I looked at google for contempt of court and torah. Two sources that I see is this:


It has a rule saying you shouldn't curse the elohim.

Not only the meaning is ambiguous, because elohim can also mean gods, it has another problem.

Contempt of court usually means disobeying court order, not cursing judges.

Is there any mitvah that says that jews need to do what the court tell them to?

For example, say 2 jews bring their case to Moses, or Gibeon or any other judges. And then Gibeon says, "Okay, Bob, you own the house. Charlie, get out." Is there any obligation for Charlie to actually get out because the court already decided that Bob own the house.

If not, what's the point of the whole court system if no body have to obey its decision?

I think I read that somewhere but finding "Contempt of court torah" in google shows nothing.


2 Answers 2


Regarding the point in the question, of:

what's the point of the whole court system if no body have to obey its decision?

One should realize that the Torah describes a legal system within a functioning country. One wouldn't ask what the point is of the whole U.S. Court system if there is no mitzvah to obey? The courts in the U.S. have teeth.

So did the Biblical courts.

In Devarim 16:18, the very first pasuk of parashat Shofetim:

שֹׁפְטִים וְשֹׁטְרִים תִּתֶּן לְךָ בְּכָל שְׁעָרֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ לִשְׁבָטֶיךָ וְשָׁפְטוּ אֶת הָעָם מִשְׁפַּט צֶדֶק:

You shall set up judges and law enforcement officials for yourself in all your cities that the Lord, your God, is giving you, for your tribes, and they shall judge the people [with] righteous judgment.

The Shofetim are the judges and the Shoterim are the law enforcement officials. As Rashi there explains:

"Judges and law-enforcement officials: Heb. שֹׁפְטִים וְשֹׁטְרִים. שֹׁפְטִים are judges who decide the verdict, and שֹׁטְרִים are those who chastise the people in compliance with their order, (who strike and bind [not found in early editions]) with rods and straps, until he [the guilty party] accepts the judge’s verdict."

How this translates to a time / place when the court is not the law of the land is another question. This article lays out some of the teeth that a modern bet din may have.

The verse (Devarim 17:12) cited in the other answer, with the associated capital punishment, refers to a rebellious elder who rules to act not in accordance with the Sanhedrin (High Court), and so does not refer to a litigant who merely disagrees with a court verdict and refuses to comply. Note pasuk 8 which begins כִּי יִפָּלֵא מִמְּךָ דָבָר לַמִּשְׁפָּט. Perhaps one of the slightly earlier verses in context -- though those are also parsed to refer to the rebellious elder case -- is also taken as an instruction to listen in practical action to the bet din (or at least the High Court), e.g. pasuk 10, וְעָשִׂיתָ עַל פִּי הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר יַגִּידוּ לְךָ.

Avot 1:8 meanwhile indicates that it is accepting the verdict that renders one blameless:

יהודה בן טבאי ושמעון בן שטח קיבלו מהם. יהודה בן טבאי אומר, אל תעש עצמך כעורכי הדיינים. וכשיהיו בעלי הדין עומדין לפניך, יהיו בעיניך כרשעים; וכשנפטרים מלפניך, יהיו בעיניך כזכאים, שקיבלו עליהן את הדין.

When the litigants are before you, they should be in your eyes as evildoers [such that you should carefully weigh what they say and not take them at their mere words] and when they leave from before you, they should be in your eyes as blameless, for they have accepted upon themselves the law.

  • Devarim 17:12 means deuteronomy right? Oh looks like we got the same verse.
    – user4951
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 9:55
  • What is avot? I know it's judaism site. What's the christian equivalent of that book if I may ask?
    – user4951
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 9:59
  • Bereshit is genesis. Devarim is deuteronomy. Avot? Let's see. What was that? Either exodus or number
    – user4951
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 10:01
  • 1
    Avot is Mishnah. This tractate is often called Ethics of Our Fathers. so not biblical. Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 10:35
  • About that Devarim/Deuteronomy thingy. You have a strange interpretation. Would you care to explain or should it be another question?
    – user4951
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 13:27

After long searching, I think I found the verses I am looking for


The person who pays no attention to the priest currently serving the LORD your God there, or to the verdict--that person must die, so that you may purge evil from Israel.

  • This one is a straightforward fact based answer with no controversy at all. Also I used biblehub because it has many parallel translations. I have not found any other sites that show any signficiant deviations from bible hub. Controversial verses often have deviations within the bible hub itself.
    – user4951
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 9:53
  • Actually this answer is what I am looking for. However, I will mark the other answer as valid because it has far more info. Also it has a different interpretation of Deuteronomy 17:12
    – user4951
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 9:57

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