"O L-RD, Who are my power and my strength and my refuge in the day of trouble, to You nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, 'Only lies have our fathers handed down to us, emptiness in which there is nothing of any avail! Can a man make gods for himself, and they are no gods? 'Therefore, behold I let them know; at this time I will let them know My power and My might, and they shall know that My Name is the L-RD".
Jeremiah 16:19-21

The Seven Laws Become Sixty-Six

May 7, 2011

in Rachav


1. Idolatry

2. Blasphemy

3. Murder

4. Illicit Intercourse

5. Theft

6. Limb of a Living Creature

7. Justice

The Seven Laws can be seen as seven categories.

The laws, themselves, are shown below.

Specific References

These categories are felt to be implicit in G_d’s commandment to Adam and Eve in Genesis (Bereshis) 2:16-17.

Idolatry is forbidden: Man is commanded to believe in the One G_d alone and worship only G_d.

The following verse is a reference to the prohibition against idolatry; for it says in Exodus 20:3, “You shall have no other G_ds before me.”

Cursing the name of G_d is forbidden:

Besides honouring and respecting G_d, we learn from this precept that our speech must be sanctified, as that is the distinctive sign which separated man from the animals.

The following verse implies the prohibition against blasphemy.

As it says in Leviticus 24:16, “He who blasphemes the name of the Lord (HaShem) shall die.”

Murder is forbidden:

The life of a human being, formed in G_d’s image, is sacred.

The following verse is a reference to the prohibition against murder. G_d explicitly commands Noah

(Genesis 9:6), “If one sheds the blood of the man (HaAdam), by man shall his own blood be shed.”

Incestuous and adulterous relations are forbidden:

Human beings are not sexual objects, nor is pleasure the ultimate goal of life.

The verse below refers to sexual misconduct or adultery, as the prophet Jeremiah (3:1) says, “Saying (laymor), if a man divorces his wife…”

Theft is forbidden:

The world is not ours to do with as we please.

The following is an implicit reference to the prohibition against theft.

It shows that permission is needed to take something that is not explicitly yours. “You shall not steal; you shall not deal deceitfully or falsely with one another” (Leviticus 19:11).

Eating the flesh of a living animal is forbidden:

This teaches us to be sensitive to cruelty to animals. (This was commanded to Noah for the first time along with the permission of eating meat. The negative laws were enforced at the Garden of Eden.)

The following verse implies that there are things which may not be eaten (the limbs of a live animal): “You must not, however, eat flesh with its life- blood in it.” (Genesis 9:4)

Establish Courts of Justice:

Mankind is commanded to establish courts of justice and a just social order to enforce the first six laws and enact any other useful laws or customs.

What follows is a reference to laws of justice for it says in Genesis 18:19, “For I have known him so he will command (Yitzaveh) his children after him to keep the way of the Lord and righteousness and justice.”


1. Against entertaining the thought that there exists a deity except the Lord;

2. Against making any graven image (and against having anyone else make one for us);

3. Against making idols for use by others;

4. Against making any forbidden statues (even when they are for ornamental purposes) [editors note: according to one rabbinic source only a three dimensional image used within the context of worship is classed as an idol] ;

5. Against bowing to any idol (and not to sacrifice nor to pour libation nor to burn incense before any idol, even where it is not the customary manner of worship to the particular idol);

6. Against worshipping idols in any of their customary manners of worship;

7. Against causing our children to pass (through the fire) in the worship of Molech [editor: Molech is the god of the ammonites whose worship included the sacrifice of children by fire – see Lev chp 18 & 20];

8. Against practicing Ov;

9. Against the practice of Yiddoni [Sorcerer, Soothsayer, Magician]; and

10. Against turning to idolatry (in word, in thought, in deed, or by any observance that may draw us to its worship). [Editors Note: We need translations/meanings for Ov.]


1. To acknowledge the presence of G_d;

2. To fear G_d; 3. to pray to G_d;

3. To sanctify G_d’s name (in face of death, where appropriate);

4. Against desecrating G_d’s name (even in face of death, when appropriate);

5. To study the Torah;

6. To honour the scholars, and to revere one’s teacher; and

7. Against blaspheming.


1. Against anyone murdering anyone.

Illicit Intercourse:

1. Against (a man) having union with his mother;

2. Against (a man) having union with his sister;

3. Against (a man) having union with the wife of his father;

4. Against (a man) having union with another man’s wife;

5. Against (a man) copulating with a beast;

6. Against a woman copulating with a beast;

7. Against (a man) lying carnally with a male;

8. Against (a man) lying carnally with his father;

9. Against (a man) lying carnally with his father’s brother; and

10. Against engaging in erotic conduct that may lead to a prohibited union.

[Note: There is some dispute as to what the correct wording it for (8) and (9), as it seems to be covered by (7).

If the text is based on Lev. 18:8, the standard prohibition derived there from is covered in (3). Note that this is in the context of noachide prohibitions.]


1. Against stealing;

2. Against committing robbery

3. Against shifting a landmark;

4. Against cheating;

5. Against repudiating a claim of money owed;

6. Against overcharging;

7. Against coveting;

8. Against desiring;

9. A labourer shall be allowed to eat of the fruits among which he works (under certain conditions);

10. Against a labourer eating of such fruit (when certain conditions are not met);

11. Against a labourer taking of such fruit home;

12. Against kidnapping;

13. Against the use of false weights and measures; Against the possession of false weights and measures;

14. That one shall be exact in the use of weights and measures; and

15. That the robber shall return (or pay for) the stolen object.

Limb of a Living Creature:

1. Against eating a limb severed from a living animal, beast, or fowl; and

2. Against eating the flesh of any animal which was torn by a wild beast … which, in part, prohibits the eating of such flesh as was torn off an animal while it was still alive.


1. To appoint judges and officers in each and every community;

2. To treat the litigants equally before the law;

3. To inquire diligently into the testimony of a witness;

4. Against the wanton miscarriage of justice by the court;

5. Against the judge accepting a bribe or gift from a litigant;

6. Against the judge showing marks of honour to but one litigant;

7. Against the judge acting in fear of a litigant’s threats;

8. Against the judge, out of compassion, favouring a poor litigant;

9. Against the judge discriminating against the litigant because he is a sinner;

10. Against the judge, out of softness, putting aside the penalty of a mauler or killer;

11. Against the judge discriminating against a stranger or an orphan;

12. Against the judge hearing one litigant in the absence of the other;

13. Against appointing a judge who lacks knowledge of the Law;

14. Against the court killing an innocent man;

15. Against incrimination by circumstantial evidence;

16. Against punishing for a crime committed under duress;

17. That the court is to administer the death penalty by the sword;

18. Against anyone taking the law into his own hands to kill the perpetrator of a capital crime

(this point is disagreed upon by different writers: “The Noahites are not restricted in this way but may judge singly and at once.”)

19. To testify in court; Against testifying falsely.





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