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Exodus 21:1

So begins a section known as the Book of the Covenant. It contains 42 judgments.

The first verse of the chapter serves as the title for the section of Exodus called “the Book of the Covenant,” a title given to it in Exodus 24:7. Many scholars think that the section starts in Exodus 20:22, where the rules for worshipping the LORD are stipulated. Within this section are 42 “judgments” designed to govern life in Israel.

The word translated ordinances (Heb. “mishpatim”) literally means “decisions.” They specified how judges in Israel were to deal with issues that arose in the daily life of the Israelites.

1 “Now these are the ordinances which you are to set before them: