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Maimonides' Law of Noahides

Please note when reading this translation that while Maimonides is the major source of a comprehensive Code of Jewish Law, not all authorities follow his rulings and other opinions have made their way as law.
Concerning Maimonides obligation of Jews to seek (or force) observance of Noachide Laws by Gentiles. A simple reading of the rules of Maimonides' would indicate that Jews or a Jewish court are obligated to coerce Noachides to observe their laws. Such is not the only way, however, to interpret Maimonides' statements. See Rabbi Michael J. Broyde in his "The Obligation of Jews to Seek Observance of Noachide Laws by Gentiles: A Theoretical Review" where the conclusion is that such a view is not supported by Jewish Law.[1]. The book "Torah For Gentiles" by Elisheva Barre makes a clear point that the "coercion" Maimonides talks about applies only to the Canaanite nations, as a condition for their becoming Resident Strangers (see page 22-29 and page 171 note 18).
Concerning Maimonides exclusive use of capital punishment for Noahide violations: most rabbinic authorities disagree with Maimonides, and hold that it means "punishments up to and including capital punishment"; that a system of fines is meant to be set up; and courts set up by Noahides themselves, not Jewish law, should determine the structure and severity of Noahide punishments in whatever manner best serves justice for their particular country.[2]. Barre's book "Torah for Gentiles" analyzes the application of the Noahide laws according to Maimonides.
The question as to what constitutes idolatry today, and whether Christianity constitutes idolatry or a lesser form of partnership, became a matter of debate in Jewish halachic literature. In any event, it has never, at any time in our history, been suggested that Christians be prosecuted according to these laws. [3]


Laws of Kings and their Wars, Chapter 8

הלכות מלכים ומלחמותיהם פרק ח
9 A Yefas to'ar that does not want to put down idolatry, after the twelve month[4] receives capital punishment.[5] Likewise with the city that submits, no treaty is made with them until they have denounced idolatry, destroyed all its places, and have taken upon themselves the rest of the commandments[6] that were commanded to Noahides. Any non-Jew who does not accept the laws that were commanded to Noahides receives capital punishment[7] if he is within our jurisdiction.[8]


ט  יפת תואר שלא רצת להניח עבודה זרה לאחר השנים עשר חודש, הורגין אותה. וכן עיר שהשלימה, אין כורתין להן ברית, עד שיכפרו בעבודה זרה, ויאבדו כל מקומותיה, ויקבלו שאר המצוות שנצטוו בני נח: שכל גוי שלא קיבל מצוות שנצטוו בני נח, הורגין אותו, אם ישנו תחת ידינו.
10 Moshe Rabbenu gave the Torah and the commandments as an inheritance only to Israel[9], as it is written: "[The Torah is...] an inheritance of the congregation of Jacob" (Deuteronomy 33:4). Anyone who wants to may convert from the other nations, as it is written "as with you, [the same shall be] as with the convert" (Numbers 15:15). Anyone who does not wish to is not compelled to accept the Torah and commandments. Instead Moshe Rabbenu commanded, at the word of the Almighty, to compel all those who come into the world to accept the commandments which were commanded to Noah.[10] Anyone who will not accept, receives capital punishment.[11] One who accepts these [basic laws] is called: Ger Toshav in every place.[12] It is necessary to receive him in front of three Torah Scholars.[13] And all who have taken upon themselves to circumcise, and twelve months have past without circumcision, behold this person is like a heretic among the nations.[14]


י  משה רבינו לא הנחיל התורה והמצוות אלא לישראל, שנאמר "מורשה, קהילת יעקוב" (דברים לג,ד), ולכל הרוצה להתגייר משאר האומות, שנאמר "ככם כגר" (במדבר טו,טו). אבל מי שלא רצה, אין כופין אותו לקבל תורה ומצוות. וכן ציווה משה רבינו מפי הגבורה, לכוף את כל באי העולם לקבל כל מצוות שנצטווה נח, וכל מי שלא קיבל, ייהרג. והמקבל אותם, הוא הנקרא גר תושב בכל מקום. וצריך לקבל עליו בפני שלושה חברים. וכל המקבל עליו למול, ועברו עליו שנים עשר חודש ולא מל, הרי זה כמין שבאומות.
11 Everyone who accepts the Seven Laws and is careful to do them, this person is one of theChasidei Umos HaOlam (very pious of the nations of the world), and he has portion in the world to come. This applies to one who accepts them and will do them because the Kodosh Baruch Hucommanded them in the Torah, and informed us by means of Moshe Rabbenu, that Noahides were previously commanded concerning these laws. But if he does them because of an intellectual decision, then he is not a Ger Toshav, and is not of the Chasidei Umos HaOlam, he is [only] one of their wise men (of the nations of the world).
יא  כל המקבל שבע מצוות ונזהר לעשותן, הרי זה מחסידי אומות העולם, ויש לו חלק לעולם הבא. והוא שיקבל אותן ויעשה אותן מפני שציווה בהן הקדוש ברוך הוא בתורה, והודיענו על ידי משה רבינו, שבני נח מקודם נצטוו בהן. אבל אם עשאן מפני הכרע הדעת, אין זה גר תושב, ואינו מחסידי אומות העולם אלא מחכמיהם.

Laws of Kings and their Wars, Chapter 9

הלכות מלכים ומלחמות פרק ט
1 Adam HaRishon was commanded in six things:
  • [the prohibition] concerning idolatry
  • [the prohibition] concerning blasphemy
  • [the prohibition] concerning spilling of blood
  • [the prohibition] concerning forbidden relations
  • [the prohibition] concerning robbery
  • and [the injunction of establishing courts of] justice.
Even though all these were received into our hands from Moshe Rabbenu, and the intelect naturally inclines towards them – from a general reading of the words of Torah, they can see that they were commanded in these. [G-d] added to Noah [the commandment] concerning a torn limb, as it is written "From the flesh, its life is in the blood, do not eat" (Genesis 9:4). This makes seven commandments.

This is how matters stood in the world until Avraham. Avraham came and was commanded other things beyond this, in circumcision and he prayed the morning prayers. Yitzchak began tithing, and added the afternoon prayers. Yaakov added [the prohibition of not eating] the sciatic nerve and prayed the evening prayers. In Egypt, Amram was commanded other things, untilMoshe Rabbenu came and completed [the giving] of the Torah, by his hand.

