What are the 613 commandments in the Law?

Question
What are the 613 commandments in the Law? I know it will be a lot of work, but can you list them? What about the Jewish prayer shawl as related to 613?
Answer
Thanks for your question. As to the number of the commandments, though other counts vary as to the exact number, 613 is the generally accepted and cited sum. The negative commandments are 365 in number and the positive commandments number 248. They are divided into three categories: (1) laws, (2) testimonies, and (3) decrees.

The Jewish prayer shawl (tallit) has knotted fringes called tzitzit. The word tzitzit has the numerical value of 600 in its Mishnaic spelling. Each tassel has eight threads and five sets of knots. Their sum is 613 (600+8+5). So, the prayer shawl is a reminder of the Law of God. See Numbers 15:38-40 and Deuteronomy 22:12.

Can you imagine having these 613 commandments memorized and mentally accessing and perfectly keeping them in every situation and conversation you have? This is what was expected!!! Did Israel do it? No! Could you? No! Clearly, no one can keep the entire law (Eccl. 7:20; Rom. 3:23; Jas. 2:10). We can't even keep the Ten Commandments much less the entire Law. (Please see "What commandment(s) did Adam violate in the Fall?" below.)

So then, the question naturally arises, why did God command something he knew we couldn't keep? Well, the purpose of the law was to point us to our need of a Savior who could and did keep the law. As the Apostle Paul states, "So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.”

Even in the Old Testament a Savior or Messiah was needed. Jesus was patterned in the flood / ark, the Passover, the Red Sea, and the scapegoat. He was prophesied in the O.T (Gen. 3:15; Psa. 22; Isa. 53; Luke 24:25-27; Acts 26:22-23; 1 Pet. 1:10-12). And he was present in the Old Testament: Christ (the entire Trinity) created the world (Col. 1:16); He preached through Noah (1 Pet. 3:19-20); Abraham rejoiced to see his day (John 8:56-58); Christ motivated Moses (Heb. 11:26); Jesus saved the Israelites from Egypt (Jude 1:5); Christ is the Rock in the wilderness (1 Cor. 10:4); Isaiah saw his glory (John 12:41).

Moreover, Jesus is symbolized in every book of the Old Testament. (Please see "Christ in the Old Testament" below.):

O.T. Book
Christ is
Genesis the Creator and promised Redeemer
Exodus the Passover Lamb
Leviticus the High Priest
Numbers the Water in the desert
Deuteronomy the Curse for us
Joshua the Commander of the army of the Lord
Judges the Deliverer from injustice
Ruth the Kinsman-Redeemer
1 Samuel the Prophet, Priest, and King
2 Samuel the King of grace and love
1 Kings the Ruler greater than Solomon
2 Kings the Powerful Prophet
1 Samuel the Son of David that is coming to rule
2 Samuel the King who reigns eternally
Ezra the Priest proclaiming freedom
Nehemiah the One who restores what is broken down
Esther the Protector of his people
Job the Mediator between God and man
Psalms our Song morning and night
Proverbs our Wisdom
Ecclesiastes our Meaning for Life
Song the Author of faithful love
Isaiah the Suffering Servant
Jeremiah the Weeping Messiah
Lamentations the One assuming God’s wrath for us
Ezekiel the Son of Man
Daniel the Stranger in the fire with us
Hosea the Faithful Husband
Joel the Promise of his Spirit
Amos the Deliverer of justice to the oppressed
Obadiah the Judge of those who do evi
Jonah the Greatest Missionary
Micah the Caster of our sin into the sea of forgetfulness
Nahum the Proclaimer of peace
Habakuk the Crusher of injustice
Zephaniah the Warrior who saves
Haggai the Restorer our worship
Zechariah the Messiah pierced for us
Malachi the Sun of righteousness who brings healing

Whether it be the Old Testament or the New Testament, the law shines a bright spotlight on our sins making them even more evident (Rom. 7:7). This then provides substantial evidence that we all need a Savior who not only could keep the law, but who actually did keep it perfectly. Jesus fulfilled the entire law (Matt. 5:16-17). As Paul writes, "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believe" (Rom. 10:4; cf. John 5:39, 46; Heb. 9:12). "For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory" (2 Cor. 1:20).

