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Exodus 20:22--23:33

Context
The Altar

20:22 1 The Lord said 2  to Moses: “Thus you will tell the Israelites: ‘You yourselves have seen that I have spoken with you from heaven. 20:23 You must not make gods of silver alongside me, 3  nor make gods of gold for yourselves. 4 

20:24 ‘You must make for me an altar made of earth, 5  and you will sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, 6  your sheep and your cattle. In every place 7  where I cause my name to be honored 8  I will come to you and I will bless you. 20:25 If you make me an altar of stone, you must not build it 9  of stones shaped with tools, 10  for if you use your tool on it you have defiled it. 11  20:26 And you must not go up by steps to my altar, so that your nakedness is not exposed.’ 12 

The Decisions

21:1 13 “These are the decisions that you will set before them:

Hebrew Servants

21:2 14 “If you buy 15  a Hebrew servant, 16  he is to serve you for six years, but in the seventh year he will go out free 17  without paying anything. 18  21:3 If he came 19  in by himself 20  he will go out by himself; if he had 21  a wife when he came in, then his wife will go out with him. 21:4 If his master gave 22  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, 23  ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out 24  free,’ 21:6 then his master must bring him to the judges, 25  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. 26 

21:7 “If a man sells his daughter 27  as a female servant, 28  she will not go out as the male servants do. 21:8 If she does not please 29  her master, who has designated her 30  for himself, then he must let her be redeemed. 31  He has no right 32  to sell her to a foreign nation, because he has dealt deceitfully 33  with her. 21:9 If he designated her for his son, then he will deal with her according to the customary rights 34  of daughters. 21:10 If he takes another wife, 35  he must not diminish the first one’s food, 36  her clothing, or her marital rights. 37  21:11 If he does not provide her with these three things, then she will go out free, without paying money. 38 

Personal Injuries

21:12 39 “Whoever strikes someone 40  so that he dies 41  must surely be put to death. 42  21:13 But if he does not do it with premeditation, 43  but it happens by accident, 44  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, 45  you will take him even from my altar that he may die.

21:15 “Whoever strikes 46  his father or his mother must surely be put to death.

21:16 “Whoever kidnaps someone 47  and sells him, 48  or is caught still holding him, 49  must surely be put to death.

21:17 “Whoever treats his father or his mother disgracefully 50  must surely be put to death.

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, 51  21:19 and then 52  if he gets up and walks about 53  outside on his staff, then the one who struck him is innocent, except he must pay 54  for the injured person’s 55  loss of time 56  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 57  dies as a result of the blow, 58  he will surely be punished. 59  21:21 However, if the injured servant 60  survives one or two days, the owner 61  will not be punished, for he has suffered the loss. 62 

21:22 “If men fight and hit a pregnant woman and her child is born prematurely, 63  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. 64  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. 65 

21:26 “If a man strikes the eye of his male servant or his female servant so that he destroys it, 66  he will let the servant 67  go free 68  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 69  go free as compensation for the tooth.

Laws about Animals

21:28 70 “If an ox 71  gores a man or a woman so that either dies, 72  then the ox must surely 73  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, 74  and he did not take the necessary precautions, 75  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, 76  then he must pay the redemption for his life according to whatever amount was set for him. 21:31 If the ox 77  gores a son or a daughter, the owner 78  will be dealt with according to this rule. 79  21:32 If the ox gores a male servant or a female servant, the owner 80  must pay thirty shekels of silver, 81  and the ox must be stoned. 82 

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 83  the loss. He must give money 84  to its owner, and the dead animal 85  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, 86  and they will also divide the dead ox. 87  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 88  ox for ox, and the dead animal will become his. 89 

Laws about Property

22:1 90 (21:37) 91  “If a man steals an ox or a sheep and kills it or sells it, he must pay back 92  five head of cattle for the ox, and four sheep for the one sheep. 93 

22:2 “If a thief is caught 94  breaking in 95  and is struck so that he dies, there will be no blood guilt for him. 96  22:3 If the sun has risen on him, then there is blood guilt for him. A thief 97  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 98  alive in his possession, 99  whether it be an ox or a donkey or a sheep, he must pay back double. 100 

22:5 “If a man grazes 101  his livestock 102  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.

22:6 “If a fire breaks out and spreads 103  to thorn bushes, 104  so that stacked grain or standing grain or the whole field is consumed, the one who started 105  the fire must surely make restitution.

