Home / Commentary / Exodus / Exodus Chapter 23
The LORD explains statutes that specify how to deal justly with one’s neighbor. The Israelites were to treat all people justly regardless of their station in life: rich and poor, citizen and stranger, friend and enemy.
The LORD expands on the concept of the Sabbath to include a Sabbath year. The Israelites were to be very diligent in keeping the Sabbath day as well as the Sabbath year, and they were strongly warned to completely eliminate any conversation about other gods.
The LORD establishes three feasts—the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of the Harvest, and the Feast of the Ingathering. They were designed to give the people times to share the bounty of the LORD with Him, with one another, and with the poor.
The LORD promises an “angel” to guide Israel to the Promised Land and to defeat their enemies along the way if they would obey God’s voice.
The LORD promised that His people would see His blessings while living in the Promised Land. These blessings and successes, however, were contingent on the people’s unwavering obedience and faithfulness to the LORD.
The book of Exodus is the second book of the Torah (“law”). It continues the story of Genesis concerning the migration of the family of Jacob (the Israelites) to Egypt (Genesis 50). It describes the commissioning of Moses and Aaron as God’s representatives on earth to accomplish God’s deliverance of His people from slavery in Egypt and lead them to the Promised Land (the land of Canaan). It also relates the miraculous deliverance from Egypt beginning with the plagues on Egypt and the crossing of the Red Sea. It then describes the journey to Mount Sinai and the establishment of the Mosaic covenant with the Israelites. The last part of the book involves the specifications and building of the tabernacle – the place where the Lord Himself dwelt amongst His people.
In the book of Exodus, the focus shifts to the deliverance of God’s people.
Exodus 23 completes the communication of the Book of the Covenant to the Israelites that started in Ex. 20:22. It contains laws about justice and about celebrating the Sabbaths and feasts. The last section of the chapter is the epilogue to the Book of the Covenant, and spells out what the LORD promises to do on behalf of His covenant people (Israel) if they serve and obey Him.
Chapter 23 can be outlined as follows: