Quick Commentary on the Law of Apostasy in the Bible

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

It is absurd that Christians argue against the law of Apostasy when their own God commanded that apostates be killed:

“If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), do not yield to them or listen to them. Show them no pity. Do not spare them or shield them. You must certainly put them to death. Your hand must be the first in putting them to death, and then the hands of all the people. Stone them to death, because they tried to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” – Deuteronomy/ Devarim 13:6-10.

Jesus did not comment on this law, nor did he abolish it, for he said:

““Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:17-20.

When Jesus says that he came to fulfil the law, it means that he came to complete it. How did he complete it? By rectifying six laws, as is found in verses 20 and beyond, regarding: Murder, Adultery, Divorce, Oaths, Eye for an Eye and Loving Your Enemies. In fact, YHWH makes it clear that His laws are eternal:

“All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.” – Psalm 119:160.

Concerning this verse, the exegete, Barnes, says:

Since any one of thy laws is as certainly founded in truth as any other, it must be that all alike are eternal and unchanging. It must be so with all the essential principles of morality. Mere regulations in regard to rites and ceremonies may be altered, as local and municipal laws among men may be; but essential principles of justice cannot be. A civil corporation – the government of a city or borough – may change its regulations about streets, and culverts, and taxes; but they can never enact laws authorizing murder or theft; nor can they alter the essential nature of honesty and dishonesty; of truth and falsehood.”

Jesus himself never comments on the law of apostasy and in that, he also never repeals it. Opposingly, we have clear, extant, explicit words from him and from YHWH about the laws of God being eternal and to never be discarded, as such there is no reason, whether from the Old Testament, New Testament, YHWH, Jesus or the Disciples that any Christian can argue from, that the Law of Apostasy as given by YHWH is now defunct and inapplicable without lying about their own scripture and God.

wa Allaahu ‘Alam.


  • But the great difference between Islam and Christianity/Judaism would be that vigilantism is strictly forbidden in Islam as opposed to “Your hand must be the first in putting them to death, and then the hands of all the people,” and that death is not instant but can be repealed after the apostate’s doubts have been dispelled.

  • Your mistaken, only moral laws are eternal since they rely on an eternal moral entity. Apostasy is not a moral law, therefore Jesus most certainly did fufill it through his death and resurrection. I believe you have probably misunderstood the “exegete” above, for he himself notes regarding Ps 119 that “it must be so with all the essential principles of morality. Mere regulations in regard to rites and ceremonies may be altered, as local and municipal laws among men may be; but essential principles of justice cannot be…” I believe this verse is referring to moral laws, hence, eternal laws. Your exegete notes the same and distinguishes between non moral law. Deut 13:6-10 is not a moral law; says an Old Testament scholar, “It ought to be noted that the original laws of Deuteronomy were meant to give guidance to a small agrarian nation over 3,000 years ago, so that in many cases they do not apply to our modern situation.” Quite frankly, your connection is flawed.

    Christian Old Testament scholars, have for a long time, noted the difference between moral law, ceremonial law, and civil law in the Old Testament. The first is eternal, the latter two confined to history. Psalm 119:160 is refering to moral laws. Deut 13:6-10 is a civil law. Civil laws were fulfilled in Christ.

    You would need to prove that apostasy is a moral law if you wish to argue that it is eternal. You have done no such thing, but simply assumed it is eternal. Therefore Christians are correct to see this fulfilled, and to lobby against death for apostasy.

  • here is another dirty and “righteous” law in the ot which jesus loved and supported.

    ………………. ……………………………….. ……………
    So when we turn to warfare texts in which h-r-m is employed,
    we see very clearly how they fit within this paradigm of objects of-
    fered to Yahweh in a sacrificial way. At Jericho, all spoils, human,
    animal and inanimate, were designated as herem. They belonged
    to Yahweh. Any inanimate spoils were to be burned to ash, and
    anything that would not burn was to go into Yahweh’s treasury.
    The Israelites were told not to “covet” the spoils, precisely because
    they belonged to Yahweh. If they were taboo or considered a con-
    tagion, it was not (at least originally) because they were contami-
    nated by their connection to the Canaanites (since at Ai spoil is
    allowed to be taken), but rather because they were devoted to
    Yahweh. When Achan took that which belonged to Yahweh, he
    made all of Israel herem until he and his family and everything he
    owned were killed, burned and buried.

    Niditch argues that we see this as well in Numbers 21:1-3. Isra-
    el is going up against Arad, a Canaanite complex. Arad has already
    attacked the Israelites and took some of their soldiers captive. So
    Israel is up against a formidable enemy, and they need that addi-
    tional divine boost. What’s significant is that this is the only place
    in the book of Numbers where the word haram is used in a war-
    fare context. Its noun form appears once in 18:14, which says,
    “Everything devoted (herem) in Israel shall be yours” (i.e., the
    priests’). In other words, if a sacrifice or offering was herem, it was
    for the priests’ consumption or use, because the priests were Yah-
    weh’s representatives. But back to its use in warfare contexts. This
    occurs only once in Numbers, and it is significant that here it is the
    Israelites, not Yahweh, who designate the objects for destruction
    as herem. Whereas in Deuteronomy (later material) the Canaan-
    ites are designated as herem by divine fiat, here the Israel-
    ites offer to put the Canaanite cities of Arad to the ban (haram):

    Then Israel vowed a vow to Yahweh and said, “If
    you will indeed give this people into my hands, then
    I will devote their cities to destruction [haram].”
    And Yahweh listened to the voice of Israel, and de-
    livered up the Canaanites, and them and their cities
    they devoted to destruction.

    Note the close parallel here to the vow of Jephthah made in Judges

    Then Jephthah vowed a vow to Yahweh and said,
    “If you will indeed give the sons of Ammon into my
    hands, then whoever comes forth from the doors of
    my house to meet me, when I return in peace from
    the sons of Ammon, shall be for Yahweh, and I will
    offer it up as a burnt-sacrifice. So Jephthah passed
    over to the sons of Ammon to fight against them,
    and Yahweh delivered them into his hands.

    I’ve rendered the translations fairly literally so that the similarity
    in construction may be seen. Both make vows to Yahweh. Both
    vows involve an if/then arrangement: “If you will do this, then I
    will do this.” In both cases, Yahweh did what they asked him to do
    when they made their vows, and in both cases, a human slaughter
    was performed in order to fulfill their side of the vow. Since we
    know that herem refers to a devotion of an object or objects to a
    deity as an offering or sacrifice, and since we know that when
    the herem object is human, it is to be put to death, it seems quite
    clear that we see in Numbers 21 a text which assumes that Yahweh
    is a god who appreciates human sacrifice.

