Exodus 23

  1. A continuation of various civic and social laws. In the first 9 verses however, there is more emphasis placed upon justice. The poor is not to have justice given in their favor because of their economic status and neither are they to have it perverted against them for the same reason. As it is with the poor, so with the wealthy.
  2. The next 10 verse deals with the religious. There is a reminder of the Sabbath prohibitions (23:10-13) and an affirmation of the religious festivals that are to be observed, though this is their first mention as a group (23:14-17). The Chumash makes an interesting remark about the three feasts: “The concepts symbolized by these festivals – freedom, the seasons, and prosperity – are at the root of human existence and happiness” (p. 436).
  3. Preparation for conquest into the promised land (23:20-33). As they go into the land the Lord will lead them and when they get into the land they are to remember that the idol gods they destroy are not to be worshipped or even named among them. Before they enter into the land, the Lord sends out the inhabitants of the land methodically, and when they are in the land their boundaries are set (v. 31); “The bounds that God set for their occupation were not fully realized until the time of David and Solomon” Davis, p. 248).  The “hornets” (v. 28) has been interpreted both literally (Chumash) and figuratively (cf. Davis).
  4. Application: One can’t help but to notice the emphasis placed on justice by the Lord. A person is to be impartial when adjudicating a situation. This is not exclusively for a judicial situation, but it surely applies to the low level of judgments we render each day. If one’s status is of wealth, justice is due to him (her); if one’s status is of poverty, justice is due to him (her). Justice holds supreme, not social, economic standing. Now, if we can only get our government to recognize this more than they do – what a different place it would be!