A hypothetical case (based on a somewhat similar real one): Ben Noah in the process of giyur. Stood before the Beis Din and was asked question 'Will you follow the mitzvot as fully as a goy can up until the end of the process of giyur and completely after the process is done?'. Ben Noah said 'I will'. Will he sin if he won't, as fully as he can (e.g. no 100% observance of Shabbos, etc), observe the mitzvot even before he becomes a ger?

Of course the 'level'/kind of potential sin is not like for a Jew, but could it be considered false statement or maybe oat/vow, assuming the Ben Noah already is fully sure (has the mindset) he will confirm his observance of halakha at the next Beis Din meeting (even though he may not keep his word and follow the guidance of the Beis Din)? Will he be liable to punishment either from Shamayim or from a Beis Din? Remarks:

  • Again, this is a hypothetical case.
  • Please note rabbinic prohibition against taking oats is not binding for the goyim.
  • Please give a reason if you downvote, so I can ask better questions in the future.
  • Is a non-Jew prohibited from testifying falsely? Also this isn't testimony; it hasn't happened. Perhaps it is a promise/oath, but are non-Jews prohibited from breaking those?
    – Double AA
    Aug 14, 2014 at 17:43
  • It would appear that it depends if he intends to keep the oath but is prevented for some reason or if he is deliberately lying. Aug 14, 2014 at 21:15
  • @sabbahillel: the person wants to know if there is any 'sin', halakhic punishment of any kind, possibly coming from the 7 laws of Bnei Noah, if he makes a false statement before the Beis Din, to strengthen his will (if there are negative consequences) and not to lie.
    – MichaelS
    Aug 14, 2014 at 22:01
  • @doubleaa testimony differs from the general idea of an oath, it is a separate prohibition for Jews, but more importantly, it is closely related to, and probably implicitly included in, the concept of 'din', which a ben noach is obligated in.
    – Derdeer
    Mar 3, 2021 at 16:03

3 Answers 3


See #2 here from Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld for a lengthy discussion around the obligations of a Ben Noach to keep his word. The perspective he concludes with is:

This approach is also suggested by the MISHNEH L'MELECH (Hilchos Melachim 10:7). The Mishneh l'Melech adds the examples of Avraham and Yitzchak, who made Avimelech make an oath. It is evident from there that Nochrim are commanded to keep their promises.

However, what is the specific commandment, according to this approach, that obligates Nochrim to fulfill their oaths? After all, it is not one of the seven Mitzvos of Bnei Noach. The MESHECH CHOCHMAH (Shemos 20:7) explains that although there is no explicit Mitzvah that requires Nochrim to fulfill their oaths, this obligation is an obvious moral responsibility that falls in the category of a "Mitzvah Sichlis," a logical Mitzvah. Since it is a "Mitzvah Sichlis," a Nochri receives a punishment from Shamayim for violating his oath, even though Beis Din cannot punish him (as it is not one of the seven Mitzvos of Bnei Noach). This reasoning is also alluded to by the Mishneh l'Melech (ibid.).

  • Aren't "exceptional Gentiles" like Avimelech and Tavi not supposed to be used as examples for general Gentile conduct?
    – Jake
    Aug 20, 2014 at 8:57
  • @Jake, apparently the Mishen L'Melech doesn't agree with that.
    – Yishai
    Aug 21, 2014 at 14:27

Here is a list of the seven Noahide commandments:

1) Do not murder.
2) Do not steal.
3) Do not worship false gods.
4) Do not be sexually immoral.
5) Do not eat a limb removed from a live animal.
6) Do not curse God.
7) Set up courts and bring offenders to justice.

It's debatable if law #7 also prohibits false testimony, but it sounds like our case is one where the prospective convert intended to answer truthfully at the time.

So, if this person meant to follow through, and then somehow slipped, that's not false testimony.

Since modern Jewish courts typically don't force people to swear in God's name, any affirmative answer in beis din isn't an official "neder" or "shavua". That is to say, even if a Jew answers "yes" to a beis din regarding future conduct, failing to act in accordance with the request of beis din doesn't make the Jew violate the sin of breaking a vow.

If a Jew would not violate that law in this case, all the more so a non-Jew. [This is all assuming that law #6 prohibits non-Jews from using God's name in an oath, and then not fulfilling that oath]

  • "If a Jew would not violate that law in this case, all the more so a non-Jew. [This is all assuming that law #6 prohibits non-Jews from using God's name in an oath, and then not fulfilling that oath]" - needs a source. A non-Jew is forbidden to perform (or undergo, I am not sure which of the 2) abortion under even stricter circumstances than a Jew is. It is an exception. Are vows another exception like that?
    – MichaelS
    Aug 19, 2014 at 14:56
  • It's hard to source a negative, and admittedly it's been a little while since I learned maseches nedarim, but I don't remember seeing any mention of a nochri's obligation to keep an oath. Abortion is different, because "do not murder" IS one of the 7. Once an action falls under one of the 7 laws, it can be more strict for a nochri than a Jew. However, see Nedarim 31, where we learn that many types of general vows/oaths that a Jew might take (like he won't benefit from a garlic eater), applies to Jews, but not nochrim (goyim)
    – Jake
    Aug 19, 2014 at 16:56

Since it is a מצווה שכלית ("rational" mitzvah), as others have said, I find it hard to imagine it not being binding on a Ben Noach.

Furthermore, I would suggest a more formal obligation here: that the obligation to keep an oath precedes the very idea of mitzvos since our obligation in mitzvos is viewed as the outgrowth of an oath. Thus we have the phrase "מושבע ועומד מהר סיני" for example.

It would seem to fall under the category of דרך ארץ קדמה לתורה.

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