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What are Noahides?

Noahides are all the descendants of Noah. Viewed this way, they are all people living today.
However, when we talk about Noahides today, we actually mean people who can also be referred to by the Hebrew name: “MiChasidei Umos HaOlam” – G-d-fearing people from among the nations. Those who consciously choose to walk according to G-d’s will. This is in contrast to the sages from the nations, who will follow many of the laws below, but based on their own logic.

Noahides – Michasidei Umos HaOlam – are people who try to observe the following 7 Noahides Commandments and its details to the best of their ability because G-d gave them through Moses on Mount Sinai. G-d then gave all the commandments to Moses, commandments that specifically applied to the Kohanim, the Levites, the Jews who would live in Israel or outside the Land of Israel. Then He also specifically repeated and confirmed the 7 Noahide Commandments to the nations. From then on, these Laws would not change, be added to or abolished.

In another article, we will discuss in more detail exactly what those 7 Noahide Mitzvot entail and mean. For now, it is important to know that the first 6 Noachide Mitzvot were given to Adam, namely:

1 the prohibition of idolatry- do not in any way profane G-d’s Oneness

2 the prohibition of cursing G-d’s Name

3 the prohibition of murder

4 the prohibition of theft

5 the prohibition of adultery

6 the commandment to take care of a just society.

People sometimes wonder exactly where in the Torah these 7 Mitzvot are found. We don’t find them neatly listed like the 10 Commandments. However the Torah[1] alludes to the Noahide Mitzvot right at the beginning, namely in Genesis 2 verse 16 and 17 where it says:

וַיְצַו֙ יְ”הֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהִ֔ים עַל־הָֽאָדָ֖ם לֵאמֹ֑ר מִכֹּ֥ל עֵֽץ־הַגָּ֖ן אָכֹ֥ל תֹּאכֵֽל׃

“And God יהוה commanded the Human, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you are free to eat;


וּמֵעֵ֗ץ הַדַּ֙עַת֙ ט֣וֹב וָרָ֔ע לֹ֥א תֹאכַ֖ל מִמֶּ֑נּוּ כִּ֗י בְּי֛וֹם אֲכׇלְךָ֥ מִמֶּ֖נּוּ מ֥וֹת תָּמֽוּת׃

but as for the tree of knowledge of good and bad, you must not eat of it; for as soon as you eat of it, you shall die.”

We can easily see the prohibition of theft in this. G-d told Adam not to eat from the tree that had not (yet) been given to him. The Sages[2 teach about this verse that here we can find not only the 6 but even all 7 Mitzvot that apply to Bnei Noach[3] . They express this as follows:

  • Commandment: this alludes to the commandment to make a system of courts; for so it says in another verse, “With reference to the term ‘and … commanded”, these are the courts of judgment; and so it says in another verse, “For I have known him (Abraham), to the end that he shall command his children and his household after him, that they shall keep the way of the H-r, to do justice and righteousness”(Genesis 18:19
  • L-rd: this alludes to the commandment not to blaspheme: “With reference to the term ‘ H-r’ this refers to the prohibition against cursing the Name of G-d; for so it says in another verse: ‘And whoever blasphemes the name of the H-r shall be put to death’ (Leviticus 24:16)..”
  • G-d: (E-lohim in Hebrew) this alludes to the commandment not to worship idols: (The word “E-lohim” is also the Hebrew word for false gods) this alludes to idol worship; for so it says in another verse, “You shall have no other gods ( E-lohim) before Me””(Exodus 20:2).
  • Man: this alludes to the commandment not to murder: “‘The man’, this alludes to bloodshed; for so it says in another verse: ‘Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man his blood shall be shed'”(Genesis 9:6).
  • Saying: (“Laimor” in Hebrew) alludes to forbidden sexual relations: for it says in another verse: “[ G-d has rejected…] saying (“laimor”) ‘If a man sends his wife, and she goes away from him and becomes another man’s… won’t that land then be very polluted? But you have whored with many lovers. ‘” (Jeremiah 3:1).
  • From every tree in the garden: and not from those obtained by theft, this alludes to prohibition against theft.
  • You may eat freely: this alludes to the opposite. Namely, that there is something that may not be eaten, namely meat removed from a living mammal or bird.

In this way, this verse alludes to all the Seven Mitzvot that were commanded to the Bnei Noach, for all generations. Although eating a limb of a living animal was not commanded to Adam – he was not allowed to kill an animal and eat of its flesh and is nevertheless an eternal commandment to Adam and his descendants regarding the prohibition of eating meat. Thus, although Adam was completely forbidden to kill animals, Noach was given that permission, but was forbidden to tear off a limb from a living animal[4][5],[6] ,[7] (The explicit place where the mitzvot are mentioned in the Torah will return when discussing the specific mitzvot).

We see that to Noach the seventh prohibition, the prohibition of eating part of a living animal, is explicitly mentioned.[8]

These Mitzvot are known as the Seven Noahide Commandments-Mitzvot because they first became fully applicable (i.e. including the seventh) during Noach’s time. For Noach, it was not permitted to kill an animal to eat it or use it for any other purpose. G-d had given the green herb to humans to eat.[9] Noach, however, was given permission to eat animals as well, if done properly. [10]

We see that these Mitzvot were valid from the beginning, from Adam onwards, because people/societies who did not comply with them were punished. Cain was punished for his murder of Abel,[11] Sodom and Gomorrah were punished for their wickedness and sexual misconduct,[12] and Noah’s generation was punished for, among other things, their robbery and other misconduct.[13]

Since all humans are descendants of Noach, these Mitzvot apply to all humans. These were one of the first Mitzvot that the Jews learned at Marah when they had migrated out of Egypt[14]

Since all people are supposed to keep these 7 Mitzvot and their details, these people were not specifically called Noachids in the Torah but the people were named after their ancestor who established their nation/people, as, for example, Moabites of Moab or Amonites of Amon.

