Maimonides' Law of Noahides

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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]
See also: Capital Punishment in Noahide law
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]
See also:The Obligation of Jews to Seek Observance of Noahide Laws by Gentiles
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 the Chasidei 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 Hu commanded 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, until Moshe Rabbenu came and completed [the giving] of the Torah, by his hand.

See also: Chart of Maimonides' Noahide Laws
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].
See also: Noahide Law as International 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.]
See also: Divorce in Noahide law
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 a perutah and another stole it from him – they are both given capital punishment because of it.
See also: Noahide Law and Legal Measurements
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.
See also: Noahide Law and Blood in Meat
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"
See also: Noahide Law and Kosher Meat
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.

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