The law of God given to Moses is a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure that the Israelites’ behavior reflected their status as God’s chosen people. It encompasses moral behavior, their position as a godly example to other nations, and systematic procedures for acknowledging God’s holiness and mankind’s sinfulness. In an attempt to better understand the purpose of these laws, Jews and Christians categorize them. This has led to the distinction between moral law, ceremonial law, and judicial law.
The moral laws, or mishpatim, relate to justice and judgment and are often translated as “ordinances.” Mishpatim are said to be based on God’s holy nature. As such, the ordinances are holy, just, and unchanging. Their purpose is to promote the welfare of those who obey.