Exodus – Chapter 23: Laws of Justice and Mercy

Wow!  This is the 200th post on this blog!  I’m hanging in there.  Just a few more thousand to go and the Bible will be finished.  J  Exodus 22 provided more of Gods laws to the Israelites and Exodus 23 continues with the same theme.

“Do not spread false reports. Do not help a guilty person by being a malicious witness.  Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd, and do not show favoritism to a poor person in a lawsuit.” – Exodus 23:1-3

These are good, legitimate laws, although there’s no need to be specific on the financial status of a person.  No one should show favoritism to anyone in a lawsuit, but aside from that God has done a good job with these laws.  In fact, the first nine verses are all good laws.  It’s too bad there wasn’t a greater discussion on legitimate laws and lesser discussion on laws that make no sense or are simply crazy.

“Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and so that the slave born in your household and the foreigner living among you may be refreshed.” – Exodus 23:12

That’s great to have a seventh day of rest, but the Bible still condones slavery.  I don’t care how many days you allow your slave to rest.  If it isn’t ALL days, then it is wrong.  Slavery is wrong!

“Three times a year you are to celebrate a festival to me. Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread; for seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Aviv, for in that month you came out of Egypt. No one is to appear before me empty-handed.” – Exodus 23:14-15

What if someone truly is empty-handed?  What are they to bring to God?  What happens if they don’t bring something?  Another example of God’s CONDITIONAL love.  God also has a phobia of yeast.

“Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.” – Exodus 23:19

This is weird enough that there’s likely no reason to list it as a law.  Who does this and if someone does, who cares?  What’s the harm?  I think it’s weird and a bit disgusting, but is it doing anyone harm, other than the cooked young goat?

“My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out.” – Exodus 23:23

Notice that not one of these tribes has done anything wrong, yet God has already declared He will wipe them out.  A loving God, but only if you are an Israelite who follows God’s every word, even the ridiculous ones.  Oh, and don’t think.  Thinking is bad and against God’s will.

“Do not bow down before their gods or worship them or follow their practices. You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces.” – Exodus 23:24

God could easily prevent the worshiping of idols by simply stating to the people in a very clear way that He is the one and only god.  Stop speaking through Moses and reveal yourself to the people!

“Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.” – Exodus 23:25-26

Obviously God is lying to the people, unless of course one thinks that EVERYONE who gets sick (and doesn’t improve), miscarries, or is barren did not worship the Lord.  About 10-15% of pregnancies end in miscarriage.  Is the Bible really trying to say that ALL of those women disobeyed the Lord?  What about people who die of cancer?  They had a sickness God didn’t take away, so I guess none of them worshipped the Lord.  This is hogwash!  Praying to the Lord does NOT help anyone recover from an illness, nor does it prevent miscarriage.

“But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you.  Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.” – Exodus 23:29-30

Let me get this straight.  God has the power to remove tribes of people from the land, but is powerless to prevent wild animals from taking over the land?  Seriously?!?!?!

“I will give into your hands the people who live in the land, and you will drive them out before you.” – Exodus 23:31

Who created slavery?  God did.  God gave the people already in the land over to the Israelites to be slaves.  The people had NO choice.

“Do not let them live in your land or they will cause you to sin against me, because the worship of their gods will certainly be a snare to you.” – Exodus 23:33

Why does God have so little faith in His creations?  If God had delivered a clear message to the Israelites, they wouldn’t need to be told to stay away from the non-Israelites.  They would just know to stay away.  This again goes to the topic of critical thinking.  God doesn’t want you to critically think for once you do, you’ll realize that God is not real.

That concludes Exodus 23.  Many new laws are presented to the Israelites and some of these laws are good laws!  Others, however, are downright crazy.  Take away the crazy and leave in the good and the Bible would actually be a good book to read.

Coming Soon:  Exodus – Chapter 24:  The Covenant Confirmed

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