22:7 “If a man gives his neighbor money or articles 106  for safekeeping, 107  and it is stolen from the man’s house, if the thief is caught, 108  he must repay double. 22:8 If the thief is not caught, 109  then the owner of the house will be brought before the judges 110  to see 111  whether he has laid 112  his hand on his neighbor’s goods. 22:9 In all cases of illegal possessions, 113  whether for an ox, a donkey, a sheep, a garment, or any kind of lost item, about which someone says ‘This belongs to me,’ 114  the matter of the two of them will come before the judges, 115  and the one whom 116  the judges declare guilty 117  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 118  or is carried away 119  without anyone seeing it, 120  22:11 then there will be an oath to the Lord 121  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 122  from him, 123  he will pay its owner. 22:13 If it is torn in pieces, then he will bring it for evidence, 124  and he will not have to pay for what was torn.

22:14 “If a man borrows an animal 125  from his neighbor, and it is hurt or dies when its owner was not with it, the man who borrowed it 126  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. 127 

Moral and Ceremonial Laws

22:16 128 “If a man seduces a virgin 129  who is not engaged 130  and has sexual relations with her, he must surely endow 131  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.

22:18 “You must not allow a sorceress to live. 132 

22:19 “Whoever has sexual relations 133  with a beast must surely be put to death.

22:20 “Whoever sacrifices to a god other than the Lord 134  alone must be utterly destroyed. 135 

22:21 “You must not wrong 136  a foreigner 137  nor oppress him, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.

22:22 “You must not afflict 138  any widow or orphan. 22:23 If you afflict them 139  in any way 140  and they cry to me, I will surely hear 141  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. 142 

22:25 “If you lend money to any of 143  my people who are needy among you, do not be like a moneylender 144  to him; do not charge 145  him interest. 146  22:26 If you do take 147  the garment of your neighbor in pledge, you must return it to him by the time the sun goes down, 148  22:27 for it is his only covering – it is his garment for his body. 149  What else can he sleep in? 150  And 151  when he cries out to me, I will hear, for I am gracious.

22:28 “You must not blaspheme 152  God 153  or curse the ruler of your people.

22:29 “Do not hold back offerings from your granaries or your vats. 154  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.

22:31 “You will be holy 155  people to me; you must not eat any meat torn by animals in the field. 156  You must throw it to the dogs.

Justice

23:1 157 “You must not give 158  a false report. 159  Do not make common cause 160  with the wicked 161  to be a malicious 162  witness.

23:2 “You must not follow a crowd 163  in doing evil things; 164  in a lawsuit you must not offer testimony that agrees with a crowd so as to pervert justice, 165  23:3 and you must not show partiality 166  to a poor man in his lawsuit.

23:4 “If you encounter 167  your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, you must by all means return 168  it to him. 23:5 If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen under its load, you must not ignore him, 169  but be sure to help 170  him with it. 171 

23:6 “You must not turn away justice for your poor people in their lawsuits. 23:7 Keep your distance 172  from a false charge 173  – do not kill the innocent and the righteous, 174  for I will not justify the wicked. 175 

23:8 “You must not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see 176  and subverts the words of the righteous.

23:9 “You must not oppress 177  a foreigner, since you know the life 178  of a foreigner, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.

Sabbaths and Feasts

23:10 179 “For six years 180  you are to sow your land and gather in its produce. 23:11 But in the seventh year 181  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 182  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 183  may refresh themselves. 184 

23:13 “Pay attention to do 185  everything I have told you, and do not even mention 186  the names of other gods – do not let them be heard on your lips. 187 

23:14 “Three times 188  in the year you must make a pilgrim feast 189  to me. 23:15 You are to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread; seven days 190  you must eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you, at the appointed time of the month of Abib, for at that time 191  you came out of Egypt. No one may appear before 192  me empty-handed.

23:16 “You are also to observe 193  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 194  when you have gathered in 195  your harvest 196  out of the field. 23:17 At 197  three times in the year all your males will appear before the Lord God. 198 

23:18 “You must not offer 199  the blood of my sacrifice with bread containing yeast; the fat of my festal sacrifice must not remain until morning. 200  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. 201 

The Angel of the Presence

23:20 202 “I am going to send 203  an angel 204  before you to protect you as you journey 205  and to bring you into the place that I have prepared. 206  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 207  is in him. 23:22 But if you diligently obey him 208  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. 209 

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 210  to pieces. 211  23:25 You must serve 212  the Lord your God, and he 213  will bless your bread and your water, 214  and I will remove sickness from your midst. 23:26 No woman will miscarry her young 215  or be barren in your land. I will fulfill 216  the number of your days.

