During the early history of the Hebrew people,
King Hammurabi ruled in Babylon. Hammurabi
established what many historians think is the first set of written laws.
Hammurabi's Code also set the punishments for not obeying the laws.
During the Exodus from Egypt, the Torah tells us that Moses was given a
set of rules from God on Mount Sinai. The Torah explains that the
first of these laws were written on stone tablets. These laws are known
as the Ten Commandments.
"I the Lord am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt,
the house of bondage: You shall have no other gods besides me.
You shall not make for yourself a sculptured image.
You shall not swear falsely by the name of the Lord your God.
Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy.
Honor your father and your mother, that you may long endure
on the land that the Lord your God is assigning to you.
You shall not murder.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
You shall not covet anything that is your neighbor's."
Exodus 20: 3 - 14
By accepting and obeying these laws,
the Israelites believed that they would receive God's protection.