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Exodus 23:3-6

Context
23:3 and you must not show partiality 1  to a poor man in his lawsuit.

23:4 “If you encounter 2  your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, you must by all means return 3  it to him. 23:5 If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen under its load, you must not ignore him, 4  but be sure to help 5  him with it. 6 

23:6 “You must not turn away justice for your poor people in their lawsuits.

1 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).

2 tn Heb “meet” (so KJV, ASV, NASB).

3 tn The construction uses the imperfect tense (taken here as an obligatory imperfect) and the infinitive absolute for emphasis.

4 tn The line reads “you will cease to forsake him” – refrain from leaving your enemy without help.

5 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).

6 sn See H. B. Huffmon, “Exodus 23:4-5: A Comparative Study,” A Light Unto My Path, 271-78.



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