Here is a list of the 613 commandments found in the Pentateuch. Please note that some verses contain more than one commandment so they are listed more than once:

#
Verse
#
Verse
#
Verse
#
Verse
#
Verse
1 Gen. 1:28 2 Gen. 32:32 3 Exod. 12:2 4 Exod. 12:6 5 Exod. 12:8
6 Exod. 12:9 7 Exod. 12:10 8 Exod. 12:15 9 Exod. 12:18 10 Exod. 12:19
11 Exod. 12:20 12 Exod. 12:43 13 Exod. 12:45 14 Exod. 12:46 15 Exod. 12:46
16 Exod. 12:48 17 Exod. 12:48 18 Exod. 13:3 19 Exod. 13:7 20 Exod. 13:8
21 Exod. 13:12 22 Exod. 13:13 23 Exod. 13:13 24 Exod. 16:29 25 Exod. 20:3
26 Exod. 20:4 27 Exod. 20:5 28 Exod. 20:5 29 Exod. 20:7 30 Exod. 20:8
31 Exod. 20:10 32 Exod. 20:12 33 Exod. 20:13 34 Exod. 20:14 35 Exod. 20:15
36 Exod. 20:16 37 Exod. 20:17 38 Exod. 20:24 39 Exod. 20:26 40 Exod. 20:23
41 Exod. 21:2 42 Exod. 21:8 43 Exod. 21:8 44 Exod. 21:8 45 Exod. 21:10
46 Exod. 21:15 47 Exod. 21:17 48 Exod. 21:18 49 Exod. 21:20 50 Exod. 21:28
51 Exod. 21:28 52 Exod. 21:34 53 Exod. 21:36 54 Exod. 22:4 55 Exod. 22:5
56 Exod. 22:6 57 Exod. 22:8 58 Exod. 22:9 59 Exod. 22:13 60 Exod. 22:16–17
61 Exod. 22:18 62 Exod. 22:21 63 Exod. 22:21 64 Exod. 22:22 65 Exod. 22:25
66 Exod. 22:25 67 Exod. 22:25 68 Exod. 22:28 69 Exod. 22:28 70 Exod. 22:29
71 Exod. 22:29 72 Exod. 22:30 73 Exod. 23:1 74 Exod. 23:1 75 Exod. 23:2
76 Exod. 23:2 77 Exod. 23:3 78 Exod. 23:5 79 Exod. 23:6 80 Exod. 23:7
81 Exod. 23:8 82 Exod. 23:11 83 Exod. 23:12 84 Exod. 23:13 85 Exod. 23:13
86 Exod. 23:14 87 Exod. 23:18 88 Exod. 23:18 89 Exod. 23:19 90 Exod. 23:19
91 Exod. 23:25 92 Exod. 23:33 93 Exod. 25:8 94 Exod. 25:15 95 Exod. 25:30
96 Exod. 27:21 97 Exod. 28:2 98 Exod. 28:28 99 Exod. 28:32 100 Exod. 29:33
101 Exod. 29:33 102 Exod. 30:7 103 Exod. 30:9 104 Exod. 30:13 105 Exod. 30:19
106 Exod. 30:31 107 Exod. 30:32 108 Exod. 30:32 109 Exod. 30:37 110 Exod. 34:21
111 Exod. 34:26 112 Exod. 35:3 113 Lev. 1:3 114 Lev. 2:1 115 Lev. 2:11
116 Lev. 2:13 117 Lev. 2:13 118 Lev. 3:17 119 Lev. 3:17 120 Lev. 4:13–14
121 Lev. 4:27–28 122 Lev. 5:1 123 Lev. 5:7-11 124 Lev. 5:8 125 Lev. 5:11
126 Lev. 5:11 127 Lev. 5:16 128 Lev. 5:17–18 129 Lev. 5:23 130 Lev. 5:25
131 Lev. 6:10 132 Lev. 6:13 133 Lev. 6:16 134 Lev. 6:18 135 Lev. 6:23
136 Lev. 6:3 137 Lev. 6:5 138 Lev. 6:5 139 Lev. 6:9 140 Lev. 7:1
141 Lev. 7:11 142 Lev. 7:17 143 Lev. 7:18 144 Lev. 7:19 145 Lev. 7:19
146 Lev. 7:20 147 Lev. 10:6 148 Lev. 10:6 149 Lev. 10:7 150 Lev. 10:9
