A Call for Justice
1 “You must not pass along false rumors. You must not cooperate with evil people by lying on the witness stand.
2 “You must not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you are called to testify in a dispute, do not be swayed by the crowd to twist justice. 3 And do not slant your testimony in favor of a person just because that person is poor.
4 “If you come upon your enemy’s ox or donkey that has strayed away, take it back to its owner. 5 If you see that the donkey of someone who hates you has collapsed under its load, do not walk by. Instead, stop and help.
6 “In a lawsuit, you must not deny justice to the poor.
7 “Be sure never to charge anyone falsely with evil. Never sentence an innocent or blameless person to death, for I never declare a guilty person to be innocent.
8 “Take no bribes, for a bribe makes you ignore something that you clearly see. A bribe makes even a righteous person twist the truth.
9 “You must not oppress foreigners. You know what it’s like to be a foreigner, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt.
10 “Plant and harvest your crops for six years, 11 but let the land be renewed and lie uncultivated during the seventh year. Then let the poor among you harvest whatever grows on its own. Leave the rest for wild animals to eat. The same applies to your vineyards and olive groves.
12 “You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but on the seventh day you must stop working. This gives your ox and your donkey a chance to rest. It also allows your slaves and the foreigners living among you to be refreshed.
13 “Pay close attention to all my instructions. You must not call on the name of any other gods. Do not even speak their names.
Three Annual Festivals
14 “Each year you must celebrate three festivals in my honor. 15 First, celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. For seven days the bread you eat must be made without yeast, just as I commanded you. Celebrate this festival annually at the appointed time in early spring, in the month of Abib,[a] for that is the anniversary of your departure from Egypt. No one may appear before me without an offering.
16 “Second, celebrate the Festival of Harvest,[b] when you bring me the first crops of your harvest.
“Finally, celebrate the Festival of the Final Harvest[c] at the end of the harvest season, when you have harvested all the crops from your fields. 17 At these three times each year, every man in Israel must appear before the Sovereign, the Lord.
18 “You must not offer the blood of my sacrificial offerings together with any baked goods containing yeast. And do not leave the fat from the festival offerings until the next morning.
19 “As you harvest your crops, bring the very best of the first harvest to the house of the Lordyour God.
“You must not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.
A Promise of the Lord’s Presence
20 “See, I am sending an angel before you to protect you on your journey and lead you safely to the place I have prepared for you. 21 Pay close attention to him, and obey his instructions. Do not rebel against him, for he is my representative, and he will not forgive your rebellion.22 But if you are careful to obey him, following all my instructions, then I will be an enemy to your enemies, and I will oppose those who oppose you. 23 For my angel will go before you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites, and Jebusites, so you may live there. And I will destroy them completely. 24 You must not worship the gods of these nations or serve them in any way or imitate their evil practices. Instead, you must utterly destroy them and smash their sacred pillars.
25 “You must serve only the Lord your God. If you do, I[d] will bless you with food and water, and I will protect you from illness. 26 There will be no miscarriages or infertility in your land, and I will give you long, full lives.
27 “I will send my terror ahead of you and create panic among all the people whose lands you invade. I will make all your enemies turn and run. 28 I will send terror[e] ahead of you to drive out the Hivites, Canaanites, and Hittites. 29 But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals would multiply and threaten you. 30 I will drive them out a little at a time until your population has increased enough to take possession of the land. 31 And I will fix your boundaries from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea,[f] and from the eastern wilderness to the Euphrates River.[g] I will hand over to you the people now living in the land, and you will drive them out ahead of you.
32 “Make no treaties with them or their gods. 33 They must not live in your land, or they will cause you to sin against me. If you serve their gods, you will be caught in the trap of idolatry.”
- 23:15 Hebrew appointed time in the month of Abib. This first month of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar usually occurs within the months of March and April.
- 23:16a Or Festival of Weeks. This was later called the Festival of Pentecost (see Acts 2:1). It is celebrated today as Shavuot (or Shabuoth).
- 23:16b Or Festival of Ingathering. This was later called the Festival of Shelters or Festival of Tabernacles (see Lev 23:33-36). It is celebrated today as Sukkot (or Succoth).
- 23:25 As in Greek and Latin versions; Hebrew reads he.
- 23:28 Often rendered the hornet. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
- 23:31a Hebrew from the sea of reeds to the sea of the Philistines.
- 23:31b Hebrew from the wilderness to the river.