21:2 2 “If you buy 3 a Hebrew servant, 4 he is to serve you for six years, but in the seventh year he will go out free 5 without paying anything. 6 21:3 If he came 7 in by himself 8 he will go out by himself; if he had 9 a wife when he came in, then his wife will go out with him. 21:4 If his master gave 10 him a wife, and she bore sons or daughters, the wife and the children will belong to her master, and he will go out by himself. 21:5 But if the servant should declare, 11 ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out 12 free,’ 21:6 then his master must bring him to the judges, 13 and he will bring him to the door or the doorposts, and his master will pierce his ear with an awl, and he shall serve him forever. 14
21:7 “If a man sells his daughter 15 as a female servant, 16 she will not go out as the male servants do. 21:8 If she does not please 17 her master, who has designated her 18 for himself, then he must let her be redeemed. 19 He has no right 20 to sell her to a foreign nation, because he has dealt deceitfully 21 with her. 21:9 If he designated her for his son, then he will deal with her according to the customary rights 22 of daughters. 21:10 If he takes another wife, 23 he must not diminish the first one’s food, 24 her clothing, or her marital rights. 25 21:11 If he does not provide her with these three things, then she will go out free, without paying money. 26
21:12 27 “Whoever strikes someone 28 so that he dies 29 must surely be put to death. 30 21:13 But if he does not do it with premeditation, 31 but it happens by accident, 32 then I will appoint for you a place where he may flee. 21:14 But if a man willfully attacks his neighbor to kill him cunningly, 33 you will take him even from my altar that he may die.
21:18 “If men fight, and one strikes his neighbor with a stone or with his fist and he does not die, but must remain in bed, 39 21:19 and then 40 if he gets up and walks about 41 outside on his staff, then the one who struck him is innocent, except he must pay 42 for the injured person’s 43 loss of time 44 and see to it that he is fully healed.
21:20 “If a man strikes his male servant or his female servant with a staff so that he or she 45 dies as a result of the blow, 46 he will surely be punished. 47 21:21 However, if the injured servant 48 survives one or two days, the owner 49 will not be punished, for he has suffered the loss. 50
21:22 “If men fight and hit a pregnant woman and her child is born prematurely, 51 but there is no serious injury, he will surely be punished in accordance with what the woman’s husband demands of him, and he will pay what the court decides. 52 21:23 But if there is serious injury, then you will give a life for a life, 21:24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 21:25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. 53
21:26 “If a man strikes the eye of his male servant or his female servant so that he destroys it, 54 he will let the servant 55 go free 56 as compensation for the eye. 21:27 If he knocks out the tooth of his male servant or his female servant, he will let the servant 57 go free as compensation for the tooth.
21:28 58 “If an ox 59 gores a man or a woman so that either dies, 60 then the ox must surely 61 be stoned and its flesh must not be eaten, but the owner of the ox will be acquitted. 21:29 But if the ox had the habit of goring, and its owner was warned, 62 and he did not take the necessary precautions, 63 and then it killed a man or a woman, the ox must be stoned and the man must be put to death. 21:30 If a ransom is set for him, 64 then he must pay the redemption for his life according to whatever amount was set for him. 21:31 If the ox 65 gores a son or a daughter, the owner 66 will be dealt with according to this rule. 67 21:32 If the ox gores a male servant or a female servant, the owner 68 must pay thirty shekels of silver, 69 and the ox must be stoned. 70
21:33 “If a man opens a pit or if a man digs a pit and does not cover it, and an ox or a donkey falls into it, 21:34 the owner of the pit must repay 71 the loss. He must give money 72 to its owner, and the dead animal 73 will become his. 21:35 If the ox of one man injures the ox of his neighbor so that it dies, then they will sell the live ox and divide its proceeds, 74 and they will also divide the dead ox. 75 21:36 Or if it is known that the ox had the habit of goring, and its owner did not take the necessary precautions, he must surely pay 76 ox for ox, and the dead animal will become his. 77
22:2 “If a thief is caught 82 breaking in 83 and is struck so that he dies, there will be no blood guilt for him. 84 22:3 If the sun has risen on him, then there is blood guilt for him. A thief 85 must surely make full restitution; if he has nothing, then he will be sold for his theft. 22:4 If the stolen item should in fact be found 86 alive in his possession, 87 whether it be an ox or a donkey or a sheep, he must pay back double. 88
22:5 “If a man grazes 89 his livestock 90 in a field or a vineyard, and he lets the livestock loose and they graze in the field of another man, he must make restitution from the best of his own field and the best of his own vineyard.
22:7 “If a man gives his neighbor money or articles 94 for safekeeping, 95 and it is stolen from the man’s house, if the thief is caught, 96 he must repay double. 22:8 If the thief is not caught, 97 then the owner of the house will be brought before the judges 98 to see 99 whether he has laid 100 his hand on his neighbor’s goods. 22:9 In all cases of illegal possessions, 101 whether for an ox, a donkey, a sheep, a garment, or any kind of lost item, about which someone says ‘This belongs to me,’ 102 the matter of the two of them will come before the judges, 103 and the one whom 104 the judges declare guilty 105 must repay double to his neighbor. 22:10 If a man gives his neighbor a donkey or an ox or a sheep or any beast to keep, and it dies or is hurt 106 or is carried away 107 without anyone seeing it, 108 22:11 then there will be an oath to the Lord 109 between the two of them, that he has not laid his hand on his neighbor’s goods, and its owner will accept this, and he will not have to pay. 22:12 But if it was stolen 110 from him, 111 he will pay its owner. 22:13 If it is torn in pieces, then he will bring it for evidence, 112 and he will not have to pay for what was torn.
22:14 “If a man borrows an animal 113 from his neighbor, and it is hurt or dies when its owner was not with it, the man who borrowed it 114 will surely pay. 22:15 If its owner was with it, he will not have to pay; if it was hired, what was paid for the hire covers it. 115
22:16 116 “If a man seduces a virgin 117 who is not engaged 118 and has sexual relations with her, he must surely endow 119 her to be his wife. 22:17 If her father refuses to give her to him, he must pay money for the bride price of virgins.
22:22 “You must not afflict 126 any widow or orphan. 22:23 If you afflict them 127 in any way 128 and they cry to me, I will surely hear 129 their cry, 22:24 and my anger will burn and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives will be widows and your children will be fatherless. 130
22:25 “If you lend money to any of 131 my people who are needy among you, do not be like a moneylender 132 to him; do not charge 133 him interest. 134 22:26 If you do take 135 the garment of your neighbor in pledge, you must return it to him by the time the sun goes down, 136 22:27 for it is his only covering – it is his garment for his body. 137 What else can he sleep in? 138 And 139 when he cries out to me, I will hear, for I am gracious.
22:29 “Do not hold back offerings from your granaries or your vats. 142 You must give me the firstborn of your sons. 22:30 You must also do this for your oxen and for your sheep; seven days they may remain with their mothers, but give them to me on the eighth day.
23:2 “You must not follow a crowd 151 in doing evil things; 152 in a lawsuit you must not offer testimony that agrees with a crowd so as to pervert justice, 153 23:3 and you must not show partiality 154 to a poor man in his lawsuit.
