Exodus 23

1 Thou shalt not accepte a vayne tale, nether shalt put thine hande with the wiked to be an vnrightous witnesse:
2 Thou shalt not folowe a multitude to do euell: nether answere in a mater of plee that thou woldest to folow many turne a syde from the trueth,
3 nether shalt thou paynte a porre mans cause.
4 whe thou metest thine enimies oxe or asse goynge a straye, thou shalt brynge the to him agayne
5 Yf thou se thine enimies asse synke vnder his burthen, thou shalt not passe by and let him alone: but shalt helpe him to lyfte him vp agayne.
6 Thou shalt not hynder the righte of the poore that are amonge you in their sute.
7 Kepe the ferre from a false mater, and the Innocent and righteous se thou sley not, for I will not iustifye the weked.
8 Thou shalt take no giftes, for giftes blynde the seynge and peruerte the wordes of the righteous.
9 Thou shalt not oppresse a straunger, for I knowe the herte of straunger, because ye were straungers in Egipte.
10 Sixe yeres thou shalt sowe thi londe ad gather in the frutes theroff:
11 and the seuenth yere thou shalt let it rest and lye styll, that the poore of thi people maye eate, and what they leaue, the beestes of the felde shall eate: In like maner thou shalt do with thi vyneyarde ad thine olyue trees.
12 Sixe dayes thou shalt do thi worke ad the seuenth daye thou shalt kepe holie daye, that thyne oxe and thine asse maye rest ad the sonne of thi mayde and the straunger maye be refresshed.
13 And in all thinges that I haue sayde vnto you be circumspecte.And make no rehersall of the names of straunge goddes, nether let any man heare the out of youre mouthes.
14 Thre feastes thou shalt holde vnto me in a yere
15 Thou shalt kepe the feast of swete bred that thou eate vnleuend bred .vij. dayes loge as I comaunded the in the tyme appoynted of the moneth of Abib, for in that moneth thou camest out of Egipte: ad se that noman appeare before me emptie.
16 And the feast of Heruest, when thou reapest the firstfrutes of thy laboures which thou hast sowne in the felde. And the feast of ingaderynge, in the ende of the yere: when thou hast gathered in thy laboures out of the felde.
17 Thre tymes in a yere shall all thy men childern appere before the Lorde Iehouah.
18 Thou shalt not offer the bloude of my sacrifyce with leuended bred: nether shall the fatt of my feast remayne vntill the mornynge.
19 The first of the firstfrutes of thy lode thou shalt bringe in to the housse of the Lorde thy God thou shalt also not seth a kyde in his mothers mylke
20 Beholde, I sende mine angell before the, to kepe the in the waye, and to brynge the in to the place which I haue prepared
21 Beware of him and heare his voyce and angre him not: for he wyll not spare youre mysdedes, yee and my name is in him
22 But and yf thou shalt herken vnto his voyce ad kepe all that I shall tell the, the I wilbe an enimye vnto thyne enimies and an aduersarie vnto thine aduersaries.
23 when myne angell goth before the ad hath broughte the in vnto the Amorites, Hethites Pherezites, Canaanites, Heuites and Iebusites and I shall haue destroyed them:
24 se thou worshippe not their goddes nether serue them, nether do after the workes of them: but ouertrowe them and breake doune the places of them
25 And se that ye serue the Lorde youre God, ad he shall blesse thi bred and thy water, ad I will take all sycknesses awaye from amonge you.
26 Moreouer there shalbe no woman childlesse or vnfrutefull in thi londe, and the nombre of thi dayes I will fulfyll.
27 I will sende my feare before the and will kyll all the people whether thou shalt goo. And I will make all thine enemies turne their backes vnto the,
28 ad I will send hornettes before the, and they shall dryue out the Heuites, the Cananites and the Hethites before the.
29 I will not cast them out in one yere, lest the lande growe to a wyldernesse: and the beestes of the felde multiplye apon the.
30 But a litle and a litle I will dryue them out before the, vntill thou be increased that thou mayst enherett the londe.
31 And I will make thi costes fro the red see vnto the see of the Philistenes and from the deserte vnto the ryuer. I will delyuer the inhabiters of the londe in to thine hande, and thou shalt dryue them out before the.
32 And thou shalt make none appoyntment with them nor wyth their goddes.
33 Nether shall they dwell in thi londe, lest they make the synne a gaynst me: for yf thou serue their goddes, it will surely be thy decaye.

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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


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

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