Dave Burnette's Commentary

Exodus Chapter 23 

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Moses
Date Penned: (1450-1410 BC)
Overview: The Record of God's Deliverance of Israel (c 1-40)
Theme: Israel at Sinai (c 19-40)
Message: Instructions Regarding Enemies (v 1-33)

Exodus 23 Commentary

(23:1) The Danger of Gossip - Making up or spreading false reports was strictly forbidden by God. Gossip, slander, and false witnessing would undermine families, strain neighborhood cooperation, and make chaos of the justice system. Destructive gossip still causes problems. Even if you do not initiate a lie, you become responsible if you pass it along. Don't circulate rumors; squelch them.

(23:2-3) Truth in Justice - Justice is often perverted in favor of the rich. Here the people are warned against twisting justice in favor of the poor. Justice should be impartial, treating rich and poor alike. Giving special privileges to either rich or poor only makes justice for everyone more unlikely. Withstand the pressure of the crowd to sway your decision about a person. Let the fairness God shows to each of us guide your judgment.

(23:4-5) Truth in Kindness - The thought of being kind to enemies was new and startling in a world where revenge was the common form of justice. God not only introduced this idea to the Israelites--he made it law! If a man found a lost animal owned by his enemy, he was to return it at once, even if his enemy might use it to harm him. Jesus clearly taught to reach out to all people in need, even our enemies (Luke 10:30-37). Following the laws of right living is hard enough with friends. When we apply God's laws of fairness and kindness to our enemies, we show how different we are from the world.

(23:19) Giving our First Fruits - At harvest time, the people were to bring the first of the firstfruits of their land. This showed that they were offering their best to God, not the leftovers. Today, we can do the same by giving our churches a percentage of each paycheck as we receive it. Our offerings to God can be the first expense taken out of our checks. This is called firstfruits giving. If we wait until we see how much money is left each pay period, then we are giving God the leftovers. Those who take their tithe off the top often find it easier and more rewarding to give.

(23;20-21) The Angel with the Israelites? - Who was this angel who went with the Israelites? Most likely, the angel was a manifestation of God. God is not present in all angels in this way. Angels are God's created messengers (Hebrews 1:14). God chose to make himself known in this special way for a special purpose. God was in the angel in the same way he was present in the pillars of cloud and fire (Exodus 13:21-22). "My name is in him" means that the essential nature and power of God were made known in this angel.

(23:24-25) Obeying God Takes Precedence - If you're in the furnace, you will catch on fire. God warned the Israelites about their neighbors, whose beliefs and actions could turn them away from him. We also live among neighbors whose values may be completely different from ours. We are called to maintain a way of life that shows our faith. This can be a struggle, especially if our Christian way of life differs from the norm. Our lives should demonstrate that obeying God takes precedence over conforming to how our neighbors live. God's Word, not society, dictates how we should live.

(23;29) Being Obedient Brings Success - Not all of God's solutions are instantaneous. Nor do delays justify inaction. In this case, God's cause would require constant cooperation, persistence, and effort by the Israelites. As we obediently respond to God's work in our lives, we should remember that success will come step by step.

(23:32-33) God Reminds of False Religions - God continually warned the people to avoid false religions and false gods. In Egypt they had been surrounded by idols and sorcerers, but leaving that land did not mean they were free from pagan religious influences. The land of Canaan was just as infested with idol worship as Egypt had been. God knew his people needed extra strength, so he continually emphasized guarding against the influence of pagan religions.

Dave Burnette's Life Application

A Web of Destruction

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we Continue in the book of Exodus with Chapter 23 and in today's text we see a lot of instruction  from more Judaical laws, the principles about rest and the Sabbath, remembering what God has done for us through the feasts, but what catches my eye is the instruction to stay away from the gods of the enemy. God has had and continues to have enemies that deny his Lordship. These enemies have their own gods which include pleasure, money, false religious leaders, etc. and we are instructed to stay away form them. The temptation is that they appeal to the flesh but like a spider they spin a web for us to be be trapped so they can devour us. God has instructed us to stay away but as you will see in the Bible text to come that man continues to fall into this web of the enemy. This continues today with promiscuity, drugs, alcohol, gambling, debt, along with many religions that deny the only way to heaven which is forgiveness of mans sin through Jesus-Christ. God has instructed us to stay far away from this web of destruction. How about you? Do you see the web of the enemies of God? Let us learn from today's text and stay away from the enemies web of destruction.     


Exodus 23

Exodus 23

 1Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.

 2Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment:

 3Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause.

 4If thou meet thine enemy's ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again.

 5If 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.

 6Thou shalt not wrest the judgment of thy poor in his cause.

 7Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked.

 8And thou shalt take no gift: for the gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous.

 9Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

 10And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof:

 11But 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.

 12Six 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.

 13And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.

 14Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year.

 15Thou 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:)

 16And 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.

 17Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the LORD God.

 18Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the fat of my sacrifice remain until the morning.

 19The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk.

 20Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.

 21Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him.

 22But 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.

 23For 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.

 24Thou 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.

 25And 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.

 26There shall nothing cast their young, nor be barren, in thy land: the number of thy days I will fulfil.

 27I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.

 28And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee.

 29I 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.

 30By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.

 31And I will set thy bounds from the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee.

 32Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.

 33They 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.