Created Monday, Oct. 31, 2005 -  finished May 25, 2008

Lessons From the Law
Commentary on Exodus


Exodus: Chapter:




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It is true that Christians are no longer under the law, especially as regards its ceremonial aspects, such as the temple, priesthood, sacrifices, ceremonial cleanliness, festivals, and that sort of thing. Laws were also made for the nation of Israel to follow. Many of these were judicial precedents given by which men were to judge crimes and people, and carry out the prescribed punishment. In addition, there were a few laws dealing with foreign policy and immigration, as these have always been issues since nations began.

Many of the laws regulated conduct and social behavior. These laws, these rules for behavior come from God and are perfect. We still can not kill, steal, fornicate, or otherwise hurt our fellow human beings.

However, it needs to be recognized that God foresaw changes that He would be making, particularly after His son was sacrificed on our behalf, fulfilling part of God's great plan for our salvation from the slavery to sin that Adam sold us into. God warned us in the law that it would be changed when this sacrificial messiah would come along. In particular, it would be the ceremonial aspects that would change.

But also the national laws would no longer be useful as God's people would no longer have their own nation, but would live under the rest of the nations and their judicial systems as well, as the rule of the world had been handed over to the nations after the destruction of God's representative throne in Israel/Judah on earth. As well, all people of all the nations would be welcomed into God's house and receive salvation. Therefore, Christians having their own nation certainly would not be practical or useful at that point.

Perhaps most interesting of all are the economic regulations that God built into the law. And there is a substantial amount of these economic rules that appear in the law. Regulating an economy is a vitally important function of any body of law or rule. It is the primary way in which social equality and stability is achieved. If society grow too far out of balance in economic and judicial ways, then it will collapse and die.

In order to preserve Israel, thereby preserving the lineage of Jesus, the observance of the law of God, the recording of the prophets and the rest of the Bible, and all the other things God wants preserved, great care needs to be taken to preserve harmony and peace. This is done by keeping those scales of justice and economics in balance. This is not appreciated by the nations today. The believe they can ignore these things and not suffer any harm to themselves by their own lack of attention to these balances.

A lot of the judicial precedents laid out in the law do not apply to these nations who do not follow or recognize God as ruler. We come under the care of the nations and their courts. What we can do to those among us who are believers is quite limited compared with what was required in the law of Moses/God.

But there is a lot of value in knowing how things were done under God's law, which is far more just and perfected than men's laws. It is very enlightening to study God's law to recognize just how much man's law fall short of the perfect standards of God's law. And we need to understand just how far Satan has led the nations away from God's just and righteous laws, to the very opposite of what God says is good.

So we are going to take a vary careful look at God's laws to see how they might differ from those typical of today, especially from the standpoint of laws of the USA, a very dominant country in our day and, of course, the one I live in and whose fellow citizens, in large extent, I write to.

I thought I would share a few observations I made in carefully reading the law. First, I noticed that when you write it all down, there is not really all that much in the 4 books, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, the only ones that seem to deal with conduct, behavior and judicial precedents. I have little to say about most of the material dealing with sex laws as I cover those in detail and exclusively in other articles on my sex articles page. A few other topics, like the cities of refuge or whatever, are left out. I cover things here that are not dealt with in other places, for the most part.

2nd, I notice that some subjects are repeated as much as 3 times, once in each book, Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy, such as the sex crimes and taboos. The 10 commandments are at least in Exodus and Deuteronomy. Many things are repeated in Deuteronomy as it was God's final warning to Israel before Moses' death. So get used to repetition. God does it all the time, knowing how poorly our minds absorb things sometimes.

I have often found that if I read a book a 2nd time, I do get many things out of it that I did not get the first time. So now with important books or subjects, I will read a book a 2nd time, but preferably after some time has passed since the first reading, giving the subject time to digest and process in my head and get an anchor inside it. So I have simply learned what God has always known; that repetition will help get a subject into our heads and memories.

My commentary will begin with Exodus chapter 20, after Israel has been led to Mt. Sinai in Arabia. God begins to instruct Moses on how Israel is to behave, with a code of law to observe. It is here that Israel is first given the 10 Commandments that are familiar to most people. Chapters in books that do not deal with law so much as events I only sumarize briefly, as my focus is on the law itself.

Since the law of God (as part of the Bible) is the highlight from here on in, its text remains in regular text. My comments will be set apart in brackets and color [{like this from here on in!}]

Exodus 20
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[{Here is the famous 10 Commandments. They also appear in Deuteronomy 5:7. They are not the only laws but are among some of the most important to remember and observe by the nation of Israel. The keeping of these 10 basics will bring one a long way in pleasing God and good men. But at the same time, there is a lot more that needs to be observed.}]

1 And God spoke all these words, saying:
2 I am Jehovah your God, who has brought you out from the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
3 You shall not have any other gods beside Me.
4 You shall not make a graven image for yourself, or any likeness in the heavens above, or in the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth;
5 you shall not bow to them, and you shall not serve them; for I am Jehovah your God, a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of fathers on sons, on the third and on the fourth generation, to those that hate Me;
6 and doing kindness to thousands, to those loving Me, and to those keeping My commandments.

[{You'll notice these 1st 2 are perhaps the most important ones. There must be no conflict of beliefs or who prescribes to us what we shall believe and practice. Only one God who is called Jehovah, and no idols of Him or anyone else. Jehovah is a spirit and wants to remain that way. He also wants our worship to be that in spirit, and not centered on physical objects. A focus on mundane physical objects will cause to us gravitate toward sacred objects with supposed mystical powers instead of pursuing behaviors that honor God such as love, kindness, mercy, and righteousness.}]

Exodus 20:7 You shall not take the name of Jehovah your God in vain; for Jehovah will not leave unpunished the one who takes His name in vain.

[{This one is misunderstood a lot. People thing this prohibits using God's name, which they ignore anyway, in a worthless way such as when one says, "God damn it" or "oh, my God" or something like that. Well, certainly throwing His title of "God" around worthlessly, or His name, "Jehovah" in a careless way, is not good, but is not really what this scripture is saying.

When it says "taking" the name of Jehovah your God in vain, it means to take up, or apply the name of God to yourself, identifying yourself as a believer or follower of His but not live up to it in a worthy manner. Jesus preached against this, calling it "hypocrisy." We do not want to be hypocrites, pretending to believe in or follow God, but in reality, ignoring His rules and laws. Better to deny we know or love God than to shame His name with atrocious God-dishonoring behavior that not only gives us a bad name but Him a bad name as well. God will severely punish those who give Him a bad name.

True, God can not be blamed if someone who say they are a follower of His does bad. But still, many will use that behavior as an excuse to bad mouth God as well as the misbehaving person and his family and community or church as well. Those who give anyone an excuse to curse God will pay dearly. So God gives us this commandment as a warning.

While a specific punishment was not prescribed for this, it would likely mean death on judgement day as well as death in Israel if you committed some serious offense such as murder or adultery. So it is pretty serious. And think of this! In order for this commandment to make the top 10 as it has, it would have to be pretty serious or address a very serious subject. I don't mean to trivialize saying "God damned," or "Oh, my God," but really, hypocrisy is of far more concern and seriousness than those phrases.

