To my limited knowledge there is no such thing as "abrogation" within the Tanach. Such would seem to defeat the immutability of G-d's Law. This issue of abrogation comes up a lot in both Christian and Muslim circles, since many interpreters of the Christian bible and the Quran posit some sort of abrogation of previous scriptures (the Christians often claim aspects of Torah Law were abrogated and the Muslims have, even within their own canon, laws that are seemingly abrogated, although different jurists rule variably on this latter case).

Am I correct and, equally as important, what are the best verses in the Tanach which proclaim the changeless reality of G-d's Law?

  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/64025/…
    – SAH
    Commented Dec 24, 2015 at 5:17
  • Rabbi Albo seems to state that another Torah can be produced if another person appears like Moshe in front of millions of people. However, Maimonides says that this cannot happen. It is certainly reasonable that it can, and yet, Maimonides says it can't. What is the reason for this? Because G-d created Moshe (the lawgiver) which such immense intelligence (basically he was the smartest person ever to live), that no one will ever surpass him in his huge amount of intelligence.
    – Turk Hill
    Commented Nov 17, 2019 at 1:14

5 Answers 5


Textual indicators abound for the eternal and immutable nature of the Torah. Besides examples provided in other answers, here are a couple more examples:

Even all that the LORD hath commanded you by the hand of Moses, from the day that the LORD gave commandment, and onward throughout your generations (B'midbar 15:23).

And thou shalt keep His statutes, and His commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the land, which the LORD thy G-d giveth thee, for ever (D'varim 4:40).

Of old have I known from Thy testimonies that Thou hast founded them for ever (T'hillim 119:152).

All this word which I command you, that shall ye observe to do; thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it (D'varim 13:1).

Another approach, mentioned by the Rambam (Moreh N'vuchim 2:39), is that the perfect nature of the Torah precludes the possibility that it could be replaced with something that would necessarily be less perfect. Regarding this nature of the Torah, the Rambam cites such verses as:

The law of the LORD is perfect (P'salms 19:8).

More broadly speaking, other verses indicate that the Almighty's will is immutable and that He does not change His word:

G-d is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: when He hath said, will He not do it? or when He hath spoken, will He not fulfill it (B'midbar 23:19)?

And also the Glory of Israel will not lie nor repent; for He is not a man, that He should repent (Sh'mu'el I 15:29).

The Ibn Ezra (Sh'mos 32:14) demonstrates that instances of the Almighty's regret as described elsewhere (e.g. B'reishis 6:6, Sh'mos 32:14, and Sh'mu'el I 15:11) are anthropopathic, and He does not actually change His mind:

וינחם: חלילה להנחם השם, רק דברה תורה כלשון בני אדם, כמו ויעל (ברא' לה, יג), וירד (שם יא, ה), ישמח ד' במעשיו (תה' קד, לא), ויתעצב אל לבו (ברא' ו, ו). והנה שמואל אמר, וגם נצח ישראל לא ישקר ולא ינחם (ש"א טו, כט), ושם כתוב נחמתי שם, י.

  • 2
    wow. An excellent addendum to the previous answer. I certainly think my arsenal is prepared to defend the immutable Torah now! Thank you so very much, Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 19:39
  • @YochananMichael I remember in my anti-missionary class, we were given 24 sources where it says "the Torah will never change". If you want them, just ask!
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Dec 19, 2022 at 15:38

Although all agree that the Torah, as a practical matter, will not change, there is a disagreement between the Rambam and others (e.g. Sefer HaIkkarim 3:16) if this is an inherent quality, and thus a fundamental aspect of belief, or just something that G-d decided.

In addition, within G-d's commandments, there is a concept of ניתנה תורה, ונתחדשה הלכה - when the Torah was given, there was a new Law - even according to the Rambam.

So even according the accepted view of the Rambam that the Torah is inherently eternal that does not preclude G-d from commanding something on a circumstantial or provisional basis.

One of the Rambam's proofs (Yisodei Hatorah 9:1) for the eternal nature of the Torah is Devarim 29:28.

The hidden things belong to the Lord, our God, but the revealed things apply to us and to our children forever: that we must fulfill all the words of this Torah.

The term "forever" there always (according to the Rambam - Moreh Nevuchim 2:28) connotates eternity (for the length existence of the world).

  • 1
    What makes the Rambam's opinion "accepted"?
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 19:13
  • @DoubleAA, I'm not sure I understand your question?
    – Yishai
    Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 19:38
  • 1
    You called the view of the Rambam "accepted". I wondered what makes his opinion have that status. (You might also want to explain what that status is.)
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 21:04
  • Yea, I mean. Rabam is popular. Well. Jesus is even more popular. So that's how things got "accepted"? popularity contest?
    – user4951
    Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 14:40
  • @JimThio, you can ask. But in one phrase - peer acceptance.
    – Yishai
    Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 14:42

The most explicit place in the Torah is Deuteronomy 13:2-6:

