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Go to Bible: Exodus 23
“Do not join your hand with the wicked to help them by being a malicious witness.” God wants human society to be peaceful and kind, and that means standing against wickedness. Wicked people want and usually need the support of others, and pressure people to help them. The righteous must resist giving that support; people who help the wicked to do evil are evil themselves, and God warns that no matter how many handshakes and agreements are made between the wicked, they will all be punished. “Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished” (Prov. 11:21 KJV).(top)
|Exo 23:2||- (top)|
“Do not favor a poor man in his lawsuit.” God is righteous, and He does not tolerate evil and injustice. To some people it seems the right thing to do to favor a poor person in a lawsuit just because he or she is poor and the other party “can afford it.” But that is injustice, and God is against it. Courts have to be right and righteous in their dealings.(top)
|Exo 23:4||- (top)|
|Exo 23:5||- (top)|
|Exo 23:6||- (top)|
|Exo 23:7||- (top)|
|Exo 23:8||- (top)|
“you know how a foreigner feels.” The Hebrew is more literally, “you know the ‘soul’ of a foreigner,” or, using the Hebrew word, “you know the nephesh (#05315 נֶפֶשׁ) of a foreigner.” The Hebrew word nephesh, often translated as “soul,” has many meanings, including a person’s thoughts and emotions, which is its meaning here.
[For more on nephesh and ‘soul,’ see Appendix 16: “Usages of ‘Soul.’”](top)
|Exo 23:10||- (top)|
|Exo 23:11||- (top)|
|Exo 23:12||- (top)|
|Exo 23:13||- (top)|
“three times a year.” For more information and a more complete list of the feasts and sabbaths in Israel, see commentary on Leviticus 23:2.(top)
“Abib.” The first month of the religious year at this time (the first month of the civil calendar was Tishri). Abib was later also called Nisan.(top)
“And the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits...And the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year.” There are two feasts in this verse, and both are harvest feasts, one called the “Feast of Harvest” and the other called the “Feast of Ingathering.” The Feast of Harvest here in Exodus 23:16 is also called the “the Feast of Weeks” (Exod. 34:22; Deut. 16:10) and the “Day of Firstfruits” (Num. 28:26), and in the New Testament it was called “Pentecost” (Acts 2:1).
The Hebrew word translated “harvest” is qatsyr (#07105 קָצִיר), which means “harvest,” whereas the Hebrew word translated “ingathering” is 'aciyph (#0614 אָסִיף), and it means “ingathering” or “harvest.” The two words are synonyms in that they both refer to harvests, but it is helpful to follow the Hebrew text and translate them as two separate English words.
Traditionally, the Feast of Harvest (Pentecost) ended the wheat harvest, and wheat was the last of the grains to be harvested in Israel; it was harvested later than barley and millet. The “Feast of Harvest” was called the “Day of Firstfruits” because it was a one-day feast, in contrast to the Feast of Unleavened Bread which was a seven-day feast, and the “Feast of Booths” which was a seven-day feast but to which an eighth day was added.
The second feast here in Exodus 23:16 is the “Feast of Ingathering,” which is also called the “Feast of Booths” in other places in the Bible (often less correctly known by the name “Feast of Tabernacles”). It ended up being an eight-day feast that went from Tishri 15-22.(top)
|Exo 23:17||- (top)|
|Exo 23:18||- (top)|
“The best of the firstfruits of your ground you are to bring.” God started giving His laws to Israel in Exodus 20:2, and Exodus 23:19 is the last law that He gave in this first set of laws, and these laws were written in a book called “the Book of the Covenant” (Exod. 24:4, 7).(top)
“Behold, I am going to send an angel.” God gave to Israel His law and regulations (Exod. 20:2-23:19), and now He gives them promises and warnings connected with obeying the law, which will then be in force when Israel agrees to the law and makes a covenant with God to be faithful to Him and keep it, which they do (Exod. 24:3-8).(top)
“my name is in him.” This is a common idiom, where “name” refers to authority. We baptize or pray in the “name” of Jesus Christ, meaning in his authority. God had given this angel authority to carry out his task and rebellion against the angel was rebellion against God.(top)
|Exo 23:22||- (top)|
“wipe them out.” See 2 Chron. 32:21.(top)
“bow down.” The common biblical way of bowing down before people or God was to fall to one’s knees and bow the upper body to the earth. It is the same Hebrew word as “worship.”
[For more on bowing down, see commentary on 1 Chronicles 29:20.]
“demolish.” God has no tolerance for idols. They are harmful in many different ways. They are to be destroyed. See commentary on Deuteronomy 7:5.
“sacred standing-stones.” It was a common practice, especially among the Canaanite cultures, to take stones, natural or with some shaping, and set them upright as a part of the recognition and worship of a god, or to set them up as a cultic memorial of some event. God commanded Israel to destroy those stones, but given all the ones that have been uncovered by archeologists, apparently often that did not happen.
[For more on standing-stones, see commentary on Genesis 28:18. For more on idols being harmful, see commentary on Deuteronomy 7:5.](top)
|Exo 23:25||- (top)|
|Exo 23:26||- (top)|
“throw into a panic.” See commentary on Joshua 10:10.(top)
|Exo 23:28||- (top)|
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|Exo 23:31||- (top)|
“make no covenant with them.” God said this several times (see commentary on Deut. 7:2).(top)
|Exo 23:33||- (top)|