Exodus 23

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."

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