23:4 “If you encounter 155 your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, you must by all means return 156 it to him. 23:5 If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen under its load, you must not ignore him, 157 but be sure to help 158 him with it. 159
23:6 “You must not turn away justice for your poor people in their lawsuits. 23:7 Keep your distance 160 from a false charge 161 – do not kill the innocent and the righteous, 162 for I will not justify the wicked. 163
23:10 167 “For six years 168 you are to sow your land and gather in its produce. 23:11 But in the seventh year 169 you must let it lie fallow and leave it alone so that the poor of your people may eat, and what they leave any animal in the field 170 may eat; you must do likewise with your vineyard and your olive grove. 23:12 For six days you are to do your work, but on the seventh day you must cease, in order that your ox and your donkey may rest and that your female servant’s son and any hired help 171 may refresh themselves. 172
23:14 “Three times 176 in the year you must make a pilgrim feast 177 to me. 23:15 You are to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread; seven days 178 you must eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you, at the appointed time of the month of Abib, for at that time 179 you came out of Egypt. No one may appear before 180 me empty-handed.
23:16 “You are also to observe 181 the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of your labors that you have sown in the field, and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year 182 when you have gathered in 183 your harvest 184 out of the field. 23:17 At 185 three times in the year all your males will appear before the Lord God. 186
23:18 “You must not offer 187 the blood of my sacrifice with bread containing yeast; the fat of my festal sacrifice must not remain until morning. 188 23:19 The first of the firstfruits of your soil you must bring to the house of the Lord your God.
“You must not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk. 189
23:20 190 “I am going to send 191 an angel 192 before you to protect you as you journey 193 and to bring you into the place that I have prepared. 194 23:21 Take heed because of him, and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgressions, for my name 195 is in him. 23:22 But if you diligently obey him 196 and do all that I command, then I will be an enemy to your enemies, and I will be an adversary to your adversaries. 23:23 For my angel will go before you and bring you to the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, and I will destroy them completely. 197
23:24 “You must not bow down to their gods; you must not serve them or do according to their practices. Instead you must completely overthrow them and smash their standing stones 198 to pieces. 199 23:25 You must serve 200 the Lord your God, and he 201 will bless your bread and your water, 202 and I will remove sickness from your midst. 23:26 No woman will miscarry her young 203 or be barren in your land. I will fulfill 204 the number of your days.
23:27 “I will send my terror 205 before you, and I will destroy 206 all the people whom you encounter; I will make all your enemies turn their backs 207 to you. 23:28 I will send 208 hornets before you that will drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite before you. 23:29 I will not drive them out before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the wild animals 209 multiply against you. 23:30 Little by little 210 I will drive them out before you, until you become fruitful and inherit the land. 23:31 I will set 211 your boundaries from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert to the River, 212 for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you will drive them out before you.
23:32 “You must make no covenant with them or with their gods. 23:33 They must not live in your land, lest they make you sin against me, for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare 213 to you.”
24:1 214 But to Moses the Lord 215 said, “Come up 216 to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship from a distance. 217 24:2 Moses alone may come 218 near the Lord, but the others 219 must not come near, 220 nor may the people go up with him.”
24:3 Moses came 221 and told the people all the Lord’s words 222 and all the decisions. All the people answered together, 223 “We are willing to do 224 all the words that the Lord has said,” 24:4 and Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. Early in the morning he built 225 an altar at the foot 226 of the mountain and arranged 227 twelve standing stones 228 – according to the twelve tribes of Israel. 24:5 He sent young Israelite men, 229 and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls for peace offerings 230 to the Lord. 24:6 Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and half of the blood he splashed on the altar. 231 24:7 He took the Book of the Covenant 232 and read it aloud 233 to the people, and they said, “We are willing to do and obey 234 all that the Lord has spoken.” 24:8 So Moses took the blood and splashed it on 235 the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant 236 that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
24:9 Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up, 237 24:10 and they saw 238 the God of Israel. Under his feet 239 there was something like a pavement 240 made of sapphire, clear like the sky itself. 241 24:11 But he did not lay a hand 242 on the leaders of the Israelites, so they saw God, 243 and they ate and they drank. 244
24:12 245 The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me to the mountain and remain there, and I will give you the stone tablets 246 with 247 the law and the commandments that I have written, so that you may teach them.” 248 24:13 So Moses set out 249 with 250 Joshua his attendant, and Moses went up the mountain of God. 24:14 He told the elders, “Wait for us in this place until we return to you. Here are 251 Aaron and Hur with you. Whoever has any matters of dispute 252 can approach 253 them.”
24:15 Moses went up the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. 24:16 The glory of the Lord resided 254 on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days. 255 On the seventh day he called to Moses from within the cloud. 24:17 Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in plain view 256 of the people. 24:18 Moses went into the cloud when he went up 257 the mountain, and Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights. 258
1 sn There follows now a series of rulings called “the decisions” or “the judgments” (הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים, hammishpatim). A precept is stated, and then various cases in which the law is applicable are examined. These rulings are all in harmony with the Decalogue that has just been given and can be grouped into three categories: civil or criminal laws, religious or cultic laws, and moral or humanitarian laws. The civil and criminal laws make up most of chap. 21; the next two chapters mix the other kinds of laws. Among the many studies of this section of the book are F. C. Fensham, “The Role of the Lord in the Legal Sections of the Covenant Code,” VT 26 (1976): 262-74; S. Paul, “Unrecognized Biblical Legal Idioms in Light of Comparative Akkadian Expressions,” RB 86 (1979): 231-39; M. Galston, “The Purpose of the Law According to Maimonides,” JQR 69 (1978): 27-51.
2 sn See H. L. Elleson, “The Hebrew Slave: A Study in Early Israelite Society,” EvQ 45 (1973): 30-35; N. P. Lemche, “The Manumission of Slaves – The Fallow Year – The Sabbatical Year – The Jobel Year,” VT 26 (1976): 38-59, and “The ‘Hebrew Slave,’ Comments on the Slave Law – Ex. 21:2-11,” VT 25 (1975): 129-44.
3 tn The verbs in both the conditional clause and the following ruling are imperfect tense: “If you buy…then he will serve.” The second imperfect tense (the ruling) could be taken either as a specific future or an obligatory imperfect. Gesenius explains how the verb works in the conditional clauses here (see GKC 497 §159.bb).
4 sn The interpretation of “Hebrew” in this verse is uncertain: (l) a gentilic ending, (2) a fellow Israelite, (3) or a class of mercenaries of the population (see W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:431). It seems likely that the term describes someone born a Hebrew, as opposed to a foreigner (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 210). The literature on this includes: M. P. Gray, “The Habiru-Hebrew Problem,” HUCA 29 (1958): 135-202.
5 sn The word חָפְשִׁי (khofshi) means “free.” It is possible that there is some connection between this word and a technical term used in other cultures for a social class of emancipated slaves who were freemen again (see I. Mendelsohn, “New Light on the Hupsu,” BASOR 139 : 9-11).
6 tn The adverb חִנָּם (hinnam) means “gratis, free”; it is related to the verb “to be gracious, show favor” and the noun “grace.”
7 tn The tense is imperfect, but in the conditional clause it clearly refers to action that is anterior to the action in the next clause. Heb “if he comes in single, he goes out single,” that is, “if he came in single, he will go out single.”
8 tn Heb “with his back” meaning “alone.”
9 tn The phrase says, “if he was the possessor of a wife”; the noun בַּעַל (ba’al) can mean “possessor” or “husband.” If there was a wife, she shared his fortunes or his servitude; if he entered with her, she would accompany him when he left.
10 sn The slave would not have the right or the means to acquire a wife. Thus, the idea of the master’s “giving” him a wife is clear – the master would have to pay the bride price and make the provision. In this case, the wife and the children are actually the possession of the master unless the slave were to pay the bride price – but he is a slave because he got into debt. The law assumes that the master was better able to provide for this woman than the freed slave and that it was most important to keep the children with the mother.
