B’nei Noach Laws

Law #1: Prohibition of idolatry and

Law #2: Prohibition of blasphemy

This can be derived from Genesis 4:26 – ‘And as for Seth, to him also a son was born, and he named him Enosh. Then to call in the Name of Hashem became profaned. This is a reference to the beginnings of idolatry, which in and of itself is a form of blasphemy. This verse is saying that calling out in prayer to anything but Hashem profanes Hashem’s name (Blasphemy). These people call to idols – whether natural phenomena or actual wood and stone.


1. Against entertaining the thought that there exists a deity except Hashem. (Exodus 20:3) 2. Against making any graven image. (Exodus 20:4)
3. Against making idols for use by others. (Exodus 20:4)
4. Against making any forbidden statues. (Exodus 20:20)

5. Against bowing to any idol. (Exodus 20:5)
6. Against worshipping idols in any of their customary manners of worship. (Exodus 20:5)
7. Against causing our children to pass [through the fire] in the worship of Molech. (Leviticus 18:21)
8. Against practicing Ov (sorcery). (Leviticus 19:26)
9. Against practicing Yiddoni (fortune-telling). (Leviticus 19:31)
10. Against turning to idolatry. (Leviticus 19:4)


1. To acknowledge the existence of Hashem. (Exodus 20:2; Deuteronomy 5:6) 2. To fear Hashem. (Deuteronomy 6:13; 10:20)
3. To pray to Hashem. (Exodus 23:25; Deuteronomy 6:13)
4. To sanctify Hashem’s name. (Leviticus 22:32)

5. Against desecrating Hashem’s name. (Leviticus 22:32)
6. To study the Torah. (Deuteronomy 6:7)
7. To honor the scholars, and to revere one’s teacher. (Leviticus 19:32) 8. Against blaspheming. (Leviticus 22:32)

Law #3: Prohibition of theft

Clearly stated in Genesis 6:11 as one of the direct reasons for the flood….’and the earth became filled with robbery’. Can also be derived from Eve taking the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. Hashem instructed them not to eat of it…i.e. it was His property. When they did eat, they in effect stole the fruit and received their due punishment.

1. Against stealing. (Leviticus 19:11)
2. Against committing robbery. (Leviticus 19:11)
3. Against shifting a landmark. (Deuteronomy 19:14)
4. Against cheating. (Leviticus 19:13)
5. Against repudiating a claim of money owed. (Leviticus 19:13) 6. Against overcharging. (Leviticus 19:13)
7. Against coveting. (Exodus 20:14)
8. Against desiring. (Deuteronomy 5:18)

9. A laborer shall be allowed to eat of the fruits among which he works. (Deuteronomy 23:25-26) 10. Against a laborer eating of such fruit. (Deuteronomy 23:26)
11. Against a laborer taking of such fruit home. (Deuteronomy 23:25)
12. Against kidnapping. (Exodus 20:13)

13. Against the use of false weights & measures. (Leviticus 19:35)
14. Against the possession of false weights & measures. (Deuteronomy 25:13-14) 15. That one shall be exact in the use of weights and measures. (Leviticus 19:36) 16. That the robber shall return the stolen object. (Leviticus 5:23)

Law #4: Prohibition of murder

This one is pretty simple. Cain kills Abel…Cain is punished. And again in Genesis 4:23-24 Lamech rues over the punishment he will receive for committing an accidental murder. Also Genesis 9:6 Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man his blood shall be shed…’ This also is a reference to the establishment of courts….if one commits murder, then it is up to the courts to convict and punish.

1. Against any person murdering anyone. (Exodus 20:13)

Law #5: Prohibition of sexual misconduct

This is derived primarily from the relationship between Adam and Eve. Eve is created as a ‘helpmate’ to Adam. Together, they are given the command to ‘be fruitful and multiply’ Genesis 1:28. Thus, sexual conduct within a husband/wife relationship is sanctified and all other types of sexual conduct are not sanctified. There are several examples of the consequences of this: the serpent’s attempted seduction of Eve.