    Here is a clear example testifying to Israelite belief in this pe-
    riod that Yahweh would give victory in battle in exchange for the
    satiation of human sacrifice. Why does Jephthah make this vow?
    Because the Ammonites were a formidable enemy, and Jephthah
    needed that extra divine boost in order to ensure a victory. Note
    that the text does not condemn Jephthah. Yahweh does not stop
    Jephthah from sacrificing his daughter. Moreover, according to
    the text, Yahweh is engaged in this whole affair, because after
    Jephthah made the vow, “Yahweh gave them [the Ammonites] in-
    to his hand.” Moreover, Jephthah is expressly one upon whom the
    spirit of Yahweh is said to have rested. In the New Testament, the
    book of Hebrews lists Jephthah as one of Israel’s great heroes of

    Copan attempts to dispense with this passage by arguing that
    Jephthah’s vow was a “rash vow” (96), and that “is” does not
    equal “ought” (in other words, just because it happened in the Bi-
    ble doesn’t mean it was good). First, the text does not say that
    Jephthah’s vow was “rash.” That’s what Copan says. Certainly,
    Jephthah laments that it turned out to be his beloved daughter
    whom he had to sacrifice, but his daughter doesn’t! She sees that

    because Yahweh had given him victory, it is only right for him to
    keep up his end of the bargain. She takes the news of her impend-
    ing inflammation rather well, all things considered. This shows
    that these assumptions were a normal part of life in that period.
    Human sacrifice to the deity was taken for granted; it was not a
    “rash” aberration.

    Second, while it’s true that “is” does not necessarily equal
    “ought,” the assumption the text maintains is that because Yah-
    weh gave him victory, Jephthah now ought to sacrifice his daugh-
    ter. He didn’t lament having to sacrifice a human being; he la-
    mented having to sacrifice his beloved daughter, and understand-
    ably so. But that’s the point that’s implicit in the text. Yahweh
    wants real sacrifices, not easy sacrifices. Child sacrifice was con-
    sidered noble in this world precisely because it was the greatest
    possible sacrifice that could be made. Children who were made
    subject to sacrifice weren’t despised by their parents; they were
    beloved. Sacrificing them was very hard, and that’s precisely the
    point. That’s what the ancient deities wanted—hard sacrifices. So
    when the story goes that Jephthah lamented having to sacrifice
    his daughter, that is the point of the text. Yahweh required a real
    sacrifice, and it hurt Jephthah, just as it was supposed to. But as
    Jephthah’s own daughter said, the bigger picture was the security
    of Israel, and she was happy to sacrifice herself for that cause.

    Moreover, as we will see shortly, making a vow to a deity to
    offer a human sacrifice in exchange for victory in battle was a
    common feature of West Semitic sacral warfare, so this hardly
    comports with Copan’s characterization of Jephthah’s vow as

    Now, after having reviewed some of the evidence, let’s look
    again at Hess’s all-too-brief dismissal of Niditch’s thesis and see if
    it rings true:

    A 9th-century stele of King Mesha of Moab de-
    scribes his destruction of an Israelite town and its
    sacrificial devotion to his god Chemosh as a herem
    ‘ban.’ However, this language does not prove that
    the same theology dominated in Israel. And, in-
    deed, there is no explicit evidence for human sacri-

    fice to Yahweh in the early texts.18

    18 Richard S. Hess, “War in the Hebrew Bible: An Overview,” in War in the Bible
    and Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century, 25.

    As we’ve seen, to the contrary, there is evidence in early Isra-
    elite texts that they shared the same ideology of herem as human
    sacrifice in exchange for victory in battle as did King Mesha of
    Moab. Of course, what Hess means is that there is no evidence that
    Yahweh approves of human sacrifice in these texts, but as we’ve
    seen, in both Judges 11 and Numbers 21, a vow is made to Yah-
    weh involving an exchange, and in both cases Yahweh partici-
    pates, keeping up his end of the bargain. Hess’s two-sentence
    dismissal isn’t sufficient to overturn Niditch’s case, and we’ve on-
    ly looked at two examples of the evidence she provides. In light of
    the evidence reviewed, it is clear that Hess’s claim that Israel’s
    early understanding of herem isn’t necessarily the same as that
    found in the Mesha Stele requires a significantly greater discus-
    sion than Hess provides in the article Copan cites.

    Now, before moving on to address other episodes of human
    sacrifice in the Bible, let’s revisit Copan’s presentation of Niditch
    from the book, not from the online essay. We note that in the book,
    Copan’s presentation of Niditch is truncated. Gone is the incorrect
    reference to Deuteronomy 20 as, in Copan’s words, an “early text”
    (when it is in fact a later text representing what Niditch calls the
    “dominant voice” which drowns out the “earlier voices”). This is
    progress. But let’s quote Copan from the book again:

    As Susan Niditch points out in War in the Hebrew
    Bible, the “dominant voice” in the Old Testament
    “condemns child sacrifice” since it opposes God’s
    purposes and undermines Israelite society. (95)

    So Copan is still presenting Niditch’s conclusions selectively.
    Does Copan make any reference at all to the fact that in reality he
    disagrees with Niditch’s thesis? Not expressly. The only reference
    he makes in his book to any criticism of Niditch’s work is buried
    in an endnote. Here is what he says in the endnote:

    For a critique of some of Niditch’s claims, see Ben
    C. Ollenburger, review of War in the Hebrew Bible:
    A Study in the Ethics of Violence, by Susan Niditch,
    Interpretation 48, no. 4 (1994): 436-37.

    When I saw this I thought perhaps he was referencing a criti-
    cal review that would include criticism of her thesis on human
    sacrifice in the early texts of the Hebrew Bible. So I read the re-
    view. What I found was a review consisting of a total of 399
    words (that’s right, I counted them). Of those 399 words, only 34
    words were critical. Here’s Ollenburger’s “critique of some of
    Niditch’s claims” that Copan wants us to read:

    By contrast, her comments about the social and
    historical location of various warfare ideologies are
    a bit off-the-cuff. One such comment she calls ‘my
    own guess’ (p. 105), which seems also to character-
    ize others.19

    19 Ben C. Ollenburger, “Review of War in the Hebrew Bible: A Study in the Ethics
    of Violence, by Susan Niditch,” Interpretation 48/4 (1994): 437.

    Maybe, I hoped, her “guess” on page 105 is really suspect, and
    maybe, by chance, page 105 has something to do with Niditch’s
    argument about human sacrifice in Israelite warfare. Sadly, it had
    nothing to do with human sacrifice. In this section, Niditch is dis-
    cussing “the bardic tradition of war,” and interestingly, in Richard
    Hess’s essay on war in the Hebrew Bible, he uses Niditch’s section
    on the bardic tradition positively and without criticism. Anyway,
    here’s what Niditch says on page 105:

    Limitations on the knowledge of Israelite social
    history preclude drawing definite conclusions. The
    unknown includes the training by which bards
    learned narrative traditions, the context in which
    they produced and performed them, and the way in
    which these traditions became a part of the corpus
    that scholars call the Deuteronomic History. My
    own guess would be that these materials stem from

    a courtly bardic tradition produced in glorification
    of a young nation state, its king, its “mighty men,”
    and the heroes of previous generations.20

    20 Niditch, War in the Hebrew Bible, 105.

    21 Ollenburger, “Review of War in the Hebrew Bible,” 437.

    22 Ibid.

    Ollenburger criticizes Niditch for making an educated guess
    about materials about which, as she clearly states, “limitations on
    the knowledge of Israelite social history preclude drawing defi-
    nite conclusions.” I do not see the value in the criticism in this re-
    view, and I cannot understand why Copan would refer us to it for
    a critique of some of Niditch’s claims. Of course, I’m not chastising
    Ben. In book reviews, you have to make some sort of critical com-
    ment, but Ollenburger didn’t have much to say by way of criticism.
    He seems to have loved Niditch’s book. Moreover, in his review,
    Ollenburger does actually address Niditch’s discussion of holy war
    as human sacrifice. What does he say about it?