23:27 “I will send my terror 217  before you, and I will destroy 218  all the people whom you encounter; I will make all your enemies turn their backs 219  to you. 23:28 I will send 220  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 221  multiply against you. 23:30 Little by little 222  I will drive them out before you, until you become fruitful and inherit the land. 23:31 I will set 223  your boundaries from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert to the River, 224  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 225  to you.”

1 sn Based on the revelation of the holy sovereign God, this pericope instructs Israel on the form of proper worship of such a God. It focuses on the altar, the centerpiece of worship. The point of the section is this: those who worship this holy God must preserve holiness in the way they worship – they worship where he permits, in the manner he prescribes, and with the blessings he promises. This paragraph is said to open the Book of the Covenant, which specifically rules on matters of life and worship.

2 tn Heb “and Yahweh said.”

3 tn The direct object of the verb must be “gods of silver.” The prepositional phrase modifies the whole verse to say that these gods would then be alongside the one true God.

4 tn Heb “neither will you make for you gods of gold.”

sn U. Cassuto explains that by the understanding of parallelism each of the halves apply to the whole verse, so that “with me” and “for you” concern gods of silver or gods of gold (Exodus, 255).

5 sn The instructions here call for the altar to be made of natural things, not things manufactured or shaped by man. The altar was either to be made of clumps of earth or natural, unhewn rocks.

6 sn The “burnt offering” is the offering prescribed in Lev 1. Everything of this animal went up in smoke as a sweet aroma to God. It signified complete surrender by the worshiper who brought the animal, and complete acceptance by God, thereby making atonement. The “peace offering” is legislated in Lev 3 and 7. This was a communal meal offering to celebrate being at peace with God. It was made usually for thanksgiving, for payment of vows, or as a freewill offering.

7 tn Gesenius lists this as one of the few places where the noun in construct seems to be indefinite in spite of the fact that the genitive has the article. He says בְּכָל־הַמָּקוֹם (bÿkhol-hammaqom) means “in all the place, sc. of the sanctuary, and is a dogmatic correction of “in every place” (כָּל־מָקוֹם, kol-maqom). See GKC 412 §127.e.

8 tn The verb is זָכַר (zakhar, “to remember”), but in the Hiphil especially it can mean more than remember or cause to remember (remind) – it has the sense of praise or honor. B. S. Childs says it has a denominative meaning, “to proclaim” (Exodus [OTL], 447). The point of the verse is that God will give Israel reason for praising and honoring him, and in every place that occurs he will make his presence known by blessing them.

9 tn Heb “them” referring to the stones.

10 tn Heb “of hewn stones.” Gesenius classifies this as an adverbial accusative – “you shall not build them (the stones of the altar) as hewn stones.” The remoter accusative is in apposition to the nearer (GKC 372 §117.kk).

11 tn The verb is a preterite with vav (ו) consecutive. It forms the apodosis in a conditional clause: “if you lift up your tool on it…you have defiled it.”

12 tn Heb “uncovered” (so ASV, NAB).

13 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.

14 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.

15 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).

16 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.

17 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 [1955]: 9-11).

18 tn The adverb חִנָּם (hinnam) means “gratis, free”; it is related to the verb “to be gracious, show favor” and the noun “grace.”

19 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.”

20 tn Heb “with his back” meaning “alone.”

21 tn The phrase says, “if he was the possessor of a wife”; the noun בַּעַל (baal) 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.

22 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.

23 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).

24 tn Or taken as a desiderative imperfect, it would say, “I do not want to go out free.”

25 tn The word is הָאֱלֹהִים (haelohim). 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.

26 tn Or “till his life’s end” (as in the idiom: “serve him for good”).

27 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.

28 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.

29 tn Heb “and if unpleasant (רָעָה, raah) in the eyes of her master.”

30 tn The verb יָעַד (yaad) 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.

31 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).

32 tn Heb “he has no authority/power,” for the verb means “rule, have dominion.”

33 sn The deceit is in not making her his wife or concubine as the arrangement had stipulated.

34 tn Or “after the manner of” (KJV, ASV); NRSV “shall deal with her as with a daughter.”

35 tn “wife” has been supplied.

36 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.

37 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.

38 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.

39 sn The underlying point of this section remains vital today: The people of God must treat all human life as sacred.

40 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).

41 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.

42 sn See A. Phillips, “Another Look at Murder,” JJS 28 (1977): 105-26.

