Exodus 23:1-33



The following four files contain my comments on chapter 21-23.  They are divided as follows:


1.   21:1-11 - The duty toward Hebrew, male and female purchased servants.

2.   21:12-36 - The duty toward murderers and their victims.

3.   Chapter 22 - The duty in lessor offenses.

4.   Chapter 23 - The duty in lessor offenses and instructions as to the proper worship of God.


The duty in lessor offenses and instructions as to proper worship of God. 

(NOTE: There are some negative aspects in the first part of this chapter, but the end shows more of a positive aspect - reflecting the true worship of God.)


I.    Verse 1-3, Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. {2} Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment: {3} Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause.  A detail behind the 9th commandment.

A.     A willingness to do the right thing regardless of the consequences.

B.     Don't be a false witness, even if everybody else decides to go that way.

C.     Don't be prejudice in judgment for or against the poor (those with no "pull").


II.    Verse 4, 5, If thou meet thine enemy's ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again. {5} If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him.  While there are some things we ought to be active in not doing, there are some things we ought to be active in doing, helping our enemy when we see they are in trouble.  He doesn't mean to go way out of our way to help them, but if we would help them if they were not our enemy, we ought to help them even if they are our enemy.


III.    Verse 6,7, Thou shalt not wrest the judgment of thy poor in his cause. {7} Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked.  Speaks as if we are all judges (which we are - if we would admit it.)

A.     Don't be a part of unrighteous judgment of the innocent.  God will not justify the wicked who take part in this wickedness.

B.     Note: Sometimes the innocent are slain.  Sometimes, because of political power, wicked people cause innocent people to die.  If it happens that we are the one to be slain, may God give us grace to glorify His name.


IV.    Verse 8, And thou shalt take no gift: for the gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous.  The gift is a bribe.  We should accept the proper payment of wages, but not over much wage for we will begin to look at the loss of our wages and will pervert judgment to suit our employer (or the one giving us the bribe).  Note: the love of money is the root of all evil.


V.    The religious observance of secular life.

A.     Some say that religion and politics don't mix - God says it does.  One thing that is wrong with politics today is that there is no religion mixed with it.

B.     Verse 9, Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.  Don't oppress the stranger because at one time ye were a stranger in Egypt.  We that are saved ought to be more compassionate toward the lost for we were lost at one time.

C.     Verse 10,11, And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof: {11} But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; 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 olive yard.  Let the land rest every 7th year.

1.       Denotes a complete trust in God to provide good weather the other 6 years.

2.       Taught the people to lay up treasure in heaven, not on this earth.

3.       Taught the people to lay aside (save) and then use the savings before they die, not lay it up so the children could fight over it.

4.       Let the land rest and renew itself.

D.     Verse 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.  Work 6 days and rest 1 day.

1.       Have one day a week for the Lord.

2.       If they wouldn't give one day a week to the Lord, they wouldn't give 1 year out of every 7 years to the Lord.

3.       The one day a week rest is a constant reminder that on the 7th day they would not farm.

E.      Verse 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.  Be very careful (circumspect) to do these things.  It doesn't make any difference if other gods (religions) don't require it - do it anyway.


VI.    Verse 14-19, Three times thou shalt keep 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 camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:) {16} And the feast of harvest, 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 sacrifice 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 seethe a kid in his mother's milk.  The first mention of Three Great Yearly Feasts.

A.     The Feast of Unleavened Bread - Established in Ex. 12:15, connected with the Passover, Abid 14-21 (Lev. 23:4-8).

B.     Feast of Harvest - also called the Feast of Weeks, the Firstfruits of the Wheat Harvest, the Feast of Pentecost.  Occurred 50 days after Sabbath of the Wave Offering.  (Lev. 23:9-21)

C.     Feast of Ingathering, or Feast of Tabernacles.  15th day of 7th month for 7 days. (Lev. 23:23-44).


VII.    Verse 20-25, {20} Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.{23} For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: 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 quite break down their images.  The angel is Moses (no doubt), a leader chosen by God to lead Israel.

A.     Rev. 1:20, 2:1 etc.; - The angel of the churches is the pastors God has given.

B.     Verse 21,22, Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him. {22} But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.  If Israel obeyed the voice of Moses, God would be with them and against their enemies.  Isn't the same thing so today with the pastors and churches?

C.     Verse 25, And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.  God promises freedom from sickness if Israel served God and followed the leaders He gave.  Isn't the same thing so today in His churches?


VIII.    Divers promises to the faithful.

A.     Verse 26, There shall nothing cast their young, nor be barren, in thy land: the number of thy days I will fulfil.  The young wouldn't die and the old would die only in their proper time.

B.     Verse 27, I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.  God will send fear to the enemies of Israel.  He will cause them to be unable to face them.  They shall turn their backs on them and run.

C.     Verse 28-30, 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 beast of the field multiply against thee. {30} By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.  God will send hornets to drive out the enemy (Israel wouldn't even have to fight), a little at a time so the land would be habitable for Israel.  Because Israel refused to obey God, God didn't sent the hornets to drive out the enemy.  Israel had to go into the land, form armies, and take the land.  I should remark that Israel was victorious only because God gave them the victory.  They weren't victorious because of their greater military skills.

D.     Verse 31, And I will set thy bounds 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.  The boundaries of Israel are established by God, not by the force of armies.  Note: God has set aside space for the nations that are His enemies.  This gives us a glimpse into the graciousness of God.

E.      Verse 32,33, Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. {33} They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee.  Make no compromise or agreement with this wickedness.  All compromise is a sin which will eventually cause us to stumble.