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Exodus - Chapter 23

Bible Study Notes

Exodus 23:1-3 You shall be an honest witness. Do not follow others who do evil. Do not lie in court, especially as a witness to pervert justice. Whether rich or poor, fair justice to all.

Exodus 23:4-9 Help and save your enemies also. Don’t take a bribe (Persuade to act in one’s favor dishonestly by a gift of money or such) that subverts justice of those who are in the right.

Exodus 23:10-12 Every seventh year you shall not plant in your fields and orchards, but let it rest so the poor and beasts can glean it. All people and beasts must rest on the seventh day. No work is to be done.

Exodus 23:13-17 Do not even discuss other gods. Three feasts a year you shall celebrate to the Lord. The Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of Harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering. The last two feasts will be explained later in detail.

Exodus 23:18-19 Nothing leavened shall be offered with a blood sacrifice. No fat of the feast shall remain until morning. The best of the firstfruits shall be offered into the house of the Lord. Do not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.

Notes: Boiling a young goat in its mother’s milk may have been a pagan religious ceremony practiced by the nations in Canaan as a way to induce fertility. Alternatively it may be seen as a gross violation of the natural order: the young goat should drink its mother’s milk and gain life from it, not be cooked in it.

Exodus 23:20-26 The Lord will send an angel to guard the children of Israel on their way to the Promised Land. They are to obey him. Could this be the preincarnate Jesus Christ? The angel shall bring the Jews to battle with their enemies which they shall destroy. The Jews must not learn of and worship their false gods. Serve the true God, and you shall be blessed with food, water, and good health. All women will have babies and none will miscarry. God will not shorten their appointed lifespan.

Exodus 23:27-31 The Lord will cause all the nations around them to fear the Jews and be driven out the promised land, but not too quickly lest the land become desolate and the wild beasts overcome them. Little by little, the transition will take place. God sets the borders of the land they will occupy (Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, and the wilderness to the Euphrates River). So far they have not occupied the land to these complete boundaries because of their continuous disobedience.

Notes: The occupation would be a gradual but effective process taking longer than a year to accomplish, but ensuring full control of a land in good condition and not left desolate by a sweeping and destructive warfare.

Exodus 23:32-33 The inhabitants of the land must be completely driven out for the Lord does not want them to influence his people to sin and worship their false gods.

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