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Exodus Twenty Three

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Exodus 23:1 Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.

Exodus 23:2 Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment:

Exodus 23:3 Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause.

a poor man. Although believers are frequently exhorted to help the poor (e.g., xTerm 3:17), they are not to be favored judicially in a dispute merely because they are poor; justice is to be applied without any regard to the wealth or the poverty of the disputants.

Exodus 23:4 If thou meet thine enemy's ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again.

Exodus 23:5 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.

Exodus 23:6 Thou shalt not wrest the judgment of thy poor in his cause.

Exodus 23:7 Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked.

Exodus 23:8 And thou shalt take no gift: for the gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous.

Exodus 23:9 Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

Exodus 23:10 And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof:

Exodus 23:11 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 oliveyard.

Exodus 23:12 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.

may rest. Not only was the sabbath rest “made for man” (Mark 2:27), but even for the animals!

Exodus 23:13 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.

Exodus 23:14 Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year.

Exodus 23:15 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:)

Exodus 23:16 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.

Exodus 23:17 Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD.

Exodus 23:18 Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the fat of my sacrifice remain until the morning.

Exodus 23:19 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.

Exodus 23:20 Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.

Angel before thee. This guiding Angel had also been with their father Israel (Genesis 48:16) and would now lead his children. That He was actually God Himself (that is, the Second Person of the Triune God, in a preincarnate theophany) is evident from the fact that He had the ability to pardon transgressions (Exodus 23:21).

Exodus 23:21 Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him.

Exodus 23:22 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.

Exodus 23:23 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.

the Jebusites. These tribes were evidently all descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham. Note Genesis 10:15-18; 15:18-21.

Exodus 23:24 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.

Exodus 23:25 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.

Exodus 23:26 There shall nothing cast their young, nor be barren, in thy land: the number of thy days I will fulfil.

Exodus 23:27 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.

Exodus 23:28 And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee.

hornets. The Palestinian hornet, or wasp, was a vicious stinging insect, but it might seem unlikely that swarms of literal hornets could really drive the Canaanites out of the land. On the other hand, Joshua 24:12 says that hornets sent by God did drive out the kings of the Amorites. Some have suggested that the term “hornets” was a symbolic name for the Egyptian armies, but there is no evidence that the Egyptians drove out the Amorites, either. In actuality this was done by the Israelites themselves, under Moses and Joshua. The probable implication is that the Amorite and Canaanite armies had, indeed, been attacked by swarms of these stinging insects for some years before the Israelites reached them, thus becoming so traumatized and demoralized that they could not offer adequate resistance when the Israelites finally attacked.

Exodus 23:29 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.

Exodus 23:30 By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.

Exodus 23:31 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.

Exodus 23:32 Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.

Exodus 23:33 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.