    Showing the great variety in these ideologies and
    traditions is a major contribution of the book, and
    so is its association of warfare and the ban with

    When Ollenburger does address Niditch’s argument about holy
    war as human sacrifice, he identifies it as a “major contribution”
    to scholarship. Here’s how he concludes his review:

    Niditch has written a work of engaged scholarship,
    as her concluding mediation makes clear. I heartily
    commend it.22

    I’m not sure if Copan actually read this review. If he did, I can’t
    understand why he referred us to it.

    Copan next moves to salvage 2 Kgs 3:4-27, the story of King
    Mesha’s defeat of the allied forces of Israel, Judah, and Edom. Let
    me give you the whole story, before we examine the relevance of
    the human sacrifice here in this tale.

    As we already noted when we looked at the Mesha Stele, Isra-
    el had subjugated Moab, oppressing them, and was in occupation
    of multiple Moabite territories. So the story begins, King Ahab of
    Israel died, and Mesha took that opportunity to mount a re-
    sistance and rebel against Moab’s oppressor, Israel. In response,
    Jehoram, king of Israel, makes an alliance with Judah and Edom
    and sets out to put Mesha back in his place of subjugation and
    compliance. But before they engage Mesha in combat, King Je-
    horam seeks a prophet to foretell whether Yahweh will fight for
    them or not. Yahweh speaks through Elisha and promises them a
    total victory over Moab.

    Let’s pause for a moment to discuss the significance of this.
    The whole premise of this account is that King Mesha of Moab is
    taking advantage of Ahab’s death and rebelling against Israel’s
    dominion. What form did this rebellion take? Well, according to
    this text, Mesha rebelled by refusing to continue to offer his re-
    quired tribute of 100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 rams
    (see 2 Kgs 3:4-7). If any other kind of rebellion is implied in the
    text, then it would have been Mesha attempting to regain Moabite
    territory from Israel (as seen in the Mesha Stele). So Israel moves
    to stamp out this rebellion in order to secure its oppressive do-
    minion over the Moabites. What does Yahweh say about all this?
    Yahweh not only says he’ll help them stamp out the rebellion,
    Yahweh says he’ll help them conquer “every fortified city and eve-
    ry choice city” in the land of Moab.

    So, with the assurance of Elisha that Yahweh will certainly
    give them victory over Moab (“this is a trifle in the sight of Yah-
    weh,” i.e., easy pickings), Israel, Judah and Edom engage Moab in

    And as the battle gets going, it’s clear that Yahweh is indeed
    fighting for them, employing a miraculous optical illusion to lead
    the Moabites into an ambush (3:22). So the allied forces are clean-
    ing up, laying waste to Moabite territory, and the Moabites are
    running scared. Mesha is losing big time. He’s up against . . . a for-
    midable foe. So you can guess what he does next, right?

  • Hi there Mark,

    Your mistaken, only moral laws are eternal since they rely on an eternal moral entity.

    Are you saying the law of apostasy as given by your God was immoral and this is why it can no longer be followed? As the verse from Psalm 119 indicates, all of God’s laws are moral. Therefore, how can this specific law be immoral? Therefore, there is a contradiction in what you are saying, what the Psalm says and what the scholars have said.

    “Deut 13:6-10 is not a moral law; says an Old Testament scholar, “It ought to be noted that the original laws of Deuteronomy were meant to give guidance to a small agrarian nation over 3,000 years ago, so that in many cases they do not apply to our modern situation.” Quite frankly, your connection is flawed.”

    This ‘scholar’ whom you’ve failed to mention, throws away the entire Deuteronomy, not just one specific law and their reasoning is infantile as it contradicts the verse from Psalm. Whereas this ‘scholar’ and you are claiming the law is temporal, this is not what the text says. I don’t see how my connection is flawed, it’s really quite simple:

    1. All of God’s laws are morally right.
    2. Apostasy is one of God’s laws.
    3. All of God’s laws are eternal.
    4. The law of Apostasy is eternal.

    What flaw is there in this? The problem still persists, the onus is on your behalf to prove that one of God’s laws is immoral, thereby saying that God gave an immoral (wrong law), which would either have us conclude that God in himself is (a) ignorant, (b) not all knowing, or (c) both. I don’t see how you came to the conclusion that it’s a ‘civil law’, when it deals with *belief* in God’s doctrine of oneness. You may want to Google what civil law is.

    Thanks for trying, but you’ve really dug yourself into a pit here.

  • yhwh wanted the jews to be DIFFERENT from the pagans around them
    the pagans consumed pigs flesh
    IF yhwh gave morals laws and MORALS laws include OBEDIANCE to him, then when he said , ” don’t eat pig” kristians 4 2000 yrs have been breaking morals laws also. lol

  • Robert Rudd There is no argument that his Law is eternal, But what you have done is misinerpret the purpose of The Law…. The Law silences those who believe they are righteous, and reveals the Character of God himself. No one is righteous, The law clearly reveals this…. What LAW of Apostacy are you ferferring to?

  • Hi CC,
    Unfortunately, you have so misrepresented my comments, and proceeded to post this here, as well as elsewhere on this site, that I am forced to reply in like manner. I am trusting that your misrepresentation stems from ignorance, rather than malicious intent.

    First, let me clarify some points…

    A. Old Testament scholars have for a long time, categorized the Old Testament laws into 3 general categories; moral, civil, and ceremonial. Ceremonial laws are associated with the Jewish worship of Yahweh. The civil laws are associated with the nation of Israel, and its governance. The moral laws are associated with God’s eternal moral character, and therefore, eternal.

    I must admit that I am rather surprised that you seem ignorant of these categories, given your line of work. Therefore, when I say that Deut 13:6-10 is a ‘non-moral’ law, I am NOT saying that it is, therefore, “immoral”. That is not true. What I am saying, is that it falls into either the ceremonial or civil law categories. You have misrepresented me in several places on this site, suggesting I am saying that it is an “immoral” law.