11 tn The imperfect with the infinitive absolute means that the declaration is unambiguous, that the servant will clearly affirm that he wants to stay with the master. Gesenius says that in a case like this the infinitive emphasizes the importance of the condition on which some consequence depends (GKC 342-43 §113.o).
12 tn Or taken as a desiderative imperfect, it would say, “I do not want to go out free.”
13 tn The word is הָאֱלֹהִים (ha’elohim). S. R. Driver (Exodus, 211) says the phrase means “to God,” namely the nearest sanctuary in order that the oath and the ritual might be made solemn, although he does say that it would be done by human judges. That the reference is to Yahweh God is the view also of F. C. Fensham, “New Light on Exodus 21:7 and 22:7 from the Laws of Eshnunna,” JBL 78 (1959): 160-61. Cf. also ASV, NAB, NASB, NCV, NRSV, NLT. Others have made a stronger case that it refers to judges who acted on behalf of God; see C. Gordon, “אלהים in its Reputed Meaning of Rulers, Judges,” JBL 54 (1935): 134-44; and A. E. Draffkorn, “Ilani/Elohim,” JBL 76 (1957): 216-24; cf. KJV, NIV.
14 tn Or “till his life’s end” (as in the idiom: “serve him for good”).
15 sn This paragraph is troubling to modern readers, but given the way that marriages were contracted and the way people lived in the ancient world, it was a good provision for people who might want to find a better life for their daughter. On the subject in general for this chapter, see W. M. Swartley, Slavery, Sabbath, War, and Women, 31-64.
16 tn The word אָמָה (’amah) refers to a female servant who would eventually become a concubine or wife; the sale price included the amount for the service as well as the bride price (see B. Jacob, Exodus, 621). The arrangement recognized her honor as an Israelite woman, one who could be a wife, even though she entered the household in service. The marriage was not automatic, as the conditions show, but her treatment was safeguarded come what may. The law was a way, then, for a poor man to provide a better life for a daughter.
17 tn Heb “and if unpleasant (רָעָה, ra’ah) in the eyes of her master.”
18 tn The verb יָעַד (ya’ad) does not mean “betroth, espouse” as some of the earlier translations had it, but “to designate.” When he bought the girl, he designated her for himself, giving her and her family certain expectations.
19 tn The verb is a Hiphil perfect with vav (ו) consecutive from פָדָה (padah, “to redeem”). Here in the apodosis the form is equivalent to an imperfect: “let someone redeem her” – perhaps her father if he can, or another. U. Cassuto says it can also mean she can redeem herself and dissolve the relationship (Exodus, 268).
20 tn Heb “he has no authority/power,” for the verb means “rule, have dominion.”
21 sn The deceit is in not making her his wife or concubine as the arrangement had stipulated.
22 tn Or “after the manner of” (KJV, ASV); NRSV “shall deal with her as with a daughter.”
23 tn “wife” has been supplied.
24 tn The translation of “food” does not quite do justice to the Hebrew word. It is “flesh.” The issue here is that the family she was to marry into is wealthy, they ate meat. She was not just to be given the basic food the ordinary people ate, but the fine foods that this family ate.
25 sn See S. Paul, “Exodus 21:10, A Threefold Maintenance Clause,” JNES 28 (1969): 48-53. Paul suggests that the third element listed is not marital rights but ointments since Sumerian and Akkadian texts list food, clothing, and oil as the necessities of life. The translation of “marital rights” is far from certain, since the word occurs only here. The point is that the woman was to be cared for with all that was required for a woman in that situation.
26 sn The lessons of slavery and service are designed to bring justice to existing customs in antiquity. The message is: Those in slavery for one reason or another should have the hope of freedom and the choice of service (vv. 2-6). For the rulings on the daughter, the message could be: Women, who were often at the mercy of their husbands or masters, must not be trapped in an unfortunate situation, but be treated well by their masters or husbands (vv. 7-11). God is preventing people who have power over others from abusing it.
27 sn The underlying point of this section remains vital today: The people of God must treat all human life as sacred.
28 tn The construction uses a Hiphil participle in construct with the noun for “man” (or person as is understood in a law for the nation): “the one striking [of] a man.” This is a casus pendens (independent nominative absolute); it indicates the condition or action that involves further consequence (GKC 361 §116.w).
29 tn The Hebrew word וָמֵת (vamet) is a Qal perfect with vav consecutive; it means “and he dies” and not “and killed him” (which require another stem). Gesenius notes that this form after a participle is the equivalent of a sentence representing a contingent action (GKC 333 §112.n). The word shows the result of the action in the opening participle. It is therefore a case of murder or manslaughter.
30 sn See A. Phillips, “Another Look at Murder,” JJS 28 (1977): 105-26.
31 tn Heb “if he does not lie in wait” (NASB similar).
32 tn Heb “and God brought into his hand.” The death is unintended, its circumstances outside human control.
33 tn The word עָרְמָה (’ormah) is problematic. It could mean with prior intent, which would be connected with the word in Prov 8:5, 12 which means “understanding” (or “prudence” – fully aware of the way things are). It could be connected also to an Arabic word for “enemy” which would indicate this was done with malice or evil intentions (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 270). The use here seems parallel to the one in Josh 9:4, an instance involving intentionality and clever deception.
34 sn This is the same construction that was used in v. 12, but here there is no mention of the parents’ death. This attack, then, does not lead to their death – if he killed one of them then v. 12 would be the law. S. R. Driver says that the severity of the penalty was in accord with the high view of parents (Exodus, 216).
35 tn Heb “a stealer of a man,” thus “anyone stealing a man.”
36 sn The implication is that it would be an Israelite citizen who was kidnapped and sold to a foreign tribe or country (like Joseph). There was always a market for slaves. The crime would be in forcibly taking the individual away from his home and religion and putting him into bondage or death.
37 tn Literally “and he is found in his hand” (KJV and ASV both similar), being not yet sold.
38 tn The form is a Piel participle from קָלַל (qalal), meaning in Qal “be light,” in Piel “treat lightly, curse, revile, declare contemptible, treat shamefully.” (See its use in Lev 19:14; Josh 24:9; Judg 9:26-28; 1 Sam 3:13; 17:43; 2 Sam 16:5-13; Prov 30:10-11; Eccl 7:21-22; 10:20.) It is opposite of “honor” (כָּבֵד, kaved; Qal “be heavy”; Piel “honor,” as in 20:12) and of “bless.” This verse then could refer to any act contrary to the commandment to honor the parents. B. Jacob (Exodus, 640) cites parallels in Sumerian where people were severely punished for publicly disowning their parents. “21:15, 17 taken together evoke the picture of parents who, physically and verbally, are forcibly turned out of the house (cf. Prov. 19:26)” (C. Houtman, Exodus, 3:148).
39 tn Heb “falls to bed.”
40 tn “and then” has been supplied.
41 tn The verb is a Hitpael perfect with vav (ו) consecutive; it follows the sequence of the imperfect before it – “if he gets up and walks about.” This is proof of recovery.
42 tn The imperfect tense carries a nuance of obligatory imperfect because this is binding on the one who hit him.
43 tn Heb “his”; the referent (the injured person) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
44 tn The word appears to be the infinitive from the verb “to sit” with a meaning of “his sitting down”; some suggest it is from the verb “to rest” with a meaning “cease.” In either case the point in the context must mean compensation is due for the time he was down.
