Shemot 23

1 3 Thou shalt not spread a false report; put not thine hand with the rashah to be an ed chamas (malicious witness).
2 Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a riv (cause, lawsuit) to turn aside after many to pervert justice;
3 Neither shalt thou favor a poor man in his riv (cause, lawsuit).
4 If thou meet thine enemy’s shor (ox) or his chamor (donkey) going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again.
5 If thou see the chamor of him that hateth thee lying under his massa, and wouldest refrain from helping him, thou shalt surely help with him.
6 Thou shalt not pervert the mishpat of thy poor in his riv (cause, lawsuit).
7 Keep thee far from a devar sheker (false matter); and the naki (innocent) and tzaddik slay thou not; for I will not acquit the rashah.
8 And thou shalt take no shochad (bribe, gift); for the shochad blindeth the seeing, and perverteth the words of the tzaddikim.
9 Also thou shalt not oppress a ger; for ye know the nefesh of a ger, seeing ye were gerim in Eretz Mitzrayim.
10 And shesh shanim thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the crops thereof;
11 But the shevi’it thou shalt leave it shamat (unplowed) and let it lie fallow; that the evyon (poor) of thy people may eat; and what they leave the beasts of the sadeh shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy kerem (vineyard), and with thy zayit (olive) grove.
12 Sheshet yamim thou shalt do thy work, and on the yom hashevi’i thou shalt rest; that thine shor (ox) and thine chamor (donkey) may rest, and the ben of thy amah (handmaid), and the ger, may be refreshed.
13 And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect; and make no mention of the shem elohim acherim, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.
14 Three times thou shalt keep a Chag unto Me in the shanah.
15 Thou shalt be shomer to keep the Chag HaMatzot; thou shalt eat matzot shivah yamim, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Aviv; for in it thou camest out from Mitzrayim; and none shall appear before Me empty-handed;
16 And the Chag HaKatzir, Bikkurim (Firstfruits [see Ac chp 2]) of thy labors, which thou hast sown in the sadeh; and the Chag HaAsif (Feast of Ingathering [see Yn chp 7]), which is in the end of the shanah, when thou hast gathered in thy labors out of the sadeh.
17 Shalosh pa’amim in the shanah all thy zachar shall appear before HaAdon Hashem.
18 Thou shalt not offer the dahm of My zevach with chametz; neither shall the chelev of My sacrifice remain until the boker.
19 The reshit bikkurim of thy land thou shalt bring into the Bais Hashem Eloheicha [see Ac chp 2]. Thou shalt not cook a kid in his mother’s cholov.
20 Hinei, I send Malach before thee, to be shomer over thee in the derech, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.
21 Pay heed to him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your peysha’im; for My Shem is in him.
22 But if thou shalt indeed obey his [bat] kol, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.
23 For My Malach shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Emori, and the Chitti, and the Perizzi, and the Kena’ani, the Chivi, and the Yevusi; I will cut them off.
24 Thou shalt not bow down to their elohim, nor serve them, nor follow after their works; but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and completely break down their matztzvot (memorial columns dedicated to idols).
25 And ye shall serve Hashem Eloheichem, and He shall bless thy lechem, and thy mayim; and I will take machalah (sickness) away from the midst of thee.
26 There shall nothing miscarry their young, nor be barren, in thy land; the mispar (number) of thy yamim I will fulfill.
27 I will send My ehmah (terror) ahead of thee, and will throw into confusion 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 the tzirah (hornet) ahead of thee, which shall drive out the Chivi, the Kena’ani, and the Chitti, from before thee.
29 I will not drive them out from before thee in shanah echat; lest ha’aretz become desolate, and the beast of the sadeh multiply against thee.
30 Me’at me’at (little by little) I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit ha’aretz.
31 And I will establish thy borders from the Yam Suf even unto the Yam Pelishtim, and from the Midbar unto the [Euphrates] River: for I will deliver the inhabitants of ha’aretz into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee.
32 Thou shalt make no brit (covenant) with them, nor with their elohim.
33 They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against Me; for if thou serve their elohim, it will surely be a mokesh (snare) unto thee.

Images for Shemot 23

Shemot 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


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.

Shemot 23 Commentaries

The Orthodox Jewish Bible fourth edition, OJB. Copyright 2002,2003,2008,2010, 2011 by Artists for Israel International. All rights reserved.