    Now, biblical scholars agree that ceremonial and civil laws are not timeless and eternal. God gave them to the nation of Israel, at a particular historical time, only for a particular historical time. This is easily proved. For example, when God commands the Israelites to worship at the temple, this is a ceremonial law, associated with national Israel’s worship. It is not incumbent on all believers now, to worship in such form. Again, when God commands Solomon to build the temple for such worship, such a command is ceremonial, related to ancient Israel’s worship, and therefore not eternal and timeless.

    This is true with Deut 13:6-10. This law is a civil law, instructing ancient Israel how to live under God during that historical time. They were occupying the land of Canaan, and God gave them instructions about living in that polytheistic environment.

    B. Therefore, when Jesus comments that he has come to fulfill the law, what he has in mind are the ceremonial and civil laws. This is because the Jews had thought they could “keep” all such laws perfectly, without realizing that breaking one law is equivalent to breaking them all. In other words, their sinfulness prevented them from obeying God. Under the New Covenant of Jesus, these “external” laws were fulfilled perfectly, because Jesus was the only person to live a sinless and obedient life to such laws. Jesus fulfilled the ceremonial and civil laws. Christians, who are under the new covenant, are therefore, not obliged to keep them. In fact, attempting such disregards the life and death of Christ.

    C. Psalm 119:160 is referencing moral law, the third category. I, therefore, agree with the Psalmist, that such laws are righteous and eternal. Why? Because, moral laws are based on God’s moral character which never changes. Again, I reference your own source who agrees with me, “it must be so with all the essential principles of morality. Mere regulations in regard to rites and ceremonies may be altered, as local and municipal laws among men may be; but essential principles of justice cannot be…” This scholar, which you referenced, notes the difference between “rites and ceremonies” which may be altered, and essential principles of morality, which cannot. You misused this reference.

    You need to understand, therefore, the distinction in the Old Testament laws, between moral laws, ceremonial laws, and civil laws. By failing to read the Old Testament properly, you are not only misrepresenting me, but God as well.

    D. Islamic theology- what is your view on abrogation CC? I have addressed how Old Testament law and theology is categorized, and that only moral laws are eternal and timeless. I have also explained how that is understood in light of Jesus’ fulfillment of civil and ceremonial laws. But how do Muslims understand the “eternal Quran”? How can eternal laws be abrogated, as is believed in Islamic theology? That is an inherent contradiction; eternal laws that are abrogated!

    E. Finally, I want to address your logic within these comments…

    “1. All of God’s laws are morally right.
    2. Apostasy is one of God’s laws.
    3. All of God’s laws are eternal.
    4. The law of Apostasy is eternal…What flaw is there in this?”

    I would agree with points 1 and 2. However, affirming that all God’s laws are morally right is not the same as suggesting that all God’s laws are eternal. This leads me to point 3.

    Within the Bible, not all of God’s laws are eternal, particularly not in the sense that believers now must obey the ceremonial/civil laws of the ancient Jewish nation. But I have already proved that above.

    But I am curious how this premise fits within the Quranic theology of abrogation? Do you kill infidels in line with Surah 9, given that you believe all of God’s laws are eternal? How did ‘muslims’, before the revelation of the Quran, obey these eternal laws? I would like to see how you can prove your premise here. It is false for the Bible, but I’ll let you share whether it is false for the Quran also.

    Point 4, therefore, must also be false, given that premise 3 is false, at least for the Biblical record. Within the Bible, apostasy laws are civil, not moral, and therefore not eternal. Do you affirm that apostates from Islam deserve to die? I guess you must, given you believe it is an eternal law.

    Two of your premises are flawed, therefore, the conclusion you drew about the Bible is also flawed. I have shown why that is so. Old Testament laws are categorized between those that are culturally relevant, and those that are eternal.

    Conclusion- With all this in mind, I would like to see the following happen.

    1. You edit those posts where you have misrepresented what I said. This is a point of integrity. I have clarified my argument, so please adjust your posts to suit.
    2. If you dispute my argument, please show why such categories are wrong. Show why apostasy is an eternal law, rather than assuming it. Show why Ps 119:160 is NOT about moral law, but also includes civil and ceremonial law. Until this is achieved, your argument is based on false premises, and your conclusions wrong.
    3. Explain how your 4 premises fit within Islamic theology, especially the doctrine of abrogation.

    I’ve written this rather long response to further our communication, hopefully find areas of agreement, and to clarify several points. I apologize for the length, but due to the misrepresentation, I felt it necessary.

  • polygamy and the old testament and crosstian desperation that yhwh was against prohibited polygamy

    But Copan claims that
    these instances of polygamy in the Old Testament were not ap-
    proved by God (111). Copan says this because he needs to argue
    that Yahweh didn’t condone polygamy. Where does Copan get this
    idea—that these polygamous marriages were not approved by
    God? He means that the text does not explicitly say that God ap-
    proved of these marriages. But there are some problems with this
    claim, intractable ones.

    First, while it’s true that in most cases, God doesn’t utter some
    sort of blessing on any of these second wives, the fact is also that
    God doesn’t utter a blessing on the first wives either! Nor does
    God ever condemn any of these polygamous men for their mar-
    riages. So when Copan says that they took place without God’s
    express approval, he’s making a tenuous and misleading argu-
    ment from silence.

    Second, more than one polygamous man did receive God’s
    stamp of approval, and one of them—Moses—Copan never even
    mentions. And it’s a pretty big omission, considering who the par-
    ticular husband was!

    Moses already had a wife, Zipporah, the daughter of a Midian-
    ite leader, whom he had married during his forty years in exile
    before the exodus. But in Numbers 12, after the exodus, and as we
    saw earlier, Moses took a second wife, a Cushite (Ethiopian)
    woman. Aaron and Miriam opposed Moses when he took this se-
    cond wife. But Yahweh did not. Yahweh defended Moses, and
    punished Miriam (though not Aaron) for challenging Moses. I’d
    say that constitutes Yahweh’s express approval. But Copan never
    even mentions that Moses had two wives.

    Moreover, as we’ll discuss with Copan later, 2 Sam 12:8 says
    that God blessed David with many wives. Copan will try to ma-
    neuver around this, but for now suffice it to say that this too clear-
    ly constitutes God’s express approval on polygamy. And in both
    Moses and David’s case, these additional wives weren’t taken on
    account of barrenness. Moses and David both had children before
    taking additional wives.

    Now, Copan concedes that the real problem with Solomon’s
    marriages (700 hundred wives and 300 concubines) was that
    they were, besides being ridiculously excessive, political alliances
    that led to the worship of other gods. The problem with Solo-
    mon’s polygamy was therefore not polygamy per se, but the infil-
    tration of foreign deities into Israelite religion through Solomon’s
    many wives.

