Exodus Chapter 23 Verses 1-9
:1 “Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. 2 Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment: 3 Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause. 4 If thou meet thine enemy's ox or his ass going
astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again. 5 If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him. 6 Thou shalt not wrest the judgment of thy poor in his cause. 7 Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked. 8 And thou shalt take no gift: for the
gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous. 9 Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
The above laws are very plain and would be difficult to misunderstand. Moreover, the principle behind the laws is also easy to be understood. These laws line up with two great principles that the Lord stated in the book of Matthew:
1. Matt. 7:12 “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
2. Matt. 22:36 “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the
:10 “And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof: 11 But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard. 12 Six days thou shalt do
thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed. 13 And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.”
“And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof: 11 But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard.” This verse give us the principle of a
sabbath of years. There are two things necessary for a Sabbath: there must be a grouping of seven (seven is associated with the subject of completion in the scriptures) and there must be a “rest.” In the above the harvesting of the land was on a seven year cycle. The people were to sow their land and harvest it for six years. Then on the seventh year they were to let the land lie fallow and not gather the harvest
in the seventh year. There are several thoughts we can take from the above:
1. The principle of the Sabbath is not restricted to a seven day week. The above shows a Sabbath of years. Later when God gave to the children of Israel, the “year of jubilee” it was based on seven sabbath’s of years and the restoration and deliverance came in the first year of the eighth Sabbath of year.
2. The stated purpose for the land, vineyards, and oliveyards lying still and resting was for the poor of the people to have something to eat as they would glean the fields in the seventh year.
3. Moreover, scientific experiments have proven that if land is regularly allowed to lie fallow on a regularly scheduled cycle, that the land rejuvenates itself and maintains its productivity. Failure to allow the land to lie fallow over a regularly scheduled cycle depletes the land of its essential nutrients and the end results is that land begins to lose its productivity.
4. Later, we are told that the Lord promised to bless the six year so that it would produce plentiful supply of food for the sixth, seventh, and eighth years.
“Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.” The weekly Sabbath is patterned after God’s creation. In the creation God worked six days and he rested in the seventh. Observing the seventh day Sabbath every week by
resting on the seventh day was giving praise, honor, and glory to God for his finished work of creation.
Moreover, the seventh day of rest was not just for the owner of the land, but was also applied to the ox and the ass, the son of the handmaid, and to the stranger. In this manner both the beast of the field, the workers and the stranger would be able to rest and refresh themselves. It is a medically proven fact that the human body needs at least a day of rest every week to be healthy
and to maintain productivity.
“And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.” To be circumspect means to take heed to and to closely observe. The laws that God gave to the children of Israel were good laws and good for he people and good for the nation to observe. They were
fair laws when kept according to the words of the laws. In addition, to observing the laws God set forth for them, they also were to take heed not to mention the name of other gods, nor to speak their names out of their mouths. This teaches us that God is a jealous God and he alone is to be worshipped and served as God.