What Are The Noahide Laws
Are They Biblical?

By Rabbi Shlomo Nachman © February 1, 2017

For most Christians the ultimate source of Truth is "the Bible." By which the mean the sixty six books of their many versions: Genesis through the Revelation of John of Patmos. Jews and Noahides view this differently.

For us, the ultimate source of Truth is the Torah. What is the Torah? As with many topics this can be understood in different ways:

Are the Seven Universal Laws "Biblical?"
Yes and no.

The Noahide Laws are the seven ancient requirements (prohibitions and principles) revealed by the One G-d for all the human inhabitants of the Earth. There is no list of seven categorized laws in the Tanach. If that is what one means by Biblical, then no, they are not Biblical. The concepts upon which the categorized laws are based however are completely Biblical and in complete harmony with Torah. The Laws are specifically spelled out in the Oral Torah.

These seven laws reveal G-d's "owner's manual" for civilized societies as well as the secret to spiritual awakening. As such, they are applicable to everyone on our planet regardless of nationality, race, religion, ethic origins, etc. Indeed, when the Universal Laws are referred to as the Noahide this point is explicitly made as all humans are B'nei Noach, the descendants of Noah.

HaSheva Mitzvot "'nei Noach
The Seven Laws of the Children of Noah

  1. Avodah Zarah: Prohibition against idolatry. This includes all forms of idolatry including placing anything before ones service and devotion to HaShem.
  2. Birchat HaShem: Commandment to bless the Name of HaShem. Inherent in this is the prohibition against blasphemy, cursing and dishonoring the Name of God in any way. For this reason we typically say/write HaShem ("The Name") rather than utter or write the Holy Name. The Sacred Name is most sacred.
  3. Shefichat Damim: Prohibition on murder. "Murder" refers to the unjustified taking of a human life (killing animals is not murder biblically speaking). There is a righteous taking of life and an unrighteous taking of life.
  4. Gezel: Prohibition on robbery and theft.
  5. Gilui Arayot: Prohibition on immorality and forbidden sexual relations.
  6. Ever Min HaChay: Prohibition on removing and eating a limb from a live animal. This is broadly interpreted and has its origins in practices long since abandoned, but essentially it forbids all cruelties and perversions done to animals. Treat all life with respect.
  7. Dinim: Requirement to establish justice systems and courts of law to enforce the other 6 laws.
The first six laws were given to Adam in Gan Eden (the Garden of Eden). These laws and their related principles are to observed by each civilized individual in the region, extending outward to the whole planet. They establish civilized behavior. Once civilized behavior is established, people are to work together and establish judicial systems, enforcement laws, governance, to maintain the society for the good of everyone. These seven are the building stones of civilized communities.

Life is not static. Once these seven commandments are in place in a person's life, they are to push forward and incorporate their principles. According to the rabbis these six prohibitions, along with the seven command, may be considered a summary. While the rabbis extend these to a total of 211 commandments, in reality the number is limitless. Each act a person performs or declines based upon their understanding of the HaSheva Mitzvot introduces a new category.

How did the rabbis conclude these numbers? The Seven and the 211? They did so using the same techniques whereby we Jews are commanded to observe the 613 mitzvot, study. By studying the commandments found our Scriptures they concluded these. It was Rambam who settled on the number 613 and not all Jewish authorities agree with the correctness of this number. Its not the numbers that matter however, it is the principles.

What many fail to understand is that HaShem is still working with our people. There is nothing in life that is truly static. For this reason HaShem has always provided us with leadership. Since the days of Ezra and the Men of the Great Assembly this leadership has been placed into the hands of the Parush (Pharisees), who today are known as the Rabbis. For this reason about 98% of Judaism today is known as Rabbinic Judaism. Through the discussion found in the Oral Torah many things have been clarified that we otherwise would not know. The Talmudic wisdom is indispensable for those who wish to understand the Written Torah and biblical religion.

The HaSheva Mitzvot B'nei Noach, the Seven Universal Laws that were revealed to Noah for all of his descendants are biblical in their principles, are in complete harmony with Torah, both the Written and the Oral, and are still binding upon all the descendants of Noah.

Just as everyone who is born of a Jewish mother is a Jew, but not all Jews are "religious Jews," so too all descendants of Noah are Noahides, but the majority are not observant of this universal covenant. When we refer to "Noahides" we are speaking of those who seek to be observant.

For more aboiut the Noahide Laws and practices go here: Go Here

Rabbi Aryel Nachman ben Chaim and I discuss the Seven Laws, one by one, HERE

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