Text Box: Creator’s CovenantStarClus1.jpg

His statutes

Judgments, Judgements, Old Covenant, Sinai covenant. Moses, legal ruling, legal decision, Abraham

Major Threads




Contact Us

Challenge Rules


Bible Keys


Traditional Beliefs


Hebrews Old Covenant


Patriarchs Covenant

The New Covenant

New Testament Teaching


His Judgments

Other Studies



"I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them." (Eze 36:27).


Exodus 21:1 helps us pinpoint His Judgments.

"Now these are the judgments which you shall set before them."

The following 2.5 chapters list regulations that explain His Law, the Ten Commandments (Hos 8:1, Ps 78:10, Deu 4:13). It should be easy to understand that His judgments are part of His law.  However, there is no statement in Exodus 20-23 about any statutes.  How do we identify His statutes?

Deuteronomy 4:14 indicates that immediately after speaking the Ten Commandments God gave Moses statutes [Heb. choq] and judgments [Heb. mishpat], not just judgments.  So, what are the statutes God gave that went hand in hand with the Ten Commandments, His covenant?

We could, in considering Deuteronomy 4:14, assume that everything following Exodus 21:1 was a judgment. This is the way most of us would probably understand the text.  This may indeed be so.  On the other hand, God doesn't seem to be very concerned about exactly which regulation is a statute, which is a judgment, which is an ordinance or which is a command.  We should ask: does it really make any difference?

The end of Leviticus 18 seems to mix at least three categories of regulations.  After detailing various prohibited sexual unions, verse 26 seems to equate these regulations with statutes and judgments.

"You shall therefore keep My statutes [chuqqah] and My judgments [mishpat] , and shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who dwells among you".

One would think the regulations in Leviticus 18 would easily fit into a single category, since they are so similar. However, they are apparently lumped together as both statutes and judgments with no distinction between the two.

To complicate matters, verse 30 refers back to these same regulations and seems to indicate that these instructions are an ordinance(s) (Heb. mishmereth).  There are also two slightly different Hebrew words both typically translated 'statute(s)' in English.  One, chuqqah the other choq.  There seems to be no correlation between any particular group of regulations and one of these words.  Apparently the first of these words is a derivative of the other.  So perhaps it shouldn't be a big surprise that the distinction is not crystal clear to us.

What is the legal score-keeper to do?  It seems the Creator is interested in obedience, not necessarily in facilitating the organization of the various regulations being given, into tidy little groups.  It seems unlikely that the Creator intends us to understand that there is a significant difference between these categories.

The instructions in Exodus 20:23-26 were given after the Creator spoke the Ten Commandments, but before the 'judgments'.  For those that must categorize things we could assume they are statutes, since they are not listed after Exodus 21:1, which seems to start the judgments section.  Alternatively, the reference to "My statutes and My judgments" may be intended as a parallelism. That is, His statutes are His judgments.  In other words, His statutes are based on a higher law.  They are not just arbitrary unconnected demands.  A judgment is a ruling based on existing higher law.  Of course, that higher law would be the Ten Commandments.  Once a judgment is made, it effectively becomes a statute on which other judgments can be made.

In the Pentateuch the phrase 'My statutes' or "My judgments" shows up in only a few places.  If one searches for these exact phrases, they are found almost exclusively in Leviticus 18-20, 25 & 26.  The one exception is Genesis 26:5 that describes Abraham as faithful to "My statutes".

Leviticus 18 clarifies prohibited sexual relationships.  This is part of distinguishing the holy from the profane.  Of course, the Sinai covenant required that Israel 'be holy' (Ex 22:31).  Leviticus 19-20 & 25 add detail to help clarify what is profane and also clarifies a few other things that were covered in Exodus 20-23. 

So, in these chapters where God emphasizes the need to "keep My statutes and My judgments" there is a very close connection with the instruction given in Exodus 20-23. For the most part it simply adds detail.  Leviticus 26 uses the phrase 'My statutes', but isn't actually detailing specific regulations. Leviticus 26 lists blessings and curses depending on Israel's obedience.  This was not intended by the covenant of Exodus 20-24.  There were really no national curses in the Sinai covenant.  Obedience was assumed.

There are references in Deuteronomy to 'His statutes' and 'His judgments'.  However, these seem to be general references rather than specifically associated with  new regulations.  Particularly before Deuteronomy 11:8, any reference Moses makes, or closely associated regulation cited, is directly connected with something in the Sinai covenant.

The first eleven chapters of Deuteronomy are mostly an account of Israel's journey from Egypt to where they are in Moab.  Moses is taking great pain to make sure Israel understands those guidelines are to be followed.  He even goes so far as to repeat the Ten Commandments, but there is no new laundry list of His statutes or His judgments before chapter 12.

