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Exodus 23 (New Century Version)

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1 "You must not tell lies. If you are a witness in court, don't help a wicked person by tell- ing lies. 2 "You must not do wrong just because everyone else is doing it. If you are a witness in court, you must not ruin a fair trial. You must not tell lies just because everyone else is. 3 If a poor person is in court, you must not take his side just because he is poor. 4 "If you see your enemy's ox or donkey wandering away, you must return it to him 5 If you see that your enemy's donkey has fallen because its load is too heavy, do not leave it there. You must help your enemy get the donkey back on its feet. 6 "You must not be unfair to a poor person when he is in court. 7 You must not lie when you accuse someone in court. Never allow an innocent or honest person to be put to death as punishment, because I will not treat guilty people as if they were innocent. 8 "You must not accept money from a person who wants you to lie in court, because such money will not let you see what is right. Such money makes good people tell lies. 9 "You must not mistreat a foreigner. You know how it feels to be a foreigner, because you were foreigners in Egypt. 10 "For six years you are to plant and harvest crops on your land. 11 Then during the seventh year, do not plow or plant your land. If any food grows there, allow the poor people to have it, and let the wild animals eat what is left. You should do the same with your vineyards and your orchards of olive trees. 12 "You should work six days a week, but on the seventh day you must rest. This lets your ox and your donkey rest, and it also lets the slave born in your house and the foreigner be refreshed. 13 "Be sure to do all that I have said to you. You must not even say the names of other gods; those names must not come out of your mouth. 14 "Three times each year you must hold a feast to honor me 15 You must celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the way I commanded you. For seven days you must eat bread that is made without yeast at the set time during the month of Abib, the month when you came out of Egypt. No one is to come to worship me without bringing an offering. 16 "You must celebrate the Feast of Weeks. Offer to God the first things you harvest from the crops you planted in your fields. "You must celebrate the Feast of Shelters in the fall, when you gather all the crops from your fields. 17 "So three times during every year all your males must come to worship the Lord God. 18 "You must not offer animal blood along with anything that has yeast in it. "You must not save any of the fat from the sacrifice for the next day. 19 "You must bring the best of the firstfruits of your land to the Holy Tentn of the Lord your God. "You must not cook a young goat in its mother's milk 20 "I am sending an angel ahead of you, who will protect you as you travel. He will lead you to the place I have prepared. 21 Pay attention to the angel and obey him. Do not turn against him; he will not forgive such turning against him because my power is in him 22 If you listen care- fully to all he says and do everything that I tell you, I will be an enemy to your enemies. I will fight all who fight against you. 23 My angel will go ahead of you and take you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites, and Jebusites, and I will destroy them. 24 "You must not bow down to their gods or worship them. You must not live the way those people live. You must destroy their idols, breaking into pieces the stone pillars they use in worship. 25 If you worship the Lord your God, I will bless your bread and your water. I will take away sickness from you. 26 None of your women will have her baby die before it is born, and all women will have children. I will allow you to live long lives. 27 "I will make your enemies afraid of me. I will confuse any people you fight against, and I will make all your enemies run away from you. 28 I will send terror ahead of you that will force the Hivites, Canaanites, and Hittites out of your way. 29 But I will not force all those people out in only one year. If I did, the land would become a desert and the wild animals would become too many for you. 30 Instead, I will force those people out slowly, until there are enough of you to take over the land. 31 "I will give you the land from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, and from the desert to the Euphrates River. I will give you power over the people who now live in the land, and you will force them out ahead of you. 32 You must not make an agreement with those people or with their gods. 33 You must not let them live in your land, or they will make you sin against me. If you worship their gods, you will be caught in a trap."
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