151 Lev. 10:19 152 Lev. 11:2 153 Lev. 11:4 154 Lev. 11:9 155 Lev. 11:11
156 Lev. 11:13 157 Lev. 11:21 158 Lev. 11:29 159 Lev. 11:34 160 Lev. 11:39
161 Lev. 11:41 162 Lev. 11:42 163 Lev. 11:43 164 Lev. 11:44 165 Lev. 12:2
166 Lev. 12:3 167 Lev. 12:6 168 Lev. 13:12 169 Lev. 13:33 170 Lev. 13:45
171 Lev. 13:47 172 Lev. 14:2 173 Lev. 14:9 174 Lev. 14:10 175 Lev. 14:35
176 Lev. 15:3 177 Lev. 15:13–14 178 Lev. 15:16 179 Lev. 15:16 180 Lev. 15:19
181 Lev. 15:25 182 Lev. 15:28–29 183 Lev. 16:2 184 Lev. 16:3 185 Lev. 16:29
186 Lev. 17:4 187 Lev. 17:13 188 Lev. 18:6 189 Lev. 18:7 190 Lev. 18:7
191 Lev. 18:8 192 Lev. 18:9 193 Lev. 18:10 194 Lev. 18:10 195 Lev. 18:10
196 Lev. 18:11 197 Lev. 18:12 198 Lev. 18:13 199 Lev. 18:14 200 Lev. 18:14
201 Lev. 18:15 202 Lev. 18:16 203 Lev. 18:17 204 Lev. 18:17 205 Lev. 18:17
206 Lev. 18:18 207 Lev. 18:19 208 Lev. 18:20 209 Lev. 18:21 210 Lev. 18:22
211 Lev. 18:23 212 Lev. 18:23 213 Lev. 19:3 214 Lev. 19:4 215 Lev. 19:4
216 Lev. 19:8 217 Lev. 19:9 218 Lev. 19:9 219 Lev. 19:9 220 Lev. 19:10
221 Lev. 19:10 222 Lev. 19:10 223 Lev. 19:10 224 Lev. 19:10 225 Lev. 19:11
226 Lev. 19:11 227 Lev. 19:11 228 Lev. 19:12 229 Lev. 19:13 230 Lev. 19:13
231 Lev. 19:13 232 Lev. 19:14 233 Lev. 19:14 234 Lev. 19:15 235 Lev. 19:15
236 Lev. 19:15 237 Lev. 19:15 238 Lev. 19:16 239 Lev. 19:16 240 Lev. 19:17
241 Lev. 19:17 242 Lev. 19:17 243 Lev. 19:18 244 Lev. 19:18 245 Lev. 19:18
246 Lev. 19:19 247 Lev. 19:19 248 Lev. 19:23 249 Lev. 19:24 250 Lev. 19:26
251 Lev. 19:26 252 Lev. 19:27 253 Lev. 19:27 254 Lev. 19:28 255 Lev. 19:30
256 Lev. 19:31 257 Lev. 19:31 258 Lev. 19:32 259 Lev. 19:35 260 Lev. 19:36
261 Lev. 20:10 262 Lev. 20:14 263 Lev. 20:23 264 Lev. 21:1 265 Lev. 21:6
266 Lev. 21:7 267 Lev. 21:7 268 Lev. 21:7 269 Lev. 21:8 270 Lev. 21:11
271 Lev. 21:11 272 Lev. 21:13 273 Lev. 21:14 274 Lev. 21:14 275 Lev. 21:17
276 Lev. 21:18 277 Lev. 21:23 278 Lev. 22:2 279 Lev. 22:4 280 Lev. 22:10
281 Lev. 22:10 282 Lev. 22:12 283 Lev. 22:15 284 Lev. 22:20 285 Lev. 22:21
286 Lev. 22:21 287 Lev. 22:22 288 Lev. 22:22 289 Lev. 22:24 290 Lev. 22:24
291 Lev. 22:25 292 Lev. 22:27 293 Lev. 22:28 294 Lev. 22:30 295 Lev. 22:32
296 Lev. 22:32 297 Lev. 23:8 298 Lev. 23:8 299 Lev. 23:8 300 Lev. 23:8
301 Lev. 23:10 302 Lev. 23:14 303 Lev. 23:14 304 Lev. 23:14 305 Lev. 23:15
306 Lev. 23:18 307 Lev. 23:21 308 Lev. 23:21 309 Lev. 23:24 310 Lev. 23:25