45 tn Heb “so that he”; the words “or she” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
46 tn Heb “under his hand.”
47 tn Heb “will be avenged” (how is not specified).
48 tn Heb “if he”; the referent (the servant struck and injured in the previous verse) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
49 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the owner of the injured servant) has been supplied in the translation for clarity.
50 tn This last clause is a free paraphrase of the Hebrew, “for he is his money” (so KJV, ASV); NASB “his property.” It seems that if the slave survives a couple of days, it is probable that the master was punishing him and not intending to kill him. If he then dies, there is no penalty other than that the owner loses the slave who is his property – he suffers the loss.
51 tn This line has occasioned a good deal of discussion. It may indicate that the child was killed, as in a miscarriage; or it may mean that there was a premature birth. The latter view is taken here because of the way the whole section is written: (1) “her children come out” reflects a birth and not the loss of children, (2) there is no serious damage, and (3) payment is to be set for any remuneration. The word אָסוֹן (’ason) is translated “serious damage.” The word was taken in Mekilta to mean “death.” U. Cassuto says the point of the phrase is that neither the woman or the children that are born die (Exodus, 275). But see among the literature on this: M. G. Kline, “Lex Talionis and the Human Fetus,” JETS 20 (1977): 193-201; W. House, “Miscarriage or Premature Birth: Additional Thoughts on Exodus 21:22-25,” WTJ 41 (1978): 108-23; S. E. Loewenstamm, “Exodus XXI 22-25,” VT 27 (1977): 352-60.
52 tn The word בִּפְלִלִים (biflilim) means “with arbitrators.” The point then seems to be that the amount of remuneration for damages that was fixed by the husband had to be approved by the courts. S. R. Driver mentions an alternative to this unusual reading presented by Budde, reading בנפלים as “untimely birth” (Exodus, 219). See also E. A. Speiser, “The Stem PLL in Hebrew,” JBL 82 (1963): 301-6.
53 sn The text now introduces the Lex Talionis with cases that were not likely to have applied to the situation of the pregnant woman. See K. Luke, “Eye for Eye, Tooth for Tooth,” Indian Theological Studies 16 (1979): 326-43.
54 tn The form וְשִׁחֲתָהּ (vÿshikhatah) is the Piel perfect with the vav (ל) consecutive, rendered “and destroys it.” The verb is a strong one, meaning “to ruin, completely destroy.”
55 tn Heb “him”; the referent (the male or female servant) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
56 sn Interestingly, the verb used here for “let him go” is the same verb throughout the first part of the book for “release” of the Israelites from slavery. Here, an Israelite will have to release the injured slave.
57 tn Heb “him”; the referent (the male or female servant) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
58 sn The point that this section of the laws makes is that one must ensure the safety of others by controlling the circumstances.
59 tn Traditionally “ox,” but “bull” would also be suitable. The term may refer to one of any variety of large cattle.
60 tn Heb “and he dies”; KJV “that they die”; NAB, NASB “to death.”
61 tn The text uses סָקוֹל יִסָּקֵל (saqol yissaqel), a Qal infinitive absolute with a Niphal imperfect. The infinitive intensifies the imperfect, which here has an obligatory nuance or is a future of instruction.
62 tn The Hophal perfect has the idea of “attested, testified against.”
63 tn Heb “he was not keeping it” or perhaps guarding or watching it (referring to the ox).
64 sn The family of the victim would set the amount for the ransom of the man guilty of criminal neglect. This practice was common in the ancient world, rare in Israel. If the family allowed the substitute price, then the man would be able to redeem his life.
65 tn Heb “it”; the referent (the ox) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
66 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the owner) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
67 tn Heb “according to this judgment it shall be done to him.”
68 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the owner) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
69 sn A shekel was a unit for measure by means of a scale. Both the weight and the value of a shekel of silver are hard to determine. “Though there is no certainty, the shekel is said to weigh about 11,5 grams” (C. Houtman, Exodus, 3:181). Over four hundred years earlier, Joseph was sold into Egypt for 20 shekels. The free Israelite citizen was worth about 50 shekels (Lev 27:3f.).
71 tn The verb is a Piel imperfect from שָׁלַם (shalam); it has the idea of making payment in full, making recompense, repaying. These imperfects could be given a future tense translation as imperfects of instruction, but in the property cases an obligatory imperfect fits better – this is what he is bound or obliged to do – what he must do.
72 tn Heb “silver.”
73 tn Here the term “animal” has been supplied.
74 tn Literally “its silver” or “silver for it.”
75 tn Heb “divide the dead.” The noun “ox” has been supplied.
77 sn The point of this section (21:28-36) seems to be that one must ensure the safety of others by controlling one’s property and possessions. This section pertained to neglect with animals, but the message would have applied to similar situations. The people of God were to take heed to ensure the well-being of others, and if there was a problem, it had to be made right.
78 sn The next section of laws concerns property rights. These laws protected property from thieves and oppressors, but also set limits to retribution. The message could be: God’s laws demand that the guilty make restitution for their crimes against property and that the innocent be exonerated.
79 sn Beginning with 22:1, the verse numbers through 22:31 in the English Bible differ from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 22:1 ET = 21:37 HT, 22:2 ET = 22:1 HT, etc., through 22:31 ET = 22:30 HT. Thus in the English Bible ch. 22 has 31 verses, while in the Hebrew Bible it has 30 verses, with the one extra verse attached to ch. 21 in the Hebrew Bible.
80 tn The imperfect tense here has the nuance of obligatory imperfect – he must pay back.
81 tn בָּקַר (baqar) and צֹאן (tso’n) are the categories to which the ox and the sheep belonged, so that the criminal had some latitude in paying back animals.
82 tn Heb “found” (so KJV, ASV, NRSV).
83 tn The word בַּמַּחְתֶּרֶת (bammakhteret) means “digging through” the walls of a house (usually made of mud bricks). The verb is used only a few times and has the meaning of dig in (as into houses) or row hard (as in Jonah 1:13).
84 tn The text has “there is not to him bloods.” When the word “blood” is put in the plural, it refers to bloodshed, or the price of blood that is shed, i.e., blood guiltiness.
sn This law focuses on what is reasonable defense against burglary. If someone killed a thief who was breaking in during the night, he was not charged because he would not have known it was just a thief, but if it happened during the day, he was guilty of a crime, on the assumption that in daylight the thief posed no threat to the homeowner’s life and could be stopped and made to pay restitution.
85 tn The words “a thief” have been added for clarification. S. R. Driver (Exodus, 224) thinks that these lines are out of order, since some of them deal with killing the thief and then others with the thief making restitution, but rearranging the clauses is not a necessary way to bring clarity to the paragraph. The idea here would be that any thief caught alive would pay restitution.
86 tn The construction uses a Niphal infinitive absolute and a Niphal imperfect: if it should indeed be found. Gesenius says that in such conditional clauses the infinitive absolute has less emphasis, but instead emphasizes the condition on which some consequence depends (see GKC 342-43 §113.o).
87 tn Heb “in his hand.”
88 sn He must pay back one for what he took, and then one for the penalty – his loss as he was inflicting a loss on someone else.
89 tn The verb בָּעַר (ba’ar, “graze”) as a denominative from the word “livestock” is not well attested. So some have suggested that with slight changes this verse could be read: “If a man cause a field or a vineyard to be burnt, and let the burning spread, and it burnt in another man’s field” (see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 225).
90 tn The phrase “his livestock” is supplied from the next clause.
