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1 Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to bee an vnrighteous witnesse.

2 Thou shalt not follow a multitude to doe euill: neither shalt thou speake in a cause, to decline after many, to wrest iudgement:

3 Neither shalt thou countenance a poore man in his cause.

4 If thou meete thine enemies oxe or his asse going astray, thou shalt surely bring it backe to him againe.

5 If thou see the asse of him that hateth thee, lying vnder his burden, and wouldest forbeare to helpe him, thou shalt surely helpe with him.

6 Thou shalt not wrest the iudgement of thy poore in his cause.

7 Keepe thee farre from a false matter: and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not iustifie the wicked.

8 And thou shalt take no gift: for the gift blindeth the wise, and peruerteth the words of the righteous.

9 Also thou shalt not oppresse a stranger: for yee know the heart of a stranger, seeing yee were strangers in the land of Egypt.

10 And sixe yeres thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruites thereof:

11 But the seuenth yeere thou shalt let it rest, and lie still, that the poore of thy people may eate, and what they leaue, the beasts of the field shall eate. In like maner thou shalt deale with thy vineyard, and with thy oliue yard.

12 Sixe dayes thou shalt doe thy worke, and on the seuenth day thou shalt rest: that thine oxe and thine asse may rest, and the sonne of thy handmayd, & the stranger may be refreshed.

13 And in all things that I haue said vnto you, be circumspect: and make no mention of the names of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.

14 Three times thou shalt keepe a feast vnto me in the yeere.

15 Thou shalt keepe the feast of vnleauened bread: thou shalt eate vnleauened bread seuen daies, as I commanded thee in the time appointed of the moneth Abib: for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appeare before me emptie:

16 And the feast of haruest, the first fruits of thy labours, which thou hast sowen in the field: and the feast of ingathering which is in the end of the yeere, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field.

17 Three times in the yeere all thy males shall appeare before the Lord God.

18 Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leauened bread, neither shall the fat of my sacrifice remaine vntill the morning.

19 The first of the first fruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the Lord thy God: thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mothers milke.

20 Behold, I send an Angel before thee to keepe thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I haue prepared.

21 Beware of him, and obey his voice, prouoke 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 doe all that I speake, then I wil be an enemie vnto thine enemies, and an aduersarie vnto thine aduersaries.

23 For mine Angel shall goe before thee, and bring thee in vnto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hiuites, and the Iebusites: and I will cut them off.

24 Thou shalt not bow downe to their gods, nor serue them, nor doe after their workes: but thou shalt vtterly ouerthrowe them, and quite breake downe their images.

25 And yee shall serue the Lord your God, and he shall blesse thy bread, and thy water: and I will take sicknes away from the midst of thee.

26 There shall nothing cast their yong, nor bee barren in thy land: the number of thy dayes I will fulfill.

27 I will send my feare before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turne their backes vnto thee.

28 And I will send hornets before thee, which shall driue out the Hiuite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite from before thee.

29 I will not driue them out from before thee in one yeere, lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee.

30 By little and little I will driue them out from before thee, vntill thou be increased and inherit the land.

31 And I will set thy bounds from the Red sea, euen vnto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert vnto the riuer: for I will deliuer the inhabitants of the land into your hand: and thou shalt driue them out before thee.

32 Thou shalt make no couenant with them, nor with their gods.

33 They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sinne against me: for if thou serue their gods, it will surely be a snare vnto thee.

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Commentary for Exodus 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)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.

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.

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; this is plainly taught by St. Paul, #1Co 10:9|. They should have 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.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Exodus 23

  • BSP
    Verse 2~We don't want to follow after the crowd when it is to do bad. We want to make sure that we are doing what is pleasing to Jehovah God.
  • A disciple
    The challenge for us as Christians, and the trial that melts us down, is knowing how to die to self and bear up cheerfully under such violence and cruelty and FALSEHOOD, without getting angry and upset. And it will be even more difficult and painful once we are in the middle of it, and the attacks seem to come from every side. That is when we must surrender all to Jesus, and not harden our hearts.
  • A disciple
    Cowardice forsakes a godly character because of fear of men. Peer pressure is a wicked tool of the devil used to get the simple to "countenance" an evil word and an evil-minded crowd. We need to "stand our man" and not care a thing for whether we are mocked or ridiculed or separated from family and friends, because we don't follow the party line; however aggressive and persistent they pursue us!
  • A disciple
    "Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment: Neither shalt thou countenance (to support or encourage; sanction) a poor man in his cause." The cause of the poor is not automatically right just because he is poor!
  • A disciple
    "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 oliveyard." The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath; and NOT for the rich and powerful to use it to oppress the poor! A mark of a son of the devil is religious oppression.
  • BSP
    Verse 20: Jehovah God put an angel before the nation of Israel. Their survival depended on whether they obeyed and followed the direction of that angel.

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