I'm looking for any signs of the awareness of this prohibition in the Tanakh. Note that there are additional explicit Biblical prohibitions such as "You shall not swear by my name falsely, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord." (Leviticus 19:12), or "Neither shall you profane my holy name;" (22:32).

Are there any stories, examples, or cases, that refer specifically to this commandment?

  • The death of Navot seems related. And of course Shlomit Bat Divri's son
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 28 at 15:12
  • @DoubleAA Did you mean "וְהוֹשִׁיבוּ שְׁנַיִם אֲנָשִׁים בְּנֵי־בְלִיַּעַל נֶגְדּוֹ וִיעִדֻהוּ לֵאמֹר בֵּרַכְתָּ אֱלֹהִים וָמֶלֶךְ וְהוֹצִיאֻהוּ וְסִקְלֻהוּ וְיָמֹת׃"? As in "אֱלֹהִ֖ים לֹ֣א תְקַלֵּ֑ל וְנָשִׂ֥יא בְעַמְּךָ֖ לֹ֥א תָאֹֽר׃"?
    – Al Berko
    Commented Jun 28 at 15:16
  • @DoubleAA did I ask a similar question about Shabbs and honoring parens? I don't remember
    – Al Berko
    Commented Jun 28 at 15:17
  • I'm not sure exactly what you are looking for. People taking oaths seriously? People respecting God?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 28 at 15:17

2 Answers 2


One such explicit example can be found in: Yechezkiel 36:20-21

וַיָּב֗וֹא אֶל־הַגּוֹיִם֙ אֲשֶׁר־בָּ֣אוּ שָׁ֔ם וַֽיְחַלְּל֖וּ אֶת־שֵׁ֣ם קׇדְשִׁ֑י בֶּאֱמֹ֤ר לָהֶם֙ עַם־יְהֹוָ֣ה אֵ֔לֶּה וּמֵאַרְצ֖וֹ יָצָֽאוּ׃

Therefore I am concerned for My holy name, which the House of Israel have caused to be profaned among the nations to which they have come

לָכֵ֞ן אֱמֹ֣ר לְבֵֽית־יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל כֹּ֤ה אָמַר֙ אֲדֹנָ֣י יֱהֹוִ֔ה לֹ֧א לְמַעַנְכֶ֛ם אֲנִ֥י עֹשֶׂ֖ה בֵּ֣ית יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל כִּ֤י אִם־לְשֵׁם־קׇדְשִׁי֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר חִלַּלְתֶּ֔ם בַּגּוֹיִ֖ם אֲשֶׁר־בָּ֥אתֶם שָֽׁם׃

Say to the House of Israel: Thus said the Sovereign GOD: Not for your sake will I act, O House of Israel, but for My holy name, which you have caused to be profaned among the nations to which you have come.

  • I’m glad this was helpful, and yes agreed I will update the answer to reflect this insight better Commented Jul 2 at 12:15

This is the story of the Son of the Israelite Woman mentioned in VaYikra 24:11-16.

Which recounts:

The son of the Israelite woman pronounced the Name in blasphemy, and he was brought to Moses—now his mother’s name was Shelomith daughter of Dibri of the tribe of Dan— and he was placed in custody, until the decision of יהוה should be made clear to them. And יהוה spoke to Moses, saying: Take the blasphemer outside the camp; and let all who were within hearing lay their hands upon his head, and let the community leadership stone him. And to the Israelite people speak thus: Anyone who blasphemes God shall bear the guilt; and one who also pronounces the name יהוה shall be put to death. The community leadership shall stone that person; stranger or citizen—having thus pronounced the Name—shall be put to death.

One of the significant consequences of this episode is that it underlined that converts do not belong to any of the twelve tribes of Israel and are prohibited from claiming the particular inheritance of any of those tribes. This was the decision from the court of Moshe Rabbeinu.

This means converts currently do not have any inheritance in the actual land of Israel, nor in the inheritance of the descendants of Aharon or any specific minhag beyond that which is universally accepted by all Jews, meaning Minhag Yisrael.

  • Thank you. The problem is with the Hebrew נוקב which is [wrongfully] translated as merely "pronouncing". It appears that the original נוקב is a synonym for cursing (קילל) as he's referred to as מקלל and for that, he was stoned. Also all Halachic references to this verse sefaria.org.il/… understand it as cursing and not "bearing in vain". Am I wrong?
    – Al Berko
    Commented Jul 4 at 10:47
  • @AlBerko As I understand it in context with the portrayal of the event in Midrash, the concept of cursing was about intent, which was also relevant. But his utterance was only of G-d’s name upon exiting court. Like he lost his temper upon hearing the verdict. It was detached, pointless and without respect. By definition, “in vain” תשא לשוא . Commented Jul 4 at 14:55
  • What Midrash do you refer to? I understand the need to read later understandings into the Torah, IIRC, Jews practiced iconography (and probably uttering God's names) until the Maccabean revolt.
    – Al Berko
    Commented Jul 4 at 19:02
  • 1
    @AlBerko I would have to look to answer definitively, but my reflex is to look in Midrash HaGadol, Chemdat Yamim and Sefer Yashar. Commented Jul 4 at 22:29

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