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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Exodus

(Return to Old Testament Contents)

 

FRAMEWORKS: Exodus 23

 

v.1-9 Laws of Justice and Mercy

v.10-13 Sabbath Laws

v.14-19 The Three Annual Festivals

v.20-26 God's Angel to Prepare the Way

v.27-33 The Lord's Strategy for Taking the Land

 

[Notes: See again the reference and recommendation to check individual laws against the meditations found in

http://www.readbiblealive.com/LawLessons/Law1.html]

 

 

v.1-9 Laws of Justice and Mercy

 

v.1 “Do not spread false reports. Do not help a guilty person by being a malicious witness.

v.2,3 “Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd, and do not show favoritism to a poor person in a lawsuit.

v.4 “If you come across your enemy's ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it.

v.5 If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it.

v.6 “Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits.

v.7 Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty.

v.8 “Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the innocent.

v.9 “Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.

 

[Notes: God holds truth (& honesty & integrity) as vital to the right living of human beings being the way He has designed mankind to live. Abuse of truth is dealt with here in respect of how people relate to one another.]

 

 

v.10-13 Sabbath Laws

 

v.10 “For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops,

v.11 but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what is left. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.

v.12 “Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and so that the slave born in your household and the foreigner living among you may be refreshed.

v.13 “Be careful to do everything I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips.

 

[Notes: The laws relating to years or days of working are designed to protect both the earth and humanity living on it. Consider the reasoning behind each of the above laws.]

 

 

v.14-19 The Three Annual Festivals

 

v.14 “Three times a year you are to celebrate a festival to me.

v.15 “Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread; for seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Aviv, for in that month you came out of Egypt. “No one is to appear before me empty-handed.

v.16 “Celebrate the Festival of Harvest with the first-fruits of the crops you sow in your field. “Celebrate the Festival of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field.

v.17 “Three times a year all the men are to appear before the Sovereign Lord .

v.18 “Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing yeast.

“The fat of my festival offerings must not be kept until morning.

v.19 “Bring the best of the first-fruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God.

“Do not cook a young goat in its mother's milk.

 

[Notes: If sabbath laws were about protecting humans on a weekly basis and the land on a yearly basis, the three festivals (CELEBRATIONS) are about rejoicing in the goodness of God's provision in both being a delivered people and a people who are blessed by His provision through the earth. They were times of celebration and as far as they were prescribed, they made sure that memories were refreshed, God honoured, and the spirits of the nation lifted. There are more about these festivals elsewhere. They are given slightly different names in Deut 16:16]

 

 

v.20-26 God's Angel to Prepare the Way

 

v.20 “See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.

v.21 Pay attention to him and listen to what he says. Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion, since my Name is in him.

v.22 If you listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you.

v.23 My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out.

v.24 Do not bow down before their gods or worship them or follow their practices. You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces.

v.25 Worship the LORD your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you,

v.26 and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.

 

[Notes: This is an interesting run-down to the end of this particular group of laws, in that the Lord is promising the presence of a specific Angel whose job is to guard them and guide them, to lead them through the desert and to take them into the Promised Land. It reminds them that they are a special people, a unique people in the earth, and this reminder should therefore help them remain distinct when they enter that land, and resist the temptation to worship the gods in that land. With that comes a second promise [see 15:26] of good health. The fact that the nation was so full of sickness when Jesus came, suggests how far they had strayed in the intervening years.]

 

 

v.27-33 The Lord's Strategy for Taking the Land

 

v.27 “I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run.

v.28 I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way.

v.29 But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you.

v.30 Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.

v.31 “I will establish your borders from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, and from the desert to the Euphrates River. I will give into your hands the people who live in the land, and you will drive them out before you.

v.32 Do not make a covenant with them or with their gods.

v.33 Do not let them live in your land or they will cause you to sin against me, because the worship of their gods will certainly be a snare to you.”

 

[Notes: The casual and irresponsible talk often heard about Israel and genocide in respect of the occupants of Canaan, is laid to rest in this section where the Lord talks about DRIVING OUT the inhabitants. Them being killed if they resisted is only a secondary option. The reader should note that there are 31 references to the Canaanites being DRIVEN out and only 4 references to them being destroyed. The terror or fear [v.27] came about as, eventually, Israel made there way northwards to the east of the Dead Sea and were opposed by tribal nations there, who they defeated. By the time they reach the Land, the word has gone ahead of them and there is great fear about them [see Rahab's testimony of Josh 2:8]. Again there is a command not to worship the gods (idols) of Canaan.]

       

        

Continue to Chapter 24