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Home -- Content: Series 7 (Laws) -- Translation: English -- Book: 1 (Tora) -- Part: 2 (Negative) -- Prohibition: 27 -- Text
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The Sharia of Moses in the TORA
Part 2 - The 365 Prohibitions of the Tora

27 - PROPHESYING FALSELY


Deuteronomy 18:20 --But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.”

The Talmud includes “a false prophet” in the list of transgressors who are to be strangled.*

* Sanh. 89a (Sonc. ed. p. 590)

Scripture tells us how to distinguish the false from the true prophet of God: And if you say in your heart, 'How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?'-- When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken (Deuteronomy 18:21-22).

As interpreted in Jewish tradition, the meaning of these verses is as follows: “As to calamities predicted by a prophet – as when, for example, he foretells the death of a certain individual or states that in a certain year there will be famine or war, and so forth – the non-fulfillment of his forecast does not disprove his prophetic standing… For God is long-suffering and abounding in kindness, and repents of the evil He has threatened. It may also be that those who were admonished repented and were forgiven, as happened to the people of Nineveh. Possibly, too, the execution of the sentence is only deferred, as in the case of Hezekiah. But if the prophet in the name of the Lord foretells good fortune, declaring that a definite event will come to pass, and the benefit promised is not realized, he is unquestionably a false prophet. For no blessing decreed by the Almighty even if promised conditionally, is ever revoked.”*

* Mishneh Torah, Mada, Hilchoth Yesode Ha-Torah X, 4

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