א  על שישה דברים נצטווה אדם הראשון: על עבודה זרה, ועל ברכת השם, ועל שפיכות דמים, ועל גילוי עריות, ועל הגזל, ועל הדינים. אף על פי שכולן קבלה הן בידינו ממשה רבינו, והדעת נוטה להן, מכלל דברי התורה, ייראה שעל אלו נצטוו. הוסיף לנח אבר מן החי, שנאמר "אך בשר, בנפשו דמו לא תאכלו" (בראשית ט,ד). נמצאו שבע מצוות. וכן היה הדבר בכל העולם, עד אברהם נצטווה יתר על אלו במילה, והוא התפלל שחרית. ויצחק הפריש מעשר, והוסיף תפילה אחרת לפנות היום. ויעקוב הוסיף גיד הנשה, והתפלל ערבית. ובמצריים נצטווה עמרם במצוות יתרות, עד שבא משה רבינו ונשלמה תורה על ידו.
2 A Noahide that serves idolatry – is liable. Who [are we refering to]? One that serves idolatry in the normal way. All who serve idolatry and would be given capital punishment by a Jewish court, a Noahide is also given capital punishment. All who a Jewish court would not give capital punishment, neither is a Noahide given capital punishment. Nevertheless, even though [a Noahide] would not be executed [for these forms of worship], he is forbidden [to engage] in all of them. It is not allowed for them to erect an monument, plant a 'holy tree', nor to make images [of people] and the like, [even though they are only] for the sake of decoration.
בבן נח  שעבד עבודה זרה, חייב, והוא? שיעבוד כדרכה. וכל עבודה זרה שבית דין של ישראל ממיתין עליה, בן נח נהרג עליה. וכל שאין בית דין של ישראל ממיתין עליה, אין בן נח נהרג עליה; ואף על פי שאינו נהרג, אסור בכל. ואין מניחין אותם להקים מצבה, ולא ליטע אשרה, ולא לעשות צורות וכיוצא בהן לנואי.
3 A Noahide who curses G-d's name, whether by the particular name of G-d, or another name, in any language – is liable, whereas this differs from Jewish law.
ג  בן נח שבירך את השם, בין שבירך בשם המיוחד, בין שבירך בכינוי, בכל לשון, חייב: מה שאין כן בישראל.
4 A Noahide that murdered someone, even if it was a fetus in its mother's womb – he is given capital punishment [in retribution] for its [death]. Even if the person killed was terminally ill, or bound and placed before a lion, or allowed him to die of starvation – since he caused someone to die in some manner, he is given capital punishment. Even if someone kills a pursuer, when he could have been saved by [simply wounding] one of [the pursuer's] limbs, he is given capital punishment, whereas this differs from Jewish law.
ד  בן נח שהרג נפש, אפילו עובר במעי אימו, נהרג עליו. וכן אם הרג טריפה, או שכפתו ונתנו לפני הארי, או שהניחו ברעב עד שמת, הואיל והמית מכל מקום, נהרג. וכן אם הרג רודף שיכול להצילו באחד מאבריו, נהרג עליו, מה שאין כן בישראל.
5 Six illicit relations are forbidden to a Noahide: his mother, wife of his father, a married woman, his maternal sister, a male, or a beast, as it is written "Therefore, a man shall leave his father" (Genesis 2:24) this is
  • ["his father"] - the wife of his father
  • "and his mother" – as understood
  • "and cleave to his wife" - not the wife of his neighbor
  • "his wife [woman]" - not a male
  • "and they shall become one flesh" - to exclude beasts, animals or birds, that cannot be "one flesh"
  • ["materal sister"] - that is to say "She is my sister, my father's daughter, but not my mother's. [Thus,] she became my wife." (Genesis 20:12)
ה שש עריות אסורות על בני נוח, האם, ואשת האב, ואשת איש, ואחותו מאימו, וזכור, ובהמה: שנאמר "על כן, יעזוב איש, את אביו" (בראשית ב,כד), זו אשת אביו; "ואת אימו", כמשמעה; "ודבק באשתו", ולא באשת חברו; "ודבק באשתו", לא בזכור; "והיו לבשר אחד", להוציא בהמה חיה ועוף שאין הוא והם בשר אחד; ונאמר "אחותי בת אבי היא, אך, לא בת אימי; ותהי לי, לאישה" (בראשית כ,יב).
6 A Noahide is liable [for relations with his mother even though] she was seduced or raped by his father [and never married to him], for this is [even so] his mother in every respect, and he is liable for [relations with] the wife of his father, even after the father's death. He is liable for homosexuality, whether [with someone] young or old, for bestiality, whether young or old. He is given capital punishment, but the animal is not killed – [Noahide law] was not commanded in the killing of the animal, this is only in Jewish law.
ו בן נח חייב על מפותת אביו, ואנוסת אביו, הרי היא אימו מכל מקום. וחייב על אשת אביו, אפילו לאחר מיתת אביו. וחייב על הזכור, בין קטן בין גדול; ועל הבהמה, בין קטנה בין גדולה. והוא נהרג לבדו, ואין הורגין את הבהמה, שלא נצטוו בהריגת בהמה, אלא ישראל.
7 A Noahide is not liable for [breaking the law] of "neighbor's wife" unless they engage in relations in the normal manner after the marriage had been consummated. But, if she was enagaged or had undergone a wedding ceremony, but the marriage has not been consummated – he is not liable for [capital punishment] over her, as is is written: "for she has been possessed by [her] husband." (Genesis 20:3). When do these things speak about? When a Noahide man sleeps with a Noahide woman. But, a non-Jew who sleeps with a [married] Jewish woman, in normal or even abnormal manner, is liable [and falls under the jurisdiction of Jewish law:]. If [a non-Jew slept] with an engaged woman – he is stoned to death, as per Jewish law. If he sleeps with her after she has undergone the wedding ceremony, but the marriage has not been consummated – he is strangled to death, as per Jewish law. However, if he sleeps with a Jewish woman after her marriage has been consummated, this falls under the law of "neighbor's wife" and he executed by beheading, [as per Noahide law].

ז אין בן נח חייב על אשת חברו, עד שיבוא עליה כדרכה אחר שנבעלה לבעלה. אבל מאורסה, או שנכנסה לחופה ועדיין לא נבעלה, אין חייבין עליה, שנאמר "והיא, בעולת בעל" (בראשית כ,ג). במה דברים אמורים? בבן נח שבא על בת נוח. אבל גוי שבא על הישראלית, בין כדרכה בין שלא כדרכה, חייב. ואם הייתה נערה מאורסה, נסקל עליה, כדיני ישראל; בא עליה אחר שנכנסה לחופה, ולא נבעלה, הרי זה בחנק, כדיני ישראל. אבל אם בא על אשת ישראל אחר שנבעלה, הרי זה כמי שבא על אשת גוי חברו, וייהרג בסיף.
8 A Noahide who singles out a maid-servants for his slave and [afterwards] sleeps with her – he is given capital punishment because of her, for [breaking the law of] "neighbor's wife". He is not liable [for sleeping] with her, until [the marriage] has been officiated and become public knowledge, and everyone refers to her as "the wife of the slave so-and-so." When do [relations with] her return to being permitted? When he separates her from his slave and uncovers her hair in the market place. When is a married [Noahide] woman considered a divorced woman as [in Jewish law]? When he removes her from his home and sends her on her own, or when she leaves his domain and goes away. [In Noahide law] there is no [requirement for] a divorce in writing, nor is the matter at the husbands sole discretion, rather anytime that either [the husband] or [the wife] decides to separate from each other – they may separated [and then, are no longer considered as married.]