91 tn Heb “if a fire goes out and finds”; NLT “if a fire gets out of control.”
92 sn Thorn bushes were used for hedges between fields, but thorn bushes also burned easily, making the fire spread rapidly.
93 tn This is a Hiphil participle of the verb “to burn, kindle” used substantivally. This is the one who caused the fire, whether by accident or not.
94 tn The word usually means “vessels” but can have the sense of household goods and articles. It could be anything from jewels and ornaments to weapons or pottery.
95 tn Heb “to keep.” Here “safekeeping,” that is, to keep something secure on behalf of a third party, is intended.
96 tn Heb “found.”
97 tn Heb “found.”
98 tn Here again the word used is “the gods,” meaning the judges who made the assessments and decisions. In addition to other works, see J. R. Vannoy, “The Use of the Word ha’elohim in Exodus 21:6 and 22:7,8,” The Law and the Prophets, 225-41.
99 tn The phrase “to see” has been supplied.
100 tn The line says “if he has not stretched out his hand.” This could be the oath formula, but the construction here would be unusual, or it could be taken as “whether” (see W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:438). U. Cassuto (Exodus, 286) does not think the wording can possibly fit an oath; nevertheless, an oath would be involved before God (as he takes it instead of “judges”) – if the man swore, his word would be accepted, but if he would not swear, he would be guilty.
101 tn Heb “concerning every kind [thing] of trespass.”
102 tn The text simply has “this is it” (הוּא זֶה, hu’ zeh).
103 tn Again, or “God.”
104 tn This kind of clause Gesenius calls an independent relative clause – it does not depend on a governing substantive but itself expresses a substantival idea (GKC 445-46 §138.e).
105 tn The verb means “to be guilty” in Qal; in Hiphil it would have a declarative sense, because a causative sense would not possibly fit.
106 tn The form is a Niphal participle from the verb “to break” – “is broken,” which means harmed, maimed, or hurt in any way.
107 tn This verb is frequently used with the meaning “to take captive.” The idea here then is that raiders or robbers have carried off the animal.
108 tn Heb “there is no one seeing.”
109 tn The construct relationship שְׁבֻעַת יְהוָה (shÿvu’at yÿhvah, “the oath of Yahweh”) would require a genitive of indirect object, “an oath [to] Yahweh.” U. Cassuto suggests that it means “an oath by Yahweh” (Exodus, 287). The person to whom the animal was entrusted would take a solemn oath to Yahweh that he did not appropriate the animal for himself, and then his word would be accepted.
110 tn Both with this verb “stolen” and in the next clauses with “torn in pieces,” the text uses the infinitive absolute construction with less than normal emphasis; as Gesenius says, in conditional clauses, an infinitive absolute stresses the importance of the condition on which some consequence depends (GKC 342-43 §113.o).
111 sn The point is that the man should have taken better care of the animal.
112 tn The word עֵד (’ed) actually means “witness,” but the dead animal that is returned is a silent witness, i.e., evidence. The word is an adverbial accusative.
113 tn Heb “if a man asks [an animal] from his neighbor” (see also Exod 12:36). The ruling here implies an animal is borrowed, and if harm comes to it when the owner is not with it, the borrower is liable. The word “animal” is supplied in the translation for clarity.
114 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the man who borrowed the animal) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
115 tn Literally “it came with/for its hire,” this expression implies that the owner who hired it out and was present was prepared to take the risk, so there would be no compensation.
116 sn The second half of the chapter records various laws of purity and justice. Any of them could be treated in an expository way, but in the present array they offer a survey of God’s righteous standards: Maintain the sanctity of marriage (16-17); maintain the purity of religious institutions (18-20), maintain the rights of human beings (21-28), maintain the rights of Yahweh (29-31).
117 tn This is the word בְּתוּלָה (bÿtulah); it describes a young woman who is not married or a young woman engaged to be married; in any case, she is presumed to be a virgin.
118 tn Or “pledged” for marriage.
119 tn The verb מָהַר (mahar) means “pay the marriage price,” and the related noun is the bride price. B. Jacob says this was a proposal gift and not a purchase price (Exodus, 700). This is the price paid to her parents, which allowed for provision should there be a divorce. The amount was usually agreed on by the two families, but the price was higher for a pure bride from a noble family. Here, the one who seduces her must pay it, regardless of whether he marries her or not.
121 tn Heb “lies with.”
122 tn Heb “not to Yahweh.”
123 tn The verb חָרַם (kharam) means “to be devoted” to God or “to be banned.” The idea is that it would be God’s to do with as he liked. What was put under the ban was for God alone, either for his service or for his judgment. But it was out of human control. Here the verb is saying that the person will be utterly destroyed.
124 tn Or “oppress.”
126 tn The verb “afflict” is a Piel imperfect from עָנָה (’anah); it has a wide range of meanings: “afflict, oppress, humiliate, rape.” These victims are at the mercy of the judges, businessmen, or villains. The righteous king and the righteous people will not mistreat them (see Isa 1:17; Job 31:16, 17, 21).
127 tn The accusative here is the masculine singular pronoun, which leads S. R. Driver to conclude that this line is out of place, even though the masculine singular can be used in places like this (Exodus, 232). U. Cassuto says its use is to refer to certain classes (Exodus, 292).
128 tn Here again and with “cry” the infinitive absolute functions with a diminished emphasis (GKC 342-43 §113.o).
129 tn Here is the normal use of the infinitive absolute with the imperfect tense to emphasize the verb: “I will surely hear,” implying, “I will surely respond.”
130 sn The punishment will follow the form of talionic justice, an eye for an eye, in which the punishment matches the crime. God will use invading armies (“sword” is a metonymy of adjunct here) to destroy them, making their wives widows and their children orphans.
131 tn “any of” has been supplied.
133 tn Heb “set.”
134 sn In ancient times money was lent primarily for poverty and not for commercial ventures (H. Gamoran, “The Biblical Law against Loans on Interest,” JNES 30 : 127-34). The lending to the poor was essentially a charity, and so not to be an opportunity to make money from another person’s misfortune. The word נֶשֶׁךְ (neshekh) may be derived from a verb that means “to bite,” and so the idea of usury or interest was that of putting out one’s money with a bite in it (See S. Stein, “The Laws on Interest in the Old Testament,” JTS 4 : 161-70; and E. Neufeld, “The Prohibition against Loans at Interest in the Old Testament,” HUCA 26 : 355-412).
135 tn The construction again uses the infinitive absolute with the verb in the conditional clause to stress the condition.
136 tn The clause uses the preposition, the infinitive construct, and the noun that is the subjective genitive – “at the going in of the sun.”
137 tn Heb “his skin.”
138 tn Literally the text reads, “In what can he lie down?” The cloak would be used for a covering at night to use when sleeping. The garment, then, was the property that could not be taken and not given back – it was the last possession. The modern idiom of “the shirt off his back” gets at the point being made here.
139 tn Heb “and it will be.”
140 tn The two verbs in this verse are synonyms: קָלַל (qalal) means “to treat lightly, curse,” and אָרַר (’arar) means “to curse.”
141 tn The word אֱלֹהִים (’elohim) is “gods” or “God.” If taken as the simple plural, it could refer to the human judges, as it has in the section of laws; this would match the parallelism in the verse. If it was taken to refer to God, then the idea of cursing God would be more along the line of blasphemy. B. Jacob says that the word refers to functioning judges, and that would indirectly mean God, for they represented the religious authority, and the prince the civil authority (Exodus, 708).