Chapter 12 through 26:15 does include numerous regulations.  Many of these are new with no precedent in the Sinai covenant.  Some have a connection with the Sinai covenant, but may or may not have been part of the original intent.  These must each be pondered on their own.  These are not referred to as His statutes or His judgments, but 'these statutes' or 'these judgments' or the statutes/judgments that Moses spoke that day.

The timing of the instruction in Leviticus 18-20, 25 & 26 is critical to understanding the importance of this and nearby instruction.  The episode of the golden calf  was a watershed event.  With that event the Creator was ready to wipe out the bulk of Israel and start over with Moses and his family (Ex 32:10).  After fasting 40 days on Mt. Sinai, Moses came down the mountain with the original tablets of the Sinai covenant.  Once he realized that Israel had made the calf, he broke the tablets and fell on his face fasting another 40 days (Deu 9:16-18).

Moses was able to calm God's anger, but many died.  Moses moved his tent 'far from the camp' and met the Creator there.  His tent there was called the tabernacle of meeting (Ex 33:7).  It is likely that it was in this 'tabernacle of meeting' that a large chunk of Leviticus instruction was given after the golden calf (Lev 1:1).  Alternatively, the official tabernacle was also referred to as the tabernacle of meeting.  It was completed even later (Ex 40:2, Num 7:89).

Shortly after Moses was able to save Israel from destruction, God called him back up to Mt. Sinai .  As Moses met God there, he was still pleading for God to accept Israel as His people and dwell among them as was His original intention (Ex 34:9, 25:8).  In response, God indicated He would 'make a covenant' (Ex 34:10).  He continued, "Observe what I command you this day" (vs 11).  He then went on to reiterate some of the Sinai covenant.  Indeed He indicated that "according to the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel"(vs 27).  That was history, recorded in Exodus 20-23.  However, Moses was there on Mount Sinai another forty days (vs 28).

It is not detailed in Exodus 34 what Moses did for the bulk of that forty days.  However, when He went down the mountain, his face shone "and he gave them as commandments all that the LORD had spoken with him on Mount Sinai" (vs 32).  This is not referring to the statutes and judgments of Exodus 20-23, but obviously to instruction received this latest trip up the mountain.

This latest instruction evidently also included a large chunk of what is recorded for us in Leviticus.  Specifically Leviticus 25-27 are indicated to have been given 'on Mount Sinai' (Lev 25:1, 26:46, 27:34).

Although the beginning of Leviticus indicates the instruction came after Moses set up the tent of meeting outside the camp (Lev 1:1), the exact timing of the rest of this instruction is not perfectly clear.  It is reasonable to conclude it came at or after the time of Leviticus 1:1.  The account of Exodus 34 indicates that God was still very interested in Israel abiding by the original covenant He made with Moses and Israel.  It should be no surprise that more of what was intended by the original covenant might be detailed after the fiasco of the golden calf.  They obviously 'didn't get it', i.e. the covenant they just made in Exodus 20-24.  Hence the strong exhortation of Leviticus 18-20 to obey "My statutes and My judgments".  Although technically not a part of the Sinai covenant, it seems apparent that God felt just as strongly about this instruction as He did about the instruction in Exodus 21-23:19.

So, while one cannot add to a covenant, it is easy to understand that the emphasis in Leviticus 18-20 and 25 to "obey My statutes and My judgments", indicates that this instruction was fundamental to the way of God and intended in the words of the Sinai covenant.  It is simply what one wanting to be holy, do justly and respect the under privileged should have understood.  It was given quickly after the episode of the golden calf to clarify the Creator's intention in His Law of Exodus 20-23.

Other instruction given about this time should also be carefully considered.  Our Creator doesn't necessarily make it easy to discern all the details of His way.  He seeks those who are zealous for Him, not everyone who happens to be along for the ride.  The whole Law of Moses should be treated with great respect.  Extra special care should be taken to be sure instruction with basis in the Sinai covenant, the Covenant of the Lord, is carefully followed.

"Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, With the statutes and judgments" (Mal 4:4).

"So it was, when Moses had completed writing the words of this law in a book, when they were finished, 25 that Moses commanded the Levites, who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying: 26 "Take this Book of the Law, and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there as a witness against you" (Deu 31:24-26).

"Therefore be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, lest you turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left" (Josh 23:6).

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them." (Eze 36:26-27)

God made a new law at the behest of Moses for Israel on Mount Sinai after the Sinai covenant was confirmed.  It included statutes and judgments, some of which were fundamental to His Law and some of which were not.  This law was especially for Israel in the Promised Land, although it contained the fundamental law of God, His covenant, too.  Israel didn't have the mentality, to obey the law of God.  The spirit of God goes hand in hand with obedience to the law of God, including His statutes and His judgments.

We might ask the question, "which comes first, the spirit or the obedience?"  Can someone keep the Law of God if they don't know clearly what it is?  The answer to this involves the final New covenant.