ח בן נח שייחד שפחה לעבדו, הרי זה נהרג עליה, משום אשת חברו. ואינו חייב עליה, עד שיפשוט הדבר ויאמרו לה העם, זו דבית עבד פלוני. ומאימתיי תחזור להיתרה, משיפרישנה מעבדו, ויפרע ראשה בשוק. ומאימתיי תהיה אשת חברו כגרושה שלנו? משיוציאה מביתו וישלחנה לעצמה, או משתצא היא מתחת רשותו ותלך לה: שאין לה גירושין בכתב; ואין הדבר תלוי בו בלבד, אלא כל זמן שירצה הוא או היא לפרוש זה מזה, פורשין.
9 A Noahide is liable for [breaking the law of] robbery whether he stole from a non-Jew or from a Jew. One who robs [forcibly] or steals money, a kidnaper, an [employer who] withholds the wages of a worker, and the like, even a worker who eats [from his employer's produce] not during working hours – in all these, he is liable and considered a thief. This differs in Jewish law. He is liable even [for stealing something] worth less than a perutah; A Noahide who stole less than the worth of aperutah and another stole it from him – they are both given capital punishment because of it.
ט בן נח חייב על הגזל, בין שגזל גוי בין שגזל ישראל. ואחד הגוזל, או הגונב ממון, או גונב נפש, או הכובש שכר שכיר וכיוצא בו, אפילו פועל שאכל שלא בשעת מלאכה, על הכל הוא חייב, והרי הוא בכלל גזלן: מה שאין כן בישראל. וכן חייב, על פחות משווה פרוטה; ובן נח שגזל פחות משווה פרוטה, ובא אחר וגזלה ממנו, שניהן נהרגין עליה.
10 And also he is liable for [breaking the law of] "torn limb" or "torn meat" – in any amount, for [the specifications of] minimum amounts is defined only in Jewish law [and not Noahide law]. He is permitted blood from a living creature.
י וכן חייב על אבר מן החי, ועל בשר מן החי בכל שהוא: שלא ניתנו השיעורין, אלא לישראל בלבד. ומותר הוא בדם מן החי.
11 [This law applies to] a limb or meat, that is separated from a domesticated animal or a [wild] animal; However, it appears to me that a Noahide is not given capital punishment for a "torn limb" from a bird.
יא אחד האבר או הבשר, הפורש מן הבהמה או מן החיה; אבל העוף, ייראה לי, שאין בן נח נהרג על אבר מן החי ממנו.
12 One who slaughters a domesticated animal, even if one severs the two signs [that would make it properly killed under Jewish law], as long as it moves convulsively, the limbs and meat which are separated from it are forbidden to a Noahide because of [breaking the law of a] "torn limb"
יב  השוחט את הבהמה, אפילו שחט בה שני הסימנין, כל זמן שהיא מפרכסת, אבר ובשר הפורשין ממנה אסורין לבני נח משום אבר מן החי.
13 Everyting that is prohibited in Jewish law concerning a "torn limb" is also prohibited according to Noahide law. There are further prohibitions in Noahide law that are not in Jewish law: Noahide law includes domesticated animals and [wild] animals whether they are from a kosher or non-kosher species. Also, a limb or meat that is separated from an animal that is [still] moving convulsively, even though it has been killed properly according to Jewish law by severing the two signs – this is forbidden to a Noahide because it is considered a "torn limb".
יג כל שאסור על ישראל משום אבר מן החי, אסור על בני נוח. ויש שבני נח חייבין עליו, ולא ישראל: שבני נח אחד בהמה וחיה, בין טהורה בין טמאה, חייבין עליה, משום אבר מן החי ומשום בשר מן החי; ואבר ובשר הפורשין מן המפרכסת, אף על פי ששחט בה ישראל שני הסימנין, הרי זה אסור לבני נח משום אבר מן החי.
14 In what way must [Noahides] fulfill the commandment to establish courts of justice? They are obligated to set up judges and magistrates in every major city to judge according to the above six laws, to warn the nation [regarding their observance]; A noahide who breaks one of these seven laws – is executed by decapitation. [additional text: for example: an idolater, or blasphemer, or muderer, or someone who has had one of the six illicit relations according to [Noahide law], or robbed even the worth of a peruta, or consumed any amount of "torn limb" or "torn meat", or witnessed someone breaking one of these laws, and did not judge and sentance him – all these people are executed by decapitation.] For this all the inhabitants of Shechem were liable for capital punishment. This was because Shechem kidnapped [someone] and they witnessed this and knew [what he had done], but did not judge him. A Noahide is [may be] executed [on the basis of the testimony of] one witness and [the verdict of] a single judge. No prior warning [is required]. Relatives may serve as witnesses. However, a woman may not serve as a witness or a judge [in Noahide law].
יד וכיצד הן מצווין על הדינים? חייבין להושיב דיינין ושופטים בכל פלך ופלך לדון בשש מצוות אלו, ולהזהיר את העם; ובן נח שעבר על אחת משבע מצוות אלו, ייהרג בסיף. כיצד: אחד העובד עבודה זרה, או שבירך את השם, או ששפך דם, או שבעל אחת משש עריות שלהם, או שגזל אפילו פחות משווה פרוטה, או שאכל כל שהוא מאבר מן החי או בשר מן החי, או שראה אחד שעבר על אחת מאלו ולא דנו והרגו, הרי זה ייהרג בסיף. ומפני זה נתחייבו כל בעלי שכם הריגה, שהרי שכם גזל, והם ראו, וידעו, ולא דנוהו. ובן נח נהרג בעד אחד, ובדיין אחד, בלא התראה, ועל פי קרובים; אבל לא בעדות אישה, ולא תדון אישה להם.