142 tn The expressions are unusual. U. Cassuto renders them: “from the fullness of your harvest and from the outflow of your presses” (Exodus, 294). He adds the Hittite parallel material to show that the people were to bring the offerings on time and not let them overlap, because the firstfruits had to be eaten first by the priest.
143 sn The use of this word here has to do with the laws of the sanctuary and not some advanced view of holiness. The ritual holiness at the sanctuary would prohibit eating anything torn to pieces.
144 tn Or “by wild animals.”
145 sn People who claim to worship and serve the righteous judge of the universe must preserve equity and justice in their dealings with others. These verses teach that God’s people must be honest witnesses (1-3); God’s people must be righteous even with enemies (4-5); and God’s people must be fair in dispensing justice (6-9).
146 tn Heb “take up, lift, carry” (נָשָׂא, nasa’). This verb was also used in the prohibition against taking “the name of Yahweh in vain.” Sometimes the object of this verb is physical, as in Jonah 1:12 and 15. Used in this prohibition involving speech, it covers both originating and repeating a lie.
148 tn Heb “do not put your hand” (cf. KJV, ASV); NASB “join your hand.”
149 tn The word “wicked” (רָשָׁע, rasha’) refers to the guilty criminal, the person who is doing something wrong. In the religious setting it describes the person who is not a member of the covenant and may be involved in all kinds of sin, even though there is the appearance of moral and spiritual stability.
150 tn The word חָמָס (khamas) often means “violence” in the sense of social injustices done to other people, usually the poor and needy. A “malicious” witness would do great harm to others. See J. W. McKay, “Exodus 23:1-43, 6-8: A Decalogue for Administration of Justice in the City Gate,” VT 21 (1971): 311-25.
152 tn For any individual to join a group that is bent on acting wickedly would be a violation of the Law and would incur personal responsibility.
153 tn Heb “you will not answer in a lawsuit to turn after the crowd to turn.” The form translated “agrees with” (Heb “to turn after”) is a Qal infinitive construct from נָטָה (natah); the same root is used at the end of the verse but as a Hiphil infinitive construct, “to pervert [justice].”
154 tn The point here is one of false sympathy and honor, the bad sense of the word הָדַר (hadar; see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 237).
155 tn Heb “meet” (so KJV, ASV, NASB).
156 tn The construction uses the imperfect tense (taken here as an obligatory imperfect) and the infinitive absolute for emphasis.
157 tn The line reads “you will cease to forsake him” – refrain from leaving your enemy without help.
158 tn The law is emphatic here as well, using the infinitive absolute and the imperfect of instruction (or possibly obligation). There is also a wordplay here: two words עָזַב (’azav) are used, one meaning “forsake” and the other possibly meaning “arrange” based on Arabic and Ugaritic evidence (see U. Cassuto, Exodus, 297-98).
160 tn Or “stay away from,” or “have nothing to do with.”
161 tn Heb “a false matter,” this expression in this context would have to be a case in law that was false or that could only be won by falsehood.
163 sn God will not declare right the one who is in the wrong. Society should also be consistent, but it cannot see the intents and motives, as God can.
164 tn Heb “blinds the open-eyed.”
165 tn The verb means “to crush.” S. R. Driver notes that in this context this would probably mean with an unfair judgment in the courts (Exodus, 239).
166 tn Heb “soul, life” – “you know what it feels like.”
167 sn This section concerns religious duties of the people of God as they worship by giving thanks to God for their blessings. The principles here are: God requires his people to allow the poor to share in their bounty (10-11); God requires his people to provide times of rest and refreshment for those who labor for them (12); God requires allegiance to himself (13); God requires his people to come before him in gratitude and share their bounty (14-17); God requires that his people safeguard proper worship forms (18-19).
169 tn Heb “and the seventh year”; an adverbial accusative with a disjunctive vav (ו).
170 tn Heb “living thing/creature/beast of the field.” A general term for animals, usually wild animals, including predators (cf. v. 29; Gen 2:19-20; Lev 26:22; Deut 7:22; 1 Sam 17:46; Job 5:22-23; Ezek 29:5; 34:5).
171 tn Heb “alien,” or “resident foreigner.” Such an individual would have traveled out of need and depended on the goodwill of the people around him. The rendering “hired help” assumes that the foreigner is mentioned in this context because he is working for an Israelite and will benefit from the Sabbath rest, along with his employer.
172 tn The verb is וְיִּנָּפֵשׁ (vÿyyinnafesh); it is related to the word usually translated “soul” or “life.”
173 tn The phrase “to do” is added; in Hebrew word order the line says, “In all that I have said to you you will watch yourselves.” The verb for paying attention is a Niphal imperfect with an imperatival force.
175 tn Heb “mouth.”
sn See also Ps 16:4, where David affirms his loyalty to God with this expression.
176 tn The expression rendered “three times” is really “three feet,” or “three foot-beats.” The expression occurs only a few times in the Law. The expressing is an adverbial accusative.
177 tn This is the word תָּחֹג (takhog) from the root חָגַג (khagag); it describes a feast that was accompanied by a pilgrimage. It was first used by Moses in his appeal that Israel go three days into the desert to hold such a feast.
178 tn This is an adverbial accusative of time.
179 tn Heb “in it.”
180 tn The verb is a Niphal imperfect; the nuance of permission works well here – no one is permitted to appear before God empty (Heb “and they will not appear before me empty”).
181 tn The words “you are also to observe” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
182 tn An infinitive construct with a preposition and a pronominal suffix is used to make a temporal clause: “in the going in of the year.” The word “year” is the subjective genitive, the subject of the clause.
183 tn An infinitive construct with a preposition and a pronominal suffix is used to make a temporal clause: “in the ingathering of you.”
184 tn Heb “gathered in your labors.” This is a metonymy of cause put for the effect. “Labors” are not gathered in, but what the labors produced – the harvest.
185 tn Adverbial accusative of time: “three times” becomes “at three times.”
186 tn Here the divine Name reads in Hebrew הָאָדֹן יְהוָה (ha’adon yÿhvah), which if rendered according to the traditional scheme of “
187 tn The verb is תִּזְבַּח (tizbbakh), an imperfect tense from the same root as the genitive that qualifies the accusative “blood”: “you will not sacrifice the blood of my sacrifice.” The verb means “to slaughter”; since one cannot slaughter blood, a more general translation is required here. But if the genitive is explained as “my blood-sacrifice” (a genitive of specification; like “the evil of your doings” in Isa 1:16), then a translation of sacrifice would work (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 304).
189 sn On this verse, see C. M. Carmichael, “On Separating Life and Death: An Explanation of Some Biblical Laws,” HTR 69 (1976): 1-7; J. Milgrom, “You Shall Not Boil a Kid in Its Mother’s Milk,” BRev 1 (1985): 48-55; R. J. Ratner and B. Zuckerman, “In Rereading the ‘Kid in Milk’ Inscriptions,” BRev 1 (1985): 56-58; and M. Haran, “Seething a Kid in Its Mother’s Milk,” JJS 30 (1979): 23-35. Here and at 34:26, where this command is repeated, it ends a series of instructions about procedures for worship.
190 sn This passage has some of the most interesting and perplexing expressions and constructions in the book. It is largely promise, but it is part of the Law and so demands compliance by faith. Its points are: God promises to send his angel to prepare the way before his obedient servants (20-23); God promises blessing for his loyal servants (24-33). So in the section one learns that God promises his protection (victory) and blessing (through his angel) for his obedient and loyal worshipers.
