Matthew 5:17 Ministries

Those Who Abandon Torah

Focus verse:

Proverbs 28:4 (CJB)
4  Those who abandon Torah praise the wicked,
but those who keep Torah fight them.

What Does Torah Mean?

Although commonly translated in English Bibles by the word “law,” Torah means “instruction.” Often it relates to that of a parent. Its particular use as the Torah most commonly refers to the five books of Moses. The word Torah is used twelve times in Mishlei (Proverbs) and doesn’t always refer to the five books of Moses. However, in its most total sense, for believers, the word easily applies to the whole Bible. All the books are G-d’s teaching and his revelation of who he is and what he is. In Mishlei, when does Torah mean the Torah? In eight of the twelve uses of the word, the author refers either to the instruction of parents or wisdom personified. But in four verses in particular (28:4, 7, 9; 29:18), the reference appears to be to the Torah or the commandments.

The Righteous And The Wicked

Mishlei (Proverbs) 28:4 speaks of those who abandon (oz-vei) the Torah. The word abandon denotes a forsaking or divorce. Isaiah uses azav to refer to a woman who is abandoned (Isa. 60:15). Thus, when Solomon speaks of one who abandons Torah, he means someone who was familiar with it first. This is more than rejection by an unbeliever, it refers to one who follows the word for a while and then forsakes it. Such people often end up praising the wicked. The apostate often leave G-d’s teaching in pursuit of the fruits of sin, saying in his heart, “G-d does not judge the wicked, so why be righteous?” By the very same principle, those who do follow G-d’s teaching generally end up quareling with those who abandon the faith.

The righteous and the wicked are contrasted many times in Mishlei, usually regarding the difference of their fates in G-d’s hands. We see that G-d punishes the wicked and rewards the righteous. However, here we see a contrast based completely within the realm of human relationships. The Torah separates the righteous and the wicked. Even more so, following or abandoning Torah separates the righteous and the wicked. There is more hope for an unbeliever who has not yet discovered G-d’s perfect instruction than for one who knows it and abandoned it. Ironically, Solomon did not ultimately follow his own advice and abandoned Torah. Thus, leading to the disapora (1 Kings 11:26–33). Israel’s unity came to an end much like the proverb ironically warned, and it came through as a result of forsaking the Torah.


Do you know someone who has rejected G-d’s teaching? Perhaps that person used to attend congregation, but now won’t come near it.

They might be bitter with G-d after finding out that their spouse had committed adultery. . Or they might be one, who read certain books that convinced them that the Bible is not from G-d. How can we “fight” with these people? It is not right to despise them, but we can fight for their souls, as Jude says: “Rebuke some who are disputing; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and to yet others, show mercy, but with fear, hating even the clothes stained by their vices” (Jude 22–23).

Today I will …

Pray for one those who have abandoned G-d’s teaching, that that even just one might return to faith in Yeshua the one who cleanses from sin.