Really, if I say that someone is "God damned," I may be presumptuous in issuing a judgment on behalf of God, but then again, I might be right, too. Hard to say! However, making judgements for a God who says He is a jealous God when it comes to His rights, such as judgement, I would recommend avoiding pronouncing too many judgements on His behalf. So go easy on the "God, Jesus, and Christ" stuff, but recognize that the main concern here. It is not so much the empty speech we might utter with God's name or title, or that if His son's involved, though those names and titles should always be invoked in a respectful dignified way, but to avoid hypocrisy at all cost.}]

Exodus 20:
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy;
9 six days you shall labor and do all your work;
10 and the seventh day is a sabbath to Jehovah your God; you shall not do any work, you, and your son, and your daughter, your male slave and your slave-girl, and your livestock, and your stranger who is in your gates.
11 For in six days Jehovah made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all which is in them, and He rested on the seventh day; on account of this Jehovah blessed the sabbath day and sanctified it.

[{God set aside a day of rest so that His concerns could be given more or special attention. That is why and how synagogues eventually came into being. The law and the prophets were read on each Sabbath. This was partly because there were no printing presses around to put out copies for everyone to read and I am not sure that everyone knew how to read, anyway. So by the law being read all the time on that day, one would hear it enough over time so that they would know it well. It would be burned and engraved into their minds and memories and they could not forget it. Well, in theory, anyway!

In addition, after having heard the law read, people could talk about it and discuss it afterward among each other. Parents could discuss it with their kids. Of course, parents were to talk about God and His law all the time, everyday! But more especially so on the Sabbath when there is nothing else of significance going on.

And this law applied to absolutely everyone everywhere. There were no exceptions. One could not make his slaves work while he and his family rested. A man was to make sure his slaves also knew God and obeyed God and come to love God. A man who would not do this would die by God. Even animals were exempt. How is that for comprehensive coverage. It is my opinion that in addition to giving more attention to God, the Sabbath was simply a day that God wanted everyone to have to make life slow down and have everyone take a break, even animals.}]

Exodus 20:
12 Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long on the land which Jehovah your God is giving to you.
13 You shall not murder.
14 You shall not commit adultery.
15 You shall not steal.
16 You shall not testify a witness of falsehood against your neighbor.
17 You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male slave, or his slave-girl, or his ox, or his ass, or anything which belongs to your neighbor.

[{I think these are pretty obvious and don't need much to be said about them. I will point our for those who think the 10 commandments are all that is necessary or that they cover all the important laws, that they do not. For one, even before the law, God told Noah not to eat the blood of animals for it had a sacred special significance in the eyes of God, or perhaps more specifically, that He wanted it to have special significance in our eyes. Blood is what would be offered in our behalf someday by His son. Also note that rape does not get mentioned here but rape was also punishable by death, which I would call pretty serious.

But the 10 Commandments were a quick simple list of things to remember and observe that were very important. Any one keeping them would also keep the others I mention as not noted here.

There are a couple of other interesting scriptures in Exodus 20 that I will address, dealing with slaves.}]

Exodus 20:20 And if a man strikes his male slave or his slave-girl with a rod, and he dies under his hand, he shall surely be avenged. 21 But if he continues a day or two, he shall not be avenged, for he is his silver.

Exodus 20:26 And when a man strikes the eye of his male slave, or the eye of his slave-girl and destroys it, he shall send him away free for his eye. 27 And if he causes the tooth of his male slave, or the tooth of his slave-girl, to fall out, he shall send him away free for his tooth.

[{Now I would assume that any slave spoken of here is a slave from another race or nation, but could apply to Hebrew slaves as well. I say this because you always hope that the need to strike a slave with a rod, particularly a Hebrew brother, would be a last resort. But that said, there could be instances that would require the "rod," so to speak. The Bible/Law even speaks of applying the "rod" to your son, so how much more so a slave who will not obey!

Think of this! Suppose you rescued a man and his family from starvation, not because he ran into bad luck and lost his crop by drought, locust, or something like that. Suppose it was just because he was lazy, perhaps an alcoholic, basically a bum. There have always been and will always be lazy bums for one reason or another. But if a "savior" man will willingly cut into his own crop and harvest to help this "soon to be slave" man and his family out, possibly reducing that left for the helping man and his family to fairly low and risky levels for themselves, then that man who saves deserves to make sure that he does not also fall into ruin.

So the man who was a bum will fall under the control of the savior. He will be required to obey the savior. He will not be able to rack off or avoid work like he used to. No more free ride. Everyone else works and the reason the slave is now a slave is because he either lacked discipline, skill, knowledge, motivation, or something. But he will not be allowed to be a bum. He will work and produce or he may need to be beaten, as that may end up being the only course left to a decent master who has tried all else and found it to fail.

So for whatever the reason, it was no small thing for one man to bail out another man and his misery. The man saving deserves protection from having to carry a useless bum who does not want to do anything for himself or his family. Just as sons need to obey a good father, so does a slave need to obey his master.

The Bible forbids a master mistreating or being cruel to a slave as we shall see in many scriptures to come but with that said, there could be times that the "rod" might need to be used when all else has failed.

This might sound horrible and offensive to many in our day and age who imagine they should be entitled to a living without working, which our ridiculous welfare system allows. But those who pay taxes must bear the burden of those who do not work and have little excuse for it. The Bible did not allow such atrocities. Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 3:10: "For even when we were with you, we commanded this to you: If anyone does not desire to work, neither let him eat."

Now verses 20 & 21 say that if a master strikes a slave, male or female, and they die, that the master must die for his sin, which is what is understood when the scripture says they are to be avenged. But if they linger a day or two, then evidently the master did not intend to kill and he only hurt himself as he is out their labor and help. That labor or help was basically his money or silver so the master shot himself in his own foot or bit off his own nose to spite his own face. He got what he deserved if he lost them.

Again, we hope that he acted justly in beating them in the first place, but even if he did not, God grants just a little bit of mercy due to uncertainty and let the master off if the slave did not immediately die. There was provision for accidental killing in the law. If a slave got to the point where he needed beaten, then he best consider what could happen if his master got carried away in frustration and beat him so bad that he dies a day of two later. In the end, only God knows whether the master was harsh or excessive. God can and will judge cruelty. But it would appear that God is leaving that for His Judgment day rather than in the present. A master could get away with just a little bit of excessiveness and not pay with his life.

But note next in verses 26 & 27 that if a master caused his slave to lose an eye or a tooth, that they could go free. He would loose them completely. I will point out here that a Hebrew slave could only serve a maximum of 6 years before he had to be freed. But a foreigner could be a slave forever, well, unless you went and caused him or her to lose an eye or tooth. Then they were free and you would lose them forever.

This could be a severe loss to an owner/master. So there was enough incentive to make owners careful about how they punished their slaves. I do believe these laws just cover foreign slaves as the penalty for causing a "brother to lose an eye or tooth was to lose the same yourself. You know, the old "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" law.

We are going to move on to Exodus chapter 21. Many of these laws cover things very briefly, whereas they are covered in far more detail later on in the other books of the law. First subject up regards slaves, particularly Hebrew slaves.}]

Exodus 21
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1 And these are the judgments which you shall put before them:
2 When you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years And in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.
3 If he comes in with his body, he shall go out with his body. If he was the husband of a wife, his wife shall go out with him.
4 If his master gives him a wife, and she bears sons or daughters to him, the wife and her children shall belong to her master; and he shall go out with his body.
5 And if the slave truly says, I love my master, my wife and my children; I do not desire to go out free,
6 his master shall bring him to God, and one shall bring him to the door, or to the doorpost; and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl, and he shall serve him forever.
7 And when a man sells his daughter for a slave-girl, she shall not go out as the male slaves go out.
8 If she is bad in the eyes of her master who has appointed her for himself, he shall allow her redemption. He shall not have power to sell her to a strange people, in his deceiving her.
9 And if he chooses her for his son, he shall do to her as is the custom of daughters.
10 If he takes another for himself, her flesh, her clothing, and her conjugal right shall not be diminished.
11 And if he does not do these three for her, she shall go out for nothing, without silver.

[{You'll notice that one who becomes a slave with wife keeps her when being freed, but one who has one given to him does not. A dowry, the price of a bride, was to be paid to the father of the bride. A master who was to give a wife, was giving something which he did not have to and which, by right, came with a price owed. She could remain with the owner, the master, and the husband could go free. Of course, though it does not say here, it does elsewhere allow a man to purchase a wife. The slave, upon being freed, could borrow money from relatives to buy her, if the master/father was willing to sell, or if she was not given away to another while the freed slave saved up, he could later buy her if agreeable to the father. or he could just stay with the father and keep the wife.

Ordinarily, a man went free after 7 years as we note in verse 1. But having a wife given to you by your master would create a situation that would be an exception if you so chose it to be. That was God's decision. As far as He was concerned, a man with a daughter was always entitled to compensation for her. This law protected his due compensation for his daughter in a way God saw fit in the case of a slave who wold not likely have the money to purchase her after just being freed. His permanent slavery was the due of the father in compensation for the daughter as a wife.

A daughter sold into slavery did not automatically go free after 7 years. If she not had been taken or used as a wife, she could be bought back if her father could afford it, anytime while she was in servitude. She could be kept and paid for if she became a wife, or go back by the father for free. She could not be kept and then sold to yet someone else. Once married, she had the same rights any wife had who was bought with a dowry and could not be bought back by the father.}]

Exodus 21:
12 He that strikes a man so that he dies, surely he shall be put to death.
13 And he who does not lie in wait, and God lets fall into his hand, I will appoint a place for you where he may flee.

[{Anyone who kills shall be put to death. Only God has the right to give or take a life, or tell someone else to do so. This is a situation where God prescribes a circumstance where a community is to take the life of another. On the other hand, if a man accidentally kills another men, he is to go to a city of refuge to live until a 50 jubilee or the high priest dies. We will be introduced, in more detail, to these cities of refuge later in other books of the law.}]

Exodus 21:14 And when a man seethes insolently against his neighbor, to kill him by deceit, you shall take him from My altar to die.

[{The death penalty was to be carried out, even if they had to take the person from the altar from within the temple. This was to happen once in the days of Solomon where Joab held onto the horns of the altar, hoping to avoid being dragged off and executed. There was not way to subvert this judgement if you tried to deliberately murder him and get away with it.}]

Exodus 21:
15 And he who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.
16 And he that steals a man and sells him, or if he is found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.
17 And he who curses his father or his mother, he shall surely be put to death.

[{Notice that only striking a parent would get you killed. Attacking parents is a very serious crime, Yet this happens quite a bit in our society today. We call it parental abuse. But we do not think it a serious crime and certainly do not execute for it. But according to God, we should. Of course, if a parent were truly trying to kill you, then you would be guilt free but that is seldom the case in a son or daughter of substantial age. And even simply cursing a mother or father would merit death. God places a very high value on those who give you life and bring you up. While parental abuse of a child does happen too often in our society, and in such cases, parents do deserve extreme punishment, maybe even death, depending on the severity, in normal circumstances, parenting comes with extreme protection and due respect.

Kidnapping, as had happened to Joseph, son of Jacob in Genesis, merited the death penalty. Just having him bound up or locked up would be enough to convict you. I should point out that the slave trade in the USA was supplied by merchants who would either directly capture black Africans to sell in America or they would buy them from someone else who had done so like a chief of a tribe of Africans who stood to make money selling fellow tribesmen or tribesmen capture from other tribes. This would also be completely forbidden by God. So we do not want to think that slavery as it was practiced in the USA at one time was ever sanctioned by God.

But there are other ways to obtain slaves and these would be sanctioned, such as falling into debt and becoming a debtor slave for a limited time. The real issue for slavery is not what you call the person but how you treat them. As God had prescribed it, a slave was to be treated far better than how we treat most laborers today who are said to be free according to prevailing opinions. What you call people is not as important as how you treat them.}]

Exodus 21:
18 And when men strive, and one strikes his neighbor with a stone, or with a fist, and he does not die, but falls on his bed,
19 if he rises and walks about in the street on his staff, the one who struck him shall be innocent; only he shall pay his sitting; surely he shall pay for his healing.
20 And if a man strikes his male slave or his slave-girl with a rod, and he dies under his hand, he shall surely be avenged.
21 But if he continues a day or two, he shall not be avenged, for he is his silver.

[{ 19 is real interesting. If after a very serious fight, where a stone might have been used, a potential deadly weapon, and after initially "falling" on his bed, that is, he needs to recover on his bed due to the extent of injury, but later is able to rise and walk about in the street where he can be seen and witnessed, then if he later dies, it can not be blamed on the man who initially attacked him. The attacker would have to pay for the injured one's healing, which I am sure would include lost wages, if no permanent injuries were incurred. Permanent injuries would require eye for eye, tooth for tooth which comes later. It should go without saying that if the victim did die without having walked, then it was murder.

One should understand that God treats people like reasonable intelligent creatures who should not give stupid unreasonable excuses. In fact, God does not tolerate poor excuses. When God gives us laws and precedents, He expects us to interpret them reasonably without poor excuses or twisting what He said, arguing the ridiculous, or having to be super-clarified on every little point or definition.

We do this in our law today in the USA. We allow lawyers to argue the ridiculous and pick at every little point and make a mockery of our laws and so we have to spell out every little detail that should not be necessary. We end up having to "define" every little nuance of law. We tolerate ridiculous excuses and so our law is corrupted along with justice.

Verses 20-21 are covered elsewhere later in more detailed accounts of slavery.}]

Exodus 21:
22 And when men fight, and they strike a pregnant woman, and her child goes forth, and there is no injury, surely he shall be fined. As much as the husband of the woman shall put on him, even he shall give through the judges.
23 But if injury occurs, you shall give life for life,
24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
25 branding for branding, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

[{Here is an account that completely contradicts the assertions of those who say life begins at conception and therefore, abortion at any time is absolutely wrong. Well, all I can say is that life apparently does not start at conception according to God in this account. Whether that OK's abortion or not is another matter but if the baby comes out because of the struggle, only a fine is imposed. It is not called murder nor punished as murder. I cover this in far more detail in my "Abortion" article.}]

Exodus 21:
26 And when a man strikes the eye of his male slave, or the eye of his slave-girl and destroys it, he shall send him away free for his eye.
27 And if he causes the tooth of his male slave, or the tooth of his slave-girl, to fall out, he shall send him away free for his tooth.

[{Covered later.}]

Exodus 21:
28 And when an ox gores a man so that he dies, the ox shall surely be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten, and the owner of the ox is innocent.
29 And if he was an ox apt to gore from yesterday and the third day, and its owner is given warning, and he does not watch him, and he kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned, and its owner also shall be put to death.
30 If a ransom is put on him, he shall give the redemption of his life, according to all which is put on him.
31 Whether he gores a son or he gores a daughter, according to this judgment it shall be done to him.
32 If the ox gores a male slave or a slave-girl, he shall give thirty silver shekels to his master, and the ox shall be stoned.

[{An Ox is killed if it kills. It does not matter whether the Ox understood his crime or not. He is dangerous to the point of killing people. We do that even with dogs today. But we do not execute people who we say did not understand his crime. Understand it or not, he is dangerous and should be executed. Another stupid poor excuse for atrocious behavior when we require the attacker to "understand" what they did. I hate any "thought" crimes or "lack of thought" excuses for crime. No excuses allow, no reasons needed nor do reasons for killing matter. I say this but our laws in the USA today do allow for thought crimes and excuses based on lack of understanding. God's laws are better as I see it.

As interesting is that if the owner of the dangerous ox had been warned about the ox before it actually killed, and then it does, the owner has 3 days to secure the ox or kill it or he will become liable and guilty of murder and shall be executed along with the ox or whatever other animal it would be that was dangerous and had been warned.

The owner may, at the mercy of those who lost someone to the ox, may be allowed to pay a fine, a ransom for his life, an amount as high as the victims want to set it and he has to do it or else die. The owner of the ox could be ransomed for 30 silver shekels if it was a slave who was killed by the ox. I assume this might be a non-Hebrew slave.}]

Exodus 21:
33 And when a man opens a pit, or when a man digs a pit, and does not cover it, and an ox or an ass falls into it,
34 the owner of the pit shall pay; he shall give silver to its owner, and the dead shall be his.
35 And when a man's ox strikes against the ox of his neighbor, and it dies, they shall sell the living ox, and they shall divide the silver; and they shall also divide the dead.
36 Or if it was known that he was an ox apt to gore from yesterday and the third day, and his owner does not watch him, he shall pay ox for ox, and the dead shall be his.

[{Anything you do that creates a serious problem or loss becomes your responsibility. If an animal falls in and dies, well then, you broke it so you bought it. The owner is compensated and you get the dead animal to do with as you please. Verse 35 is most interesting. If you did not know you had a dangerous ox and it kills another ox, you and the neighbor share in the loss together. The live ox is sold, then the money made and the dead ox are both split. It is an admission that animals can be unpredictable and no one can be blamed sometimes.

On the other hand, if the animal's nature was known for 3 days and does damage, he gives his ox in place of the neighbor's now dead ox. It was not ignorance or unpredictable behavior and damages must be compensated in full. No sharing in the loss. New chapter up next.}]

Exodus 22
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Exodus 22:
1 When a man steals an ox or a sheep, and kills it, or sells it, he shall pay five cattle for the ox, and four sheep for the sheep.
2 If the thief is found breaking in, and is stricken and dies, no blood shall be shed for him.
3 If the sun has risen on him, blood is due for him; surely he shall repay. If he has nothing, then he should be sold for his theft.
4 If the stolen thing is surely found in his hand alive, from ox to ass to flock animal, he shall pay double.

1 "If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and kills it or sells it, he shall pay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep. He shall make restitution; if he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.
2 If the stolen beast is found alive in his possession, whether it is an ox or an ass or a sheep, he shall pay double.
3 "If a thief is found breaking in, and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him;
4 but if the sun has risen upon him, there shall be bloodguilt for him.

[{Green's has verse 2 in 4 it would seem. Or maybe the RSV decided to move them around to make it more clear. It does not affect the meaning in anyway. But the KJV seems to agree with GLT, and not the RSV.}]

1 If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.
2 If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him.
3 If the sun be risen upon him, there shall be blood shed for him; for he should make full restitution; if he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.
4 If the theft be certainly found in his hand alive, whether it be ox, or ass, or sheep; he shall restore double.

Exodus 22:2 If the thief is found breaking in, and is stricken and dies, no blood shall be shed for him. 3 If the sun has risen on him, blood is due for him; surely he shall repay. If he has nothing, then he should be sold for his theft.

[{Though not immediately clear in 2, verse 3 does make it more clear that if a thief breaks into a home in the dark, and is killed, it is fine. A household in the dark is very vulnerable and therefore is given more rights and understanding. They have a right to shoot first and ask questions later. What a contrast this is with modern USA laws that give you almost no rights in your own home at night and allows the criminal incredible protections and rights as if he had a right to break in and steal and expect his life to be protected. God says he has no rights if he strikes in the dark!

But if it is daylight, that all changes. You can see clearly now and have much more ability to identify the intruder and take controlled action against him, so that he may be possibly subdued and brought to trial and punished according to the law for theft rather than die. The householder must exercise restraint in the daylight. Theft does not merit death.

On the other hand, if rape or murder were the intention, you would have the right to defend yourself, even if it meant killing he who would kill or rape you or your family members. In the Bible, you had a right to defend yourself reasonably, including the use of "deadly force."}]

Exodus 22:
5 When a man consumes a field or a vineyard, and he lets his beast loose and it consumes another's field, he shall repay the best of his field and the best of his vineyard.
6 When fire breaks out and finds thorns, and shocked grain, or standing grain, or the field is burned up, surely the one kindling the fire shall repay.

[{Again, responsibility scriptures. You cause it then you pay for it. And not with the poorest quality of your field but of the best. You start the fire and it gets out of control, you pay the damage. The moral of the story is be very careful when you do something since that something could really cost you if it causes damage.

In our world today, I notice a lot of people give little thought to what they do and what the consequences of that action will be and they do not expect to be held accountable. But this is not how it is with God. He demands that we give thought to all our actions and be responsible for them. It is God's law that we learn to think and think ahead. To not do so is to sin against God and His law. In other words, it is against God's law to be stupid unnecessarily. How's that for a cool law!}]

Exodus 22:
7 When a man gives silver or vessels to his neighbor to keep, and it is stolen from the man's house, if the thief is found, he shall repay double.
8 If the thief is not found, the master of the house shall be brought to God, whether or not he put out his hand to his neighbor's goods.
9 In every case of trespass, for ox, for ass, for sheep, for clothing, for anything lost of which it is said that it is his, the case of both of them shall come to God. Whom God declares guilty, he shall repay double to his neighbor.

[{Keeping a neighbor's goods bears a certain amount of responsibility. If stolen and the thief is not found, the neighbor could be suspect. He would be brought to the temple where the priests would cast lots that God would control to determine whether the neighbor was the guilty party or not. It was God's promise to do this.}]

Exodus 22:
10 When a man gives an ass or an ox to his neighbor; or a sheep, or any animal to keep, and it dies, or is injured, or is captured, no one seeing it,
11 an oath of Jehovah shall be between them both, that he has not put his hand to his neighbor's goods. And its owner shall take it, and he shall not repay.
12 And if it is indeed stolen from him, he shall repay to its owner.
13 If it is completely torn in pieces, he shall bring it as a witness; he shall not repay that which was torn.

[{God determines one circumstance from another. If a neighbor cares for another's animal and something happens to it without anyone seeing, they both make an oath to Jehovah, possibly in the temple under the care of the priests, and it shall not be repaid. If it is stolen, it is repaid. Possibly, it is assumed that the neighbor did not look after it properly that it could get stolen or that a theft while under one's care is too suspicious.

Here again it is the law that one must be very careful with another man's property, maybe even more careful than one would be with their own, or at least being very diligent with another's property, even if one is not diligent and careful with one's own stuff.

On the other hand, if an animal is torn to pieces, a predator is assumed and no one can be blamed if they are the victim of a predatory animal. That could happen to anyone and is hard to prevent. I notice too, that it is possible that while God allows come circumstances to be relatively guilt free, others do not allow guilt free. Together, they sort of even out.

It is impossible to have perfect justice. God arranged His law to take the most likely course in any given circumstance and fact the fact that sometimes we can not know what really happened and sometimes we will get the short end of the stick no matter what. Life sucks and never forget it. We can't always get justice or compensation when we experience loss.}]

Exodus 22:
14 And when a man borrows from his neighbor, and it is hurt, or dies, its owner not being with it, surely he shall repay.
15 If its owner is with it, he shall not repay. If it is hired, it comes for its hire.

[{Borrowing is different from caring for another's property. Anything that happens to something while you borrowed it, then you repay it. The only excpetion is when the owner is right there with you as you use his animal. The owner is assumed capable of preventing any harm to his own property in that case.}]

Exodus 22:
16 And when a man lures a virgin who is not betrothed, and lies with her, he shall surely pay her dowry for a wife to himself.
17 If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he shall weigh money according to the dowry of virgins.

