Commandment

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The word commandments refers to the entire Law spoken by Father God to Moses who wrote them down. All of the dos and do-nots in the first five books of the Bible. There are 365 negative commandments which are things one must not do and 248 positive commandments which are things one must do, 613 commandments in all. Many of the commandments cannot be observed following the destruction of the Second Temple, though they still retain religious significance. According to one standard reckoning, there are 77 negative and 194 positive commandments that can be observed today. There are 26 commands that apply only within the Land of Israel. see 613 Mitzvot From Wikipedia

If one reads the verses after the TEN COMMANDMENTS, one will see that Father God continues the commandments, there are 613 commandments in the Law.

Exodus Chapter 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. 18: And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. 19: And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. 20: And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that His frightfullness may be before your faces, that ye sin not. 21: And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was. 22: And the LORD said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. 23: Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold. 24: An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee.

What we call the TEN COMMANDMENTS are the first ten of 613 commandments. The reson we forget the rest of the commandments is why Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that His frightfullness may be before your faces, that ye sin not. That God spoke in such a thunderous voice that He caused all men to be in absolute dread. As a result of the Hebrews unwillingness to personally hear God's complete delivery, only the first ten commandments are ideliblly imprinted in the minds of men.


The rendering in the English Bible versions of the Hebrew (missing hebrew text) , which, in its technical sense, is used in the Bible of a commandment given either by God or by man (1 Kg 2:43). According to the critical schools, it is a word of comparatively late coinage, as it does not occur in documents earlier than D and JE. In the singular it sometimes denotes the "code of law" (2Chr 8:13; Ez 10:3; Ps 199), or even "Deuteronomy" alone (Deut 6:25, viii. 1); and as such is parallel to "Torah" (Ex 24:12). In the plural it designates specific commands contained in the code, which are as a rule expressed in sentences beginning with "Ye shall" or "Ye shall not," and is sometimes combined with "ḥuḳḳim," "ḥuḳḳot" (statutes), "mishpaṭim" (ordinances), and even "'edut" (testimonies).

In rabbinic terminology "miẓwah" is the general term for a divinely instituted rule of conduct. As such, the divine commandments are divided into (1) mandatory laws known as (missing hebrew text) , and (2) those of a prohibitory character, the (missing hebrew text) . This terminology rests on the theological construction that God & #39;s will is the source of and authority for every moral and religious duty.

In due logical development of this theology, the Rabbis came to assume that the Law comprised 613 commandments (see Commandments, The 613), of which 611 are said to have been given through Moses (Deut 33:4, (missing hebrew text) being numerically equal to 611); the first two commandments of the Decalogue were given by the mouth of God Himself (R. Joshua b. Levi, in Pes. R. xxii.; compare Mak. 24b-25a; Hor. 8a; Pirḳe R. El. xli.). According to R. Ismael only the principal commandments were given on Mount Sinai, the special commandments having been given in the Tent of Meeting. According to R. Akiba they were all given on Mount Sinai, repeated in the Tent of Meeting, and declared a third time by Moses before his death (Soṭah 37b; compare Mek., Mishpaṭim, xx. to Ex 23:19, and Sifre, Debarim, 104). All divine commandments, however, were given on Mount Sinai, and no prophet could add any new one (Sifra to Lev 27:34; Yoma 80a). Many of these laws concern only special classes of people, such as kings or priesthood, Levites or Nazarites, or are conditioned by local or temporary circumstances of the Jewish nation, as, for instance, the agricultural, sacrificial, and Levitical laws.