43 tn Heb “if he does not lie in wait” (NASB similar).

44 tn Heb “and God brought into his hand.” The death is unintended, its circumstances outside human control.

45 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.

46 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).

47 tn Heb “a stealer of a man,” thus “anyone stealing a man.”

48 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.

49 tn Literally “and he is found in his hand” (KJV and ASV both similar), being not yet sold.

50 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).

51 tn Heb “falls to bed.”

52 tn “and then” has been supplied.

53 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.

54 tn The imperfect tense carries a nuance of obligatory imperfect because this is binding on the one who hit him.

55 tn Heb “his”; the referent (the injured person) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

56 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.

57 tn Heb “so that he”; the words “or she” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

58 tn Heb “under his hand.”

59 tn Heb “will be avenged” (how is not specified).

60 tn Heb “if he”; the referent (the servant struck and injured in the previous verse) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

61 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the owner of the injured servant) has been supplied in the translation for clarity.

62 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.

63 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.

64 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.

65 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.

66 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.”

67 tn Heb “him”; the referent (the male or female servant) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

68 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.

69 tn Heb “him”; the referent (the male or female servant) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

70 sn The point that this section of the laws makes is that one must ensure the safety of others by controlling the circumstances.

71 tn Traditionally “ox,” but “bull” would also be suitable. The term may refer to one of any variety of large cattle.

72 tn Heb “and he dies”; KJV “that they die”; NAB, NASB “to death.”

73 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.

74 tn The Hophal perfect has the idea of “attested, testified against.”

75 tn Heb “he was not keeping it” or perhaps guarding or watching it (referring to the ox).

76 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.

77 tn Heb “it”; the referent (the ox) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

78 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the owner) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

79 tn Heb “according to this judgment it shall be done to him.”

80 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the owner) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

81 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.).

82 sn See further B. S. Jackson, “The Goring Ox Again [Ex. 21,28-36],” JJP 18 (1974): 55-94.

83 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.

84 tn Heb “silver.”

85 tn Here the term “animal” has been supplied.

86 tn Literally “its silver” or “silver for it.”

87 tn Heb “divide the dead.” The noun “ox” has been supplied.

88 tn The construction now uses the same Piel imperfect (v. 34) but adds the infinitive absolute to it for emphasis.

89 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.

90 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.

91 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.

92 tn The imperfect tense here has the nuance of obligatory imperfect – he must pay back.

93 tn בָּקַר (baqar) and צֹאן (tson) are the categories to which the ox and the sheep belonged, so that the criminal had some latitude in paying back animals.

94 tn Heb “found” (so KJV, ASV, NRSV).

95 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).

96 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.

97 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.

98 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).

99 tn Heb “in his hand.”

100 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.

101 tn The verb בָּעַר (baar, “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).

102 tn The phrase “his livestock” is supplied from the next clause.

103 tn Heb “if a fire goes out and finds”; NLT “if a fire gets out of control.”

104 sn Thorn bushes were used for hedges between fields, but thorn bushes also burned easily, making the fire spread rapidly.

105 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.

106 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.

107 tn Heb “to keep.” Here “safekeeping,” that is, to keep something secure on behalf of a third party, is intended.

108 tn Heb “found.”

109 tn Heb “found.”

110 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.

111 tn The phrase “to see” has been supplied.

112 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.

113 tn Heb “concerning every kind [thing] of trespass.”

114 tn The text simply has “this is it” (הוּא זֶה, huzeh).

115 tn Again, or “God.”

116 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).

117 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.

118 tn The form is a Niphal participle from the verb “to break” – “is broken,” which means harmed, maimed, or hurt in any way.

119 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.

120 tn Heb “there is no one seeing.”

121 tn The construct relationship שְׁבֻעַת יְהוָה (shÿvuat 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.

122 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).

123 sn The point is that the man should have taken better care of the animal.

124 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.

125 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.

126 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the man who borrowed the animal) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

127 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.

128 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).

129 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.

130 tn Or “pledged” for marriage.

131 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.

132 sn There still were many who wished to follow pagan beliefs and consort with the dead (see Deut 18:10-11). The sorceress was someone who dealt with drugs or herbs for occult purposes.

133 tn Heb “lies with.”

134 tn Heb “not to Yahweh.”

135 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.

136 tn Or “oppress.”

137 tn Or “alien,” both here and in 23:9. This individual is a resident foreigner; he lives in the land but, aside from provisions such as this, might easily be without legal rights.

138 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).

139 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).