Laws of Kings and their Wars, Chapter 10

הלכות מלכים ומלחמות פרק י
1 A Noahide that inadvertently violates one of the commandments given to him, is exempt from all [punishment], except for inadvertent homicide. In that case, if the redeemer of the blood killed [the inadvertent killer], he is not punished for it; nor is [may the inadvertent killer seek asylum] in a city of refuge; but their courts may not put him to death. What are we referring to? When he accidentally transgresses one of the commandments and without intent, for example one who sleeps with another man's wife, and imagines that she is his own wife or unmarried. But if he knew that it was another man's wife, but did not know that she was forbidden to him, or it arose in his heart that this was a permitted matter to him; or concerning killing, if he didn't know that it was forbidden to kill; behold this is like an intentional action, and he is given capital punishment. It is not considered as an inadvertent violation, because he must learn [these laws], and he did not.
א בן נח ששגג באחת ממצוותיו, פטור מכלום: חוץ מרוצח בשגגה, שאם הרגו גואל הדם, אינו נהרג עליו; ואין לו עיר מקלט, אבל בתי דיניהן אין ממיתין אותו. במה דברים אמורים? בשוגג באחת ממצוות ועבר בלא כוונה, כגון שבעל אשת חברו, ודימה שהיא אשתו או פנויה. אבל אם ידע שהיא אשת חברו, ולא ידע שהיא אסורה עליו אלא עלה על ליבו שדבר זה מותר לו, וכן אם הרג, והוא לא ידע שאסור להרוג, הרי זה קרוב למזיד, ונהרג. ולא תיחשב זו להם שגגה, מפני שהיה לו ללמוד, ולא למד.
2 A Noahide who is forced by compulsion to transgress one of the commandments given to him, he is permitted to transgress. Even if forced to serve idolatry, he may serve, according to [principle] that they are not commanded on Kiddush Hashem. And a minor, deaf-mute or fool, are never punished, because they are not [bound by any] commandments.
ב בן נח שאנסו אנס לעבור על אחת ממצוותיו, מותר לו לעבור: אפילו נאנס לעבוד עבודה זרה, עובד, לפי שאינן מצווין על קידוש השם. ולעולם אין עונשין מהן לא קטן, ולא חירש, ולא שוטה, לפי שאינן בני מצוות.
3 Noahide that converts, is circumcised and immerses [in a mivkah], and afterward wants to return from [following] after Hashem [as a Jew], and to be Ger Toshov only, like he was previously, [the court] does not heed his request: Instead he must be like an Israelite in all matters, or he receives capital punishment. If he was a minor when he was immersed by the court, he may object [to his conversion] at the time that he attains majority, and he is allowed to become a Ger Toshov only. But if he does not object at the time he attains majority, he is not allowed to object at a later time, but he is considered a full convert. Accordingly if [a Jew has relations with] a young girl that was immersed by court of law, [she is entitled to all] monies specified by the ketubah, or fines [according to] rape or seduction, [however these monies are] are placed under the custody of the court until she attains majority and does not object to her conversion. Lest she benefit by obtaining majority and objecting [to her conversion], in this situation she obtains monies as a non-Jew [outside of Jewish law] that she was only entitled to according to Jewish law.
ג  בן נח שנתגייר, ומל וטבל, ואחר כך רצה לחזור מאחרי ה', ולהיות גר תושב בלבד כשהיה מקודם, אין שומעין לו: אלא יהיה כישראל לכל דבר, או ייהרג. ואם היה קטן כשהטבילו אותו בית דין, יכול למחות בשעה שיגדיל, ויהיה גר תושב בלבד; וכיון שלא מיחה בשעתו, שוב אינו ממחה, אלא הרי הוא גר צדק. לפיכך אם בא לקטנה שהטבילוה בית דין, כסף כתובתה, או קנס אונס או מפתה, יהיה הכל תחת יד בית דין, עד שתגדיל ולא תמחה בגירות: שמא תיטול, ותגדיל ותמחה; ונמצאת זו אוכלת בגיותה מעות שאין לה זכות בהן, אלא בדיני ישראל.
4 noahide that curses and hashem , or that served idolatry , or that comes on wife of his friend , or that killing his friend , and converts , exempt . killing jew , or that comes on wife of israel , and converts , required ; and they kill him on jew , and is decapitated him on wife of israel that master of , that behold have changed the laws concerning him .
ד  בן נח שבירך את השם, או שעבד עבודה זרה, או שבא על אשת חברו, או שהרג חברו, ונתגייר, פטור. הרג בן ישראל, או שבא על אשת ישראל, ונתגייר, חייב; והורגין אותו על בן ישראל, וחונקין אותו על אשת ישראל שבעל, שהרי נשתנה דינו.
5 already we have explained that all deaths of noahides in sword , except wife of israel, betrothed maiden , he is stoned , and if another mistress that entered to canopy beforehand that consummated , he is strangled .
ה כבר ביארנו שכל מיתת בני נח בסיף, אלא אם כן בעל אשת ישראל נערה מאורסה, ייסקל, ואם בעלה אחר שנכנסה לחופה קודם שתיבעל, ייחנק.
6 according to kaballah , that noahides are forbbiden in cross-breeding of animal , and in grafting of tree only ; and naught are killed on account of them . and non-jew that struck israel , even suffering in him , although that he required death , doesn't killed .
ו  מפי הקבלה, שבני נח אסורין בהרבעת בהמה, ובהרכבת אילן בלבד; ואין נהרגין עליהן. וגוי שהכה ישראל, אפילו חבל בו, אף על פי שהוא חייב מיתה, אינו נהרג.
7 the circumcision , was commanded in it avraham and his seed only , that as it is said " ye and your seed after you , to their generations " ( genesis 17:9 ). go out his seed of ishmael , that as it is said " because in yitzkhaq , will be called to you seed " ( genesis 21:12 ). and go out esav , that behold yitzkhaq said to ya'aqov " and he will give to you and blessing of avraham , to you and to your seed " ( genesis 28:4 ), from the principle that he by himself his seed of avraham the hold in his faith and his ways the straight , and they the obligated ones in circumcision .
ז  המילה, נצטווה בה אברהם וזרעו בלבד, שנאמר "אתה וזרעך אחריך, לדורותם" (בראשית יז,ט). יצא זרעו של ישמעאל, שנאמר "כי ביצחק, ייקרא לך זרע" (בראשית כא,יב). ויצא עשיו, שהרי יצחק אמר ליעקוב "וייתן לך את ברכת אברהם, לך ולזרעך" (בראשית כח,ד), מכלל שהוא לבדו זרעו של אברהם המחזיק בדתו ודרכו הישרה, והם המחוייבין במילה.
8 they say sages that children of qeturah , that they his seed of avraham that they came another ishmael and yitzkhaq , are obligated in circumcision . and since and they have been mixed today children of ishmael in children of qeturah , they are obligated all in circumcision in eighth ; and naught are killed about her .
ח  אמרו חכמים שבני קטורה, שהם זרעו של אברהם שבאו אחר ישמעאל ויצחק, חייבין במילה. והואיל ונתערבו היום בני ישמעאל בבני קטורה, יתחייבו הכל במילה בשמיני; ואין נהרגין עליה.
9 non-jew that business in torah , required death ; not he shall busy himself except in their seven commandments only . and also non-jew that sabbath , even direction from the days of the secular , if he did him for himself aslike sabbath , required death ; and necessary naught say if he did festival for himself . like to to him of matter : naught allowing them to innovate custom , and do commandments to themselves from their intelligence , except or let there be full convert and he will receive all the commandments , or stand in his statutes and not add and not detract . and if business in torah , or sabbath , or innovated matter , beat him and they are punished him , and inform him that he required death on this ; but doesn't killed .
ט  גוי שעסק בתורה, חייב מיתה; לא יעסוק אלא בשבע מצוות שלהן בלבד. וכן גוי ששבת, אפילו ביום מימות החול, אם עשה אותו לעצמו כמו שבת, חייב מיתה; ואין צריך לומר אם עשה מועד לעצמו. כללו של דבר: אין מניחין אותן לחדש דת, ולעשות מצוות לעצמן מדעתן, אלא או יהיה גר צדק ויקבל כל המצוות, או יעמוד בתורתו ולא יוסיף ולא יגרע. ואם עסק בתורה, או שבת, או חידש דבר, מכין אותו ועונשין אותו, ומודיעין אותו שהוא חייב מיתה על זה; אבל אינו נהרג.
10 noahide that wants do command from rest commandments the torah , amphoral to receive reward , naught prevent him do her like required . and if he brings ascend , from receive from him . given charity , from receive from him ; and it appears me that given her to poor of israel , since and he sustained from israel , and command on to support him . but pronounced that given charity , from receive from him , and given her to poor of nations .
י  בן נח שרצה לעשות מצוה משאר מצוות התורה, כדי לקבל שכר, אין מונעין אותו לעשות אותה כהלכתה. ואם הביא עולה, מקבלין ממנו. נתן צדקה, מקבלין ממנו; וייראה לי שנותנין אותה לעניי ישראל, הואיל והוא ניזון מישראל, ומצוה עליהם להחיותו. אבל הגוי שנתן צדקה, מקבלין ממנו, ונותנין אותה לעניי גויים.
11 are obligated court of law of israel , to place judges to if only the converts the residents , to judge to them according to judgements if only , amphoral that not decadent the world . if saw court of law that they will set up their judges of them , setting up ; and if saw that they will set up to them from israel , they will set up .
יא  חייבין בית דין של ישראל, להעמיד שופטים לאלו הגרים התושבים, לדון להן על פי משפטים אלו, כדי שלא יישחת העולם. אם ראו בית דין שיעמידו שופטיהם מהן, מעמידין; ואם ראו שיעמידו להן מישראל, יעמידו.
12 two of nations that they came to your presence to judge in laws of israel , and they want both of them , judge to them judgement torah . the one desire , and the one doesn't desire , naught compelled him to judge except in their laws . there was israel and non-jew , if there is privilege to israel in their laws , judge to him in their laws and they say to him , so your laws ; and if there is privilege to israel in our law , judge to him judgement torah and they say to him , so our law . and it appears me that naught do thus to resident alien , except always judge to him in their laws . and also it appears me that customary nation converts of resident by way of country , and philanthropy like israel , that behold we commanded to support him , that as it is said " to proselyte that in your gates give it to them and eat it " ( deuteronomy 14:21). and this that they say sages , naught compelling to them peace , in nations , not in resident alien . even the nations , command us sages to visit their sick , and to bury their dead with dead of israel , and to support poor of at all poor of israel , because ways of peace : behold as it is said " benefit Hashem to all ; and merciful , on all actions " ( psalms 145, 9 ), and as it is said " its ways , amenity ; and all its paths , peace " ( proverbs 3 , 17 ).
יב  שני גויים שבאו לפניך לדון בדיני ישראל, ורצו שניהן, דנים להם דין תורה. האחד רוצה, והאחד אינו רוצה, אין כופין אותו לדון אלא בדיניהן. היה ישראל וגוי, אם יש זכות לישראל בדיניהן, דנים לו בדיניהם ואומרים לו, כך דיניכם; ואם יש זכות לישראל בדינינו, דנין לו דין תורה ואומרים לו, כך דינינו. וייראה לי שאין עושין כן לגר תושב, אלא לעולם דנים לו בדיניהם. וכן ייראה לי שנוהגין עם גרי תושב בדרך ארץ, וגמילות חסדים כישראל, שהרי אנו מצווין להחיותו, שנאמר "לגר אשר בשעריך תיתננה ואכלה" (דברים יד,כא). וזה שאמרו חכמים, אין כופלין להן שלום, בגויים, לא בגר תושב. אפילו הגויים, ציוו חכמים לבקר חוליהם, ולקבור מתיהם עם מתי ישראל, ולפרנס ענייהם בכלל עניי ישראל, מפני דרכי שלום: הרי נאמר "טוב ה', לכל; ורחמיו, על כל מעשיו" (תהילים קמה,ט), ונאמר "דרכיה, דרכי נועם; וכל נתיבותיה, שלום" (משלי ג,יז).

