Exodus 23 - Outline of Exodus (Book Notes menu page)
Judgments regarding the Preservation of Justice (v.1-9) -
23:1 Thou shalt not raise a false report:
put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.
{Forbids bearing false witness. cp. Ex 20:16}
23:2 Thou shalt not follow a multitude to [do] evil;
neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest [judgment]:
{ie., to distort justice}
{Forbids surrender to peer pressure, or to 'majority error.' eg., (Prov 1:10-16}
23:3 Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause.
{Forbids favoritism toward or against the poor. cp. Deu 1:17}
23:4 If thou meet thine enemy's ox or his ass going astray,
thou shalt surely bring it back to him again.
23:5 If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden,
and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him.
23:6 Thou shalt not wrest the judgment of thy poor in his cause.
{Forbids prejudice against an enemy, or against the poor.}
23:7 Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not:
for I will not justify the wicked.
{Forbids injustice.}
23:8 And thou shalt take no gift {ie., bribe}:
for the gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous.
{Forbids bribery. cp. Deu 16:19,20; Prov 17:23}
23:9 Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger:
for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
{Forbids prejudice against foreigners.}
Judgments regarding the Sabbatic Year and the Sabbath Day (v.10-13) -
23:10 And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof:
23:11 But the seventh [year] thou shalt let it rest and lie still;
that the poor of thy people may eat:
and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat.
In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, [and] with thy oliveyard.
{cp. Lev 25:1-13}
23:12 Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest:
that thine ox and thine ass may rest,
and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.
{cp. Ex 20:8-11}
23:13 And in all [things] that I have said unto you be circumspect {ie., observant}:
and make no mention of the name of other gods,
neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.
{cp. Josh 23:6-8}
Three Mandatory Feasts (v.14-19) -
23:14 Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year.
23:15 Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread:
(thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee,
in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt:
and none shall appear before me empty:)
{cp. Ex 12:12-20; 13:3-10}
23:16 And the feast of harvest,
   the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field:
and the feast of ingathering, [which is] in the end of the year,
   when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field.
23:17 Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD.
The three mandatory feasts (cp. v.14-17; Deu 16:16) -
  1. Unleavened Bread (ie., the Passover)- cp. Lev 23:4-8
    - speaks of salvation by the blood of the Lamb. cp. 1Cor 5:7,8
  2. Harvest (also called: First-fruits, Weeks, or Pentecost)- cp. Lev 23:9-22
    - speaks of salvation's effective beginning. cp. Acts 2:1-4; 1Cor 15:20,23; Jam 1:18
  3. Ingathering (includes Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles/Booths)- Lev 23:23-44
    - speaks of salvation's completion. cp. Joh 7:2,37-39; Mark 13:26,27; Eph 1:10
    - will have its ultimate fulfillment when the LORD dwells among His people in the Messianic Kingdom. Zech 14:16-21; Rev 21:3,4
23:18 Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread {cp. Ex 34:25,26};
neither shall the fat of my sacrifice remain until the morning.
{cp. Ex 12:10}
not... with leavened bread... neither... fat... remain until the morning...-
The elements of corruption are inherent in leaven and decaying fat.
Association of these things with the OT sacrifices, would distort their depiction of the sacrifice of Christ, the Lamb of God, who is the Holy One of God (Psa 16:10; Acts 13:34,35).
23:19 The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring
into the house of the LORD thy God.
{Deu 12:5-7}
Thou shalt not seethe a kid
{ie., a young goat} in his mother's milk. {Prov 12:10}
Promises & Instructions regarding the Conquest of the Promised Land (v.20-33) -
23:20 Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way,
and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.
23:21 Beware
{ie., be watchful} of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not;
for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name [is] in him.
23:22 But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak;
then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.
23:23 For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites,
and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites:
and I will cut them off.
23:24 Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works:
but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.
23:25 And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water;
and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.
{cp. Ex 15:26}
23:26 There shall nothing cast their young, nor be barren, in thy land:
the number of thy days I will fulfil.
23:27 I will send my fear before thee,
{cp. Ex 15:16}
and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come,
and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.
23:28 And I will send hornets before thee,
which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee.
23:29 I will not drive them out from before thee in one year;
lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee.
23:30 By little and little I will drive them out from before thee,
until thou be increased, and inherit the land.
{cp. Deu 7:20-24}
23:31 And I will set thy bounds from the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines,
and from the desert unto the river
{ie., Euphrates}:
for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand;
and thou shalt drive them out before thee.
23:32 Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.
23:33 They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me:
for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee.
{Ex 34:12-16}
I will send an Angel before thee... (v.20)-
Who was this Angel?
  • "My name is in him" (v.21)- HB= shem, name, reputation, glory.
    This Angel was not a created spirit, but a manifestation of the LORD Himself.
  • The angel in the pillar of cloud and fire was the Presence of the LORD. cp. Ex 13:21; 14:19,24
  • The LORD promised Moses that His Presence would go with them. cp. Ex 33:14-16
  • The NT identifies this Presence as Christ. cp. 1Cor 10:4,9,10
if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then... (v.21,22)-
Under the Law, Israel's blessings were (A) based on the LORD's promise,
but (B) realized on condition of their obedience.
  1. The LORD Promised...
    • that the reward for obedience would include abundant food, health, reproduction, longevity, victory over their enemies, and complete conquest of the Land... (v.22-31)
    • that His Angel (His Presence) would go before them to accomplish these things. v.22,23
    • that these blessings would be provided and accomplished by the LORD Himself.
      (Note how often He says "I will..." in v.22-31.)
  2. The condition of Obedience -
    • The LORD required that they serve Him fully and exclusively,
      separating themselves from all false gods. (cp. v.24-25,32-33; Ex 20:3-5).
    • Because of disobedience, Israel never occupied the full extent of the promised territory.
      Because of idolatry, they were eventually exiled from the land (ie., in the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities).
      (cp. the conditional blessings & cursings of Deu 28:1-14,15-25-f)
    • However, the Lord's promises to Israel remain in effect, and will yet be realized,
      when they receive their Deliverer, who will take away their sins and give them hearts to obey Him (Deu 30:1-6; Rom 11:26,27).

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