[{A man must take a woman as a wife and pay for her if he has sex with her, if she was a virgin. But the father had the right, if he wanted, to take the money and not give her away. The spoiler had to pay, anyway. Now imagine if we had that rule today! How costly it would be to take a woman's virginity. It might slow a lot of guys down who only want to "get laid" and do not care what lies they tell to get what they want. God places the responsibility with the man. The man can not lie, love them and leave them.

It would also appear that it is assumed that the girl might have been told that she was loved by the seducer and therefore gave in, knowing or assuming that he would be willing or forced to honor his word after. She had that right and expectation. And if a virgin is seduced, all parties have a right to assume there was a promise made to her and an obligation exists. The only risk would be the father not being willing to give the daughter over after having received the money/dowry, having once received the dowry before from another, he would not be able to collect a 2nd time for the woman, so that might make him a little more inclined to give her over if she wanted him to.

But be warned ladies, that there is no guarantee or assumptions made in your behalf under any USA law I am aware of. Sleeping with a guy guarantees little, if anything. Our laws do not protect women in the least. I would say that is wrong but it is the reality of things, just the same.}]

Exodus 22:
18 You shall not allow a sorceress to live.
19 Anyone lying with an animal, he surely shall be put to death.
20 One sacrificing to a god shall be destroyed, unless it is only to Jehovah.

[{A sorceress, basically a witch, a spell caster, or one who comunicates with the dead and that sort of thing. Yeah, God does not allow those things as is made clear in other parts of the law.}]

Exodus 22:21 You shall not be violent toward an alien. You shall not oppress him, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.

[{While aliens did not have all the rights and protections that Israelites enjoyed, he still was supposed to be treated right, with no violence or abuse or oppression. God reminds Israel that they were once aliens and deserved decent treatment then and that it was no different now with other aliens in Israel. What is good for one is good for all.}]

Exodus 22:
22 You shall not afflict an orphan or a widow.
23 If you afflict him, if he at all cries to Me, I will surely hear his cry,
24 and My anger shall glow, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall become widows, and your sons orphans.

[{Families without a father, especially before our days of liberated independent strong women of 20th century industrialized USA, were weak and vulnerable. They were deprived or their best provider, not to mention his strong character. it was easy for a community to ignore the plight of a widow and her children. Orphans were what fatherless children were called. Children without any parents would be even more helpless and vulnerable, having no natural parent who had a strong vested interest in their own children. Most of us know the story of Cinderella, treated (mistreated, actually) poorly by her stepmother who favored her own daughters over Cinderella.

So orphans, whether without a father or without any natural parent, were in a weaker position and more likely to be mistreated or ignored or even abused and taken advantage of, due to their weakness and lack of parental defenses that other children enjoyed. God particularly hates when someone abuses or takes advantage of the weak or helpless or defenseless. He reserves a special portion of vengeance for those who exploit those who are weak.

If Israel did not respect and care for her weak and defenseless, God promised He would cause all Israel to become like orphans and widows. Be warned! God hates abusers and exploiters and certainly we have plenty of those around today in every aspect of our society for Him to hate. They will not be tolerated by God much longer.}]

Exodus 22:
25 If you lend money to My people, the poor with you, you shall not be as a money-lender to him; you shall not put interest on him.
26 If you indeed take the clothing of your neighbor as a pledge, you shall return it to him by the going of the sun,
27 for that is his only covering, that is his covering for his skin. In what shall he lie down? And it shall be, when he cries to Me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.

[{People of God can not charge interest to their "brothers" in the faith. People who seek loans are assumed to be people in need and we can not burden them with more charges and create more debt or make it more difficult for them to get out of debt. In God's eyes, that is wicked! And we can not be harsh or demanding when they are having trouble repaying immediately, such as would be the case in demanding the clothes off someone's back, so to speak.}]

Exodus 22:28 You shall not revile God, and you shall not curse a ruler among your people.

[{This is an interesting one. We think nothing of disrespecting politicians today. And I grant that many of them may not behave as respectfully as they should, but . . . regardless, God does not allow a ruler among Israelites to be cursed. And I am sure that would also include him being given proper respect even as Paul required in his instructions.

The name Bill Clinton comes to mind. For whatever his faults, I do not believe the American people acted in their own best interests in making such a humiliating spectacle of him, exposing things they intended to do nothing about. Sadly, many Christians were among those taunting and ridiculing. Leaders should be properly respected according to God.

I grant that given the political climate and atmosphere that we have all been brought up in since the 1960's, it is easy to fall into the mistake of bad-mouthing a leader and we all have probably done it. I know I have at times. I try not to, but perhaps occasionally slip. We confess, repent, and work better to resist the pervasive influence in our nation to humiliate our leaders, however much we may object to their actions as our leaders. God will make them account in time.

And certainly we do not revile or blame God for things around us like many do. They blame God for all their problems and miseries and those of the world, instead of Satan who started it, or Adam who went along with it. As James put it:}]

RSV James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one;

BBE James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tested, I am tested by God; for it is not possible for God to be tested by evil, and he himself puts no man to such a test:

[{God is not to be blamed for our woes and miseries. We do not revile or curse Him for anything. Israel did this often while wandering in the desert. They blamed Moses directly, but it was really God that they were reviling and God made them clear to them as He made them wander in the desert for 40 years as a result. Let us learn and not repeat that mistake.}]

Exodus 22:
29 You shall not delay giving your harvest and your vintage. You shall give to Me the first born of your sons.
30 So you shall do to your oxen, to your sheep: it shall be seven days with its mother; on the eighth day you shall give it to Me. And you shall be holy men to Me.
31 Any you shall be holy men to Me. And you shall not eat flesh torn in pieces in the field; you shall throw it to the dogs.

[{Israelites had to be prompt in paying their due to the temple, what we might call taxes. Sacrifices had to be given for all the firstborns of children and animals. And when God says be holy (holy meaning pure and ceremonially clean), He is speaking more of being pure of heart and spirit than He is of the outside body and ritual. Obeying ritual is a token sign of obedience. The real point is the inward purity. Jesus made a point of that in discussing cleanliness about what we eat versus the things in our hearts that defile us.}]

Exodus 23
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Exodus 23:
1 You shall not utter a false report; You shall not put your hand with the wicked, to become a violent witness.
2 You shall not run after many to gain evil things. And you shall not testify as to a lawsuit, to turn aside after many in order to pervert justice.
3 And you shall not favor the lowly in his lawsuit.

[{I typically use Green's Literal Translation as I do here. Because it is so literal, it often is not quite as clear as some other translations. So 2 other translations are given so as to make it more clear what is being said.}]

RSV Exodus 23:
1 "You shall not utter a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man, to be a malicious witness.
2 You shall not follow a multitude to do evil; nor shall you bear witness in a suit, turning aside after a multitude, so as to pervert justice;
3 nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his suit.

BBE Exodus 23:
1 "You shall not utter a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man, to be a malicious witness.
2 You shall not follow a multitude to do evil; nor shall you bear witness in a suit, turning aside after a multitude, so as to pervert justice;
3 nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his suit.

[{This is such an important account! So much is indicated between the lines. First, you should never lie or make things up in a trial. Total evil is what that is. That should be obvious. Even USA laws of today make that illegal, even if they do not enforce it well. But verses 2 and 3 are particular interesting.