    Copan reads Deut 17:17 without any reference to source criti-
    cism whatsoever, as if Deut 17:17 was written in Moses’ day and
    predicted or forewarned against kings taking an excessive num-
    ber of wives. Here’s what the text says:

    When you have come into the land that the Lord
    your God is giving you, and have taken possession
    of it and settled in it, and you say, ‘I will set a king
    over me, like all the nations that are around me’,
    you may indeed set over you a king whom the Lord
    your God will choose. One of your own community
    you may set as king over you; you are not permit-
    ted to put a foreigner over you, who is not of your
    own community. Even so, he must not acquire
    many horses for himself, or return the people to
    Egypt in order to acquire more horses, since the
    Lord has said to you, ‘You must never return that
    way again.’ And he must not acquire many wives
    for himself, or else his heart will turn away; also
    silver and gold he must not acquire in great quanti-
    ty for himself. (Deut 17:14-17)

    Now, the broad scholarly consensus is that most of Deuteron-
    omy was written during the time of King Josiah, in order to legit-
    imate his novel religious and political reforms. This text is clearly
    anachronistic in the Mosaic period. One tradition in 1 Samuel says
    that God didn’t want a king over Israel, but that Israel insisted
    upon having a king. But this Deuteronomistic text already grants
    Israel permission to have a king, well over a hundred years before
    they even insist on having one. And this particular passage was
    clearly written in direct response to Solomon’s sins. It was writ-

    ten after the fact, by Josiah’s people, as an indictment of royal ex-
    cesses which led to idolatry.

    Referring to the things prohibited to the king here in Deuteor-
    nomy 17, Copan naïvely comments that, indeed, Solomon commit-
    ted all of these acts (111). It apparently doesn’t occur to him that
    the list of prohibitions was written precisely with Solomon’s (al-
    ready historical) excesses in mind. Solomon acquired many hors-
    es, he acquired silver and gold, and he acquired many wives, in-
    cluding an Egyptian princess, causing his “heart” to “turn away.”
    See 1 Kgs 11:1-4, where the language closely matches that of Deu-
    teronomy 17. And remember that the book of Kings was fash-
    ioned by the same author(s) who wrote most of Deuteronomy.
    What’s taking place here in the Deuteronomistic History is that all
    of the events of the past are reinterpreted according to the ideol-
    ogy underwriting the Josianic reforms, and that ideology is legiti-
    mated by the forged Deuteronomy legislation which was said to
    have been “lost” in the temple walls and conveniently found by
    Josiah’s high priest.32

    32 On the problems with this official narrative, see my discussion in my review
    of Douglas Earl’s book, under the heading, “Why Earl’s Argument Fails,” and the
    literature cited therein: Thom Stark, “The Joshua Delusion,” Religion at the Margins,

    At any rate, Solomon’s marriages really have no bearing on
    the polygamy discussion, because it’s clear that the problems
    there were outrageous excess, political alliances, and the intro-
    duction of foreign cults into Israel.

    Now, let’s move on to Copan’s actual arguments that polyga-
    my is condemned in the laws of Moses. First, Copan claims that if
    polygamy was really allowed, then that would represent a depar-
    ture from the widely understood norm of heterosexual monoga-
    my established in Gen 2:24 (112). But here’s what Gen 2:24 says:
    “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to
    his wife, and they become one flesh.” This does not say that mo-
    nogamy was “the standard.” It doesn’t say anything about monog-
    amy at all. Remember, Copan thinks Genesis was written by Mo-
    ses—who had two wives, and God defended Moses for having the
    second one! Just because only one wife is mentioned in Genesis 2
    doesn’t mean monogamy is being presented as the “standard.”

    After all, every man has to start somewhere! He’s not going to
    “leave his father and mother” every time he marries another
    woman; just the first time.

    Now, Copan claims there is strong evidence that Lev 18:18
    forbids polygamy (112). He quotes the NIV: “Do not take your
    wife’s sister [literally, ‘a woman to her sister’] as a rival wife and
    have sexual relations with her while your wife is living.”

    Copan’s argument is, in addition to being egregiously wrong,
    extraordinarily convoluted. This verse comes at the end of a long
    list of anti-incest laws, before a new list of prohibitions having
    nothing to do with incest. Copan argues that this verse should not
    be included with the anti-incest laws, but rather with the subse-
    quent list of prohibitions, which include a prohibition on having
    sex during a woman’s menstruation period (an abomination, ap-
    parently), a prohibition on having sex with another Israelite’s
    wife, a prohibition on sacrificing children to Molech, a prohibition
    on homosexual relations, and one on bestiality. Copan’s argument
    for slotting verse 18 in with the second list, rather than with the
    incest list, is three-fold.

    First, sentence structure. Each prohibition from verses 7-17
    begins with the word ‘erwat (nakedness of). In English, it reads,
    “You shall not uncover the nakedness of…” But verses 18-23 have
    a different sentence structure. Each prohibition in these verses
    begins with what’s called the waw conjunction, i.e., the word
    “and.” So, Copan argues that verse 18 (the verse in question)
    should be grouped with the second list because it shares the same
    sentence structure with the second list. Copan notes that verses
    7-17 pertain to kinship bonds, whereas verses 19-23 pertain to
    activities outside of kinship bonds. The question is whether verse
    18 pertains to kinship bonds or not. But the argument from sen-
    tence structure cannot be conclusive. It is true that verse 18
    shares the sentence structure of the verses that follow it, rather
    than those that come before it, but that does not mean it shouldn’t
    be read as part of the first list of incest laws. Why? Because some-
    times the structure will change at the end of a list to mark it as the
    end. So an argument from sentence structure cannot be conclu-

    Second, Copan notes that the word “rival” here (“do not take

    . . . as a rival wife”) also appears in 1 Sam 1:6. There, Elkanah has
    two wives, Peninnah and Hannah. Peninnah is called Hannah’s
    “rival.” Copan argues that because Hannah and Peninnah aren’t
    sisters, then a “rival” wife is not a sister. Thus, in Lev 18:18, when
    it says, “Do not take [a woman to her sister] as a rival wife,” it’s
    not referring to sisters. Copan of course cheats here. He writes
    that Hannah and Peninnah were not sisters in the biological
    sense, but merely in terms of their nationality as Israelites (112).
    But 1 Sam 1:6 doesn’t identify them as sisters at all, just as rival
    wives. So when Copan says, “or ‘sisters,’” putting “sisters” in quo-
    tation marks, he’s misleading the reader into believing that the
    two wives are identified as “sisters” but that “sisters” there just
    means “fellow Israelites.” No. The text does not call them sisters.
    So the question is, what does 1 Sam 1:6 have to do with Lev
    18:18? And the answer is: nothing.

    But think about this for a second. If Lev 18:18 is really prohib-
    iting having two, unrelated Israelite women as rival wives, then
    Elkanah would be violating a direct command of Moses. You may
    say that’s no big thing, because people disobeyed the law all the
    time, but bear in mind that Moses also had two wives. Lev 18:18
    isn’t prohibiting having rival wives (later it stipulates that when a
    man has two wives, he’s obliged not to favor one over the other).
    What Lev 18:18 is prohibiting is taking two biological sisters as
    rival wives. Why? Because that would unravel the familial bonds
    so important in Israel. And that is the point of all the incest laws:
    there are sexual relations, and blood relations, and to mix them
    up is to unravel the bonds of blood.

