The Seven Laws of Noah
(c) 1996 David Markel Hall, Messianic Leader
Much concern has been raised over the commandments of G-d and which apply to Jews and which are for everyone.
According to the Rabbis, G-d made a distinction between His chosen people Israel and the rest of the world. To the world at large, G-d gave only the seven "Laws of Noah", which if kept would cause the non-Jewish people to be accepted as righteous in G-d's sight. As for the Israelites, G-d gave them six hundred and thirteen commandments to keep for righteousness.
The first question to arise is why did G-d choose the Jewish people? Gen. 26:5 "Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws." G-d chose the descendants of Abraham because of Abraham's obedience.
The next question is why did He burden the Jewish people with so many commandments? Exo. 19:5,6 "Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. "
If the words spoken by Moses to the children of Israel were for the children of Israel and not the rest of the world also as seems to be indicated, then are there any other commandments which do apply to everyone else? Gen. 9:3-6 "Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. . . . Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." These commandments were given long before Abraham and Moses. They do apply to all the descendants of Noah which include the whole world. See our article on Rav. Shaul (The Apostle Paul).
So if there are commandments which apply to the world at large, are there more or is that it? According to the rabbis, there are a total of seven which correspond closely to the ten commandments given by G-d's own voice at the mount in the wilderness. The seven laws of Noah are as follows; (Talmud Sanh.56a)
Noahide Law Ten Commandments
1. The practice of equity. #9&10 Not lying or coveting.
2. Blaspheming the Name. #2 Name of the L-rd in vain
3. Idolatry #1&3 Making graven images
4. Sexual immorality #7 Commit adultery
5. Bloodshed #6 Murder
6. Robbery #8 Steal
7. Eating limb torn from a live animal.
The only commandments not directly addressed here are; (#4) Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy and (#5) Honour your Father and Mother. The ten commandments have been widely accepted by the church community at large and properly so, as the laws of Noah are contained herein. The only ordinances given to Noah not revealed in the ten commandments is the eating of blood and limbs torn from live animals. The blood was covered by the apostles in Acts 21:25 "As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from (#3) things offered to idols, and from blood *, and (#7) from strangled, and from (#4) fornication. "
* Direct commandment to Noah in Gen. 9:3