redundant with Le 22:20-25.
De 17:2-7 Capital punishment for worshipping a false God. Redundant with De 13.
De 17:8-13 Bring the more difficult disputes
to the priests, judges, and Levites at the temple. Capital punishment for failing to obey their decision.
De 17:14-20 Concerning kings, they must be men of Israel, they may not make a league with Egypt or
acquire a large number of horses or wives or wealth. He is to make a copy of the law and read from it daily and remain humble.
De 18:1-8 The support of the Levites. Partly redundant with De 14:27-29.
18:9-12 Capital punishment for child sacrifice, and for openly interacting with or manipulating the spiritual or natural realm through communicating with the dead, foretelling the future through interpreting signs in
nature, witchcraft, sorcery, ritual, charms, etc.
De 18:1-8 Capital punishment for making a false prophesy. Redundant with De 13:1-5.
De 19:1-13 Provision of 6 cities of refuge. Redundant with Nu 35.
De 19:14 Do not move property boundaries dishonestly.
De 19:15 At least two witnesses are required to convict someone of a crime.
De 19:16-22 A false witness receives the punishment that would have been due the accused had the witness been true.
De 20 Various laws about the people of God conducting war.
De 21:1-9 What to do when a person is found murdered and no one knows who did it.
De 21:10-14 How to take a wife from among war captives, and how to treat her.
De 21:15-17 Impartiality in the granting the right of the firstborn, which is a double portion of the inheritance.
De 21:18-21 Capital punishment for stubborn and rebellious sons.
De 21:22-23 To not allow a hanged criminal's body to remain all night upon the gallows, but to bury them the same day, for all that are hanged
are cursed of God.
De 22:1-3 Lost and Found
When you find anything that is lost then return it to its owner. If you don't know who the owner is hold on to it in case they come looking for it. Partly redundant with Ex 23:4 which and focuses on treatment of enemies and major losses.
De 22:4 The duty to help those who are in need when it is in our power and reasonably safe to do so. Redundant with Ex 23:4.
De 22:5 Do not wear gender-inappropriate clothing. Males should not wear clothing nor adorn themselves in a manner that is normally associated
with females, and vice versa.
De 22:6 Do not take a female bird from a nest with young. Only take the young. This is similar to Ex 34:26b, on treating the Creation with
respect, kindness and dignity. In this particular instance, it is possible that the mother bird is reluctant to escape harm due to an instinct to protect her young and is therefore more easily captured. In a moral sense,
this is similar to extortion, where one places or finds another in a position of vulnerability and can therefore manipulate them into actions to which they might not otherwise consent due to fear of something worse
happening to themselves or someone they love if they do not comply. Extortioners, those who leverage such vulnerabilities for personal gain in any way or fashion, have no part in God. (1 Cor 6:10) When we treat any creature
with contempt or sadistic cruelty, enjoying its struggle and suffering, or even merely aloof from this, we train our souls in a callous indifference toward all life, and therefore also toward the God Who has created this
miracle in so many beautiful and majestic forms among us. Compare also Le 22:28.
De 22:8 Take preventative measures to avoid injury to others. The text is: "When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement
for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence." This may be taken as an example of a general principle: take reasonable steps to prevent accidental injury.
De 22:9 Do not plant
fields or gardens with the seeds mixed up together or with incompatible seeds. Redundant with Le 19:19. This does not disallow utilizing synergistic relationships between plants in a controlled and organized fashion, for
example, where one type of plant is included along with another in a garden in order to protect the latter from insects and disease, etc.
De 22:10 Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together. Redundant
in the unholy mixtures principle of Le 19:19. An ox and an ass (donkey) would be of differing heights, temperament and strength. This relationship would not be synergistic but unnatural and inefficient.
22:11 Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together. Redundant with Le 19:19. This text provides a contextual definition of "divers."
De 22:12 Thou shalt make thee
fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself. Redundant with Nu 15:38-39. This version of the command suggests that it is to be visible to others during normal activity and that there
should be four of them.
De 22:13-21 Law of a husband accusing his wife of not being a virgin when they wed, which is a capital offense. If the charge is false, the husband pays a heavy fine to the father and
may not ever divorce the woman. Otherwise, the wife is stoned to death.
