Toh´ruh; Heb., “instruction” or “teaching”
God’s instructions to Israel. The Hebrew word Torah is often translated “law” in English Bibles. The vast majority of the occurrences of the word refer to God’s instructions to Moses at Sinai. These instructions or commandments became Israelite law and the stipulations of the covenant. The Torah had a great democratizing influence on Israelite society—all had to obey, especially kings (Deut 17:18-20). The book of Proverbs uses the word torah in the sense of providing parental guidance for children, and this may provide the reason why the term was used in the religious sphere. The Israelites viewed themselves as God’s children (Exod 4:22; Deut 14:1; Deut 32:10-12; Hos 11:1; Jer 31:9; Jer 31:20; Isa 66:13). Thus, torah in the religious sense may have originally connoted the teachings imparted by God the parent to the child Israel.