See Also


  1.  The Obligation of Jews to Seek Observance of Noahide Laws by Gentiles
  2.  Capital Punishment in Noahide law
  3.  Christianity and Noahide Law
  4.  The Kesef Mishneh asks why a Yefas to'ar is allowed to worship for such a long period of time when this tolerance is not shown in any other case. The commentaries suggest that this leniency was granted because she was taken by force as prisoner during battle.
  5.  Devarim 21:14 says that if the Yefas to'ar is released, "send her to herself". On this the Midrash HaGadol comments "send her to herself, but not to her gods", i.e. she must be executed if she remains in idolatry.
  6.  Here it refers to idolatry, hence the reference to the "other" six commandments. See Law of Kings and their Wars 6:1
  7.  See Law of Kings and their Wars 9:14
  8.  Commentaries: our undisputed authority. In Laws of Idolatry 10:6, the Rambam says that no idolaters should be allowed to live among Jews "when the hand of Israel is powerful over them." The extent of the authority, or under what conditions, is a matter of dispute among the commentaries. During the Second Temple period, it appears that the Sages did not exercise this authority. The consensus of halachic opinion holds that this ruling of the Rambam does not apply today, and may require further clarification and limitation.
  9.  See Laws of Kings and their Wars 10:9 where is explains that a non-Jew who studies Torah is worthy of death at the hand of Heaven, under certain conditions.
  10.  Tosefos Yom Tov (Avos 3:14) writes "as the Rambam writes, we were commanded by Moses [to compel the non-Jews to accept the Seven Laws]. If this applies to compulsion at the point of the sword, with threats of execution,... it surely applies regarding compulsion through persuasion, to lead their hearts to the will of their Creator." The Chasam Sofer (Choshen Mishpat, responsum 85) writes that it is a mitzvah to guide the gentiles in the service of G-d. However some authorities disagree and hold that the obligation is only moral, not a legal requirement, see introduction above.
  11.  In contrast to the guidance mentioned previously, this law only applies when the Jews have undisputed authority of the Land of Israel, See Laws of Kings and their Wars 9:14
  12.  According to the Rambam, the laws concerning Ger Toshav only applies when the entire (or majority) of Jewish people live in the Land of Israel (see Laws of Idolatry 10:6) and at that time non-Jews can become a Ger Toshav in any land. Other authorities disagree and hold that one may become a Ger Toshav today. Some authorities require the non-Jew to live in the Land of Israel to be considered a Ger Toshav.
  13.  Three Torah Scholars constitute a rabbinical court. Some commentaries have noted that this is the same requirement for a non-Jews conversion to Judaism, inviting comparison between conversion and a "partial conversion" of the Ger Toshav. Other authorities view the requirement to appear before the court as performing a legal, rather than spiritual function, pointing out that here the non-Jew is re-affirming their covenant rather than 'switching' covenants.
  14.  The Rambam, in the Laws of Kings and their Wars 10, outlines the rules governing our relationship with Jews and non-Jews. A distinction is made between non-Jews who uphold a recognized legal system based on the Seven Laws and those who are outside any recognized legal system. A non-Jew who belongs to a nation who has taken on circumcision (generally understood to refer to the Arabs), but fails to do so falls outside the relationship defined by the Seven Laws. Other texts read "this person is like the other nations", which is understood to imply that someone who agrees to circumcise himself, i.e. convert to Judaism, but twelve months elapse without circumcising himself, his original commitment to convert is no longer taken seriously and he reverts to an ordinary non-Jew.
A note on the translation. The English translation is entirely new, with an emphasis allowing word for word comparison with the Hebrew. The Hebrew translation is based on a comparison of three modern texts, generally favoring the most ancient Yemenite manuscripts. Hebrew is written in full (designed for reading without points) except as customary. The notes are drawn from various sources, among them the excellent work of "Maimonides Mishneh Torah: a new translation with commentaries, notes, illustrations and index" by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger, Mozaim Publishing Corporation, 1978.


This is the beginning of a comprehensive list of literature concernign the Bnai Noach. Please add any that are missing. Eventually this literature should be broken into categories and each of publication should be made into Wikinoah pages that review the publication.
It also includes a comprehensive list of references to Bnai Noach in traditional Jewish literature.
Wikinoah makes no claims concerning these publications, and may or may not represent the position of Wikinoah and/or UNC Inc.