Verse 2 says you should not go along with the crowd or be influenced by them in your testimony. Peer pressure can be intense. Nor can you look out for your own interests in your testimony, favoring yourself as the expense of lying. And just as it is wrong to favor the multitude, the crowd, the rich or the powerful, neither can you favor the poor or the weak. All favoritism and lying is wrong. You must remain absolutely impartial and completely fair and just, favoring no one and simply testifying to the truth.

I have noted on/in various forums on the internet and elsewhere that there are many who detest the rich and powerful manipulating the world and perverting justice, and screwing the poor. And certainly this is wrong. But yet when I address how a more perfect system ought to be and get to the topic of the poor, more particularly the bums, that all object.

Well, to say that it is only the rich and powerful who do wrong is also a lie. The poor are as guilty of abuse and wrong doing as the rich. The poor can often be bad parents or husbands/wives as well. And if they were in the position that the rich are, they would no doubt do the same thing the rich do. It is human nature. All sin and fall drastically short of the glory of God. Favoring the poor and weak when they are in the wrong is no better than what the rich do.

Christians will only side with truth and justice, favoring absolutely no one anywhere but deciding each case on its own merit. We should recognize that no matter how good laws may be, it is up to the people to value those laws and protect and observe them. In our society today, some groups tend to favor their own, looking out for what we might call today, special interest groups.

What none of them seem to understand is that when you pervert justice by favoring your own, you are starting a war, misusing justice to fight it, only making it worse. Slight justice and she will slight you. Slit her throat, and you are only cutting your own throat. When justice suffers, everyone suffers. God is warning us! Will we listen?}]

Exodus 23:
4 When you happen on the ox of your enemy, or his wandering ass, you shall surely return it to him.
5 When you see the ass of one who hates you crouching under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving it to him; you shall surely loose it from him.

[{This one is utterly fascinating. Never mind the possessions or animals of your friend, even your enemy, the guy you do not like or get along with, maybe even despise, deserves the proper treatment and respect of his property. You must return his lost or wandering animals. If an animal of his is suffering from too much burden, you must help the animal and be kind to it. All the more so should you be this way to his wife or kids, not taking out your feelings toward him on them. Surely if an animal deserves this, then even more so human beings, right?

And think of this! Do you want your enemy to ignore your animals lost or in trouble? Would you want him to allow bad things to happen to your family. God is warning us not to let our feelings of bitterness or rivalry cause us to become hateful or cruel to the point where we will ignore situations where we cold have helped without any undue burden to ourselves and we did not. Neighbors and even enemies should have their interests looked after by each other.

If your "enemy" is downing, and you are able to save him without jeopardizing yourself, then you are obligated to do so. We can not look the other way and let harm come to others, even enemies, when it is so unnecessary and uncalled for and easily prevented. These would be called acts of omission, whereby we simply refrain from doing good or helping. God says we should not refrain from doing good or being helpful, even to our enemies and how much more so our friends, neighbors, and brothers in the faith.

Really, what this account is saying is that we really shouldn't have any enemies, not to the point where we would want to see harm come to them or their property. And of course, we know what Jesus warned about hateful feelings, saying that he who hates is just 1 step removed from being a murderer. We don't really want to have any "enemies," per say. Our hearts should abound in mercy and concern for the welfare of all.

When everyone looks out for everyone, then everyone benefits. It can become quite nasty if we let small petty feelings grow and we become insensitive and indifferent, maybe even unsympathetic and uncaring as to what happens to someone's property, how much more so might we become that way to the person themselves. And that could grow to the point where we not only do not care about them but might even want to actively harm them.

This is what we desperately want to avoid, not even allowing the process to begin by being indifferent or not caring to someone's animals and other property and welfare. Not only hate is evil but even casual indifference or not caring. That's right, it is wrong and wicked not to care. You do not have to pick up a knife, a sword, or a gun and go after someone, you simply have to stop caring about them and their property and you have sinned against God.

And really, in many respects, you sin against yourself because if everyone embraces this attitude of not caring, you will soon have people looking the other way while others are raped or killed in public, which has already happened in this country many times over. What we sow and plant, we shall reap and harvest. Be warned!}]

Exodus 23:
6 You shall not pervert the judgment of your needy one in his lawsuit.
7 You shall keep far away from a false matter. And do not kill the innocent and the righteous; for I will not justify the wicked.
8 And you shall not take a bribe, for the bribe blinds the seeing one, and it perverts the words of the righteous.
9 And you shall not oppress an alien; and you know the life of an alien, since you were aliens in the land of Egypt.

[{Here is repeated what we have considered elsewhere. Bribes and lies are wrong, wicked! And neither should aliens, foreigners, immigrants be cheated, oppressed, swindled, or anything else bad. They are people and deserve righteous treatment. Everyone is to have righteous just treatment. And if you slight them, they will eventually slight you. Rather than cultivate enemies, why not cultivate friends and neighbors that you care about and that will care about you. That is a much nicer way to live and a better place in which to live.}]

Exodus 23:
9 And you shall not oppress an alien; and you know the life of an alien, since you were aliens in the land of Egypt.
10 And you shall sow your land six years, and you shall gather its produce.
11 And the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, and the needy of your people shall eat. And what they leave, the animals of the field shall eat. So you shall do to your vineyard, to your oliveyard.
12 You shall do your work six days, and on the seventh day you shall rest, so that your ox and your ass may rest, and the son of your slave-girl and your alien may be refreshed.

[{God brings up a pretty basic point here. Israelites were once aliens so they should have sympathy for other aliens and not oppress them or take advantage of them. God hates exploiters and people who take advantage of others as is clear on what He spoke of regarding orphans and widows.

The 7 year jubilee is dealt with elsewhere in the law in more detail. I will deal with it then. The Sabbath is mentioned yet again for emphasis, no doubt.}]

Exodus 23:
13 And be watchful in all that I have said to you. And you shall not mention another god by name; it shall not be heard from your mouth.
14 Three times in the year you shall make a feast to Me.

15 You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I have commanded you, at the set time of the month of Abib. For in it you came out from Egypt, and they shall not appear before Me empty.
16 Also the Feast of Harvest, the first fruits of your labor, of what you sow in the field. Also the Feast of Ingathering, at the end of the year, at your gathering your work from the field.
17 Three times in the year every one of your males shall appear before the Lord Jehovah.
18 You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leavened bread. And the fat of My feast shall not pass the night until morning.
19 The first, the firstfruits of your ground you shall bring to the house of Jehovah your God. You shall not boil a kid in its mother's milk.

[{Notice the sort of exaggeration God uses in saying "you shall not mention another god by name; it shall not be heard from your mouth." This is in reference to not worshipping other gods. But is it wrong to even mention an enemy's gods, especially when all of them are mentioned in the Bible, such as Dagon, Molech, Baal, Ashtoreth, the Queen of the heavens, and others. Many names of Christians in the New Testament are named after Greek Gods. So to not even mention them is a little facetious and absurd if one takes it too literally. It is God's way of saying in an extreme way, to have nothing to do with the worship of other gods.

It is important to grasp this concept of facetiousness and exaggeration. It is used a lot in the Bible and we are expected to understand that. It will help us to interpret the scriptures correctly. It is part of learning the "code" or style that Jesus would speak in and deliver prophecies in so that enemies would not know they were being revealed to us all. This point is tragically missed by many Christians who take everything quite literally, thereby coming up with some crazy ideas that are quite absurd.}]

Exodus 23:
20 Behold, I am about to send an Angel before you, to guard you in the way, and to bring you to the place which I have prepared.
21 Be on guard before Him, and listen to His voice. Do not be rebellious against Him, for He will not forgive your transgressions; for My name is in Him.
22 For if you fully listen to His voice, and do all which I speak, I will be an enemy to your enemies, and will be a foe to your foes.
23 For My Angel shall go before you and bring you in to the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Canaanite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite; and I will cut them off.
24 You shall not bow down to their gods, and you shall not serve them. And you shall not do according to their works. But you shall surely tear them down, and you shall surely smash their pillars.
25 And you shall serve Jehovah your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will remove sickness from your midst.
26 None shall cast her young or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days.
27 I will send my terror before you, and will throw into confusion all the people against whom you shall come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you.
28 And I will send hornets before you, which shall drive out Hivite, Canaanite, and Hittite from before you.
29 I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the wild beasts multiply against you.
30 Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you are increased and possess the land.
31 And I will set your bounds from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the Euphrates; for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you shall drive them out before you.
32 You shall make no covenant with them or with their gods.
33 They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against me; for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you."