יג,ב כִּי-יָקוּם בְּקִרְבְּךָ נָבִיא, אוֹ חֹלֵם חֲלוֹם; וְנָתַן אֵלֶיךָ אוֹת, אוֹ מוֹפֵת. יג,ג וּבָא הָאוֹת וְהַמּוֹפֵת, אֲשֶׁר-דִּבֶּר אֵלֶיךָ לֵאמֹר: נֵלְכָה אַחֲרֵי אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים, אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יְדַעְתָּם--וְנָעָבְדֵם. יג,ד לֹא תִשְׁמַע, אֶל-דִּבְרֵי הַנָּבִיא הַהוּא, אוֹ אֶל-חוֹלֵם הַחֲלוֹם, הַהוּא: כִּי מְנַסֶּה יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם, אֶתְכֶם, לָדַעַת הֲיִשְׁכֶם אֹהֲבִים אֶת-יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם, בְּכָל-לְבַבְכֶם וּבְכָל-נַפְשְׁכֶם. יג,ה אַחֲרֵי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם תֵּלֵכוּ, וְאֹתוֹ תִירָאוּ; וְאֶת-מִצְו‍ֹתָיו תִּשְׁמֹרוּ וּבְקֹלוֹ תִשְׁמָעוּ, וְאֹתוֹ תַעֲבֹדוּ וּבוֹ תִדְבָּקוּן. יג,ו וְהַנָּבִיא הַהוּא אוֹ חֹלֵם הַחֲלוֹם הַהוּא יוּמָת, כִּי דִבֶּר-סָרָה עַל-יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם הַמּוֹצִיא אֶתְכֶם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם וְהַפֹּדְךָ מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים--לְהַדִּיחֲךָ מִן-הַדֶּרֶךְ, אֲשֶׁר צִוְּךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לָלֶכֶת בָּהּ; וּבִעַרְתָּ הָרָע, מִקִּרְבֶּךָ.

Translation (Mechon Mamre):

2 If there arise in the midst of thee a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams--and he give thee a sign or a wonder, 3 and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spoke unto thee--saying: 'Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them'; 4 thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or unto that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God putteth you to proof, to know whether ye do love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 5 After the LORD your God shall ye walk, and Him shall ye fear, and His commandments shall ye keep, and unto His voice shall ye hearken, and Him shall ye serve, and unto Him shall ye cleave. 6 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken perversion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of bondage, to draw thee aside out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put away the evil from the midst of thee.

It is fairly clear from these verses that God will never change His commandment prohibiting idolatry. The oral tradition extends this to all other permanent changes (temporary changes are permitted on a case-by-case basis).

  • thank you for your answer. This passage came to mind while thinking about this question, and so I put the post down to look for a little more data, but still this serves the express purpose of any apologetic need. Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 19:30
  • God will never change his commandment prohibiting idolatry. what about other commandments? Any more clear verse there?
    – user4951
    Commented Jul 7, 2015 at 2:31

End of Malachi and the final word of the prophets to keep in mind before the arrival of Eliyahu:

"Remember the Torah of Moshe my servant, which I enjoined on him at Horev (Sinai), laws and rulings for all Israel. 5 Look, I will send to you Eliyahu the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible Day of God. 6 He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers; otherwise I will come and strike the land with complete destruction." Look, I will send to you Eliyahu the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible Day of God."

this implies that the Torah of Moshe will be valid until the end of days

  • 1
    Whose translation is this? The verse says אליה not אליהו.
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 13:32
  • 3
    most translations render it as Elijah the prophet which is the same thing as Eliyahu
    – ray
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 13:48
  • 1
    Multiple wrongs make a right?
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 27, 2014 at 1:36

In addition to everything else stated here, the Rambam in his introduction to the last chapter of Sanhedrin, where he develops his 13 foundations of Jewish belief, explains the immutability of the Torah as the 9th foundation, and quotes the verse "You shall not add onto [the Torah] or subtract from it" (Deuteronomy 13:1) as the source of this central belief.

In Yesodei HaTorah 9:1 the Rambam also brings this verse

דבר ברור ומפורש בתורה, שהיא מצוה עומדת לעולם ולעולמי עולמים: אין לה לא שינוי, ולא גירעון ולא תוספת, שנאמר "את כל הדבר, אשר אנוכי מצווה אתכם--אותו תשמרו, לעשות: לא תוסף עליו, ולא תגרע ממנו

הא למדת שכל דברי תורה, מצווין אנו לעשותן עד עולם

It is explicit in the Torah that it is an eternal law forever, not subject to change, neither subtractions or additions, as it says "All the matters which I have commanded you, keep it to do perform; do not add onto it nor subtract from it."

You have hereby learned that we are commanded to keep the entire Torah forever.

  • On its own, that verse as evidence for this proposition seems circular to me. That is a law, the law changed. You can't demand that the previous law trump the change. I think it is evidence combined with the idea that any theoretical changes must be consistent with the revelation at Sinai - this shows that no such changes are possible. But the notions the question asks about would reject the premise.
    – Yishai
    Commented Apr 25, 2014 at 15:31
  • 1
    @Yishai I'm not sure how any prior rule can prevent a future change according to your system. If a rule said explicitly "no future changes allowed" you would say "but if we change it, then we trump the no change rule." I think the Rambam is perfectly reasonable - the Torah says there will be no changing the rules - if you want to change the rules, then it's no longer Torah. Commented Apr 27, 2014 at 4:09
  • @Yishai "Don't add" does not mean "don't add, unless of course you do add. Then go ahead." And the Rambam is not stating this combined with any other evidence. If you want to take issue with the Rambam, that is your (foolhardy) prerogative. Commented Apr 27, 2014 at 4:12
  • The Rambam with that possuk is addressing a different claim - that the new laws would be consistent with the revelation at Sinai. For that, the Posuk is a strong proof. That just wasn't the question. It is also evidence for the idea that this is a fundamental part of Judaism (thus arguing with the Sefer HaIkkarim) and perhaps why the Rambam chose that particular verse in that context. I'm just questioning your application of it to this question.
    – Yishai
    Commented Apr 27, 2014 at 14:58
  • @Yishai The verse does not say "make new laws, but keep them consistent." It says "Do not make any new laws. Or take any away." And in any case, I don't see the practical difference between "This law is always binding, don't change it" and "change it, as long as the changes are exactly the same as the original." I must be missing something. Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 13:13

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .