613 Commandments, 22 Principles

The Law of Moses contains 613 commandments 613-commandmentsto the Jewish people that, if followed, are/were thought by fundamentalist sects (like the Pharisees in Jesus’s time) to make one worthy of Heaven. Many of these commandments have lost their relevance over time. Even in Jesus’s time, the value of many of these laws was being questioned. For example, Jesus has this to say about Kosher food laws:

There is nothing from outside a man that entering into him can defile him. The things that come out of him are those that defile him.

Clearly, since many of these commandments are no longer followed, and some are now seen as downright wrong (for example, keeping slaves), not all of them can be considered principles (fundamental truths that serve as the foundation for a system of belief or behaviour). Some may be values (judgements of what is important in life), others merely best practices (procedures that are accepted or prescribed as being correct or most effective).

These are the commandments that I consider to be principles:

  1. Do not stand by idly when a human life is in danger (Lev. 19:16)
  2. Do not slander any one (Lev. 25:17)
  3. Do not lead to the simple-minded to do wrong (Lev. 19:14)
  4. Do not take advantage of an orphan or a widow (Ex. 22:21)
  5. Do not withhold food or clothing from your wife (Ex. 21:10)
  6. Do not commit incest with a blood relative (Lev. 18:7-13)
  7. Do not commit bestiality (Lev. 18:23)
  8. Do not castrate a man (Lev. 22:24)
  9. Do not do wrong in buying or selling (Lev. 25:14)
  10. Do not delay payment of a hired man’s wages (Lev. 19:13)
  11. Do not testify falsely (Ex. 20:13)
  12. Treat parties in a litigation with equal impartiality (Lev. 19:15)
  13. Do not take a bribe (Ex. 23:8)
  14. Do not leave something on your property that might cause hurt (Deut. 22:8)
  15. Do not steal another’s personal property (Lev. 19:11)
  16. Do not kill an innocent person (Ex. 20:13)
  17. Do not kidnap any person (Ex. 20:13)
  18. Do not rob by violence (Lev. 19:13)
  19. Do not defraud (Lev. 19:13)
  20. Do to false witnesses as they had purposed be done to those they accused (Deut. 19:19)
  21. Do not punish any one who has committed an offence under duress (Deut. 22:26)
  22. An intoxicated person shall not make decisions in matters of the Law (Lev. 10:9-11)

Disagree with any of these as principles? Have I missed any that you think are inviolate? Let me know in the comments.


About jimbelton

I'm a software developer, and a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and I blog about movies, books, and philosophy. My interest in religious philosophy and the search for the truth inspires much of my writing.
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