Prayer Books

Modern Authors

  • R. C. Berman. Sefer Sheva Mitzvot Hashem, The Book of Seven Divine Commandments, published by Ask Noah International, \available through and Judaica bookstores across the U.S.
  • Bindman, Yirmeyahu. (The) Seven Colors of the Rainbow: Torah Ethics for Non-Jews. Resource Publications; 1995. Paperback. ISBN 0-893903-32-9. [A great beginning book for the non-Jew looking into Torah ethics. Explains what G-d originally required of mankind that has been kept from most for nearly 2,000 years, and the role of Gentile in the world to come.]
  • Bleich, Rabbi J. David. Mishpat Mavet Bedenai Benai Noach, Jubilee Volume in Honor of Rabbi Joseph D. Soloveitchik 1:193-208 (5754);
  • Bleich, Rabbi J. David. Tikkun Olam: Jewish Obligations to Non-Jewish Societ in: Tikkun olam: social responsibility in Jewish thought and law. Edited by David Shatz, Chaim I. Waxman and Nathan J. Diament. Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 1997. ISBN 0765759519.
  • Chait, Rabbi Israel. Responsibility for the Implementation of the Noachide Code, Rosh Yeshiva, Yeshiva Bnei Torah, (Far Rockaway, Queens), Former advisor to the Noachide community in Athens, TN
  • Dallen, Michael Ellias The Rainbow Covenant: Torah and the Seven Universal Laws, Lightcatcher Books, 2003. (842 Kissinger Ave., Springdale AR 72762) ISBN 0-9719388-2-2. Easily understood book especially for the lay person, explains many of the details of the Noahide laws, and their application with the references and further explanations.
  • Davis, J. David. Finding The G-d of Noah: The Spiritual Journey of a Baptist Minister from Christianity to the Laws of Noah. KTAV Publishing (900 Jefferson Street, Hoboken NJ 07030). 1996. ISBN 0-881255-35-1.
  • Enker, Arnold, Aspects of Interaction Between the Torah Law, the King's Law, and the Noahide Law in Jewish Criminal Law, Cardozo L. Rev. 12:1137-xxxx (1991) discusses regulations based on the Noachide laws and regulations based on the law of the land or the law of the king. For more on this distinction, see Teshuvot Chachmai Provance 48 which clearly distinguishes between these regulations.
  • Encyclopedia Judaica, Noachide Laws, 12: 1189-1191.
  • Encyclopedia Talmudit, Ben Noach 3:348-362;
  • Friedman, Manis. Doesn't Anyone Blush Anymore? Bais Chana Press. Paperback ISBN 1-578870-00-3.
  • Gallin, Aryeh. The Root and Branch Noachide Guide. Root and Branch Association, Ltd, 504 Grand Street, #E51, New York, NY 10002-4101.
  • Ginsburgh, Rabbi Yitzchak. Kabbalah and Meditation for the Nations. Publisher: Gal Einai, 2006. The covenant with the Jewish people was not the first made between the Almighty and mankind. Before the revelation at Mt. Sinai, G-d commanded Adam and then made a covenant with Noah, giving them the guidelines for the universal religion of mankind.
  • Hanke, Kimberly E. Turning to Torah: The Emerging Noachide Movement, Jason Aronson Publishing House (230 Livingston Street, Northvale, New Jersey 07647) and Number Seven Spectrum House (32-34 Gordon House Road London, NW5 1LP England). 1995. 250 pp. ISBN 1-568215-00-2. [One woman's path from Christianity to "Messianic" Christianity, and finally to Torah since 1988. At one point, she considers conversion to Judaism, and then learns of the Noachide Covenant, through several Jewish individuals. She then was enlightened into the writings of J. David Davis.]
  • Jewish Law Annual, Vols. 6 and 7 (1987 and 1988) (Vol. 6, see articles by E. Rackman, J. Dienstag, O. Leaman; Vol 7, see articles by J.D. Bleich, D. Novak).
  • Kaplan, Jeffrey. Radical Religion in America: Millenarian Movements from the Far Right to the Children of Noah. Syracuse Univ Pr (Trade); 1997. Paperback ISBN 0-815603-96-7.
  • Katz, Jacob,The Vicissitudes of Three Apologetic Statements, [Hebrew], Zion 23-24 (1958-59): 174-193, (reprinted in Halakhah VeKabbalah [Heb.]).
  • Katz, Rabbi Michael, The Contemporary Noachide Movement, Former advisor to the Noachide community in Athens, TN
  • Korn, Eugene, Gentiles, the World to Come and Judaism: The Odyssey of a Rabbinic Text, Modern Judaism 14 (1994): 265-287.
  • Lichtenstein, Aaron. The Seven Laws of Noah. New York: The Rabbi Jacob Joseph School Press and Z. Berman Books, 2d ed. 1986. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 80-69121. WebsiteThe most technical book on Noahism. It is probably not intended to be an introduction to the Noahide system, but rather a detailed scholarly analysis for those who have been Noahides for a long time or for Jewish scholars of Noahism.
  • Mozeson, Isaac E. The Origin of Speeches: Intelligent Design in Language. Lightcatcher Books (March 30, 2006). Paperback. ISBN: 0971938881. [This March 2006 book documents how all humans are the children of Adam and Noah, how all peoples are "Hebrews" in their innate Edenic language system. Only in the output stage, do people speak non-Edenic.]
  • Novak, David, The Image of the Non-Jew in Judaism: An Historical and Constructive Study of the Noahide Laws (Lewiston, 1983), Chapter 10. ISBN 0889467595.
  • Novak, David, Jewish-Christian Dialogue (New York, 1989), 26-41. [See these volumes for the scholarly debate regarding whether the Noahide covenant was a Israeli or a Diaspora development.]
  • Rakover, Professor Nahum. Jewish Law and the Noahide Obligation to Preserve Social Order, Cardozo L.Rev. 12:1073-xxxx (1991)
  • Schwartz, Rabbi Yoel, Or la-ʻamim: leḳeṭ be-veʾur tafḳidam ṿe-yiʻudam ha-ruḥani shel umot ha-ʻolam ("Light unto the Nations"), Yeshivat Dvar Yerushalayim (Israel). Available in English, Russian, French, and other languages. LCCN: 84155172
  • Schwartz, Rabbi Yoel, The Source and Corpus of the Noachide Code, Yeshivat Dvar Yerushalayim (Israel)
  • Schwartzschild, Steven, Do Noahides Have to Believe in Revelation? Jewish Quarterly Review 52 (1962): 297-309, 53 (1962): 29-59.
  • Soloveitchik,Rabbi Aharon, Criminal Penalties under the Noachide Code, Rosh HaYeshiva, Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), Yeshiva University

Last Century

  • Mendes, Rabbi Henry Pereira (1852-1937) Orthodox or Historical Judaism (Chicago 1894), 217-8, There will be an era of reconciliation of all living faiths and systems.
  • Yehoshua, Rabbi Yoav, (c 1880) Chelkat Yoav Tanyana 14, it is likely that Jewish law recognizes as proper a Noachide law which provides a sanction for violations other than the death penalty. Noachide law is authorized even to execute. It is not, however, obligated to execute for all violations. In particular this must flow logically from the opinion of Nachmanides that dinim incorporates the obligation to create a system of financial law.
  • Emden, Rabbi Yakov Yisrael ben Zevi Ashkenazi (1697-1776), appendix to "Seder 'Olam" (pp. 32b-34b, Hamburg, 1752), in a remarkable apology for Christianity contained in his, gives it as his opinion that the original intention of Jesus, and especially of Paul, was to convert only the Gentiles to the seven moral laws of Noah and to let the Jews follow the Mosaic law—which explains the apparent contradictions in the New Testament regarding the laws of Moses and the Sabbath

References in the Acharonim

Rabbis of 1550 to the present.
  • Kesef Mishneh on Sanhedrin 57b, In the case of murder, if the Noachide slay a child in its mother's womb, or kill a person whose life is despaired of ("ṭerefah"), or if he cause the death of a person by starving him or by putting him before a lion so that he can not escape, or if he slay a man in self-defense, the Noachide is guilty of murder and must pay the death-penalty, although under the same circumstances an Israelite would not be executed
  • Leḥem Mishneh & Kesef Mishneh on Sanhedrin 74b, The Noachid is free from punishment if he commits a sin unwittingly; ignorance of the Law, however, does not excuse him. If he commits a sin under duress, even one for which an Israelite is obliged to undergo martyrdom rather than transgress (e.g., idolatry, adultery, or murder), he is not liable to punishment