    Third, Copan argues that the term, “a woman to her sister,” is
    an idiom in Hebrew, just meaning “one to another.” The same is
    true of the term, “a man to his brother.” It is an idiom meaning
    “one to another.” Copan is correct. But he overstates his case. Co-
    pan notes that the two idioms (a man to his brother and a woman
    to her sister) are used twenty times in the Hebrew Bible, but he
    claims that in all of these occurrences they never once refer to a
    literal sister or brother. As it happens, this isn’t true. In Gen 37:19,
    the masculine form is used, “a man to his brother,” when the
    brothers of Joseph were conferring with one another about Jo-
    seph. There it applies to literal brothers. But we’ll grant that the

    phrase is an idiom, meaning, “to one another,” or “one to another,”
    and that that could be its meaning here in Lev 18:18.

    Here’s why it isn’t. The fact that it comes at the end of a list on
    incest laws gives us reason enough to interpret “a woman to her
    sister” literally in this case, as we should in Gen 37:19 with Jo-
    seph’s brothers. Moreover, Copan has already conceded that it
    was standard practice in the ancient Near East to take a second
    wife if the first was barren, in order to produce children. If, how-
    ever, Lev 18:18 prohibits taking a second wife, then there would
    be no way for a man with a barren wife to have children. As Co-
    pan himself notes, when faced with the prospect of being child-
    less, and thus heirless, men commonly employed the aid of lower-
    ranking wives in order to preserve the family (109). Copan
    acknowledges this, but if Copan’s reading of Lev 18:18 is correct,
    that would doom a man with a barren wife to be childless, ending
    his family line. That’s one big reason why Copan’s reading of Lev
    18:18 is entirely untenable.

    Moreover, as Copan acknowledges, when a second wife was
    brought in in order to produce children, she was usually a “se-
    cond-tier” wife—that is, less respected. But that’s precisely what
    Deut 21:15-17 speaks to. If a man has two wives, he’s not allowed
    to love one more than the other. Copan argues that Deut 21:15-17
    is just casuistic law, not condoning polygamy, but just offering a
    law in case polygamy is a reality. But if polygamy is really prohib-
    ited in Lev 18:18, then why concede to it in Deut 21? The fact is,
    Deut 21 is offering protection to second-tier wives, on the as-
    sumption that this is a normal thing.

    That raises another important point here. Let’s look at the
    type of sins we’re dealing with here in Leviticus 18. (This is very
    important, so don’t zone out.) Here is a complete list of things that
    Leviticus 18 prohibits (excluding verse 18, the verse in question):

    First List:

    . Sex with one’s mother
    . Sex with one’s father’s wife (i.e., not one’s own mother)
    . Sex with one’s sister
    . Sex with one’s granddaughter
    . Sex with one’s half-sister

    . Sex with one’s aunt
    . Sex with one’s uncle’s wife
    . Sex with one’s daughter-in-law
    . Sex with one’s brother’s wife
    . Sex with both a mother and her daughter
    . Sex with both a grandmother and her granddaughter

    Second List:

    . Sex with a woman during her menstruation period
    . Sex with your neighbor’s wife
    . Child sacrifice to Molech
    . Homosexuality
    . Bestiality

    Now, let’s add verse 18:

    . Sex with a woman and her sister

    Where does that fit? Think about it. It fits right in with all the
    prohibitions in the first list, and if it didn’t belong in the first list,
    then the first list wouldn’t be comprehensive. It has just prohibit-
    ed sex with a mother and her daughter, and sex with a grand-
    mother and her granddaughter. What’s missing from the list? It’s
    clear: sex with two sisters.

    Why? Because it throws the familial bonds into upheaval by
    taking two blood relatives and making them into rivals. That’s the
    problem, and that’s the prohibition in verse 18.

    But I’ll say one more thing about this. Look back over both
    lists of prohibitions, and note that all of them, every last one of
    them, are identified as abominations, and are punishable by ex-
    communication from Israel or death (Lev 18:29: “for whoever
    commits any of these abominations shall be cut off from their

    So, does Copan’s reading of 18:18 really fit into such a list? No,
    it doesn’t. You’re not going to find casuistic laws anywhere about
    what to do in the event that one of these laws is broken. You’re
    not going to find a law that says, “Now if a man marries his wife’s
    daughter, he is not to favor the daughter over the wife.” Or, “Now
    if a man lies with another man, he must marry him and never di-

    vorce him.” None of the other laws in Leviticus 18 can conceivably
    have casuistic laws in the event of their disobedience. They are all
    punishable by excommunication, because they are all “abomina-
    tions,” and they are all identified as the practices of the deplorable

    Is this really what Copan expects us to believe about polyga-
    my? Abraham, Esau, Jacob, Moses, David, Elkanah, and so many
    other “good” Israelite men, had multiple wives. But if we accept
    Copan’s reading of Lev 18:18, then all of these men committed
    unforgivable abominations that required they be “cut off from
    their people.”

    Or, we can translate the verse like pretty much all the major
    translations have done, and read it (as it should be read) as a pro-
    hibition against marrying two biological sisters. That fits the con-
    text, and that doesn’t contradict so many other passages all
    throughout the Bible.

    So, Copan’s attempt to argue that the Mosaic law prohibits po-
    lygamy is an obvious failure.

    Moving on, and nearing the end of Copan’s discussion of po-
    lygamy, Copan notes that 2 Sam 12:8 indicates that God gave Da-
    vid multiple wives:

    I anointed you king over Israel, and I rescued you
    from the hand of Saul; I gave you your master’s
    house, and your master’s wives into your bosom,
    and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and
    if that had been too little, I would have added as
    much more.

    So here is a pretty clear statement, from Yahweh to David, that
    Yahweh gave David wives, and the implication is that Yahweh
    gave them to David as a sign of his blessing and approval of David.
    How does Copan maneuver around this text? Two lame argu-
    ments. We’ll look at the second first.

    He claims that the transference of Saul’s wives was merely the
    only explicitly noted portion of the “house” of Saul that God gave
    David, such that David became the master of Saul’s “estate” with-
    out actually being married to all of Saul’s wives. Noting that Saul’s

    wife Ahinoam (1 Sam 14:50) was mother of David’s wife Michal
    and that levitical law prohibits the marriage of a mother-in-law
    (Lev 18:17), he argues that the wives of Saul that David received
    as part of his new position should not be assumed to have become
    additional wives for David. So, Copan concludes, this text, despite
    appearances, really doesn’t endorse polygamy (115).

    But the text says Yahweh gave Saul’s wives (plural) to David.
    Not all of them were Michal’s mother. Only one, in fact. This isn’t
    hard to reconcile. So either Ahinoam was dead, or God gave all of
    Saul’s wives, excepting Ahinoam, to David. Enough said. But his
    first argument is the one that really displays Copan’s capacity to
    grasp at straws.