140 tn Here again and with “cry” the infinitive absolute functions with a diminished emphasis (GKC 342-43 §113.o).

141 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.”

142 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.

143 tn “any of” has been supplied.

144 sn The moneylender will be demanding and exacting. In Ps 109:11 and 2 Kgs 4:1 the word is rendered as “extortioner.”

145 tn Heb “set.”

146 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 [1971]: 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 [1953]: 161-70; and E. Neufeld, “The Prohibition against Loans at Interest in the Old Testament,” HUCA 26 [1955]: 355-412).

147 tn The construction again uses the infinitive absolute with the verb in the conditional clause to stress the condition.

148 tn The clause uses the preposition, the infinitive construct, and the noun that is the subjective genitive – “at the going in of the sun.”

149 tn Heb “his skin.”

150 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.

151 tn Heb “and it will be.”

152 tn The two verbs in this verse are synonyms: קָלַל (qalal) means “to treat lightly, curse,” and אָרַר (’arar) means “to curse.”

153 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).

154 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.

155 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.

156 tn Or “by wild animals.”

157 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).

158 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.

159 tn Or “a groundless report” (see Exod 20:7 for the word שָׁוְא, shav’).

160 tn Heb “do not put your hand” (cf. KJV, ASV); NASB “join your hand.”

161 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.

162 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.

163 tn The word רָבִּים (rabbim), here rendered “crowd,” is also used infrequently to refer to the “mighty,” people of importance in society (Job 35:9; cf. Lev 19:15).

164 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.

165 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].”

166 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).

167 tn Heb “meet” (so KJV, ASV, NASB).

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

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

170 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).

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

172 tn Or “stay away from,” or “have nothing to do with.”

173 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.

174 tn The two clauses probably should be related: the getting involved in the false charge could lead to the death of an innocent person (so, e.g., Naboth in 1 Kgs 21:10-13).

175 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.

176 tn Heb “blinds the open-eyed.”

177 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).

178 tn Heb “soul, life” – “you know what it feels like.”

179 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).

180 tn Heb “and six years”; this is an adverbial accusative telling how long they can work their land. The following references to years and days in vv. 10-12 function similarly.

181 tn Heb “and the seventh year”; an adverbial accusative with a disjunctive vav (ו).

182 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).

183 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.

184 tn The verb is וְיִּנָּפֵשׁ (vÿyyinnafesh); it is related to the word usually translated “soul” or “life.”

185 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.

186 tn Or “honor,” Hiphil of זָכַר (zakhar). See also Exod 20:25; Josh 23:7; Isa 26:13.

187 tn Heb “mouth.”

sn See also Ps 16:4, where David affirms his loyalty to God with this expression.

188 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.

189 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.

190 tn This is an adverbial accusative of time.

191 tn Heb “in it.”

192 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”).

193 tn The words “you are also to observe” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

194 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.

195 tn An infinitive construct with a preposition and a pronominal suffix is used to make a temporal clause: “in the ingathering of you.”

196 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.

197 tn Adverbial accusative of time: “three times” becomes “at three times.”

198 tn Here the divine Name reads in Hebrew הָאָדֹן יְהוָה (haadon yÿhvah), which if rendered according to the traditional scheme of “Lord” for “Yahweh” would result in “Lord Lord.” A number of English versions therefore render this phrase “Lord God,” and that convention has been followed here.

199 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).

200 sn See N. Snaith, “Exodus 23:18 and 34:25,” JTS 20 (1969): 533-34; see also M. Haran, “The Passover Sacrifice,” Studies in the Religion of Ancient Israel (VTSup), 86-116.

201 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.

202 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.

203 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) with the active participle indicates imminent future, something God is about to do.

204 sn The word is מַלְאָךְ (malakh, “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.

205 tn Heb “protect you in the way.”

206 tn The form is the Hiphil perfect of the verb כּוּן (kun, “to establish, prepare”).

207 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).

208 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).

209 tn Heb “will cut them off” (so KJV, ASV).

210 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.

211 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.

212 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.

213 tn The LXX reads “and I will bless” to make the verb conform with the speaker, Yahweh.

214 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).

215 tn Or “abort”; Heb “cast.”

216 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.

217 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 [1980]: 30-57).

218 tn Heb “kill.”

219 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).

220 tn Heb “and I will send.”

221 tn Heb “the beast of the field.”

222 tn The repetition expresses an exceptional or super-fine quality (see GKC 396 §123.e).

223 tn The form is a perfect tense with vav consecutive.

224 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.

225 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.



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