191 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) with the active participle indicates imminent future, something God is about to do.
192 sn The word is מַלְאָךְ (mal’akh, “messenger, angel”). This angel is to be treated with the same fear and respect as Yahweh, for Yahweh will be speaking in him. U. Cassuto (Exodus, 305-6) says that the words of the first clause do not imply a being distinct from God, for in the ancient world the line of demarcation between the sender and the sent is liable easily to be blurred. He then shows how the “Angel of Yahweh” in Genesis is Yahweh. He concludes that the words here mean “I will guide you.” Christian commentators tend to identify the Angel of Yahweh as the second person of the Trinity (W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:446). However, in addition to being a preincarnate appearance, the word could refer to Yahweh – some manifestation of Yahweh himself.
193 tn Heb “protect you in the way.”
194 tn The form is the Hiphil perfect of the verb כּוּן (kun, “to establish, prepare”).
195 sn This means “the manifestation of my being” is in him (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 247). Driver quotes McNeile as saying, “The ‘angel’ is Jehovah Himself ‘in a temporary descent to visibility for a special purpose.’” Others take the “name” to represent Yahweh’s “power” (NCV) or “authority” (NAB, CEV).
196 tn The infinitive absolute here does not add as great an emphasis as normal, but emphasizes the condition that is being set forth (see GKC 342-43 §113.o).
197 tn Heb “will cut them off” (so KJV, ASV).
198 tn The Hebrew is מַצֵּבֹתֵיהֶם (matsevotehem, “their standing stones”); these long stones were erected to represent the abode of the numen or deity. They were usually set up near the altar or the high place. To destroy these would be to destroy the centers of Canaanite worship in the land.
199 tn Both verbs are joined with their infinitive absolutes to provide the strongest sense to these instructions. The images of the false gods in Canaan were to be completely and utterly destroyed. This could not be said any more strongly.
200 tn The perfect tense, masculine plural, with vav (ו) consecutive is in sequence with the preceding: do not bow down to them, but serve Yahweh. It is then the equivalent of an imperfect of instruction or injunction.
201 tn The LXX reads “and I will bless” to make the verb conform with the speaker, Yahweh.
202 sn On this unusual clause B. Jacob says that it is the reversal of the curse in Genesis, because the “bread and water” represent the field work and ground suitability for abundant blessing of provisions (Exodus, 734).
203 tn Or “abort”; Heb “cast.”
204 sn No one will die prematurely; this applies to the individual or the nation. The plan of God to bless was extensive, if only the people would obey.
205 tn The word for “terror” is אֵימָתִי (’emati); the word has the thought of “panic” or “dread.” God would make the nations panic as they heard of the exploits and knew the Israelites were drawing near. U. Cassuto thinks the reference to “hornets” in v. 28 may be a reference to this fear, an unreasoning dread, rather than to another insect invasion (Exodus, 308). Others suggest it is symbolic of an invading army or a country like Egypt or literal insects (see E. Neufeld, “Insects as Warfare Agents in the Ancient Near East,” Or 49 : 30-57).
206 tn Heb “kill.”
207 tn The text has “and I will give all your enemies to you [as] a back.” The verb of making takes two accusatives, the second being the adverbial accusative of product (see GKC 371-72 §117.ii, n. 1).
208 tn Heb “and I will send.”
209 tn Heb “the beast of the field.”
210 tn The repetition expresses an exceptional or super-fine quality (see GKC 396 §123.e).
211 tn The form is a perfect tense with vav consecutive.
212 tn In the Hebrew Bible “the River” usually refers to the Euphrates (cf. NASB, NCV, NRSV, TEV, CEV, NLT). There is some thought that it refers to a river Nahr el Kebir between Lebanon and Syria. See further W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:447; and G. W. Buchanan, The Consequences of the Covenant (NovTSup), 91-100.
213 tn The idea of the “snare” is to lure them to judgment; God is apparently warning about contact with the Canaanites, either in worship or in business. They were very syncretistic, and so it would be dangerous to settle among them.
214 sn Exod 24 is the high point of the book in many ways, but most importantly, here Yahweh makes a covenant with the people – the Sinaitic Covenant. The unit not only serves to record the event in Israel’s becoming a nation, but it provides a paradigm of the worship of God’s covenant people – entering into the presence of the glory of Yahweh. See additionally W. A. Maier, “The Analysis of Exodus 24 According to Modern Literary, Form, and Redaction Critical Methodology,” Springfielder 37 (1973): 35-52. The passage may be divided into four parts for exposition: vv. 1-2, the call for worship; vv. 3-8, the consecration of the worshipers; vv. 9-11, the confirmation of the covenant; and vv. 12-18, the communication with Yahweh.
215 tn Heb “And he;” the referent (the
217 sn These seventy-four people were to go up the mountain to a certain point. Then they were to prostrate themselves and worship Yahweh as Moses went further up into the presence of Yahweh. Moses occupies the lofty position of mediator (as Christ in the NT), for he alone ascends “to Yahweh” while everyone waits for his return. The emphasis of “bowing down” and that from “far off” stresses again the ominous presence that was on the mountain. This was the holy God – only the designated mediator could draw near to him.
218 tn The verb is a perfect tense with a vav (ו) consecutive; it and the preceding perfect tense follow the imperative, and so have either a force of instruction, or, as taken here, are the equivalent of an imperfect tense (of permission).
219 tn Heb “they.”
220 tn Now the imperfect tense negated is used; here the prohibition would fit (“they will not come near”), or the obligatory (“they must not”) in which the subjects are obliged to act – or not act in this case.
221 sn The general consensus among commentators is that this refers to Moses’ coming from the mountain after he made the ascent in 20:21. Here he came and told them the laws (written in 20:22-23:33), and of the call to come up to Yahweh.
222 sn The Decalogue may not be included here because the people had heard those commands themselves earlier.
223 tn The text simply has “one voice” (קוֹל אֶחָד, qol ’ekhad); this is an adverbial accusative of manner, telling how the people answered – “in one voice,” or unanimously (see GKC 375 §118.q).
224 tn The verb is the imperfect tense (נַעֲשֶׂה, na’aseh), although the form could be classified as a cohortative. If the latter, they would be saying that they are resolved to do what God said. If it is an imperfect, then the desiderative would make the most sense: “we are willing to do.” They are not presumptuously saying they are going to do all these things.
225 tn The two preterites quite likely form a verbal hendiadys (the verb “to get up early” is frequently in such constructions). Literally it says, “and he got up early [in the morning] and he built”; this means “early [in the morning] he built.” The first verb becomes the adverb.
226 tn “under.”
227 tn The verb “arranged” is not in the Hebrew text but has been supplied to clarify exactly what Moses did with the twelve stones.
228 tn The thing numbered is found in the singular when the number is plural – “twelve standing-stone.” See GKC 433 §134.f. The “standing-stone” could be a small piece about a foot high, or a huge column higher than men. They served to commemorate treaties (Gen 32), or visions (Gen 28) or boundaries, or graves. Here it will function with the altar as a place of worship.
229 tn The construct has “young men of the Israelites,” and so “Israelite” is a genitive that describes them.
230 tn The verbs and their respective accusatives are cognates. First, they offered up burnt offerings (see Lev 1), which is וַיַּעֲלוּ עֹלֹת (vayya’alu ’olot); then they sacrificed young bulls as peace sacrifices (Lev 3), which is in Hebrew וַיִּזְבְּחוּ זְבָחִים (vayyizbÿkhu zÿvakhim). In the first case the cognate accusative is the direct object; in the second it is an adverbial accusative of product. See on this covenant ritual H. M. Kamsler, “The Blood Covenant in the Bible,” Dor le Dor 6 (1977): 94-98; E. W. Nicholson, “The Covenant Ritual in Exodus 24:3-8,” VT 32 (1982): 74-86.
