Seven Instructions

The definitive answer to the question is that when G-d told Moses to record the Noahide Laws and the story of Noah in the first book of the Torah, He commanded that these laws should be learned and practiced by all the nations, for all time.

From various narratives in Genesis, we also learn that a wide variety of peoples knew about and either practiced or were held responsible for the Noahide Laws: the Chaldeans (as demonstrated by Abraham, who personally knew Noah), the Philistines (as demonstrated by Abimelech), the Hivvites (as demonstrated by the story of Shechem), and the Canaanites (as demonstrated by the story of Sodom and Gomorrah). It seems to us, although we have not seen a source for this, that there is also a way that the universal nature of the Seven Commandments can be seen from the verses at the beginning of Genesis Chapter 9. After the Flood, in Gen. 9:1-7, G-d gives Noah and his family several directives. These begin with the blessing/directive to be fruitful and multiply (Gen.9:1). Then in verse 9:4, G-d prohibits the eating of flesh removed from a living animal. Then in verses 9:5 and 9:6, G-d prohibits murder and explicitly states in both 9:5 and 9:6 that this prohibition applies to all mankind. (Note that G-d says that murder is prohibited because He made mankind "in His image," which refers to the intellectual human soul that He invests within the human body.) Then in verse 9:7, G-d repeats the blessing/directive to be fruitful and multiply. Now the words of the Torah are very concise, and a verse is not repeated unless the repetition comes to teach us something new. In this case, it seems to me the repetition in verses 9:1 and 9:7 shows that G-d has a common intention for all the directives in this group of 7 verses. Since one of the directives is explicitly applied to all mankind, it is clear from the context that this intention applies to all the directives that are explicit or implicit in this group of verses - i.e., all of the Seven Commandments which G-d established with Noah and his family when they left the ark.



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