I was discussing the idea of privacy with my ethics professor, and he mentioned the concept of "inviolate personality". When it came up he was pretty sure the word inviolate either comes from or is used in, an old testament context.

Does anyone know what passage(s) this term may appear in, in tanach? An answer should ideally have the book/chapter/verse where this appears in the tanach, as well as a short explanation of context and why the passage would be translated using the word "inviolate". Alternatively if you are quite certain there are no places where this word could be used in translation, please shortly discuss what you are basing your answer off of (e.g. conjecture, or having won the international bible contest etc...)

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    Clearly, the English word doesn't come from the Bible. It's not like King James' monks (or whoever) coined the word specifically for their translation. The concept of a law that's not subject to exceptions is, as Shalom shows, in the Bible, and perhaps depends on monotheism. (If there are many changeable gods, you never know whether they'll change their minds or conflict.) I don't know about "inviolate personality" in particular, which I take to mean something like sovereignty over your own body; I can't think of anywhere that's explicitly in the Torah, offhand.
    – Isaac Moses
    Feb 22, 2011 at 19:07
  • @Isaac Moses: I guess what I am struggling with is that "inviolate" has a very specific meaning in terms of philosophy of privacy, but if it does come up in the bible it wouldn't be with the same meaning attached to it.
    – Jordan
    Feb 23, 2011 at 17:34

1 Answer 1


Um ... in the book of Esther, the Persians keep passing laws that are lo yaavor, which JPS translates "shall not be altered." In the end of the book, the narrator states that the holiday of Purim "lo yaavru", "shall not be altered", either. Similarly, Psalm 148 (verse 6) describes G-d's commands to nature as lo yaavor, which JPS translates "shall not be transgressed."

Meanwhile, several times the Torah speaks of chukat olam, an "eternal statute." (E.g. Exodus 12:14, which JPS translates an ordinance for ever).

Would you call that "inviolate"?

  • @Shalom: Thank you for your informative answer, please see my comment on my question. Also I am going to rethink the question a little bit, if I can more clearly define "inviolate" and perhaps reformulate the question, then I think it will be easier to answer. In the meantime +1
    – Jordan
    Feb 23, 2011 at 17:38
  • Thought about it a bit more (and spoke to the professor I had the conversation with), this is what I needed, thanks!
    – Jordan
    Feb 25, 2011 at 21:56

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