De 22:22-29 Laws relating to adultery, pre-marital sex and rape.
De 22:30 A man may not marry his father's wife (step mother
is understood, but this would certainly also include his own mother), nor may he uncover his father's nakedness. Redundant with Le 18:8 and 20:11.
De 23:1 "He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy
member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD." This text is inconsistently interpreted by scholars. God is evidently emphasizing the importance of wholesome masculinity: "wounded in the stones" is a
testicular wound, "privy member" is the penis. "Congregation of the Lord" appears to be a reference to the assembly of males before God three times each year, which is (evidently) to be a time of masculine camaraderie and
national leadership. It would make sense to remove from such gatherings men who are known to have had their masculinity mutilated or permanently disfigured so as not to diminish the natural, wholesome masculine interplay
which encourages and strengthens men. In an ideal setting, this command would tend to discourage any purposeful mutilation or disfigurement of the male organs, which was common in ancient times to fit men for the service of
royalty. However, in the more common and quite non-ideal settings some men may, with wholesome motivation to avoid the familial responsibilities gendered by testosterone, make themselves eunuchs in order to focus on God.
De 23:2-8 Continuing in the spirit of the above, certain other males are excluded from this national masculine assembly: men born out of wedlock or having within 10 generations any masculine
ancestor born out of wedlock, Ammonites and Moabites and all their descendants, and Edomites and Egyptians and their immediate children (grandchildren are allowed). Evidently, the spirit in these people groups is such that
it would tend to pollute the assembly of men and corrupt their wholesome masculinity and spirituality. However, evidently, individuals from any of these groups are invited to pursue God join themselves to God's people and
dwell among them. (Le 19:34, etc., e.g. Ruth, the Moabitess.)
De 23:9-14 War Camps. When men of Israel are assembled in a camp during wartime, if they become unclean they are to bathe and remain outside the
camp until nightfall. They must also build a latrine outside the camp for relieving themselves and cover their excrement with dirt using a paddle built into their weapon. God walks in the midst of the camp and will turn
away from delivering them if they tolerate any uncleanness.
De 23:15-16 Runaway slaves are to be given refuge and not returned to their master.
De 23:17 "There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel." The word whore
is the feminine form of the word translated sodomite, and indicates a person dedicated to ritual prostitution in an idolatrous context. It is a different word than the word for harlot. Many ancient religions
used sex as a part of their worship rituals. This command forbids any of God's people to act in such a role. Evidently, harlotry is not expressly forbidden (1 Ki 3:16), but it should be voluntary and
not forced. A woman who has been promiscuous must make this public before marriage. (De 22:13-21)
De 23:18 One should never offer to God as part of a vow the price of a whore or a dog for such association in worship
is hateful to God.
De 23:19-20 Do not charge interest of Torah-observant men, only of those who are not so. The text is: "Thou shalt not lend upon usury to
thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury: unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless
thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it." In this context, "thy brother" should not be understood merely as "near kin" but a reference to the larger community of Israel
inhabiting the Promised Land, which in this context was forced to be Torah-observant and more likely of an honest temper. This may be understood as a general leniency afforded honest people, who are at times at an economic
disadvantage when dealing with those who are not.
De 23:21-23 Honor all valid vows. Redundant with Nu 30.
De 23:24-25 Do not harvest another's crops. This is a provision for the poor within Torah-observant
culture, who are here permitted to go into the fields of others and eat their fill, but are not allowed to collect food or to put any into a container. As a general command to not steal this is redundant with Ex 20:15.
De 24:1-4 No wife Swapping. A man may not re-marry a woman he divorced and who has since remarried another man.
De 24:5 New husbands must be free at home for a year. A newly wedded husband should
not travel extensively but remain home for a year to establish a good relationship with his bride. This does not require him to be idle but his daily work load should be such as to facilitate strong bonds in the marriage.
This is especially important in their first year together.
De 24:6 Do not take critical assets as loan collateral. The text is: "No man shall take the nether or the upper millstone to pledge: for he taketh a man's
life to pledge" Do not secure a loan with anything that the debtor depends upon for survival.
De 24:7 Capital punishment for kidnapping and profiting from the victim or selling them into slavery. Redundant with Ex
De 24:8 Exhortation to diligently keep all of the laws concerning leprosy.