In Lamech’s wives Adah and Zillah (it is derived that at that time men would take 2 wives…one to bear them children and the other for fun. Zillah was the one for fun as evidence by her giving birth to Tubal-Cain where Genesis 4:22 says And Zillah too. A Midrash brings down that it was through Tubal-Cain that Lamech came to slay Cain…and then in his grief, killed Tubal-Cain. (In Genesis 23 Lamech says: Have I slain a man by my wound and a child by my bruise? Lamech was blind …the man was Cain (a target identify by Tubal-Cain) and the child, Tubal-Cain himself.)

Then in chapter 6, we see that as a result of the ‘sons of rulers’ who take whatever women they chose, Hashem issues the decree that in 120 years, He will destroy mankind Genesis 6:3. And again in Genesis 6:12 ‘…for all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth’.

1. Against having union with his mother. (Leviticus 18:7)
2. Against having union with his sister. (Leviticus 18:9)
3.) Against having union with the wife of his father. (Leviticus 18:8) 4. Against having union with another man’s wife. (Leviticus 18:20) 5. Against copulating with a beast. (Leviticus 18:23)
6. Against a woman copulating with a beast. (Leviticus 18:23)
7. Against lying carnally with a male. (Leviticus 18:22)
8. Against lying carnally with his father. (Leviticus 18:7)

9. Against lying carnally with his father’s brother. (Leviticus 18:14)
10. Against engaging in erotic conduct that may lead to a prohibited union. (Leviticus 18:6)

Law #6: Prohibition of eating live meat

This law is clearly stated in Genesis 9:4 ‘But flesh, with its soul its blood you shall not eat.’

1. Against eating a limb severed from a living animal, beast, or fowl. (Deuteronomy 12:23)
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. (Deuteronomy 14:21)

Law #7: Prohibition of failing to establish courts of justice

From Genesis 1:28 ‘…and rule over the fish of the sea, the bird of the sky and every living thing that moves on the earth.’ Also we see throughout that Hashem acts as a court when He chooses to intervene. Also, we see in chapter 6 that a hierarchy of people had been established. Although those rulers were evil, as the chapter delineates, the idea of the system is good in two ways…one it emulates Hashem’s court and two, later on Moses (with Hashem’s permission) sets up a justice system so that a single individual is not faced with all the legal questions (and also to help prevent a single person from becoming a tyrant). Also Genesis 9:6…see above in Prohibition of murder.

1. To appoint judges and officers in each and every community. (Deuteronomy 16:18) 2. To treat the litigants equally before the law. (Leviticus 19:15)
3. To inquire diligently into the testimony of a witness. (Deuteronomy 13:15)
4. Against the wanton miscarriage of justice by the court. (Leviticus 19:15)

5. Against the judge accepting a bribe or gift from a litigant. (Exodus 23:8)
6. Against the judge showing marks of honor to but one litigant. (Leviticus 19:15)
7. Against the judge acting in fear of a litigant’s threats. (Deuteronomy 1:17)
8. Against the judge, out of compassion, favoring a poor litigant. (Exodus 23:3; Leviticus 19:15) 9. Against the judge discriminating against the litigant because he is a sinner. (Exodus 23:6)
10. Against the judge, out of softness, putting aside the penalty of a mauler or killer. (Leviticus 19:15)
11. Against the judge discriminating against a stranger or an orphan. (Deuteronomy 24:17)
12. Against the judge hearing one litigant in the absence of another. (Exodus 23:1)
13. Against appointing a judge who lacks knowledge of the Law. (Deuteronomy 1:17)
14. Against incrimination by circumstantial evidence. (Exodus 23:7)
15. Against punishing for a crime committed under duress. (Deuteronomy 22:26)
16. That the court is to administer the death penalty by the sword. (Exodus 21:20; Leviticus 26:25)
17. Against anyone taking the law into his own hands to kill the perpetrator of a capital crime. (Numbers 35:12)
18. To testify in court. (Leviticus 5:1)
19. Against testifying falsely. (Exodus 20:13)

Posted by Rachel Esther of pathoftorah.com

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