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Exodus 23:4-5

Context

23:4 “If you encounter 1  your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, you must by all means return 2  it to him. 23:5 If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen under its load, you must not ignore him, 3  but be sure to help 4  him with it. 5 

1 tn Heb “meet” (so KJV, ASV, NASB).

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

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

4 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).

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



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