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lo ((torah) law)
Mount Sinai, Pentateuch, Ten Commandments, Torah
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Easton's Bible Dictionary

a rule of action.

(1) The Law of Nature

is the will of God as to human conduct, founded on the moral difference of things, and discoverable by natural light ( Romans 1:20 ; 2:14 , 2:15 ). This law binds all men at all times. It is generally designated by the term conscience, or the capacity of being influenced by the moral relations of things.

(2) The Ceremonial Law

prescribes under the Old Testament the rites and ceremonies of worship. This law was obligatory only till Christ, of whom these rites were typical, had finished his work ( Hebrews 7:9 , 7:11 ; 10:1 ; Ephesians 2:16 ). It was fulfilled rather than abrogated by the gospel.

(3) The Judicial Law,

the law which directed the civil policy of the Hebrew nation.

(4) The Moral Law

is the revealed will of God as to human conduct, binding on all men to the end of time. It was promulgated at Sinai. It is perfect ( Psalms 19:7 ), perpetual ( Matthew 5:17 , 5:18 ), holy ( Romans 7:12 ), good, spiritual (14), and exceeding broad ( Psalms 119:96 ). Although binding on all, we are not under it as a covenant of works ( Galatians 3:17 ). (See COMMANDMENTS.)

(5) Positive Laws

are precepts founded only on the will of God. They are right because God commands them.

(6) Moral positive laws

are commanded by God because they are right.


Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names

(no entry)


Smith's Bible Dictionary

The word is properly used, in Scripture as elsewhere, to express a definite commandment laid down by any recognized authority; but when the word is used with the article, and without any words of limitation, it refers to the expressed will to God, and in nine cases out of ten to the Mosaic law, or to the Pentateuch of which it forms the chief portion. The Hebrew word torah (law) lays more stress on its moral authority, as teaching the truth and guiding in the right way; the Greek nomos (law), on its constraining power as imposed and enforced by a recognized authority.

The sense of the word, however, extends its scope and assumes a more abstracts character in the writings of St. Paul. Nomos, when used by him with the article, still refers in general to the law of Moses; but when used without the article, so as to embrace any manifestation of "law," it includes all powers which act on the will of man by compulsion, or by the pressure of external motives, whether their commands be or be not expressed in definite forms. The occasional use of the word "law" (as in ( Romans 3:27 ) "law of faith") to denote an internal principle of action does not really mitigate against the general rule. It should also be noticed that the title "the Law" is occasionally used loosely to refer to the whole of the Old Testament, as in ( John 10:34 ) referring to ( Psalms 82:6 ) in ( John 15:25 ) referring to ( Psalms 35:19 ) and in ( 1 Corinthians 14:21 ) referring to ( Isaiah 28:11 , 28:12 )


International Standard Bible Encyclopedia



This was the form of Divine law which, under the dominion of God, as the Supreme Magistrate, directed the policy of the Jewish nation, and hence, was binding only on them, not on other peoples. The position of Yahweh, as the Supreme Ruler, was made legally binding by a formal election on the part of the national assembly (Exodus 19:3 - 8); and that there might be no question about the matter, after the death of Moses, Joshua, in accordance with instructions received by his great predecessor in the office of federal judge, in the public assembly caused the contract to be renewed in connection with most solemn exercises (Joshua 8:30 - 35). No legal contract was ever entered into with more formality and with a clearer understanding of the terms by the several parties than was the contract which made it binding on the Hebrews permanently to recognize Yahweh as the Supreme Ruler (Exodus 24:3 - 8). He was to be acknowledged as the Founder of the nation (Exodus 20:2); Sovereign, Ruler, and Judge (Exodus 20:2 - 6); and in these capacities was to be the object of love, reverential fear and worship, service, and absolute obedience. Flagrant disregard of their obligations to Him manifested in idolatry or blasphemy was regarded as high treason, and like high treason in all nations and history was punishable by death (Exodus 20:3 - 5 , 7 ; 22:20 ; Leviticus 24:16 ; Deuteronomy 17:2 - 5). The will of Yahweh in critical cases was to be ascertained through special means (Numbers 9:8 ; Judges 1:1 , 2 ; 20:18 , 23 , 28 ; 1 Samuel 10:22).

The ruling official recognized by the Hebrews as a nation was the chief magistrate, but he stood as Yahweh's vicegerent, and therefore combined various authorities in his person. We must distinguish the functions of the chief magistrate (1) under the republic, (2) under the constitutional monarchy, and (3) under the senatorial oligarchy after the Babylonian captivity. Moses was the first chief magistrate under the republic; after him, Joshua, and the other judges. Under the constitutional monarchy, it was the king whose government was limited, for he was to be elected by the people; must be a native Hebrew; must not keep a large cavalry; must not support a harem; must not multiply riches; must be a defender of the national religion; must be guided by law, not whim; must be gracious and condescending to the people (Deuteronomy 17:15-20). After the Babylonian captivity, the senatorial oligarchy combined ecclesiastical and state authority, later sharing it with the Roman government.




bible commentary, bible history, bible reference, bible study, ceremonial law, define, judicial law, law, law of nature, moral law, nomos, positive law, torah



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