References in the Rishonim

Rabbis of the early medieval period (1250–1550) preceding the Shulchan Aruch
  • Yehudah haLevi, "Cuzari," iii. 73, although only those laws which are found in the Torah, before the revelation at Sinai, should, it would seem, be binding upon all mankind, yet the Rabbis discarded some and, by hermeneutic rules or in accordance with some tradition, introduced others which are not found there.
  • Teshuvot Chachmai Provance 48 which clearly distinguishes between regulations based on the Noachide laws and regulations based on the law of the land or the law of the king.
  • Sefer Haikarim 1:25. One finds although torah law and Noachide law differ in the details, the principles used are the same, since they derive from the same source. Moreover, the two systems exist concurrently: while Jews have torah law, the other peoples abide by the Noachide code.
  • Tosefos, 'Avodah Zarah, 8(9?):4, enumeration of the seven Noachide laws
  • Tosefos, Sanhedrin 8:1, He who observed the seven Noachian laws was regarded as one of the pious of the Gentiles, and was assured of a portion in the world to come.
  • Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Melachim 8:11, He who observed the seven Noachian laws was regarded as one of the pious of the Gentiles, and was assured of a portion in the world to come.
  • Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Melachim 9:4, In the case of murder, if the Noachide slay a child in its mother's womb, or kill a person whose life is despaired of ("ṭerefah"), or if he cause the death of a person by starving him or by putting him before a lion so that he can not escape, or if he slay a man in self-defense, the Noachide is guilty of murder and must pay the death-penalty, although under the same circumstances an Israelite would not be executed
  • Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Melachim 9:5-8, Only six cases of what would ordinarily be illicit connection are forbidden to the Noachid: (1) with mother; (2) with father's wife, even after the father's death; (3) with a married woman, whether married to a Jew or to a non-Jew; (4) with sister by the same mother; (5) homosexuality; (6) bestiality. In these cases also there are differences in the punishment inflicted, dependent upon whether the offenses are committed by a Noachide or by an Israelite
  • Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Melachim 9:9-13, The Noachide is punished with decapitation for all kinds of robbery, whether from a Jew or from a non-Jew, even though the article stolen is worth less than a peruṭah (the smallest Palestinian coin, for less than which no case can be instituted against an Israelite). The Noachide is executed also if he eat of a limb cut from a living animal, even though the quantity consumed be less than the size of an olive (the minimum portion for the eating of which an Israelite may be punished.
  • Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Melachim 9:14, The Noachidæ are required to establish courts of justice in every city and province; and these courts are to judge the people with regard to the six laws and to warn them against the transgression of any of them
  • Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Melachim 9:14, The many formalities of procedure essential when the accused is an Israelite need not be observed in the case of the Noachide.
  • Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Melachim 10:1,2, (based on Sanhedrin 74b) The Noachid is free from punishment if he commits a sin unwittingly; ignorance of the Law, however, does not excuse him. If he commits a sin under duress, even one for which an Israelite is obliged to undergo martyrdom rather than transgress (e.g., idolatry, adultery, or murder), he is not liable to punishment
  • Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Melachim 10:4, (based on Sanhedrin 71b) A Noachide who slays another Noachide, or worships idols, or blasphemes, or has illicit connection with the wife of another Noachid, and then becomes a proselyte, is free from punishment. If, however, he has killed an Israelite, or has had illicit connection with the wife of an Israelite, and then becomes a proselyte, he must submit to the punishment that is inflicted upon an Israelite found guilty of such a transgression
  • Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Melachim 10:9, The principle is, one is not permitted to make innovations in religion or to create new commandments. He has the privilege to become a true proselyte by accepting the whole Law.
  • Naḥmanides on Genesis 34:13 (differing with Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Melachim 9:14), the opinion is expressed that these courts should judge also cases other than those coming under the head of the six laws, as, for example, larceny, assault and battery, etc.
  • Rashi on Yevamot 48b, Every Noahide who renounces idolatry needs to observe Shabbot (but not as Jews do), because failing to properly honor the Sabbath is itself a species of idolatry

References in the Savoraim & Geonim

The classical Persian rabbis (500–600) and Rabbis of Sura and Pumbeditha, in Babylonia (650–1250)
  • Seder 'Olam Rabbah, , ed. Ratner, ch. 5, enumeration of the seven Noachide laws

References in the Midrashim & Tosefta

  • Genesis Rabah 16:9, 24:5, enumeration of the seven Noachide laws
  • Canticles Rabah 1:16, enumeration of the seven Noachide laws
  • Tosefta, Avodah Zarah 8(9)

