Exodus 23:3

3 Do not show favoritism to a poor person in his lawsuit.

Exodus 23:3 Meaning and Commentary

Exodus 23:3

Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause.
] Because he is a poor man, and for that reason endeavour to carry his cause for him, right or wrong, from a foolish pity to him as a poor man, and from an affectation of gaining the applause of people on that account; or "thou shalt not honour" or "adorn" a poor man F21, by a set speech in favour of his cause, though wrong, dressed up in the best manner, and set off with all the colourings of art, to make it appear in the most plausible manner; the law is against respect of persons, as not the person of the rich, so neither is the person of the poor to be accepted, but the justice of their cause is to be regarded; so the Targum of Jonathan,

``the poor that is guilty in his judgment or cause, his face (or person) thou shalt not accept to have pity on him, for no person is to be accepted in judgment.''


F21 (rdht al) "non honorabis", Pagninus, Vatablus, Drusius, Cartwright; "non decorabis", Montanus; "ne ornes", Tigurine version; "ne honorato", Junius & Tremellius; "ne ornato", Piscator.

Exodus 23:3 In-Context

1 "You must not spread a false report. Do not join the wicked to be a malicious witness.
2 "You must not follow a crowd in wrongdoing. Do not testify in a lawsuit and go along with a crowd to pervert [justice].
3 Do not show favoritism to a poor person in his lawsuit.
4 "If you come across your enemy's stray ox or donkey, you must return it to him.
5 "If you see the donkey of someone who hates you lying [helpless] under its load, and you want to refrain from helping it, you must help with it.