Apart from not murdering and not eating meat from a live animal, where are the Noachide laws derived from? Those aforementioned are mentioned in Genesis 9:6, but where (outside the laws of Moses) is it a given to follow the other laws?


1 Answer 1


The logic is given by Rambam in Mishneh Torah Melakhim uMilchamot 9:1:

על ששה דברים נצטווה אדם הראשון [...] הוסיף לנח אבר מן החי שנאמר אך בשר בנפשו דמו לא תאכלו נמצאו שבע מצות

Six precepts were commanded to Adam. [...] The prohibition against eating flesh from a living animal was added for Noah, as it is stated (Bereishit 9:4): 'Nevertheless, you may not eat flesh with its life, which is its blood.' Thus there are seven mitzvot.

(See also Sanhedrin 56a and Bereishit Rabbah 34:8)

So you have to go back to Adam to see these six laws that are listed with their sources in Bereishit Rabbah 16:6. Five are based on the method called gezeirah shavah that derives teachings based on common words in different verses. Bereishit 2:16 was divided into six parts by the sages referring to six commandments:

  • idolatry – וַיְצַו: based on the common word צו also found in Hoshea 5:11
  • blasphemy – 'ה: Hashem alludes to Vayikra 24:16
  • judges – אֱלֹקִים: the other divine name, Elokim alludes to Shemot 22:27
  • (bloodshed – עַל־הָאָדָם: man alludes to Bereishit 9:6)
  • incest – לֵאמֹר: saying alludes to Yirmiyahu 3:1
  • theft – מִכֹּל עֵץ־הַגָּן אָכֹל תֹּאכֵל: Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat alludes to the fact that one needs a permission from an owner to take her/his property.

(See also Sanhedrin 56b)

Another great article from MyJewishLearning.com regarding the question.

  • 1
    @Reggie Do you consider accepting this answer? Jul 26, 2018 at 13:31
  • It includes reference to the Mosaic law, I'm not entirely sure how they all apply to everyone. But as a Noachide myself it's good to see there is a biblical justification for theft being a sin. Jul 26, 2018 at 18:42
  • @Reggie The precise meaning of a verse that applies to all Noachides is derived through a method that uses other verses. But it doesn't change the applicability. We simply ask what is the exact meaning of the verse that commanded Adam. Jul 26, 2018 at 19:57

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