The Biblical commandments are called in the Talmud "miẓwot de oraita"; commandments of the Law in contradistinction to the rabbinical commandments, "miẓwot de rabbanan." Among the latter are: (1) the benediction, or thanksgiving for each enjoyment; (2) ablution of the hands before eating; (3) lighting of the Sabbath lamp; (4) the 'Erub, on preparation for Sabbath transfer; (5) the Hallel liturgy on holy days; (6) the Ḥanukkah lights; and (7) the reading of the Esther scroll on Purim. These seven rabbinical commandments are treated like Biblical commandments in so far as, previous to the fulfilment of each, this Benediction is recited: "Blessed be the Lord who has commanded us . . .," the divine command being implied in the general law (Deut 17:11, xxxii. 7; Shab. 23a). Many of the Biblical laws are derived from the Law only by rabbinical interpretation, as, the reading of the Shema' (Deut 6:4-7), the binding of the tefillin and the fixing of the mezuzah (ib. 8-9), and the saying of grace after meals (ib. viii. 10). "While reciting the Shema' every morning the Israelite takes upon himself the yoke of the kingdom of heaven; while reciting the chapter 'We-hayah im shamoa'' [[[Book of Deuteronomy|Deut]] 11:13-22] he takes upon himself the yoke of the divine commandments" (Ber. ii. 1). "In fulfilling a divine commandment one must do it with the intention of thus fulfilling God's will" (Ber. 13a, b; Naz. 23a, b). A hundred miẓwot ought to be fulfilled by the Israelite each day (see Benediction), and seven ought to surround him constantly like guardianspirits (R. Meïr, in Yer. Ber., end; Tosef., Ber., end). "Also, the commonest Israelite is as full of merit by fulfilment of divine commandments as the pomegranate is of seed" (Cant. R. iv. 3). The fulfilment of a divine commandment is a merit ("miẓwah"); the neglect, a transgression ("'aberah"). These are weighed against each other in the balance on the day of judgment to decide whether a man belongs to the righteous or to the wicked to be accordingly rewarded or punished ('Ab. Zarah 2a, 3a; Ḳid. 39b).

The sons of Noah were also considered to be under the obligation to obey the will of God as revealed in direct specific orders or miẓwot promulgated for them. These are variously enumerated as five, six, and ten. In Tos. 'Ab. Zarah viii. 4 seven Noachian commandments are enumerated: (1) to establish courts of justice, (2) to abstain from idolatry, (3) from blasphemy, (4) from incest, (5) from murder, (6) from robbery, (7) from eating flesh cut from living animals. In Gen. R. xvi.-xxiv. (compare ib. xxiv.; Lev. R. xiii.), only six are mentioned as having been given to the first man. In Sanh. 56a, 57a, seven Noachian commandments are spoken of, and derived partly as Adamitic, from Gen 2:16, and partly from Gen 9:4 et seq. To these some tannaim add three: the prohibition of blood from living animals, of castration, and of witchcraft. In Ḥal. 92a thirty commandments are mentioned as having been accepted, but not observed, by the sons of Noah (compare Gen. R. xcviii.; Midr. Teh. Ps 25; Yer. 'Ab. Zarah ii. 40c). In the Book of Jubilees (vii. 21) only the three capital sins are specified (see Noachian Laws).

"Miẓwah," in the parlance of the Rabbis, came to express any act of human kindness, such as the burial of the body of an unknown person ("met miẓwah"; compare Bernays, "Gesammelte Schriften," 1885, i. 278 et seq., on the Buzygian laws mentioned by Philo in connection with these "commandments" of humanity; Sifre, Naso, 26; Naz. 47b). A miẓwah which can be fulfilled only by the transgression of another law is considered unlawful ("miẓwah ha-bo'ah ba'aberah, 'aberah"; Suk. 30a; Yer. Shab. xiii. 14a). The proselyte on being initiated into Judaism must be familiarized with commandments both of great and of small import (Yeb. 47b). This rule seems to be directed against the older practise followed by the Christian Church (see Didache). The fulfilment of a commandment is a protection against evil powers (Ber. 31a; Pes. 8a; Soṭah 21a; Ḳid. i. 10), and becomes a guardian angel pleading for reward in the future life (Soṭah 3b).

According to the teachings of Judaism, all moral laws are virtually and in their ultimate analysis divine commandments. Obedience to the Divine Will is the first requisite of the moral life (see Duty). This is the meaning of the Biblical account of Adam's offense. The first commandment was intended to test his obedience and thus to awaken his moral consciousness (see Sin; Original Sin, Dogma of). In the Pentateuch the Ten Commandments are not designated as "Miẓwot," but are called the "Ten Words" ( (missing hebrew text) ). In Jewish literature they are spoken of as the (missing hebrew text) (see Decalogue).

This entry includes text from the Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906.
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