Exodus 23

1 Thou shalt not admit a false rumour; put not thine hand with the wicked to be a false witness.
2 Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause hiding behind many to wrest judgment;
3 neither shalt thou honour a poor man in his cause.
4 If thou should encounter thine enemy’s ox or his ass astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again.
5 If thou see the ass of him that hates thee lying under his burden, will thou forbear to help him? Thou shalt surely help him to raise it up.
6 Thou shalt not pervert the rights of thy poor in his cause.
7 Keep thee far from a false matter; and slay thou not the innocent and righteous; for I will not justify the wicked.
8 And thou shalt take no bribe; for the bribe blinds the wise and perverts the words of the righteous.
9 Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger, for ye know the state of the soul of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
10 And six years thou shalt sow thy land and shalt gather in its increase,
11 but the seventh year thou shalt leave it free and release it, that the poor of thy people may eat, and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard and with thy oliveyard.
12 Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest, that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid and the stranger may be refreshed.
13 And in all things that I have said unto you, be circumspect and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.
14 Three times thou shalt celebrate a feast unto me in the year:
15 Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib, for in it thou didst come out from Egypt; and none shall appear before me empty),
16 And the feast of the harvest of the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field, and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field.
17 Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD.
18 Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the fat of my lamb remain until the morning.
19 The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not boil a kid in his mother’s milk.
20 Behold, I send the Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.
21 Keep thyself before him and hear his voice, grieve him not; for he will not pardon your rebellion, for my name is in him.
22 But if thou shalt indeed hear his voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies and an adversary unto those that afflict thee.
23 For my Angel shall go before thee and bring thee in unto the land of the Amorite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Canaanite the Hivite and the Jebusite; and I will cut them off.
24 Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works; but thou shalt utterly overthrow them and completely break down their images.
25 But ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread and thy water; and I will take all sickness away from the midst of thee.
26 No women shall abort, nor be barren, in thy land; the number of thy days I will fulfil.
27 I will send my fear before thee and will trouble all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.
28 And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite from before thee.
29 I will not drive them out from before thee in one year lest the land become desolate and the beasts of the field multiply against thee.
30 Little by little I will drive them out from before thee until thou be multiplied and take the land by inheritance.
31 And I will set thy borders from the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines and from the desert unto the river; for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and thou shalt drive them out before thee.
32 Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.
33 They shall not dwell in thy land lest peradventure they make thee sin against me by serving their gods, for it will be a snare unto thee.

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.

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

The Jubilee Bible

(from the Scriptures of the Reformation)

edited by Russell M. Stendal

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