311 Lev. 23:29 312 Lev. 23:31 313 Lev. 23:32 314 Lev. 23:35 315 Lev. 23:35
316 Lev. 23:36 317 Lev. 23:36 318 Lev. 23:40 319 Lev. 23:42 320 Lev. 25:4
321 Lev. 25:4 322 Lev. 25:5 323 Lev. 25:5 324 Lev. 25:8 325 Lev. 25:9
326 Lev. 25:10 327 Lev. 25:11 328 Lev. 25:11 329 Lev. 25:11 330 Lev. 25:14
331 Lev. 25:14 332 Lev. 25:17 333 Lev. 25:23 334 Lev. 25:24 335 Lev. 25:29
336 Lev. 25:34 337 Lev. 25:37 338 Lev. 25:39 339 Lev. 25:42 340 Lev. 25:43
341 Lev. 25:46 342 Lev. 25:53 343 Lev. 26:1 344 Lev. 27:2 345 Lev. 27:10
346 Lev. 27:10 347 Lev. 27:12–13 348 Lev. 27:14 349 Lev. 27:16 350 Lev. 27:26
351 Lev. 27:28 352 Lev. 27:28 353 Lev. 27:28 354 Lev. 27:32 355 Lev. 27:33
356 Num. 5:2 357 Num. 5:3 358 Num. 5:7 359 Num. 5:15 360 Num. 5:15
361 Num. 5:30 362 Num. 6:3 363 Num. 6:3 364 Num. 6:3 365 Num. 6:4
366 Num. 6:4 367 Num. 6:5 368 Num. 6:5 369 Num. 6:6 370 Num. 6:7
371 Num. 6:18 372 Num. 6:23 373 Num. 7:9 374 Num. 9:11 375 Num. 9:11
376 Num. 9:12 377 Num. 9:12 378 Num. 10:9 379 Num. 15:20 380 Num. 15:38
381 Num. 15:39 382 Num. 18:3 383 Num. 18:3 384 Num. 18:4 385 Num. 18:5
386 Num. 18:15 387 Num. 18:17 388 Num. 18:23 389 Num. 18:24 390 Num. 18:26
391 Num. 19:14 392 Num. 19:21 393 Num. 19:9 394 Num. 27:8 395 Num. 28:3
396 Num. 28:9–10 397 Num. 28:11–15 398 Num. 28:19 399 Num. 28:26 400 Num. 29:1
401 Num. 29:2 402 Num. 29:8 403 Num. 29:13 404 Num. 29:35 405 Num. 30:2
406 Num. 30:2 407 Num. 30:2 408 Num. 35:12 409 Num. 35:12 410 Num. 35:25
411 Num. 35:30 412 Num. 35:31 413 Num. 35:32 414 Deut. 1:17 415 Deut. 1:17
416 Deut. 5:18–22 417 Deut. 6:4 418 Deut. 6:5 419 Deut. 6:7 420 Deut. 6:7
421 Deut. 6:8 422 Deut. 6:8 423 Deut. 6:9 424 Deut. 6:16 425 Deut. 7:2
426 Deut. 7:2 427 Deut. 7:3 428 Deut. 7:25 429 Deut. 7:26 430 Deut. 8:10
431 Deut. 10:19 432 Deut. 10:20 433 Deut. 10:20 434 Deut. 10:20 435 Deut. 12:2
436 Deut. 12:4 437 Deut. 12:5–6 438 Deut. 12:11 439 Deut. 12:13 440 Deut. 12:15
441 Deut. 12:17 442 Deut. 12:17 443 Deut. 12:17 444 Deut. 12:17 445 Deut. 12:17
446 Deut. 12:17 447 Deut. 12:17 448 Deut. 12:17 449 Deut. 12:19 450 Deut. 12:21
451 Deut. 12:23 452 Deut. 12:26 453 Deut. 12:32 454 Deut. 12:32 455 Deut. 13:4
456 Deut. 13:8 457 Deut. 13:8 458 Deut. 13:8 459 Deut. 13:8 460 Deut. 13:8
461 Deut. 13:11 462 Deut. 13:15 463 Deut. 13:16 464 Deut. 13:16 465 Deut. 13:17
466 Deut. 14:1 467 Deut. 14:1 468 Deut. 14:3 469 Deut. 14:11 470 Deut. 14:19
