Amplified Bible

Exodus 23

Various Laws

1“You shall not give a false report; you shall not join hands with the wicked to be a malicious witness [promoting wrong and violence]. You shall not follow a crowd to do [something] evil, nor shall you testify at a trial or in a dispute so as to side with a crowd in order to pervert justice; nor shall you favor or be partial to a poor man in his dispute [simply because he is poor].

“If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey wandering off, you must bring it back to him. If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying helpless under its load, you shall not leave the man to deal with it [alone]; you must help him release the animal [from its burden].

“You shall not pervert (bend) the justice due to your poor in his dispute. Keep far away from a false charge or action, and do not condemn to death the innocent or the righteous, for I will not justify and acquit the guilty.

“You shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the testimony and the cause of the righteous.

“You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the soul [the feelings, thoughts, and concerns] of a stranger, for you were strangers in Egypt.

The Sabbath and Land

10 “You shall sow your land six years and harvest its yield, 11 but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie uncultivated, so that the poor among your people may eat [what the land grows naturally]; whatever they leave the animals of the field may eat. You shall do the same with your vineyard and olive grove.

12 “Six days [each week] you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall stop [working] so that your ox and your donkey may settle down and rest, and the son of your female servant, as well as your stranger, may be refreshed. 13 Now concerning everything which I have said to you, be on your guard; do not mention the name of other gods [either in a blessing or in a curse]; do not let such speech be heard [coming] from your mouth.

Three National Feasts

14 “Three times a year you shall celebrate a feast [dedicated] to Me. 15 You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. No one shall appear before Me empty-handed [but you shall bring sacrificial offerings]. 16 Also [you shall observe] the Feast of Harvest (Weeks, Pentecost, or First Fruits), acknowledging the first fruits of your labor, of what you sow in the field. And [third] the Feast of Ingathering (Booths or Tabernacles) at the end of the year when you gather in [the fruit of] your labors from the field. 17 Three times a year all your males shall appear before the [a]Lord God.

18 “You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with [b]leavened bread; and the fat of My feast is not to be left overnight until morning.

19 “You shall bring the choice first fruits of your ground into the house of the Lord your God.

“You shall not [c]boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.

Conquest of the Land

20 “Behold, I am going to send an [d]Angel before you to keep and guard you on the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. 21 Be on your guard before Him, listen to and obey His voice; do not be rebellious toward Him or provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgression, since My Name (authority) is in Him. 22 But if you will indeed listen to and truly obey His voice and do everything that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries. 23 When My Angel goes before you and brings you to [the land of] the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Canaanite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, I will reject them and completely destroy them. 24 You shall not bow down to worship their gods, nor serve them, nor do [anything] in accordance with their practices. You shall completely overthrow them and break down their [sacred] pillars and images [of pagan worship]. 25 You shall serve [only] the Lord your God, and He shall bless your bread and water. I will also remove sickness from among you. 26 No one shall suffer miscarriage or be barren in your land; [e]I will fulfill the number of your days. 27 I will send My terror ahead of you, and I will throw into confusion all the people among whom you come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you [in flight]. 28 I will send hornets ahead of you which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite before you. 29 I will not drive them out before you in a single year, so that the land does not become desolate [due to lack of attention] and the [wild] animals of the field do not become too numerous for you. 30 I will drive them out before you little by little, until you have increased and are strong enough to take possession of the land. 31 I will establish your borders from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines (the Mediterranean), and from the wilderness to the River Euphrates; for I will hand over the residents of the land to you, and you shall drive them out before you. 32 You shall not make a covenant with them or with their gods. 33 They shall not live in your land, because they will make you sin against Me; for if you serve their gods, it is certain to be a trap for you [resulting in judgment].”

  1. Exodus 23:17 “Lord” with only an initial capital is Heb Adonai (Master); “God” (all caps) represents YHWH (Yahweh) and is usually rendered “Lord” (all caps).
  2. Exodus 23:18 Because leaven is a kind of fungus, it became a symbol of corruption and sin. But in some contexts it had positive connotations (e.g. Lev 23:17; Matt 13:33).
  3. Exodus 23:19 This may have been a pagan practice, perhaps a fertility rite.
  4. Exodus 23:20 “Angel” has been capitalized here to reflect the likelihood that it is God appearing in a visible form (see note Gen 16:7).
  5. Exodus 23:26 I.e. grant you long life.