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Bible Commentaries
Exodus 23

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

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

Thou shalt not raise. — Neither raise nor receive it; neither be the tale bearer nor talehearer: the one carries the devil in his tongue, the other in his ear. Not only those that "make a lie," but those that "love" it when it is made to their hands, are shut out of heaven. Revelation 22:15 Solomon makes it an ill sign of a graceless man to be apt to believe scandalous reports of godly persons. Proverbs 17:4

Verse 2

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

Thou shalt not follow a multitude. — The way to hell is broad and well beaten. Per viam publicam ne ingredere, was one of Pythagoras’s precepts. Do not as the most do, lest thou be undone for ever. Argumentum turpissimum est turba, saith Seneca. To live "according to the course of the world" is to be acted by the devil. Ephesians 2:2

Verse 3

Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause.

Neither shalt thou countenance. — Spare not the great for their might, nor the mean for their misery.

Verse 4

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

Ox or his ass going astray. — How much more his soul. See Trapp on " James 5:20 " See Trapp on " Judges 1:22 " See Trapp on " Judges 1:23 "

Verse 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.

Thou shalt surely help with him. — So the Spirit helps with us; or lifts over against us. ουναντιλαμβανεται , Romans 8:26 He looks ut acti agamus.

Verse 6

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

The judgment of thy poor. — I have seen, saith one, The Preacher’s Travels, by J. Cartwright. the king of Persia many times to alight from his horse, only to do justice to a poor body. Causes are to be heard, and not persons: the Athenian judges passed sentence in the dark.

Verse 7

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

Keep thee far from a false matter. — Stand aloof off; keep at a distance. See Isaiah 33:15 . A public man should be above all price or sale: and every man should carefully keep himself from the occasions of sin. A good man dare not come near the train, though he be far off the blow.

Verse 8

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

And thou shalt take no gift. — Rain is good, and ground is good; yet Ex eorum coniunctione fit lutum, saith Stapleton. So giving is kind, and taking is courteous, yet the mixing of them makes the smooth paths of justice foul and uneven.

Verse 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.

Thou shalt not oppress, …See Trapp on " Exodus 22:21 "

Verse 10

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

Thou shalt sow thy land. — Here the wise man’s counsel would be remembered, Laudato ingentia rura, exiguum colito. To be called a good husbandman, was of old a high praise.

Verse 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.

But the seventh year. — That they might learn to live by faith, and be at good leisure to wait upon God. Deuteronomy 31:10-12 Let every one of us keep a spiritual Sabbath, saith Ignatius, Ep, iii. ad Magnes. Mελετη νομου χαιρων, ου σωματος ανεσει , Better apaid of the meditation of the law, than of the relaxation and rest from labour.

Verse 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.

Six days.See Trapp on " Exodus 20:8 "

Verse 13

And 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.

Be circumspect. — Or wary; keep you close to the rule, and up to your principles. See Trapp on " Ephesians 5:15 "

Of the name of other gods,sc., Without dislike. The primitive Christians would not call their days of the week, Dies Martis, Mercurii, …, as Mercurius Trismegistus had named them; but the first, second, third, …, day of the week, Deastrorum nomina ne nota quidem esse voluerunt inter Christi cultores, saith one. They desired that Christians should spit out of their mouths those dunghill deities with utmost contempt; as David did. Psalms 16:4

Verse 14

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

Three times. — See Deuteronomy 16:16 . The Hebrew hath it three feet, because the most went up to those three feasts every year afoot, saith Aben Ezra.

Verse 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:)

Thou shalt keep the feast. — Let us also keep the feast, or holy day. 1 Corinthians 5:8 See Trapp on " 1 Corinthians 5:8 "

Verse 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.

And the feast of harvest. — Pentecost, when their wheat harvest came in.

In the end of the year. — See the reason of this law in Deuteronomy 11:12 . It was "a land which the Lord cared for: the eyes of the Lord were always upon it from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year."

Verse 17

Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD.

All thy males. — The females are not required to appear, because they were weak, and not so fit for travel. They were also the housekeepers, and sanctified in their husbands. Howbeit many of them came up to these feasts, as Hannah, 1 Samuel 2:19 and the Virgin Mary. Luke 2:41 And this was well accepted as a freewill offering.

Verse 18

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

Of my sacrifice. — Especially of the passover. See Exodus 34:25 Leviticus 2:1-3 .

Verse 19

The 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.

The first of the firstfruits. — The best of the best is not to be held too good for God. His "soul hath desired the first ripe fruits." Micah 7:1

Thou shalt not seethe a kid. — Hereby seemeth to be forbidden either cruelty, or curiosity to please the palate. See my "Commonplace of Abstinence." The Jews at this day, in reference to this law, may not eat flesh and cheese or milk meats together.

Verse 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.

Behold, I send an Angel, — i.e., Christ. Immediately after God had given the law, - by the rule and threats whereof God the Father in his government was to proceed, saith a divine, - and Mr Thomas Goodwin. after they had transgressed it, Exodus 33:2-4 he could not go along with them, for he should destroy them: but his Angel, that is, his Son, he would send with them; who also would destroy them, if they turned not, nor repented according to the rules of his law, the gospel.

Verse 21

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

My name is in him, — i.e., He is of the same nature with myself. See Philippians 2:6 Hebrews 1:3 . See Trapp on " Philippians 2:6 " See Trapp on " Hebrews 1:3 "

Verse 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.

An enemy unto thine enemies. — There is a covenant offensive and defensive betwixt God and his people. Tua causa erit mea causa, said that emperor to his wronged friend: so saith God to his.

Verse 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.

For mine angel. — Heb., Malachi; which is by transposition of letters Michael, as some Rabbis have observed.

Verse 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.

Thou shalt utterly overthrow them. — As Henry VIII began here to do in demolishing the monasteries, and saying, Corvorum nidos esse penitus disturbandos ne iterum ad habitandum convolent. This Saunders relates and discusses. Schism. Angl., lib. i.

Verse 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.

Bless thy bread. — God’s blessing is the staff of bread, and strength of water. See Trapp on " Matthew 4:4 "

Verse 26

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

The number of thy days. — Thou shalt die, as Abraham did, with a good hoary head; be satur dierum, as Job; fall as a full ripe apple into the hands of God, the gatherer.

Verse 27

I 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.

My fear before thee. — Strike a panic fear into the hearts of thine enemies, so that they shall flee at the noise of a driven leaf; they shall be made & corde suo fugitivi, as Tertullian hath it.

Verse 28

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

Hornets before thee. — Understand it either literally, as in Joshua 24:12 ; or figuratively, of the stinging terrors of their self-condemning consciences.

Verse 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.

In one year. — God’s time is best: and to prescribe to him is to set the sun by our dial. His help seems long, because we are short. Wait upon him, who waits to show us mercy. Isaiah 30:18

Verse 30

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

By little and little — God crumbles his mercies to us; we have his blessings by retail. So the cloud empties not itself at a sudden burst, but dissolves upon the earth drop after drop.

Verse 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: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee.

The sea of the Philistines, — i.e., The Mediterranean.

Verse 32

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

No covenant with them. — Because devoted to destruction; and they will be drawing thee to idolatry, as it also happened in Judges 1:1-36 Judges 2:1-23 .

Verse 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.

A snare. — See Deuteronomy 7:16 Joshua 23:13 Judges 2:3 .

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Exodus 23". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/exodus-23.html. 1865-1868.
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