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In the laws in the first five books of the Bible, each law is a response to a specific ethical or legal problem arising in a narrative incident recounted in Genesis through 2 Kings. The closest of links exist between law and literature. This argument differs significantly from the commonly held view that legal texts were inserted into narrative texts at different historical periods to reflect changing societal circumstances. Topics covered include the origin of the Decalogue (the Ten Commandments); legal ideas of perennial interest such as individual and corporate responsibility, conflict of law with principle, and authoritative sanctioning of evil; sacred (ritual) law; the absence of certain rules; the role of the curse in controlling behavior; the contributions of Jesus and Paul to ethics and law.