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scripture

 

CHAPTER 23

1You shall not repeat a false report. Do not join your hand with the wicked to be a witness supporting violence.a 2You shall not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When testifying in a lawsuit, you shall not follow the crowd in perverting justice. 3You shall not favor the poor in a lawsuit.b

4When you come upon your enemy’s ox or donkey going astray, you must see to it that it is returned.c 5When you notice the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden, you should not desert him; you must help him with it.

6You shall not pervert justice for the needy among you in a lawsuit. 7You shall keep away from anything dishonest. The innocent and the just you shall not put to death, for I will not acquit the guilty. 8Never take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and distorts the words of the just.d 9You shall not oppress a resident alien; you well know how it feels to be an alien, since you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.e

Religious Laws. 10f For six years you may sow your land and gather in its produce. 11But the seventh year you shall let the land lie untilled and fallow, that the poor of your people may eat of it and their leftovers the wild animals may eat. So also shall you do in regard to your vineyard and your olive grove.

12For six days you may do your work, but on the seventh day you must rest,g that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and that the son of your maidservant and the resident alien may be refreshed. 13Give heed to all that I have told you.

You shall not mention the name of any other god; it shall not be heard from your lips.

14h Three times a year you shall celebrate a pilgrim feast to me.* 15You shall keep the feast of Unleavened Bread. As I have commanded you, you must eat unleavened bread for seven days at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for it was then that you came out of Egypt. No one shall appear before me* empty-handed. 16You shall also keep the feast of the grain harvest with the first fruits of the crop that you sow in the field; and finally, the feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you collect your produce from the fields. 17Three times a year shall all your men appear before the LORD God.

18You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with anything leavened;i nor shall the fat of my feast be kept overnight till the next day. 19The choicest first fruits of your soil you shall bring to the house of the LORD, your God.

You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.*

Reward of Fidelity. 20See, I am sending an angelj before you, to guard you on the way and bring you to the place I have prepared. 21Be attentive to him and obey him. Do not rebel against him, for he will not forgive your sin. My authority is within him.* 22If you obey him and carry out all I tell you, I will be an enemy to your enemies and a foe to your foes.

23My angel will go before you and bring you to the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites; and I will wipe them out. 24Therefore, you shall not bow down to their gods and serve them, nor shall you act as they do; rather, you must demolish them and smash their sacred stones.* k 25You shall serve the LORD, your God; then he will bless your food and drink, and I will remove sickness from your midst; 26no woman in your land will be barren or miscarry; and I will give you a full span of life.

27I will have the terror of me precede you, so that I will throw into panic every nation you reach.l I will make all your enemies turn from you in flight, 28and ahead of you I will send hornets* to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way. 29But I will not drive them all out before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the wild animals multiply against you. 30Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have grown numerous enough to take possession of the land. 31m I will set your boundaries from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines,* and from the wilderness to the Euphrates; all who dwell in this land I will hand over to you and you shall drive them out before you. 32You shall not make a covenant with them or their gods. 33They must not live in your land. For if you serve their gods, this will become a snare to you.n

* [23:14] These three feasts—Passover/Unleavened Bread, Weeks (Pentecost), and Booths (Tabernacles or Succoth/Sukkoth)—are also listed in 34:1826; Lv 23; Dt 16.

* [23:15] Appear before me: the original expression was “see my face”; so also in several other places, as 23:17; 34:2324; Dt 16:16; 31:11.

* [23:19] Boil a young goat in its mother’s milk: this command, repeated in 34:26 and Dt 14:21, is difficult to understand. It may originate from a taboo that forbade killing the young that were still nursing from the mother, or that forbade the mixing of life and death: the slaughtered young goat with the milk that previously had nourished its life. The Jewish dietary custom of keeping meat and dairy products separate is based on this command.

* [23:21] My authority is within him: lit., “My name is within him.”

* [23:24] Sacred stones: objects that symbolized the presence of Canaanite deities. In general, standing stones served as memorials for deities, persons, or significant events such as military victories or covenant-making. See 24:4.

* [23:28] Hornets: the Hebrew sir’ah is a disputed term, but according to ancient interpreters it refers to hornets that were unleashed against the enemy to sting them and cause panic (cf. Dt 7:20; Jos 24:12; Wis 12:8). Others associate the word with plagues or troublesome afflictions.

* [23:31] The sea of the Philistines: the Mediterranean. Only in the time of David and Solomon did the territory of Israel come near to reaching such distant borders.

a. [23:12] Dt 19:1621.

b. [23:3] Lv 19:15.

c. [23:4] Dt 22:14.

d. [23:8] Dt 16:19; 27:25; Sir 20:28.

e. [23:9] Ex 22:20.

f. [23:1011] Lv 25:37.

g. [23:12] Ex 20:810.

h. [23:1417] Ex 34:18, 2224; Lv 23; Dt 16:117.

i. [23:1819] Ex 34:2526.

j. [23:20] Ex 14:19; 32:34; 33:2.

k. [23:2324] Ex 34:1016; Nm 33:5152; Dt 7:2426.

l. [23:2730] Dt 2:25; 7:2022.

m. [23:31] Gn 15:18; Dt 11:24; Jos 1:4.

n. [23:3233] Ex 34:1216; Dt 7:26.






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