The Law

The section that is called The Law is what the Jews, and many Christians, call the Torah. For the Jew, the word Torah can also be used to refer to all of Jewish tradition including the Rabbinic tradition as outlined in the Talmud. Torah is most commonly translated law, hence the title here, but a better translation of Torah is probably teaching. The Torah contains far more than a legal code; it also contains a story. The reason is clear enough, just as the old sales adage that goes: 'The facts tell; The story sells.' Statistics charts and tables, just as a legal code, make rather a dull read. If the law contains a statement of rules but the rules must be interpreted by life events. Even in law today 'cases' are used to illustrate what the statutes of the law actually mean. In the Bible the legal code of the Law is intertwined with the story of God's relationship with his creation. The story that is begun in Genesis and runs through the rest of the Torah. The history of what we now know as the Jewish people actually continues through the Historical books and indeed the rest of the Bible. Many of the stories actually illustrate what happens if one does not obey the law.

 

The Law

Genesis Genesis begins with creation of the world and the special creation of man. Man's rebellion leads to murder and lawlessness on the earth but God finds Noah and his family and rescues them through the flood.  All that water is not sufficient to clean things up permanently and society decays again. Out of the rest of mankind God calls Abraham who is the first of the patriarchs. God's promise to Abraham is that he will become a great nation through which all the world will be blessed but Genesis ends with this nation, Israel, enslaved in Egypt.
Exodus Exodus picks up the story with the people crying out to God for deliverance and God calling Moses to help liberate them. Central to the story is recalling, or perhaps explaining, who God is. Israel is delivered from Pharaoh through a series of plagues that demonstrate that God is more powerful than the gods of Egypt. Then there is the crossing of the Red Sea and the receiving of the Law at Mt. Sinai. Exodus ends with the construction of the Tabernacle. Most of 5 chapters of Exodus are devoted to the engineering specifications for the Tabernacle.
Leviticus Leviticus is primarily a handbook for the priests. It is interesting to note that the Bible does not contain a service book or prayer book per se. As detailed as Leviticus is, according to the Jews today, tradition is necessary to fill in the gaps to actually practice the Law.  Contained in Leviticus are the definitions of the five main offerings; laws for ritual cleaness; various moral laws; land tenure, debt and slavery.
Numbers Numbers gets it's name from the Greek Ἀριθμοί, Arithmoi, the same word that gave us the English word arithmetic, hence the name Numbers. In Hebrew it is called במדבר‎, Bəmidbar, "In the desert." The first three chapters contain census data. The rest of the book is about the desert wanderings of the Israelites.
Deuteronomy Deuteronomy is a recap of the story thus far. Some see it as a collection of Moses' farewell addresses, some see it as a covenant document.