From the time of the Second Temple, there are references to people who observed the 7 Noahide Mitzvot and their details. They were called G-dfearers – Yir’ei HaShem/yir’ei Shamayim in Hebrew and Phebomenoi in Greek.[15] Josephus Flavius from the first century AD speaks of this group of people.[16] In addition, Noachids are mentioned in several places in the Talmud.[17]

After the destruction of the Second Temple, it became difficult for this group of people to stand firm in their faith. Not forgetting that contacts between Jews and non-Jews became increasingly difficult throughout history. Already under Justinuas – emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 1 April 527 to 14 November 565- and incited by theologians and bishops, the Jews were proclaimed pariahs who had to live separately from Christian society.[18]

A very important archaeological evidence of a Noahide community was discovered in 1976 at Aphrodisias in Turkey. Two inscriptions were discovered in an ancient synagogue dating back to around 210 BC. The first inscription is a list of founders of the synagogue, all with Jewish names appearing in that period. The second inscription, however, is a list of non-Jewish names such as Zeno, Athenogoras and Diogenes. This inscription is preceded by the words, “And these are those who are G-dvrezenden …” [19] A similar inscription was discovered in the ancient destroyed synagogue of Sardes, Turkey. This inscription mentions three groups: Jews, converts and observers of Noah’s Laws. However, we know almost nothing about these ancient groups or their specific manner of ceremonies.[20]

Although there have always been small numbers of G-dvre transmitters throughout time, their numbers have been steadily increasing in recent years, and they are referred to as Noahides.

Vendyl Jones (1930- 2010) played an important role in the re-emergence of Noahide identity in our time. He was a Baptist pastor after receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Baptist Bible College. He discovered that many negative statements about Jews in the Gospels did not appear in older manuscripts. So in October 1956, he resigned his pastorate and began a Talmud Torah study. This he did at a primary school under the guidance of Rabbi Henry Barneis. Jones eventually developed a distinctive religious outlook based on the Noahide Laws. Which emphasised the need for non-Jews to follow the moral laws Noah lived by, the 7 Noachide commandments, while Jews must continue to follow the Mosaic Law.[21]

In the 1960s, Jones became deeply involved in archaeological pursuits, eventually moving to Israel with his family to continue his studies at Hebrew University.[22]

Through his lectures on Biblical archaeology, publications, lectures and weekly classes, he not only inspired countless non-Jews to explore Noahism, but this also made more and more Rabbis take a renewed interest in these 7 Noachidic Laws.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Schneersohn, was instrumental in spreading the Noachidic Mitzvot[23] and in 1984 he called upon his community to engage in the study and dissemination of these Mitzvot.

Ask Noah International (ASI) at the end of the 20th century took up the Rebbe’s desire to propagate Noah’s Laws by commissioning the well-known Jerusalem scholar, Rabbi Moshe Weiner, to do halachic (Torah law) research on exactly what the 7 Mitzvot entail and how they should be observed in their detail. This resulted in the book “Sefer Sheva Mitzvos Hashem” which was later translated into English and released under the name “The Divine Code”. This book is the framework for defining legitimate Noahide practices and Noahide identity for today.

By Angelique Sijbolts


[1] Torah, these are the first 5 books of the Tenach, the Bible.

[2] Sages refers to the great Jewish scholars who passed on the Oral Torah given by God through Moses on Mount Sinai.

[3] Bnei Noach, literally children of Noah.

[4] Leviticus 24:15 in Hebrew: ” Ish ish (‘every man’) who curses his G-d shall bear his sin.” Why the double expression of ” ish ish ” (which literally means “a man, a man”)? It means that it includes all mankind, both Jews and non-Jews. This teaches that even non-Jews are forbidden to curse G-d’s Name (G-d forbid!).

[5] Bi’ur Torat Moshe Elucidation of the Book of Moses for Noahides by Rabbijn Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman.

[6] Talmud Sanhedrin 56b:4-7 with Connections (

[7] There are also opinions that say 6 Mitzvot were given to Adam and the 7th of not eating a limb of a living animal was specifically given to Noah.

[8] Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 56a:24.

[9] Genesis 1:29.

[10] Genesis 9:3.

[11] Genesis 4: 13.

[12] Genesis 13:13, 18:20 – 22; See Yalkut Shimoni: Bereishit 83, Sanhedrin 109a and Genesis Rabbah 50 for more examples of the cruelty and sin of Sodom and Gomorrah.

[13] Genesis 6:11-12.

[14] Exodus 15:26.

[15] Sim, David C. & MacLaren, James S. (2013). “Gentiles, God-fearers and proselytes (Chapter 1): God-Fearers (Section 3)”. Attitudes to Gentiles in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity. New YorkBloomsbury Publishing. pp. 9–27.

[16] 6 The Jewish Wars II: 454, 463, en VII: 45; Oudheden XIV: 110 en XX: 41; Tegen Apion I: 166,167, en II: 282.

[17] Zie voorbeelden in zoals bijvoorbeeld:,_1929_[de]&vhe=Wikisource_Talmud_Bavli&lang=bi

[18] Christelijke theologie na Auschwits,by dr. Hans Jansen.



[21] Vendyl Jones Wikipedia:

[22] Vendyl Jones – Wikipedia.

[23] The Rebbe was Very Busy Promoting the Noahide Laws |

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