Torah (Toh´ruh; Heb., “instruction” or “teaching”)

God’s instructions to Israel. The Hebrew word Torah is often translated “law” in English Bibles. The vast majority of the occurrences of the word refer to God’s instructions to Moses at Sinai. These instructions or commandments became Israelite law and the stipulations of the covenant. The Torah had a great democratizing influence on Israelite society—all had to obey, especially kings (Deut 17:18-20). The book of Proverbs uses the word torah in the sense of providing parental guidance for children, and this may provide the reason why the term was used in the religious sphere. The Israelites viewed themselves as God’s children (Exod 4:22; Deut 14:1; Deut 32:10-12; Hos 11:1; Jer 31:9; Jer 31:20; Isa 66:13). Thus, torah in the religious sense may have originally connoted the teachings imparted by God the parent to the child Israel.

Deut 17:18-20

18When he has taken the throne of his kingdom, he shall have a copy of this law written for him in the presence of the levitical priests.19It shall remain with ... View more

Exod 4:22

22Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord: Israel is my firstborn son.

Deut 14:1

Pagan Practices Forbidden
1You are children of the Lord your God. You must not lacerate yourselves or shave your forelocks for the dead.

Deut 32:10-12

10He sustained him in a desert land,
in a howling wilderness waste;
he shielded him, cared for him,
guarded him as the apple of his eye.11As an eagle stirs up i ... View more

Hos 11:1

God's Compassion Despite Israel's Ingratitude
1When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.

Jer 31:9

9With weeping they shall come,
and with consolations I will lead them back,
I will let them walk by brooks of water,
in a straight path in which they shall not ... View more

Jer 31:20

20Is Ephraim my dear son?
Is he the child I delight in?
As often as I speak against him,
I still remember him.
Therefore I am deeply moved for him;
I will surel ... View more

Isa 66:13

13As a mother comforts her child,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

 NEH Logo
Bible Odyssey has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.