According to the biblical narrative, in addition to the Ten Commandments, Moses received a series of supplementary instructions to guide the people as they set about establishing a society in conformity with the covenant that are to be found in the so-called the Book of the Covenant. The book, which is imbedded in the biblical book of Exodus essentially contains addenda or amendments to longstanding customary laws with which the children of Israel were already familiar, and for this reason its various components vary widely in scope, depending on the extent of differentiation from customary law that they entail. This study of the ordinances in the Book of the Covenant focuses not only on what they meant for the ancient Israelites but also how those laws, rules, instructions, and admonitions were treated and in some instances modified as they were incorporated into the huge corpus of Jewish Law, as it emerged over a period of some two and a half millennia.
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