    Cautioning his readers not to take the terminology of “giving
    wives” too literally, he calls attention to the same word in 2 Sam-
    uel 12:11, in which God tells David that he would “give” his wives
    to his son Absalom. This, argues Copan, is clearly not evidence
    that God approves of polygamy, since the giving of David’s wives
    over to a traitor is (apparently) hard to imagine (115).

    On the contrary, it only reinforces the fact that these texts as-
    sume Yahweh gives multiple wives as a blessing. What verse 8
    clearly says is that God gave David many wives as a blessing, and
    what verse 11 clearly says is that God will take away that blessing
    in order to punish David. Yahweh isn’t giving Absalom David’s
    wives because he approves of Absalom; he’s giving them away
    because he (currently) disapproves of David. To wit: Yahweh gives
    and takes away the blessing of many wives. The many wives are
    assumed here to be a sign of David’s greatness. “If that had been
    too little,” Yahweh says, “I would have added much more!”

    Copan concludes his argument on polygamy by stating, rather
    ludicrously, that when Proverbs 5:15-18 counsels men to find
    pleasure and sexual satisfaction within the confines of monoga-
    mous marriage (“Drink . . . fresh water from your own well”), this
    is the accepted norm (116). But this is misleading, because verse
    20 makes clear what verses 15-18 mean. It’s not arguing for mo-
    nogamy over polygamy. Verse 20 specifically says not to be intox-
    icated by an “adulteress.” It’s warning against illicit promiscuity
    with another’s wife (think David and Bathsheba), not against po-
    lygamy (think David and Michal and Abigail).

  • Hi Mark Topping,

    A. You’ve not given any reasoning for the law of Apostasy to be anything but moral, for as you defined it to be:

    “The moral laws are associated with God’s eternal moral character, and therefore, eternal.”

    Since belief and disbelief in God are associated with God’s character, they are therefore eternal by your own standards. Do you have a *standard* by which you judge all laws, or do you dump them into your Christian created categories as you see fit? Where do Jews say that their laws are abolished?


    I find it funny that you are saying the law applies because they are living in a polytheist environment. Does YHWH say that is why he gave the law? What if the Jews stopped living in Yisrael, are they to be okay with worshipping other Gods/ idols? Where does YHWH indicate that any of his mitzvot are temporal in the Old Testament?

    B. Where is any of this said in the Old Testament? Why are you forcing Christian revisionism upon the Old Testament? Heck, even Paul concedes that following the laws were not impossible or difficult in Philippians 3:6 – he did them perfectly. The word ‘fulfil’ means to complete, it does not mean to abolish, or to repeal, so why do you alter the context of the word? Jesus never forsook the law, even his companions continued to practise and teach the law after his death:


    C. I’ve read the Old Testament quiet well, I don’t read it as a Christian, as the authors who wrote that book did not see themselves as Christ-worshipping Graeco-Roman preachers. Instead, I choose to read them as Jews do, because they are de facto Judaic texts, not Christian. All of God’s moral laws are eternal, morals have to do with right and wrong, worshipping YHWH is a moral obligation, to break this obligation is sin and therefore punishment is required, i.e. the Law of Apostasy.

    D. This discussion is about the Halachic relevance of the Mitzvot of the Old Testament, we can always change to the Qur’aan in another discussion. Why is it that when Christians are questioned about their ‘scripture’, that they find the need to divert the discussion?

    E. According to Psalm 119:160, it is about moral laws:

    “All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.”

    Isn’t righteous, is what is correct in God’s ‘eyes’? Therefore, what is righteous, i.e. morally okay by God, is eternal, unless He dictates otherwise and according to the Old Testament, there are very few laws He abrogated (see: incest), otherwise, He Himself has never declared the law of Apostasy to be repealed. Christ himself, never said he repealed one set of laws or one type of laws, this is your putting of words in Christ’s mouth as his own words do not satisfy you.

    For your logic to be right:

    1. YHWH must declare His own laws to be abrogated and repealed.
    2. Jesus must declare hs Father’s laws to be abrogated and repealed.
    3. Jesus must differentiate and codify the laws as you have.
    4. Jesus must declare the laws after (3) to be repealed and abrogated.

    Since neither Jesus or YHWH have done the above, then you are indicating you no better than Christ who himself did not say these things. Why do you want to put words into Christ’s mouth and codify and repeal what he did not? I find your answer to be very funny. I’m trying to see how you can justify saying, “well Christ and YHWH didn’t really say these things explicitly, but see this law, Christ errr….he fulfilled it, and it’s errr…..ceremonial so you’re not supposed to follow it again!”. That would be wrong, as in the link I provided:

    After Christ’s death, the Disciples still followed the Judaic law in its entirety:


    Sorry, but there are no two ways to flip it.

  • lets look at the jewish translation of the verses BEFORE 119:160 IN Psalms

    1. Praiseworthy are those whose way is perfect, who walk with the law of the Lord. א. אַשְׁרֵי תְמִימֵי דָרֶךְ הַהֹלְכִים בְּתוֹרַת יְהֹוָה:
    2. Praiseworthy are those who keep His testimonies; who seek Him wholeheartedly. ב. אַשְׁרֵי נֹצְרֵי עֵדֹתָיו בְּכָל לֵב יִדְרְשׁוּהוּ:
    3. Not only have they committed no injustice, they walked in His ways. ג. אַף לֹא פָעֲלוּ עַוְלָה בִּדְרָכָיו הָלָכוּ:
    4. You commanded Your precepts, to keep diligently.

    5. My prayers are that my ways should be established, to keep Your statutes.

    8. I shall keep Your statutes; do not forsake me utterly.

    15. Concerning Your precepts I shall converse, and I shall look at Your ways. טו. בְּפִקּוּדֶיךָ אָשִׂיחָה וְאַבִּיטָה אֹרְחֹתֶיךָ:
    16. With Your statutes I shall occupy myself; I shall not forget Your speech.

