The Second Book of Moses, Called Exodus

Chapter 23

Of slander, false witness, and partiality, 1-3. Of charitableness, 4, 5. Of justice in judgment, 6, 7. Of taking bribes, 8. Of oppressing a stranger, 9. Of the year of rest, 10, 11. Of the sabbath, 12. Of idolatry, 13. Of the three feasts, 14-17. Of the blood and the fat of the sacrifice, 18, 19. An angel is promised, with a blessing, if they obey him, 20-33.

1 "You shall not raise a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. 2 You shall not follow a multitude to do evil, neither shall you speak in a cause to side with a multitude to wrest judgment, 3 Neither shall you favor a poor man in his cause.

4 "If you meet your enemy's ox or his donkey going astray, you shall surely bring it back to him again. 5 If you see the donkey of him who hates you lying under his burden, you shall forbear to leave him. You shall surely help him with it.

6 "You shall not wrest the judgment of your poor in his cause. 7 Keep far from a false matter and do not slay the innocent and righteous, for I will not justify the wicked.

8 "And you shall take no gift, for the gift blinds the wise and perverts the words of the righteous.

9 "Also you shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the heart of a stranger, seeing you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

10 "And six years you shall sow your land and shall gather in the fruits thereof. 11 But the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie still so that the poor of your people may eat. And what they leave, the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner you shall deal with your vineyard and with your olive-grove.

12 "Six days you shall do your work and on the seventh day you shall rest so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your woman-servant and the stranger may be refreshed. 13 And in all things that I have said to you be circumspect. And make no mention of the names of other gods, neither let it be heard from your mouth.

14 "Three times you shall keep a feast to me in the year: 15 You shall keep the feast of unleavened bread (you shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded you, in the time appointed of the month Abib, for in it you came out from Egypt, and no one shall appear before me empty); 16 And the feast of harvest, the first-fruits of your labors, which you have sown in the field; and the feast of in-gathering, which is at the end of the year, when you have gathered in your labors out of the field. 17 Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord GOD.

18 "You shall 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 first-fruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the LORD your God. You shall not boil a kid in his mother's milk.

20 "Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. 21 Beware of him and obey his voice. Do not provoke him, for he will not pardon your transgressions, for my name is in him. 22 But if you indeed obey his voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries. 23 For my Angel shall go before you and bring you to the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, and I will cut them off. 24 You shall not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works, but you shall utterly overthrow them and quite break down their images. 25 And you shall serve the LORD your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from the midst of you. 26 None shall miscarry their young, nor be barren in your land. I will complete the number of your days. 27 I will send my fear before you and will destroy all the people to whom you shall come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you. 28 And I will send hornets before you, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite from before you. 29 I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land should become desolate and the beast of the field should multiply against you. 30 Little by little I will drive them out from before you until you have increased and inherit the land. 31 And I will set your bounds from the Red Sea even to the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert to the river, for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you shall drive them out before you. 32 You shall make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. 33 They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you to sin against me, for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you."


Matthew Henry Commentary - Exodus, Chapter 23[➚]


[v.1] - Reference, Exodus 20:16.

[v.2] - Reference, Matthew 7:13-14.

[v.4-9] - Reference, Matthew 7:12.

[v.5a] - "you shall forbear to leave him" - In other words, "you shall not leave him there."

[v.5b] - Reference, Deuteronomy 22:1-4; Proverbs 24:17-18, 25:21-22.

[v.8] - "gift" - See the comment for Deuteronomy 16:19. Reference, Proverbs 17:23; Ecclesiastes 7:7.

[v.10-13] - From Robert Hawker's Commentary: "The seventh year, like the seventh day of the week, was sacred, and therefore was to be a sabbath of rest." This was to show the Israelites their dependence upon God to provide for them. Reference, Deuteronomy 8:15-16.

[v.10-12] - Reference, Exodus 20:8-11.

[v.13] - Reference, Exodus 20:3-6.

[v.14-17] - These feasts bear a significance not only to the Israelites, as noted in this chapter, but also to the Church since the coming of Christ. These three feasts include the feast of the Passover, the Pentecost, and the feast of tabernacles. Christ was crucified on the Passover (Matthew 26:2), and the Holy Spirit descended upon the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-2). See also John, ch. 7, for teachings of Christ during the feast of tabernacles.

[v.20-23] - The Angel here mentioned is a direct pointer to Christ. Christ is the Angel of the Lord. Reference, Genesis 12:7, 48:16; Exodus 3:2-6, 14, 14:19, 32:34, 33:2, 14, 34:5-7; Numbers 20:16; Psalm 2:12, 83:18; Isaiah 7:14, 9:6, 63:9; Jeremiah 23:6; Malachi 3:1; Matthew 1:23, 17:5; John 5:23, 10:30, 38, 14:9-10; Colossians 2:9; Revelation 1:8.

[v.24] - Reference, Deuteronomy 12:2-3, 31-32.

[v.25-26] - Reference, Deuteronomy 28:1-14.

[v.27] - Reference, Deuteronomy 2:25, 11:25.

[v.28a] - "hornets" - These hornets may be interpreted figuratively. From John Gill's Exposition: "[These hornets] may be interpreted either figuratively, and so may signify the same as fear before which should fall on the Canaanites upon hearing the Israelites were coming; the stings of their consciences for their sins, terrors of mind, dreading the wrath of the God of Israel, of whom they had heard, and terrible apprehensions of ruin and destruction from the Israelites."

[v.28b] - Reference, Deuteronomy 7:20.

[v.29-30] - Reference, Deuteronomy 7:22.

[v.32-33] - Reference, 2 Corinthians 6:15-18.