Exodus 23

1 `Thou dost not lift up a vain report; thou dost not put thy hand with a wicked man to be a violent witness.
2 `Thou art not after many to evil, nor dost thou testify concerning a strife, to turn aside after many to cause [others] to turn aside;
3 and a poor man thou dost not honour in his strife.
4 `When thou meetest thine enemy's ox or his ass going astray, thou dost certainly turn it back to him
5 when thou seest the ass of him who is hating thee crouching under its burden, then thou hast ceased from leaving [it] to it -- thou dost certainly leave [it] with him.
6 `Thou dost not turn aside the judgment of thy needy one in his strife;
7 from a false matter thou dost keep far off, and an innocent and righteous man thou dost not slay; for I do not justify a wicked man.
8 `And a bribe thou dost not take; for the bribe bindeth the open-[eyed], and perverteth the words of the righteous.
9 `And a sojourner thou dost not oppress, and ye -- ye have known the soul of the sojourner, for sojourners ye have been in the land of Egypt.
10 `And six years thou dost sow thy land, and hast gathered its increase;
11 and the seventh thou dost release it, and hast left it, and the needy of thy people have eaten, and their leaving doth the beast of the field eat; so dost thou to thy vineyard -- to thine olive-yard.
12 `Six days thou dost do thy work, and on the seventh day thou dost rest, so that thine ox and thine ass doth rest, and the son of thine handmaid and the sojourner is refreshed;
13 and in all that which I have said unto you ye do take heed; and the name of other gods ye do not mention; it is not heard on thy mouth.
14 `Three times thou dost keep a feast to Me in a year
15 the Feast of Unleavened things thou dost keep; seven days thou dost eat unleavened things, as I have commanded thee, at the time appointed [in] the month of Abib; for in it thou hast come forth out of Egypt, and ye do not appear [in] My presence empty;
16 and the Feast of Harvest, the first fruits of thy works which thou sowest in the field; and the Feast of the In-Gathering, in the outgoing of the year, in thy gathering thy works out of the field.
17 `Three times in a year do all thy males appear before the face of the Lord Jehovah.
18 `Thou dost not sacrifice on a fermented thing the blood of My sacrifice, and the fat of My festival doth not remain till morning;
19 the beginning of the first-fruits of thy ground thou dost bring into the house of Jehovah thy God; thou dost not boil a kid in its mother's milk
20 `Lo, I am sending a messenger before thee to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee in unto the place which I have prepared;
21 be watchful because of his presence, and hearken to his voice, rebel not against him, for he beareth not with your transgression, for My name [is] in his heart
22 for, if thou diligently hearken to his voice, and hast done all that which I speak, then I have been at enmity with thine enemies, and have distressed those distressing thee.
23 `For My messenger goeth before thee, and hath brought thee in unto the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Canaanite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, and I have cut them off.
24 `Thou dost not bow thyself to their gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their doings, but dost utterly devote them, and thoroughly break their standing pillars.
25 `And ye have served Jehovah your God, and He hath blessed thy bread and thy water, and I have turned aside sickness from thine heart;
26 there is not a miscarrying and barren one in thy land; the number of thy days I fulfil:
27 My terror I send before thee, and I have put to death all the people among whom thou comest, and I have given the neck of all thine enemies unto thee.
28 `And I have sent the hornet before thee, and it hath cast out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee;
29 I cast them not out from before thee in one year, lest the land be a desolation, and the beast of the field hath multiplied against thee;
30 little [by] little I cast them out from before thee, till thou art fruitful, and hast inherited the land.
31 `And I have set thy border from the Red Sea, even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness unto the River: for I give into your hand the inhabitants of the land, and thou hast cast them out from before thee;
32 thou dost not make a covenant with them, and with their gods;
33 they do not dwell in thy land, lest they cause thee to sin against Me when thou servest their gods, when it becometh a snare to 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