232 tn The noun “book” would be the scroll just written containing the laws of chaps. 20-23. On the basis of this scroll the covenant would be concluded here. The reading of this book would assure the people that it was the same that they had agreed to earlier. But now their statement of willingness to obey would be more binding, because their promise would be confirmed by a covenant of blood.
233 tn Heb “read it in the ears of.”
234 tn A second verb is now added to the people’s response, and it is clearly an imperfect and not a cohortative, lending support for the choice of desiderative imperfect in these commitments – “we want to obey.” This was their compliance with the covenant.
235 tn Given the size of the congregation, the preposition might be rendered here “toward the people” rather than on them (all).
236 sn The construct relationship “the blood of the covenant” means “the blood by which the covenant is ratified” (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 254). The parallel with the inauguration of the new covenant in the blood of Christ is striking (see, e.g., Matt 26:28, 1 Cor 11:25). When Jesus was inaugurating the new covenant, he was bringing to an end the old.
sn This next section is extremely interesting, but difficult to interpret. For some of the literature, see: E. W. Nicholson, “The Interpretation of Exodus 24:9-11,” VT 24 (1974): 77-97; “The Antiquity of the Tradition in Exodus 24:9-11,” VT 26 (1976): 148-60; and T. C. Vriezen, “The Exegesis of Exodus 24:9-11,” OTS 17 (1967): 24-53.
238 sn S. R. Driver (Exodus, 254) wishes to safeguard the traditional idea that God could not be seen by reading “they saw the place where the God of Israel stood” so as not to say they saw God. But according to U. Cassuto there is not a great deal of difference between “and they saw the God” and “the
239 sn S. R. Driver suggests that they saw the divine Glory, not directly, but as they looked up from below, through what appeared to be a transparent blue sapphire pavement (Exodus, 254).
240 tn Or “tiles.”
241 tn Heb “and like the body of heaven for clearness.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heaven” or “sky” depending on the context; here, where sapphire is mentioned (a blue stone) “sky” seems more appropriate, since the transparent blueness of the sapphire would appear like the blueness of the cloudless sky.
242 tn Heb “he did not stretch out his hand,” i.e., to destroy them.
243 tn The verb is חָזָה (khazah); it can mean “to see, perceive” or “see a vision” as the prophets did. The LXX safeguarded this by saying, “appeared in the place of God.” B. Jacob says they beheld – prophetically, religiously (Exodus, 746) – but the meaning of that is unclear. The fact that God did not lay a hand on them – to kill them – shows that they saw something that they never expected to see and live. Some Christian interpreters have taken this to refer to a glorious appearance of the preincarnate Christ, the second person of the Trinity. They saw the brilliance of this manifestation – but not the detail. Later, Moses will still ask to see God’s glory – the real presence behind the phenomena.
244 sn This is the covenant meal, the peace offering, that they are eating there on the mountain. To eat from the sacrifice meant that they were at peace with God, in covenant with him. Likewise, in the new covenant believers draw near to God on the basis of sacrifice, and eat of the sacrifice because they are at peace with him, and in Christ they see the Godhead revealed.
245 sn Now the last part is recorded in which Moses ascends to Yahweh to receive the tablets of stone. As Moses disappears into the clouds, the people are given a vision of the glory of Yahweh.
246 sn These are the stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments would be written. This is the first time they are mentioned. The commandments were apparently proclaimed by God first and then proclaimed to the people by Moses. Now that they have been formally agreed on and ratified, they will be written by God on stone for a perpetual covenant.
247 tn Or “namely”; or “that is to say.” The vav (ו) on the noun does not mean that this is in addition to the tablets of stone; the vav is explanatory. Gesenius has “to wit”; see GKC 484-85 §154.a, n. 1(b).
248 tn The last word of the verse is לְהוֹרֹתָם (lÿhorotam), the Hiphil infinitive construct of יָרָה (yarah). It serves as a purpose clause, “to teach them,” meaning “I am giving you this Law and these commands in order that you may teach them.” This duty to teach the Law will be passed especially to parents (Deut 6:6-9, 20-25) and to the tribe of Levi as a whole (Deut 33:9-10; Mal 2:1-9).
249 tn Heb “and he arose” meaning “started to go.”
250 tn Heb “and.”
251 tn The word הִנֵּה (hinneh) calls attention to the presence of Aaron and Hur to answer the difficult cases that might come up.
252 tn Or “issues to resolve.” The term is simply דְּבָרִים (dÿvarim, “words, things, matters”).
253 tn The imperfect tense here has the nuance of potential imperfect. In the absence of Moses and Joshua, Aaron and Hur will be available.
sn Attention to the preparation for Moses’ departure contributes to the weight of the guilt of the faithless Israelites (chap. 32) and of Aaron, to whom Moses had delegated an important duty.
254 sn The verb is וַיִּשְׁכֹּן (vayyishkon, “and dwelt, abode”). From this is derived the epithet “the Shekinah Glory,” the dwelling or abiding glory. The “glory of Yahweh” was a display visible at a distance, clearly in view of the Israelites. To them it was like a consuming fire in the midst of the cloud that covered the mountain. That fire indicated that Yahweh wished to accept their sacrifice, as if it were a pleasant aroma to him, as Leviticus would say. This “appearance” indicated that the phenomena represented a shimmer of the likeness of his glory (B. Jacob, Exodus, 749). The verb, according to U. Cassuto (Exodus, 316), also gives an inkling of the next section of the book, the building of the “tabernacle,” the dwelling place, the מִשְׁכָּן (mishkan). The vision of the glory of Yahweh confirmed the authority of the revelation of the Law given to Israel. This chapter is the climax of God’s bringing people into covenant with himself, the completion of his revelation to them, a completion that is authenticated with the miraculous. It ends with the mediator going up in the clouds to be with God, and the people down below eagerly awaiting his return. The message of the whole chapter could be worded this way: Those whom God sanctifies by the blood of the covenant and instructs by the book of the covenant may enjoy fellowship with him and anticipate a far more glorious fellowship. So too in the NT the commandments and teachings of Jesus are confirmed by his miraculous deeds and by his glorious manifestation on the Mount of the Transfiguration, where a few who represented the disciples would see his glory and be able to teach others. The people of the new covenant have been brought into fellowship with God through the blood of the covenant; they wait eagerly for his return from heaven in the clouds.
255 tn This is an adverbial accusative of time.
256 tn Heb “to the eyes of” which could mean in their opinion.
257 tn The verb is a preterite with vav (ו) consecutive; here, the second clause, is subordinated to the first preterite, because it seems that the entering into the cloud is the dominant point in this section of the chapter.
258 sn B. Jacob (Exodus, 750) offers this description of some of the mystery involved in Moses’ ascending into the cloud: Moses ascended into the presence of God, but remained on earth. He did not rise to heaven – the ground remained firmly under his feet. But he clearly was brought into God’s presence; he was like a heavenly servant before God’s throne, like the angels, and he consumed neither bread nor water. The purpose of his being there was to become familiar with all God’s demands and purposes. He would receive the tablets of stone and all the instructions for the tabernacle that was to be built (beginning in chap. 25). He would not descend until the sin of the golden calf.