Many Christians and Jews think that the entire law was given by God through Moses. However, the details in the law and Jesus Christ reveals otherwise. In this post we will explore some of the commandments that came only from Moses or other judges, and not from God.
God’s and Moses’s Commandments
2Kgs 21:8 “I will not make the feet of Israel wander anymore from the land which I gave their fathers–only if they are careful to do
– according to all that I have commanded them, and
– according to all the law that My servant Moses commanded them.
The Scripture is very clear that law as we call it today, i.e, the Torah (or the first 5 books of the Bible) was not fully from God but parts came from Moses alone.
Commandments of Moses that are not from God
Appointment of Judges
Exod 18:13 And so it was, on the next day, that Moses sat to judge the people; and the people stood before Moses from morning until evening. … (15-16) And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. When they have a difficulty, they come to me, and I judge between one and another; and I make known the statutes of God and His laws.” … (24-26) So Moses heeded the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said. And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people: rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. So they judged the people at all times; the hard cases they brought to Moses, but they judged every small case themselves.
Deut 1:16-18 “Then I commanded your judges at that time, saying, ‘Hear the cases between your brethren, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the stranger who is with him. You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small as well as the great; you shall not be afraid in any man’s presence, for the judgment is God’s. The case that is too hard for you, bring to me, and I will hear it.’ And I commanded you at that time all the things which you should do.
The appointment of judges to Israel was from Moses, not God. Wonder what happened after the appointment of judges by Moses which God did not command? The golden calf incident in Exodus chapter 32 in the absence of Moses. Irrespective of it, we can see in the speech of Moses (Deuteronomy), that Moses is commanding the judges what they must do. You can clearly see that some of the judgments were not from God, but Moses. The divorce law is one such commandment.
Mark 10:3-12 And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her.” And Jesus answered and said to them, “Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. “But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, ‘and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” In the house His disciples also asked Him again about the same matter. So He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
In the above example, Jesus clearly states that it was “Moses” who gave divorce because of hardness of people’s hearts but from the beginning as God intended, it was not so. Hence, the divorce law was not from God but actually from Moses who gave a commandment in the law to separate what God joined together.
Deut 1:17 ‘You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small as well as the great; you shall not be afraid in any man’s presence, for the judgment is God’s. The case that is too hard for you, bring to me, and I will hear it.’
As we can see above, whatever these appointed judges spoke, they were considered as judgement of God. However, in reality, they were not really from God, nor did God asked Moses to appoint such judges. Neither the law was given to Moses and Israel at this point in time during their Exodus journey.
Exod 32:10 “Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.”
After all, the golden calf incident happened under the leadership of these appointed judges, and God wants to wipe them all out, including all Israel except Moses. While most of the laws are from God through His servant Moses, not all of the laws which are attributed to Moses are truly from God. Therefore, we must always look for what Jesus said regarding the same law and follow His commandments, for He was before Abraham. Please read this post for what gentiles must follow.