‘Oracle’ word study: A brief utterance, a divine oracle, or word from God, of oral tradition, oral law. Recognize words in
oracle such as orator, oration and the latin verb orare, to pray or utter or speak.
The Hebrew word for oracle is dabar “word” in 2 Samuel 16:23 with also the meaning debir “back” in the book of 1 Kings 6:5.
Why is this important for us? It is important because Jesus, who lived during the first century, would have known the oral tradition and would have been taught the Torah in this manner. It is also important for us to understand, therefore, the references to “oracles” in scripture. You will see below that the Oral Tradition was entrusted to the Jewish people and that Jesus taught from it. He would have had it committed to memory as the Oral Tradition was passed down by word of mouth while the Temple stood.
Romans 3:1-2 -“Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? Great in every
respect. Firstly, that they were entrusted with the oracles [Strong’s 3051] of God.”
It is essential to be familiar with The Oral Law as Jesus would have known during the first century. Remember, the NT was not yet written and the only “word” that Jesus refers to was regarding the OT. Therefore, to truly understand Jesus’ words one must be open-minded to know the Oral Law (oracles) which expands on the Torah- written word. The Torah [the written word] is the roots and the Oral Tradition (oral word) is the branches.
Ernest R. Trattner writes: “The destruction of the Jewish National State and the burning of the Temple necessitated tremendous changes of a structural nature. [Therefore] The High Court at
Jamnia also took upon itself the power to suspend certain Biblical laws… Of the many prohibitions abrogated by the rabbis none benefitted Judaism more than setting aside the age-old tradition against putting the Oral Law into written form. Despite the fact that for centuries it was regarded as a serious transgression of Judaism to commit any part of the Oral Law into writing, the demands of the new age with the destruction of the Holy Temple were entirely too compelling to be denied. The time had come when the memory of the sages (even as it was trained in those days) could no longer hold the vast accumulation by oral transmission. Since the destruction of the Temple [and destruction of Jewish community], the growth of the Oral Law, and the extension of its principles, mushroomed into a huge bulk. Individual teachers, jurists, and disciples resorted to jotting down various aspects of the Oral Law as aids to memory. From such beginnings as these arose the vast literature of the Talmud.” (Understanding the Talmud, p. 8)
Biblicals references for ‘oracle’ or ‘oracles’:
2 Samuel 16:23.
1 Kings 6:5, 6;16, 6:19-23, 6:31, 7:49, 8:6, 8:8.
2Chron 3:16, 4:20, 5:7, 5:9.
1 Peter 4:11
Moral of the blog post?! Don’t be afraid of the Oral Law – oracles (The Talmud) and what it has to teach us. If Yeshua taught from it, it is still good for us.