References in the Talmud

The sages of the Mishna (70–200) and of the Talmud (200–500)
  • 'Eruvin 62a, which states that a non-Jew is to be executed for stealing even less than a Perutah and he does not have the option of returning what he stole. (see Yevamot 47b)
  • Pesachim 22b, one may not enable a Noachide to sin. If absent the assistance of a Jew no violation could or would take place, it is a biblical violation of "before a blind person thou shall not put a stumbling block" for a Jew to assist a Noachide in violating his law.
  • Yoma 28b, the patriarchs observed all the laws of the Torah even though they were Noahides.
  • Megillah 13a, explains that Mordechai was called "Ish Yehudi" because anyone who rejects idolatry is called a "Yehudi." The Maharsha explains that within the name Yehudah is the Tetragrammaton. Therefore, righteous Gentiles should also be called with God's name.
  • Yevamot 47b, part of the instruction of the candidate for conversion must include "the sin of gleaning, the forgotten sheaf, pe'ah and the indigent's tithe". Why is this asked? because [Noahide law may say that] a noahide is slain for less than a prutah and it may not be returned. Rashi comments: So that [if such a candidate is a landowner] he should not say 'these poor people who are taking the edges of my field are thieves'; he will then attack them and kill them according to their [Noahide] laws.
  • Yevamot 48b, Why are proselytes at the present time oppressed and visited with afflictions? Because they had not observed the seven Noahide commandments.
  • Yevamot 62a, procreation, while obligatory on non-Jews according to Rabbi Yohanan would nevertheless not to be listed in the Seven laws.
  • Nedarim 31a, Jews were originally Noahides
  • Bava Kama 38a, Of Gamaliel II. is recorded a conversation with two pseudo-proselyte generals, who, being sent to investigate Jewish practises, take exception only rules governing damages which were not symetrical between Jew and non-Jew. A discussion of how the mankind as stopped observing the Seven Laws and its implications for Jewish law.
  • Bava Kama 38a; Sanhedrin 59a, R' Meir who insisted that in Lev. xviii. 5 the word "man," not "priest," "Levite," or "Israelite," occurs, and thus claimed that a non-Jew versed in the Torah equals in rank the high priest (Sifra, 86b, where II Sam. vii. 19 ["ha-adam"]; Isa. xxvi. 2, "goi zaddik"; Ps. xxxiii. 1, "zaddikim," and cxxv. 4, "le-tovim," are similarly applied to Gentile and Jew alike)
  • Bava Kama 92b, From this we can learn that a descendant of Noah may become liable to death if he had the opportunity to acquire instruction and did not do so [and so committed a crime through the ignorance of the law].
  • Sanhedrin 56b, the prohibitions against eating the blood of a living animal, against the emasculation of animals, against sorcery, against pairing animals of different species, and against grafting trees of different kinds (Tanna debe Menasseh)
  • Sanhedrin 56b, With regard to idolatry, he can be found guilty only if he worshiped an idol in the regular form in which that particular deity is usually worshiped; while in the case of blasphemy he may be found guilty, even when he has blasphemed with one of the attributes of God's name—an action which, if committed by an Israelite, would not be regarded as criminal
  • Sanhedrin 57a, The many formalities of procedure essential when the accused is an Israelite need not be observed in the case of the Noachide. The latter may be convicted on the testimony of one witness, even on that of relatives, but not on that of a woman. He need have had no warning ("hatra'ah") from the witnesses; and a single judge may pass sentence on him
  • Sanhedrin 57b, In the case of murder, if the Noachide slay a child in its mother's womb, or kill a person whose life is despaired of ("ṭerefah"), or if he cause the death of a person by starving him or by putting him before a lion so that he can not escape, or if he slay a man in self-defense, the Noachide is guilty of murder and must pay the death-penalty, although under the same circumstances an Israelite would not be executed
  • Sanhedrin 58b, This proves that one's paternal sister was forbidden to the sons of Noah.
  • Sanhedrin 58b, Resh Laḳish (d. 278) said, "A Gentile observing the Sabbath deserves death"
  • Sanhedrin 59a; R. Jose ben Ḥanina, "Every law that was enjoined upon the Noachidæ and was repeated at Sinai is meant to apply both to Israelites and to non-Israelites; laws that were enjoined upon the Noachidæ and were not repeated at Sinai apply to Israelites only" By this principle a number of the pre-Sinaitic laws were excluded from the Noachian laws
  • Sanhedrin 59a; & Ḥagigah 13a, Inasmuch as the Jews had their own distinct jurisdiction, it would have been unwise to reveal their laws to the non-Jews, for such knowledge might have operated against the Jews in their opponents' courts. Hence the Talmud prohibited the teaching to a Gentile of the Torah, R. Johanan says of one so teaching: "Such a person deserves death" (an idiom used to express indignation). "It is like placing an obstacle before the blind"
  • Sanhedrin 71b, A Noachide who slays another Noachide, or worships idols, or blasphemes, or has illicit connection with the wife of another Noachid, and then becomes a proselyte, is free from punishment. If, however, he has killed an Israelite, or has had illicit connection with the wife of an Israelite, and then becomes a proselyte, he must submit to the punishment that is inflicted upon an Israelite found guilty of such a transgression.
  • Sanhedrin 91b & 105a, He who observed the seven Noachian laws was regarded as one of the pious of the Gentiles, and was assured of a portion in the world to come.
  • 'Avodah Zarah 2b, He saw that the nations did not observe even the seven precepts which the sons of Noah had taken upon themselves,25 and seeing that they did not observe them, He stood up and released them from it. (see also Bava Kama 38a)
  • 'Avodah Zarah 26a. I a Gentile study the Law for the purpose of observing the moral laws of Noah, R. Meïr says he is as good as a high priest, and quotes: "Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments, which if a man do, he shall live in them". The text does not specify an Israelite or a Levite or a priest, but simply "a man"—even a Gentile/
  • 'Avodah Zarah 51a, cases when a defective animal was still qualified to be offered by the sons of Noah1 to G-d upon their altars
  • 'Avodah Zarah 64b, He who observed the seven Noachian laws was regarded as a domiciled alien (Ger Toshav). Three opinions for definition of ger toshav. 1) forgoes idolatry. 2) Takes on seven laws. 3) Takes on all laws except kosher meat.
  • 'Avodah Zarah 71b, a non-Jewish thief is not put to death for the theft, but for the reason that he may have endangered the Jew's life; because if the owner had tried to prevent the robbery the thief might have killed him.
  • Makkot 9a, Sanhedrin 74b, The Noachid is free from punishment if he commits a sin unwittingly; ignorance of the Law, however, does not excuse him. If he commits a sin under duress, even one for which an Israelite is obliged to undergo martyrdom rather than transgress (e.g., idolatry, adultery, or murder), he is not liable to punishment.
  • Makkot 9b, discusses why non-Jews are liable for the death penalty upon committing a capital crime, even if they are not exposed to Torah
  • Chullin 13b, Rabbi Yochanan, who taught that 'the Gentiles outside the land (of Israel) are not idolaters; they are but continuing the customs of their ancestors'.
  • Chullin 89b
  • Chullin 91a
  • Chullin 92a, thirty Noachian laws are mentioned.
  • Chullin 92b, In Talmudic times the non-Jews of Babylon were apparently sunk in the grossest immorality, so that 'Ula, one of the earlier Babylonian amoraim, complains that out of the thirty laws which the Noachidæ accept they observe only three — they do not write a marriage contract ("ketubah") for pederasty; they do not sell human flesh in their shops; and they show respect for the Torah.
  • Chullin 94a, Honesty and truthfulness are insisted on in all dealings, whether with a Jew or a Gentile. The Rabbis insisted that the sin known as "genebat da'at" (the stealing of another's good opinion by false representations or by the pretense of friendship and the like) be avoided in one's intercourse even with a non-Jew.
  • Chullin 100b
  • Chullin 101b
  • Chullin 114b
  • Chullin 121a
  • Chullin 129a
  • Bechorot 3b
  • Temurah 7a
  • Tohorot 43a
  • Yerushalmi 'Avodah Zarah 2:1, thirty Noachian laws are mentioned
  • Yerushalmi 'Avodah Zarah 2:1, In the Messianic age the Noachidæ will accept all the laws of the Torah, although later they will again reject them.

Biblical References

  • Genesis 2:16, Declare six commandments that were enjoined upon Adam.
  • Genesis 2:17, Penalty for disobedience
  • Genesis 2:24, Institution of marriage
  • Genesis 6:8, Noah found favor in the eyes of G-d
  • Genesis 8:21, Covenant with Noah
  • Geneis 9:4, a seventh commandment added after the Flood—not to eat flesh that had been cut from a living animal.
  • Genesis 9:6, punishment for murder (and all other crimes) is capital punishment
  • Genesis 37:2, Joseph brought back a bad report about his brothers to their father
  • Exodus 21:29, Law of damages
  • Exodus 21:23, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth
  • Leviticus 19:11, You must not steal, you must not tell lies, and you must not deal falsely with your fellow citizen
  • Leviticus 24:16, Anyone who blasphemes the name of Hashem must be put to death.
  • Deuteronomy 24:1, Institution of divorce
  • Job 2:9-10, Job refuses to curse G-d
  • Psalm 117:1, Praise Hashem, all you nations! Applaud him, all you foreigners!
  • Psalm 119:99, I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your rules.
  • Proverbs 2:5, Then you will understand how to fear Hashem, and you will discover knowledge about G-d.
  • Isaiah 11:9, They will no longer injure or destroy on my entire royal mountain. For there will be universal submission to Hashem’s sovereignty, just as the waters completely cover the sea.
  • Isaiah 54:9, As far as I am concerned, this is like in Noah’s time, when I vowed that the waters of Noah’s flood would never again cover the earth. In the same way I have vowed that I will not be angry at you or shout at you.
  • Habakkuk 3:6, He stood, and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove asunder the nations; (understood by Baba Kama 38a as saying each nation was assigned a land and language)
  • Zephaniah 3:9, Know for sure that I will then enable the nations to give me acceptable praise. All of them will invoke Hashem’s name when they pray, and will worship him in unison.

Other Sources

Non Rabbinic, Jewish Sources

  • Jubilees, vii. 20-29, non standard enumeration of the seven Noachide laws
  • Josephus Ant. 14.7.2, discussing the Sebomenoi

Christian and Islamic Sources

  • Christian Book of Acts 15:19-21, council of Jerusalem declaring what appear to be the Noahide laws as obligatory on non-Jewish converts to Christianity.
  • Catholic Encyclopedia: Natural Law where Noahide law is refered to as "older traditions".
  • Islamic Qur'an 15:87 makes it clear that there is a Mesanî and Qur'an, and they are separate.
  • Islamic Qur'an 39:23, discussion about the "seven laws" Mesanî

Other Non-Jewish Sources

  • Hindu, Upanishads contains a parallel which tends to support Benamozegh's argument that lawgiving would normally be a feature of the creation of the universe
  • Hindu, Prayer of Enheduanna (daughter of Sargon the Great, c. 2250 BC) possible relationship between the Seven Laws and these seven rules.
  • - scholarly papers on nations and nationalism without reference to any particular ideology.