    1. Praiseworthy are those whose way is perfect, who walk with the law of the Lord. א. אַשְׁרֵי תְמִימֵי דָרֶךְ הַהֹלְכִים בְּתוֹרַת יְהֹוָה:
    2. Praiseworthy are those who keep His testimonies; who seek Him wholeheartedly. ב. אַשְׁרֵי נֹצְרֵי עֵדֹתָיו בְּכָל לֵב יִדְרְשׁוּהוּ:
    3. Not only have they committed no injustice, they walked in His ways. ג. אַף לֹא פָעֲלוּ עַוְלָה בִּדְרָכָיו הָלָכוּ:
    4. You commanded Your precepts, to keep diligently. ד. אַתָּה צִוִּיתָה פִקֻּדֶיךָ לִשְׁמֹר מְאֹד:
    5. My prayers are that my ways should be established, to keep Your statutes. ה. אַחֲלַי יִכֹּנוּ דְּרָכָי לִשְׁמֹר חֻקֶּיךָ:
    6. Then I shall not be ashamed when I look at all Your commandments. ו. אָז לֹא אֵבוֹשׁ בְּהַבִּיטִי אֶל כָּל מִצְו‍ֹתֶיךָ:
    7. I shall thank You with an upright heart when I learn the judgments of Your righteousness. ז. אוֹדְךָ בְּיֹשֶׁר לֵבָב בְּלָמְדִי מִשְׁפְּטֵי צִדְקֶךָ:
    8. I shall keep Your statutes; do not forsake me utterly. ח. אֶת חֻקֶּיךָ אֶשְׁמֹר אַל תַּעַזְבֵנִי עַד מְאֹד:
    9. In what manner should a youth purify his way? To observe according to Your word. ט. בַּמֶּה יְזַכֶּה נַּעַר אֶת אָרְחוֹ לִשְׁמֹר כִּדְבָרֶךָ:
    10. With all my heart I searched for You; do not cause me to stray from Your commandments. י. בְּכָל לִבִּי דְרַשְׁתִּיךָ אַל תַּשְׁגֵּנִי מִמִּצְו‍ֹתֶיךָ:
    11. In my heart I hid Your word, in order that I should not sin against You. יא. בְּלִבִּי צָפַנְתִּי אִמְרָתֶךָ לְמַעַן לֹא אֶחֱטָא לָךְ:
    12. Blessed are You, O Lord; teach me Your statutes. יב. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה לַמְּדֵנִי חֻקֶּיךָ:
    13. With my lips I recited all the judgments of Your mouth. יג. בִּשְׂפָתַי סִפַּרְתִּי כֹּל מִשְׁפְּטֵי פִיךָ:
    14. With the way of Your testimonies I rejoiced as over all riches. יד. בְּדֶרֶךְ עֵדְו‍ֹתֶיךָ שַׂשְׂתִּי כְּעַל כָּל הוֹן:
    15. Concerning Your precepts I shall converse, and I shall look at Your ways. טו. בְּפִקּוּדֶיךָ אָשִׂיחָה וְאַבִּיטָה אֹרְחֹתֶיךָ:
    16. With Your statutes I shall occupy myself; I shall not forget Your speech. טז. בְּחֻקֹּתֶיךָ אֶשְׁתַּעֲשָׁע לֹא אֶשְׁכַּח דְּבָרֶךָ:
    17. Bestow kindness upon Your servant; I shall live and I shall keep Your word.

    26. I told of my ways, and You answered me; teach me Your statutes. כו. דְּרָכַי סִפַּרְתִּי וַתַּעֲנֵנִי לַמְּדֵנִי חֻקֶּיךָ:
    27. Make me understand Your precepts, and I shall speak of Your wonders. כז. דֶּרֶךְ פִּקּוּדֶיךָ הֲבִינֵנִי וְאָשִׂיחָה בְּנִפְלְאוֹתֶיךָ:
    28. My soul drips from grief; sustain me according to Your word. כח. דָּלְפָה נַפְשִׁי מִתּוּגָה קַיְּמֵנִי כִּדְבָרֶךָ:
    29. Remove from me the way of falsehood, and favor me with Your Torah. כט. דֶּרֶךְ שֶׁקֶר הָסֵר מִמֶּנִּי וְתוֹרָתְךָ חָנֵּנִי:
    30. I chose the way of faith; Your judgments I have set [before me].

    31. I clung to Your testimonies; O Lord; put me not to shame. לא. דָּבַקְתִּי בְעֵדְו‍ֹתֶיךָ יְהֹוָה אַל תְּבִישֵׁנִי:
    32. [In] the way of Your commandments I shall run, for You will broaden my understanding. לב. דֶּרֶךְ מִצְו‍ֹתֶיךָ אָרוּץ כִּי תַרְחִיב לִבִּי:
    33. Instruct me, O Lord, [in] the way of Your statutes, and I shall keep it at every step.

    34. Enable me to understand and I shall keep Your Torah, and I shall keep it wholeheartedly.

    44. And I shall keep Your Torah constantly, forever and ever.

    70. Thick like fat is their heart, but I engage in Your Torah. ע. טָפַשׁ כַּחֵלֶב לִבָּם אֲנִי תּוֹרָתְךָ שִׁעֲשָׁעְתִּי:
    71. It is good for me that I was afflicted, in order that I learn Your statutes.

    80. May my heart be perfect in Your statutes in order that I not be shamed.

    85. Willful sinners have dug pits for me, which is not according to Your Torah. פה. כָּרוּ לִי זֵדִים שִׁיחוֹת אֲשֶׁר לֹא כְתוֹרָתֶךָ:
    86. All Your commandments are faithful; they pursued me in vain; help me. פו. כָּל מִצְו‍ֹתֶיךָ אֱמוּנָה שֶׁקֶר רְדָפוּנִי עָזְרֵנִי:
    87. They almost destroyed me on earth, but I did not forsake Your precepts.


    Yet you have rejected us and abased us, and have not gone out with our armies. You made us turn back from the foe, and our enemies have gotten spoil. You have made us like sheep for slaughter, and have scattered us among the nations. You have sold your people for a trifle, demanding no high price for them. You have made us the taunt of our neighbors, the derision and scorn of those around us. You have made us a byword among the nations, a laughingstock among the peoples. All day long my disgrace is before me, and shame has covered my face at the words of the taunters and revilers, at the sight of the enemy and the avenger. All this has come upon us, yet we have not forgotten you, or been false to your covenant. Our heart has not turned back, nor have our steps departed from your way, yet you have broken us in the haunt of jackals, and covered us with deep darkness. If we had forgotten the name of our God, or spread out our hands to a strange god, would not God discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart. Because of you we are being killed all day long, and accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Rouse yourself! Why do you sleep, O Lord? Awake, do not cast us off forever! Why do you hide your face? Why do you forget our affliction and oppression? For we sink down to the dust; our bodies cling to the ground. Rise up, come to our help. Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love. (Ps 44:9-26)

    Israel is proclaimed to be innocent:
    All this has come upon us, yet we have not forgotten you, or been false to your covenant. Our heart has not turned back, nor have our steps departed from your way. . . . If we had forgotten the name of our God, or spread out our hands to a strange god, would not God discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart. (Ps 44:17-18, 20-21).

    By a perversion of justice he was taken away. Who could have imagined his future? . . . They made his grave with the wicked and his tomb with the rich, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth . . . the righteous one, my servant. (Isa 53:8a, 9, 11b)

    comment : one would think that the death of these people who DID NOT FORSAKE the covenant would “fullfill” and put an end to the laws, but why is it that a diety has to practice his own laws and please him self by doing a self pleasing ritual to himself? why ?

    97. How I love Your Torah! All day it is my conversation

    109. My soul is constantly in my hand, and I have not forgotten Your Torah.

    160. The beginning of Your word is true, and each of Your righteous judgments is eternal.

    it seems that torah, judgement , precepts are all interchangeble terms .

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