De 24:9 Remember the sin and punishment of Miriam. The text is: "Remember what the LORD thy God did unto Miriam by the way, after that ye were
come forth out of Egypt." We are to recall the peculiar nature of Miriam's sin, as recorded in Numbers 12, as she spake out publicly against Moses and sought to diminish him in the eyes of the people. She was his near kin
and significant in her leadership among the women. (Ex 15:20-1) Though both she and Aaron participated in the offence, she was evidently the chief instigator since Aaron was not punished, only rebuked.
De 24:10-11 Respect the integrity of family dwellings. The text is: "When thou dost lend thy brother any thing, thou shalt not go into his
house to fetch his pledge. Thou shalt stand abroad, and the man to whom thou dost lend shall bring out the pledge abroad unto thee." The process securing of a loan provides a fairly strong incentive to enter another's home
and evaluate what they might offer as collateral and to take that collateral rather than it being offered. This command respects the dignity and privacy of the borrower at the boundary of his residence. This implies that
this space be respected for lesser motivations.
De 24:12-12 Do not retain loan collateral from the poor overnight. Redundant with Ex 22:25-27.
De 24:14-15 Pay poor manual laborers daily. Deal fairly with the
poor by paying them promptly for their work. Redundant with Ex 22:21.
De 24:16 Personal Responsibility Do not punish children for their parents' sins, nor parents for their children's sins. Everyone is
responsible for their own behavior.
De 24:17-18 Do not deal unjustly with strangers or take a widow's needed clothing for a pledge. Redundant with Ex 22:22-27.
De 24:19-21 Do not over-reap fields, vineyards,
olive trees or other types of crops. Just take an initial pass at the harvest and leave the rest for the stranger, the fatherless and the widow to glean. Redundant with Le 19:9-10 and 23:22.
De 24:22 Remember our bondage The text is: "And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt: therefore I command thee to
do this thing." We are to recall that our fathers were in bondage in Egypt and this is to move us to leniency toward those that are vulnerable and disadvantaged. There is also a clear parallel with our past spiritual
De 25:1-3 Do not exceed forty stripes in punishment. Punishments should not de-humanize the offender.
De 25:4 Do not tantalize. The text is: "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn." We are to treat animals and people
with dignity. Paul notes that this is not for the sake of the animals but for our own sakes. (1 Co 9:10) When we are employing anyone in our service we should honor them with our substance.
De 25:5-10 Law of raising
up a name for a brother who dies childless. This law may still pertain in communities where polygamy is accepted, extended families are the norm, and women are put at significant risk by departing from the extended family
of their deceased husband.
De 25:11-12 If a woman grabs the private parts of a man as he fights with her husband her hand must be cut off.
De 25:13-16 Use just weights and measures. Redundant with Le 19:35-36.
De 25:17-19 Israel to remember the Amalekites and not fail to eradicate them.
De 26:1-11 A special prayer for those keeping the Feasts of Weeks upon entering the Promised Land, recounting the redemption and
faithfulness of God.
De 26:12-15 A special prayer for keeping the Feast of Tabernacles when presenting the tithe in the third year, confessing personal faithfulness in keeping God's commandments and asking for his
blessing on God's people.
De 27:1-8 Israel to set up a monument upon entering Canaan and write upon it all of God's commandments, and an alter to commemorate their entering.
De 31:10-13 Read the entire Law at the Feast of Tabernacles every seventh year.
Matt 4:17 Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. We are prone to believe lies about God and ourselves, and this displeases him. The kingdom of heaven is all around us; to
experience it we must earnestly seek the truth, believe it and obey. This is the essence of repentance: a change in thinking, moving from lies to truth. This movement results in changed behavior. Repent,
change your beliefs, and walk in the light. This is essentially redundant with commands to cleave to God and to obey Torah.
Matt 5:17-19 Do not think Christ has made Torah obsolete
. This is a very common mistake. Christ anticipates this type of thinking and directly forbids it. This concept is fully developed in the article:
Keep My Commandments.
Eph 5:25 "Husbands love your wives." This is redundant with
Gen 2:24, for in keeping God's original design and intent for marriage, that a husband cleave to his wife and consider the two of them one corporal entity, he
must by definition also be loving his wife as himself and as Christ loved the Church.