[{God was giving land with certain boundaries to Israel. Other nations already there were going to be driven out by God through Israel, provided that they obeyed God. God was going to drive them out slowly, only portions at a time. Israel was intended to have boundaries far greater than they ever actually achieved, due to not obeying God as they should have. They never got to the Euphrates. But Israel was to take great care to avoid anything to do with the gods of these people they were to drive out.

Here is a snare laid for some who suggest that diversity and multiculturalism is so great. In order for a nation to be strong and united, they had to have the same religion, which also means the same laws, ethics, morals as everyone else, If other religions and cultures are allowed, religions and cultures whose values and ethics are not the same, there is going to be friction and competition to see who can shove whose laws and ways down everyone else's throat. To avoid that, one simply protects their land and borders and keeps them filled with only their own kind. When I say own kind, I speak more of religion, laws, and ethics, rather than race.

Race is not the relevant factor. God and Israel on more than one occasion welcomed foreigners of different races into their "fold," as long as they accepted the ways of Israel. Moses' wife was a Cushite. That is to say, she was as black as the ace of spades. Rahab of Jericho, Ruth of Moab, Uriah the Hittite, and others were all of other races. Race is irrelevant. Religion is not.

Of course, God's people of today have no nation of their own and must live among others, even as God wills. But within their churches and congregations, they only accept those who believe as they do, regardless of race. Or at least, they should not regard race, though some do. those that do are not from God as God could care less about race and intended that all people of all nations, races, and languages should be saved and live forever under His rule.}]

Exodus 24-33
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[{These chapter show God instructing Moses on Mt. Sinai on the temple, priesthood, ceremonies, numbering Israel and writing the ten commandments on stone for Moses to give to Israel. In the beginning of 32, Israel sins with the golden calf. The aftermath continues in 33.

In the next account in chapter 32, while Moses is in the mountain receiving instruction from God for 40 days and 40 nights, the Israelites make a golden calf and worship it, dancing around it and the like. When Moses came down, he next gives these instructions:}]

Exodus 32:
26 And Moses stood in the gate of the camp and said, Who is for Jehovah? Come to me! And all the sons of Levi assembled to him.
27 And he said to them, So says Jehovah, God of Israel, each one put his sword on his thigh; pass to and fro from gate to gate in the camp, and each one kill his brother, and each one his neighbor, and each one his kindred.
28 And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And about three thousand men of the people fell on that day.
29 And Moses said, Fill your hand today for Jehovah, since each one has been against his son and against his brother, and in order to give you a blessing today.

[{The account informs us that about 3000 men died from this action. What I wanted to point out was that when it comes to the worship of God or following His rules, we are often asked to do some very unpleasant but very necessary things. In the days of Israel under the law, it meant having to kill some of those among you.

We do not let our own, whether our own family, own religion, our own race, or whatever group we might identify ourselves with, get away with breaking God's laws. Justice and God come first. If our own do not respect that, then out they go. Our society today has lost sight of that. Many are not upset when their own screw people over. They seem to feel like it is their right or privilege or in their best interest. Then they wonder why their group is not liked or respected or is always held in suspicion. Righteous people only respect righteousness. If people look down on our group, maybe it is because we do not stand for principle, regardless of the cost.

Christians always stand by righteousness and principle, exposing and prosecuting their own with zeal, should any of their kind violate God's law and will. Also noteworthy in chapter 32: }]

KJV Exodus 32:
31 So Moses returned to the LORD and said, "Alas, this people have sinned a great sin; they have made for themselves gods of gold.
32 But now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written."
33 But the LORD said to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.
34 But now go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you; behold, my angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them."
35 And the LORD sent a plague upon the people, because they made the calf which Aaron made.

[{These interactions between God and Moses are most enlightening. Moses asks God to blot out the sin of Israel or else Moses would prefer that he be blotted out of God's "book." What book are they talking about? Well, I think anyone who has read the book of Revelation in the Bible and remembers it knows. It is the "book of life." That is one book you definitely want to be in. This book was known by Moses, though not mentioned by him that I can remember, other than this passage. So the book of life was not a new revelation in Revelation. It was known since nearly the beginning of the Bible.

But also of interest is how Moses and God spoke to each other. And notice God's reply to Moses! "Whoever has sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book." God was not going to blot Moses out but He was going to punish whoever deserved it. Remember that these who are at the foot of Mt. Sinai had seen all the power miraculous works that took place in Egypt against Pharaoh. They even while camped at Sinai, saw the pillar of cloud and pillar of fire. They saw God in His extreme manifestations to them. Yet against these did they sin. There is clearly no decent or reasonable excuse for their disobedience at this point and time. So God rightly wants to blot out those who sinned with the golden calf and He certainly is justified in wanting to do this.

But in letting this drama play out, God makes it clear that it was not Moses who wanted these people dead or otherwise harmed. Nor was it really Moses who Israel was complaining about or sinning against. It was none other than Jehovah, God the almighty, Himself. The people were not respecting and acknowledging who was really behind all this activity and the laws being given. Those who sinned were unworthy of a chance at life. They had been given a good chance and threw it away prematurely. Case closed for them. They are blotted out of the book of life even as Pharaoh and his soldiers were and as those who ignored Jesus and his powerful works were.

For any who witness the powerful manifestations of God and still disobey, they lose out on a chance at everlasting life. This is the sin against the Holy Spirit. I cover this more in the article "Lying Signs and Wonders."

Chapter 33 continues with the aftermath of the sin worshipping the golden calf.}]

Exodus 34-40
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1 And Jehovah said to Moses, Cut out for yourself two tablets of stone, like the former. And I will write on the tablets the words which were on the former tablet, which you broke.
2 And be prepared in the morning, and go up in the morning to Mount Sinai. And place yourself here by Me, on the top of the mountain.
3 And a man shall not go up with you. And also let no man be seen on all the mountain. Also do not allow the flocks and the herds to feed before that mountain.
4 And he cut out two tablets of stone like the former. And Moses rose early in the morning and went up into Mount Sinai, as Jehovah had commanded him. And he took in his hand the two tablets of stone.
5 And Jehovah came down in the cloud. And he placed himself there with Him, and he called on the name of Jehovah.
6 And Jehovah passed by before his face and called out: Jehovah! Jehovah God! Merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and great in goodness and truth,
7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and not leaving entirely unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on sons, and on sons of sons, to the third and to the fourth generation.
8 And Moses hurried and bowed to the earth and worshiped.

[{Verses 6 and 7 stood out to me. Jehovah can be a real nice guy and if provoked, He can be a real SOB. So don't anger Him or get on His bad side. He is a God you want to respect very much! And note the very close relationship Moses has with God. Who else other than Christ ever had such a close encounter and privilege with God?}]

Exodus 34:
9 And he [Moses] said, If now I have found favor in Your eyes, O lord, please let my lord go in our midst, for it is a stiffnecked people; and You forgive our iniquity and our sin, and take us as a possession.
10 And He said,
Behold, I am cutting a covenant; I will do wonderful things before all your people which not have been done in all the earth, and among all nations. And all the people in whose midst you are shall see the work of Jehovah, for that which I am about to do is awesome.

