The list of verses, all questions, I supplied in my first run at the "Top Ten Bible Verses" challenge will strike some people as odd in the extreme – unless, of course, they’ve read Kierkegaard and Ellul. The last question in my list, the one in which the martyrs in heaven ask God to avenge their blood, is extremely difficult to embrace. I have not embraced it, and perhaps I never will. When I call it to mind, I balance it immediately with “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
I’m resolved to live with the question nonetheless. That's why I include it in my list of top ten verses.
Doug Chaplin is keeping tabs on responses to the challenge. Check it out.
The rabbis could describe the claims God makes upon his people in terms of 613 commandments. This systematization of Torah precepts remains the basis of orthodox Jewish observance to the present. Talmud Bavli Makkot 24a-b records rabbi Simlai’s construal of a progressive series of passages outside the Torah as placing the commandments under fewer and fewer comprehensive principles.
It’s a delightful piece, a bit reminiscent of what Hillel (Shab. 31a) and Jesus (Matthew 7:12) are reported to do. I will let Simlai's exposition stand as my second run at the challenge.
The carefully chosen chain of texts in the exposition is premised on the idea of David and the prophets as post-Mosaic summarizers of the demands of Torah.
The text as found in the Bavli is full of digressions. I supply the Hebrew purged of the digressions. If Hebrew is not your thing, skip over it; a translation is provided.
דרש רבי שמלאי
שש מאות ושלש עשרה מצות
נאמרו לו למשה
בא דוד והעמידן על אחת עשרה
מִי יָגוּר בְּאָהֳלֶךָ
מִי יִשְׁכֹּן בְּהַר קָדְשֶׁךָ
 הוֹלֵךְ תָּמִים
 וּפֹעֵל צֶדֶק
 וְדֹבֵר אֱמֶת בִּלְבָבֹו
 לֹא־רָגַל עַל־לְשֹׁנֹו
 לֹא־עָשָׂה לְרֵעֵהוּ רָעָה
 וְחֶרְפָּה לֹא־נָשָׂא עַל־קְרֹבֹו
 נִבְזֶה בְּעֵינָיו נִמְאָס
 וְאֶת־יִרְאֵי יהוה יְכַבֵּד
 נִשְׁבַּע לְהָרַע וְלֹא יָמִר
 כַּסְפֹּו לֹא־נָתַן בְּנֶשֶׁךְ
 וְשֹׁחַד עַל־נָקִי לֹא לָקָח
עֹשֵׂה־אֵלֶּה לֹא יִמּוֹט לְעוֹלָם
בא ישעיהו והעמידן על שש
מִי יָגוּר לָנוּ אֵשׁ אוֹכֵלָה
מִי יָגוּר לָנוּ מוֹקְדֵי עוֹלָם
 הֹלֵךְ צְדָקוֹת
 וְדֹבֵר מֵישָׁרִים
 מֹאֵס בְּבֶצַע מַעֲשַׁקּוֹת
 נֹעֵר כַּפָּיו מִתְּמֹךְ בַּשֹּׁחַד
 אֹטֵם אָזְנֹו מִשְּׁמֹעַ דָּמִים
 וְעֹצֵם עֵינָיו מֵרְאוֹת בְּרָע
בא מיכה והעמידן על שלש
הִגִּיד לְךָ אָדָם מַה־טּוֹב
וּמָה־יהוה דּוֹרֵשׁ מִמְּךָ
 כִּי אִם־עֲשׂוֹת מִשְׁפָּט
 וְאַהֲבַת חֶסֶד
 וְהַצְנֵעַ לֶכֶת עִם־אֱלֹהֶיךָ
וכמה חזר ישעיהו והעמידן על שתים
כֹּה אָמַר יהוה
 שִׁמְרוּ מִשְׁפָּט
 וַעֲשׂוּ צְדָקָה
בא עמוס והעמידן על אחת
כֹּה אָמַר יהוה לְבֵית יִשְׂרָאֵל
 דִּרְשׁוּנִי וִחְיוּ
אלא בא חבקוק והעמידן על אחת
 וְצַדִּיק בֶּאֱמוּנָתֹו יִחְיֶה
Rabbi Simlai expounded:
613 commandments were communicated to Moses.
David came and placed them under eleven headings:
Lord, who may stay in your tent,
who dwell on your holy mountain?
 Whoever walks straight,
 does right,
 and acknowledges the truth in his heart;
 who has no slander on his tongue,
 does no wrong to his fellow,
 and raises no reproach against a neighbor;
 in whose eyes the vile one is despised,
 and who honors those who reserve fear for the Lord;
 who stands by an oath to his hurt, and does not swerve;
 whose silver he will not lend at interest,
 a bribe he will not take to the harm of the innocent.
The one who does these things will not slip.
Isaiah came and placed them under six headings:
Who among us can abide a devouring fire?
Who among us can abide perpetual flames?
 The one who walks with integrity
 and talks a straight line;
 who despises the profit of crooked dealings;
 who turns his hand away from pocketing a bribe;
 who stops his ear so as not to attend to bloodshed;
 who shuts his eyes so as not to countenance evil.
Micah came and placed them under three headings:
He conveyed to you, O mortal, what is good,
what does the Lord demand of you
 but to do justice
 and love kindness
 and walk humbly with your God?
And Isaiah repeated and placed them under two headings:
The Lord said this:
 Maintain justice,
 procure the right.
Amos came and placed them under one heading:
The Lord said this to the house of Israel:
 Seek me and live.
But Habakkuk came and placed them under one heading:
 And the just person will live steady as she goes.
In Hab 2:1-4, Habakkuk describes his trustful expectation of divine intervention and God’s command to persevere in that expectation even in the face of delay. The just person is described as the one who will go straight ahead and remain faithful in the crisis of the moment. The “steadiness” of which 2:4 speaks is both attitudinal and behavioral. Faith and faithfulness are both implied. According to Simlai, the steadiness or faithfulness of the just person consists in observance of the 613 commandments.