Is there a Biblical basis, (perhaps in the prophets), or precedent in ancient Jewish literature, (before Jesus), to refer to the Psalms as, "The law"?

NASB, John 10:34-35 - Jesus answered them, “Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 35 If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken),

NASB, Psalm 82:6 - I said, “You are gods, And all of you are sons of the Most High.

Does this principle actually appear elsewhere, other than the Psalms?

  • Note that he actually referred to "your law" rather than "the law" which could be significant.
    – Ruminator
    Nov 3, 2017 at 16:38

2 Answers 2


The Greek word for "law" in is νόμος (nomos). In the Greek Septuagint version of the Old Testament, νόμος represents תּוֹרָה (torah) most of the time. But the Hebrew word torah need not refer exclusively to the Law of Moses (the torat moshe), as evidenced, for example, in Proverbs 1:8:

My son, hear the instruction [torah] of thy father, And forsake not the law of thy mother

Jewish Bible scholar Marc Zvi Brettler comments:

Yet “law” is not the only possible translation of torah, and the Torah should not be typified as a book of law ... Teaching is not confined to law; indeed narratives or stories are as effective a medium of instruction.*

So while almost all translations are faithful in translating νόμος as "law", the Hebrew word that it signifies can have a broader meaning than just the Law of Moses.

* Oxford Jewish Study Bible (2nd ed.)


"Torah ... is the core text of the religious Judaic tradition. It has a range of meanings. It can most specifically mean the first five books of the twenty-four books of the Tanakh, and it usually includes the rabbinic commentaries. The term Torah means instruction and offers a way of life for those who follow it; it can mean the continued narrative from Genesis to the end of the Tanakh, and it can even mean the totality of Jewish teaching, culture and practice." https://www.epiphany-richardson.org

In this case, the Psalms are a part of the Torah.

However, there is no need to limit Jesus's reference to Ps 82:6 concerning God calling men gods. The word 'el' is a demonstrative particle used of cities, countries, and nations and even of men. Jesus had a way of using the scriptures in ways which were novel to the Hebrew listeners.

God did say that Adam had become like "one of us", which also might be argued as one of the times he called man gods.

  • Paul uses creation as Torah in Rom 1:18 ff saying God is angry because people do not follow the 'torah' /teaching of creation. This is the same Paul who says where there is no law there is no culpability for the law. He made it plain: creation is Torah.. a teaching from God about God.
    – Bob Jones
    Nov 25, 2017 at 3:06

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