Exodus 23

1 "Do not spread false rumors, and do not help a guilty person by giving false testimony. 1
2 Do not follow the majority when they do wrong or when they give testimony that perverts justice.
3 Do not show partiality to a poor person at his trial. 2
4 "If you happen to see your enemy's cow or donkey running loose, take it back to him.
5 If his donkey has fallen under its load, help him get the donkey to its feet again; don't just walk off.
6 "Do not deny justice to a poor person when he appears in court. 3
7 Do not make false accusations, and do not put an innocent person to death, for I will condemn anyone who does such an evil thing.
8 Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe makes people blind to what is right and ruins the cause of those who are innocent.
9 "Do not mistreat a foreigner; you know how it feels to be a foreigner, because you were foreigners in Egypt. 4
10 "For six years plant your land and gather in what it produces. 5
11 But in the seventh year let it rest, and do not harvest anything that grows on it. The poor may eat what grows there, and the wild animals can have what is left. Do the same with your vineyards and your olive trees.
12 "Work six days a week, but do no work on the seventh day, so that your slaves and the foreigners who work for you and even your animals can rest. 6
13 "Listen to everything that I, the Lord, have said to you. Do not pray to other gods; do not even mention their names.
14 "Celebrate three festivals a year to honor me
15 In the month of Abib, the month in which you left Egypt, celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread in the way that I commanded you. Do not eat any bread made with yeast during the seven days of this festival. Never come to worship me without bringing an offering. 7
16 "Celebrate the Harvest Festival when you begin to harvest your crops. 8 "Celebrate the Festival of Shelters in the autumn, when you gather the fruit from your vineyards and orchards.
17 Every year at these three festivals all your men must come to worship me, the Lord your God.
18 "Do not offer bread made with yeast when you sacrifice an animal to me. The fat of animals sacrificed to me during these festivals is not to be left until the following morning.
19 "Each year bring to the house of the Lord your God the first grain that you harvest. 9 "Do not cook a young sheep or goat in its mother's milk
20 "I will send an angel ahead of you to protect you as you travel and to bring you to the place which I have prepared.
21 Pay attention to him and obey him. Do not rebel against him, for I have sent him, and he will not pardon such rebellion
22 But if you obey him and do everything I command, I will fight against all your enemies.
23 My angel will go ahead of you and take you into the land of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, and I will destroy them.
24 Do not bow down to their gods or worship them, and do not adopt their religious practices. Destroy their gods and break down their sacred stone pillars.
25 If you worship me, the Lord your God, I will bless you with food and water and take away all your sicknesses.
26 In your land no woman will have a miscarriage or be without children. I will give you long lives.
27 "I will make the people who oppose you afraid of me; I will bring confusion among the people against whom you fight, and I will make all your enemies turn and run from you.
28 I will throw your enemies into panic; I will drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites as you advance.
29 I will not drive them out within a year's time; if I did, the land would become deserted, and the wild animals would be too many for you.
30 Instead, I will drive them out little by little, until there are enough of you to take possession of the land.
31 I will make the borders of your land extend from the Gulf of Aqaba to the Mediterranean Sea and from the desert to the Euphrates River. I will give you power over the inhabitants of the land, and you will drive them out as you advance.
32 Do not make any agreement with them or with their gods.
33 Do not let those people live in your country; if you do, they will make you sin against me. If you worship their gods, it will be a fatal trap for you."

Images for Exodus 23

Exodus 23 Commentary

Chapter 23

Laws against falsehood and injustice. (1-9) The year of rest, The sabbath, The three festivals. (10-19) God promises to conduct the Israelites to Canaan. (20-33)

Verses 1-9 In the law of Moses are very plain marks of sound moral feeling, and of true political wisdom. Every thing in it is suited to the desired and avowed object, the worship of one only God, and the separation of Israel from the pagan world. Neither parties, friends, witnesses, nor common opinions, must move us to lessen great faults, to aggravate small ones, excuse offenders, accuse the innocent, or misrepresent any thing.