471 Deut. 14:21 472 Deut. 14:22 473 Deut. 14:28 474 Deut. 15:2 475 Deut. 15:3
476 Deut. 15:3 477 Deut. 15:7 478 Deut. 15:9 479 Deut. 15:11 480 Deut. 15:13
481 Deut. 15:14 482 Deut. 15:19 483 Deut. 15:19 484 Deut. 16:3 485 Deut. 16:4
486 Deut. 16:14 487 Deut. 16:16 488 Deut. 16:16 489 Deut. 16:18 490 Deut. 16:21
491 Deut. 16:22 492 Deut. 17:1 493 Deut. 17:11 494 Deut. 17:11 495 Deut. 17:15
496 Deut. 17:15 497 Deut. 17:16 498 Deut. 17:16 499 Deut. 17:17 500 Deut. 17:17
501 Deut. 17:18 502 Deut. 18:1 503 Deut. 18:2 504 Deut. 18:3 505 Deut. 18:4
506 Deut. 18:4 507 Deut. 18:6–8 508 Deut. 18:10 509 Deut. 18:10 510 Deut. 18:11
511 Deut. 18:11 512 Deut. 18:11 513 Deut. 18:11 514 Deut. 18:15 515 Deut. 18:20
516 Deut. 18:20 517 Deut. 18:22 518 Deut. 19:3 519 Deut. 19:13 520 Deut. 19:14
521 Deut. 19:15 522 Deut. 19:19 523 Deut. 20:2 524 Deut. 20:3 525 Deut. 20:10
526 Deut. 20:16 527 Deut. 20:17 528 Deut. 20:19 529 Deut. 21:4 530 Deut. 21:4
531 Deut. 21:11 532 Deut. 21:14 533 Deut. 21:14 534 Deut. 21:20 535 Deut. 21:22
536 Deut. 21:23 537 Deut. 21:23 538 Deut. 22:1 539 Deut. 22:3 540 Deut. 22:4
541 Deut. 22:4 542 Deut. 22:5 543 Deut. 22:5 544 Deut. 22:6 545 Deut. 22:7
546 Deut. 22:8 547 Deut. 22:8 548 Deut. 22:9 549 Deut. 22:9 550 Deut. 22:10
551 Deut. 22:11 552 Deut. 22:19 553 Deut. 22:19 554 Deut. 22:24 555 Deut. 22:26
556 Deut. 22:29 557 Deut. 22:29 558 Deut. 23:1 559 Deut. 23:2 560 Deut. 23:3
561 Deut. 23:6 562 Deut. 23:7–8 563 Deut. 23:7–8 564 Deut. 23:10 565 Deut. 23:12
566 Deut. 23:13 567 Deut. 23:15 568 Deut. 23:16 569 Deut. 23:17 570 Deut. 23:18
571 Deut. 23:19 572 Deut. 23:20 573 Deut. 23:21 574 Deut. 23:23 575 Deut. 23:24
576 Deut. 23:24 577 Deut. 23:25 578 Deut. 24:1 579 Deut. 24:1 580 Deut. 24:4
581 Deut. 24:5 582 Deut. 24:5 583 Deut. 24:6 584 Deut. 24:8 585 Deut. 24:10
586 Deut. 24:12 587 Deut. 24:13 588 Deut. 24:15 589 Deut. 24:16 590 Deut. 24:17
591 Deut. 24:17 592 Deut. 24:19 593 Deut. 24:19 594 Deut. 25:2 595 Deut. 25:3
596 Deut. 25:4 597 Deut. 25:5 598 Deut. 25:5 599 Deut. 25:9 600 Deut. 25:12
601 Deut. 25:13 602 Deut. 25:17 603 Deut. 25:19 604 Deut. 25:19 605 Deut. 26:5
606 Deut. 26:13 607 Deut. 26:14 608 Deut. 26:14 609 Deut. 26:14 610 Deut. 28:9
611 Deut. 31:12 612 Deut. 31:19 613 Deut. 32:38

Related Topics

What commandment(s) did Adam violate in the Fall?
Can we stop sinning?
Christ in the Old Testament

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (IIIM).