[{See those big words above? That can be a good thing and that can be a bad thing. God did amazing things before all Israel and a vast mixed crowd that lived in Egypt before Israel left there. But having such a privilege also brings great responsibility and accountability. Having seen those works leaves people with little excuse for not believing and more importantly, not obeying . . . God! Many lost out on everlasting life for having seen those great things and not afterwards obeying God's commands. There was no excuse, given what they got to see.

Even more amazing is that people could see such signs and wonders and not obey God. But that is what happened. It will happen again, too. Live and learn!}]

Exodus 34:
11 Take heed for yourself what I am commanding you today. Behold, I am about to drive out from before your face the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite.
12 Take heed to yourself, hat you not cut a covenant with the people of the land to which you are going in, that it not be a snare in your midst.
13 But you shall cut down their altars, break their pillars, and you shall cut off their Asherim.
14 For you shall not bow to another god, for Jehovah whose name is Jealous, He is a jealous God;
15 that you not cut a covenant with the people of the land, and they fornicate with their gods, and they call to you, and you eat from his sacrifice;
16 and you take from their daughters for your sons. and their daughters fornicate with their gods, and they lead your sons to fornicate with their gods.
17 You shall not make for yourself casted gods.

[{God gave stern warning to Israel about not worshipping other gods or imitating their rituals or mixing with their worshippers or marrying with them. Many people do not take religion or worship that seriously, then or now. But God makes it clear it is a very big deal, very important. Also, it is only natural for people to be attracted to other people or socialize and be friendly. But God warned that Israel was not to let their natural affection interfere with keeping a barrier between them and the inhabitants around them. To socialize and inter-marry with these people would be a disaster to the religion of Israel, which was so important for Israel to maintain.

God's Judgment about the Canaanite inhabitants was that they were people who could not be converted and would resist and corrupt Jehovah's worship and people. God's orders to Israel were to, over time, eliminate these surrounding inhabitants and God would support Israel in this effort and reward them as well. Israel did not do that well at obeying this command and it would come back to haunt them more than once. Hopefully, we can learn from their many mistakes.}]

Exodus 34:
18 You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, which I commanded you, at the time appointed, the month of Abib; for in the month of Abib you went out from Egypt.
19 Every one opening the womb is Mine, and all your male livestock, a firstling of ox or sheep,
20 and a firstling of an ass, you shall redeem with a lamb. And if you do not redeem, you shall break its neck. You shall redeem every first- born of your sons, and they shall not be seen before My face empty.
21 You may work six days, and on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.
22 And you shall observe a Feast of Weeks for yourself, the firstfruits of the harvest of wheat; also the Feast of Ingathering at the turn of the year.
23 Three times in the year every male of yours shall be seen before the face of the Lord Jehovah, the God of Israel.
24 For I will expel nations from before your face and will make broad your territory; and no one shall covet your land, as you go up to appear before Jehovah your God three times in the year.
25 You shall not slaughter the blood of my sacrifice on leavened bread, nor shall the sacrifice of the Passover Feast pass the night until morning.
26 You shall bring the first of the firstfruits of your ground to the house of Jehovah your God. You shall not boil a kid in the milk of its mother.

[{More reminders to observe the seasons, festivals, and other observances of the law that God had mandated. But God adds a promise, a blessing, here, if they do these things. Now note the italics in verse 26. You'll find this same verse in Deuteronomy 14:21.

A comment about meanness! One might say, what difference does it make, when it is OK to eat a kid, whether the milk you boil or simmer it in is it's mother's milk? It is the ironic principle or symbolism that is invoked that disturbs God, or rather, the attitude and spirit of one who might invoke this implied ironic symbolism.

Using part of the mother to cook the kid. It is just plain wrong in the eyes of God. God's people do not do things that are particularly mean or spiteful. We have covered other laws that make this clear. This is just one more example of us not being overly spiteful, man, or nasty, employing a nasty sense of irony to a situation. If an Israelite were to be engaged in war with the inhabitants that God commanded to wipe out, the Israelite soldier would not, out of irony and hatefulness, wipe out a woman with her own husband's sword or other sharp tools. Or how about a sharp object made from her husband's own bones? We would never want to allow our own feelings to want to rub it in this far.

This kind of deep running malice and hate is very dangerous. God did not want it in His people in any way, shape, or form. So if He even forbid a kid to be boiled in its mother's milk, how much more so would we avoid the deep bitter ironic hatefulness with other people. That is how I see it.}]

Exodus 34:
27 And Jehovah said to Moses, Write these words for yourself, for on the mouth of these words I will cut a covenant with you and with Israel.
28 And he was there with Jehovah forty days and forty nights; he did not eat bread and he did not drink water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.
29 And it happened as Moses was going down from Mount Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony being in Moses' hand as he went down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face had become luminous through His speaking with him.
30 And Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses. And, behold! The skin of his face had become luminous. And they were afraid to draw near to him.
31 And Moses called to them. And Aaron and all the leaders among the congregation turned back to him. And Moses spoke to them.
32 And afterwards all the sons of Israel drew near. And he commanded them all which Jehovah had spoken with him in Mount Sinai.
33 And Moses finished speaking with them, and he put a veil on his face.
34 And as Moses came in before Jehovah to speak with Him, he took off the veil until he went out. And he would go out and speak to the sons of Israel that which he was commanded.
35 And the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face had become luminous. And Moses would put back the veil on his face until he went in to speak with Him.

[{In dealing with Moses, God played out things that would also happen with Jesus. Just as Moses was 40 days and 40 nights with God and without food or water, so Jesus was tempted this way for 40 days and 40 nights and then tempted by Satan. God also gave evidence that He had spoken and dealt with Moses by causing the face of Moses to shine for all to see as he instructed them about God. Otherwise, he covered his face so as not to draw undue attention to himself.

Chapters 35-39 describes the gathering of the materials and the detailed instructions of how to build the tabernacle and tent of meeting, what we might call a traveling temple where the camp of Israel would worship along with a vast mixed company which does not generally get mentioned except when Israel first left Egypt.}]

Exodus 40

[{In 40, the instructions for inaugurating the tabernacle are given and finally starting the worship of God begins. I found only the last few verses to be particularly relevant.}]

31 And from it Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet.
32 As they came into the tabernacle of the congregation, and as they drew near to the altar, they would wash, as Jehovah commanded Moses.
33 And he raised up the court all around the tabernacle and the altar. And he gave the screen of the opening of the court. And Moses finished the work.
34 And the cloud covered the tabernacle of the congregation; and the glory of Jehovah filled the tabernacle.
35 And Moses was not able to come into the tabernacle of the congregation because the cloud dwelt on it. And the glory of Jehovah filled the tabernacle.
36 And as the cloud went up from the tabernacle, the sons of Israel pulled up stakes in all their travels.
37 And if the cloud did not go up, then they did not pull up until the day it went up.
38 For the cloud of Jehovah was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, before the eyes of all the house of Israel in all their travels.

[{ There was not much doubt about whether God approved of the temple/tabernacle or not. The cloud covered the tabernacle and filled it. Moses could not even go in. And when God wanted Israel to pull up the stakes of the tabernacle and move on, the cloud would lift up off the tabernacle. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by might were always there. God's presence was blatantly obvious to all.

Exodus ends with chapter 40.}]

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Lessons From the Law series:
Commentary on Exodus
Commentary on Leviticus
Commentary on Numbers
Commentary on Deuteronomy

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