Verses 10-19 Every seventh year the land was to rest. They must not plough or sow it; what the earth produced of itself, should be eaten, and not laid up. This law seems to have been intended to teach dependence on Providence, and God's faithfulness in sending the larger increase while they kept his appointments. It was also typical of the heavenly rest, when all earthly labours, cares, and interests shall cease for ever. All respect to the gods of the heathen is strictly forbidden. Since idolatry was a sin to which the Israelites leaned, they must blot out the remembrance of the gods of the heathen. Solemn religious attendance on God, in the place which he should choose, is strictly required. They must come together before the Lord. What a good Master do we serve, who has made it our duty to rejoice before him! Let us devote with pleasure to the service of God that portion of our time which he requires, and count his sabbaths and ordinances to be a feast unto our souls. They were not to come empty-handed; so now, we must not come to worship God empty-hearted; our souls must be filled with holy desires toward him, and dedications of ourselves to him; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Verses 20-33 It is here promised that they should be guided and kept in their way through the wilderness to the land of promise, Behold, I send an angel before thee, mine angel. The precept joined with this promise is, that they be obedient to this angel whom God would send before them. Christ is the Angel of Jehovah; ( 1 Corinthians. 10:9 ) a comfortable settlement in the land of Canaan. How reasonable are the conditions of this promise; that they should serve the only true God; not the gods of the nations, which are no gods at all. How rich are the particulars of this promise! The comfort of their food, the continuance of their health, the increase of their wealth, the prolonging their lives to old age. Thus hath godliness the promise of the life that now is. It is promised that they should subdue their enemies. Hosts of hornets made way for the hosts of Israel; such mean creatures can God use for chastising his people's enemies. In real kindness to the church, its enemies are subdued by little and little; thus we are kept on our guard, and in continual dependence on God. Corruptions are driven out of the hearts of God's people, not all at once, but by little and little. The precept with this promise is, that they should not make friendship with idolaters. Those that would keep from bad courses, must keep from bad company. It is dangerous to live in a bad neighbourhood; others' sins will be our snares. Our greatest danger is from those who would make us sin against God.

Cross References 10

  • 1. 23.1Exodus 20.16;Leviticus 19.11, 12;Deuteronomy 5.20.
  • 2. 23.3Leviticus 19.15.
  • 3. 23.4, 5Deuteronomy 22.1-4.
  • 4. 23.6-8Leviticus 19.15;Deuteronomy 16.19.
  • 5. 23.9Exodus 22.21;Leviticus 19.33, 34;Deuteronomy 24.17, 18; 27.19.
  • 6. 23.10, 11Leviticus 25.1-7.
  • 7. 23.12Exodus 20.9-11; 31.15; 34.21; 35.2;Leviticus 23.3;Deuteronomy 5.13, 14.
  • 8. 23.15Exodus 12.14-20;Leviticus 23.6-8;Numbers 28.17-25.
  • 9. 23.16 aLeviticus 23.15-21;Numbers 28.26-31; bLeviticus 23.39-43.
  • 10. 23.19Deuteronomy 26.2;Exodus 34.26;Deuteronomy 14.21.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. I will . . . panic; [or] I will send hornets among your enemies.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO EXODUS 23

This chapter contains several laws, chiefly judicial, relating to the civil polity of Israel, as concerning witness borne and judgment made of cases in courts of judicature, without any respect to poor or rich, and without the influence of a bribe, Ex 23:1-3,6-8, concerning doing good to an enemy in case any of his cattle go astray, or fall under their burden, Ex 23:4,5, and of the oppression of a stranger, Ex 23:9, and then follow others concerning the sabbath of the seventh year, and of the seventh day, with a caution against the use of the names of idols, Ex 23:10-13, next are laws concerning the appearance of all their males at the three feasts, Ex 23:14-17, and concerning the slaying of the sacrifice of the passover, and bringing the first of the firstfruits of the land, Ex 23:18,19 and then a promise is made of sending an angel to them to bring them into the land of Canaan, where they should carefully avoid all idolatry, and show a just indignation against it, and serve the Lord, and then it would be well with them, Ex 23:20-26, and particularly it is promised, that the Lord would send his fear, and his hornets, before them, to destroy the inhabitants of the land, and drive out the rest by little and little, until they should possess the utmost borders of it, which are fixed, Ex 23:27-31, and the chapter is concluded with a direction not to make a covenant with these people, or their gods, nor suffer them to dwell among them, lest they should be a snare unto them, Ex 23:32,33.

Exodus 23 Commentaries