Exodus – Chapter 23

Book of Bible

The Bible – Old Testament



Chapter 23


«You shall not repeat a false report. Do not join the wicked in putting your hand, as an unjust witness, upon anyone.


Neither shall you allege the example of the many as an excuse for doing wrong, nor shall you, when testifying in a lawsuit, side with the many in perverting justice.


You shall not favor a poor man in his lawsuit.


«When you come upon your enemy’s ox or ass going astray, see to it that it is returned to him.


When you notice the ass of one who hates you lying prostrate under its burden, by no means desert him; help him, rather, to raise it up.


«You shall not deny one of your needy fellow men his rights in his lawsuit.


You shall keep away from anything dishonest. The innocent and the just you shall not put to death, nor shall you acquit the guilty.


Never take a bribe, for a bribe blinds even the most clear-sighted and twists the words even of the just.


You shall not oppress an alien; you well know how it feels to be an alien, since you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.


«For six years you may sow your land and gather in its produce.


But the seventh year you shall let the land lie untilled and unharvested, that the poor among you may eat of it and the beasts of the field may eat what the poor leave. So also shall you do in regard to your vineyard and your olive grove.


«For six days you may do your work, but on the seventh day you must rest, that your ox and your ass may also have rest, and that the son of your maidservant and the alien may be refreshed.


Give heed to all that I have told you. «Never mention the name of any other god; it shall not be heard from your lips.


1 «Three times a year you shall celebrate a pilgrim feast to me.


2 You shall keep the feast of Unleavened Bread. As I have commanded you, you must eat unleavened bread for seven days at the prescribed time in the month of Abib, for it was then that you came out of Egypt. No one shall appear before me empty-handed.


You shall also keep the feast of the grain harvest with the first of the crop that you have sown in the field; and finally, the feast at the fruit harvest at the end of the year, when you gather in the produce from the fields.


Thrice a year shall all your men appear before the Lord GOD.


«You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread; nor shall the fat of my feast be kept overnight till the next day.


3 The choicest first fruits of your soil you shall bring to the house of the LORD, your God. «You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.


«See, I am sending an angel before you, to guard you on the way and bring you to the place I have prepared.


4 Be attentive to him and heed his voice. Do not rebel against him, for he will not forgive your sin. My authority resides in him.


If you heed his voice and carry out all I tell you, I will be an enemy to your enemies and a foe to your foes.


«My angel will go before you and bring you to the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites; and I will wipe them out.


5 Therefore, you shall not bow down in worship before their gods, nor shall you make anything like them; rather, you must demolish them and smash their sacred pillars.


The LORD, your God, you shall worship; then I will bless your food and drink, and I will remove all sickness from your midst;


no woman in your land will be barren or miscarry; and I will give you a full span of life.


«I will have the fear of me precede you, so that I will throw into panic every nation you reach. I will make all your enemies turn from you in flight,


6 and ahead of you I will send hornets to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way.


But not in one year will I drive them all out before you; else the land will become so desolate that the wild beasts will multiply against you.


Instead, I will drive them out little by little before you, until you have grown numerous enough to take possession of the land.


7 I will set your boundaries from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert to the River; all who dwell in this land I will hand over to you to be driven out of your way.


You shall not make a covenant with them or their gods.


They must not abide in your land, lest they make you sin against me by ensnaring you into worshiping their gods.»

1 [14] These three feasts are elsewhere called the Passover, Pentecost and Booths. Cf ⇒ Exodus 34:18-26; Lev 23; Deut 16.
2 [15] Appear before me: the original expression was «see my face»; so also in several other places, as ⇒ Exodus 23:17; ⇒ 34:23- 24; ⇒ Deut 16:16; ⇒ 31:11.
3 [19] Boil a kid in its mother’s milk: this was part of a Canaanite ritual; hence it is forbidden here as a pagan ceremony.
4 [21] My authority resides in him: literally, «My name is within him.»
5 [24] Make anything like them: some render, «act according to their conduct.» Sacred pillars: objects of religious veneration at Canaanite sanctuaries.
6 [28] Hornets: some understand this figuratively of various troublesome afflictions; others translate the Hebrew word as «leprosy.» Cf ⇒ Deut 7:20; ⇒ Joshua 24:12; ⇒ Wisdom 12:8.
7 [31] The sea of the Philistines: the Mediterranean. The River: the Euphrates. Only in the time of David and Solomon did the territory of Israel come near to reaching such distant borders.
3 [7] Brought to God: see note on ⇒ Exodus 21:6. Cf also ⇒ Exodus 22:10.
4 [16] The customary marriage price for virgins: fifty shekels according to ⇒ Deut 22:29.
5 [27] God: or perhaps «the gods,» in the sense of «the judges,» as the parallel with a prince of your people suggests.