The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Exodus 23

Exo 23:1

Exo 23: "The righteousness of Yahweh is revealed in the Law of Moses. In all its wondrous ritual, and righteous decrees, the Law shows the way in which the divine character and life can be developed in the individual. This ch provides [1] Seven laws of social ethics (vv 1-9), [2] Six laws of religious worship concerning the sabbaths and feasts (vv 10-19), and [3] Four laws of conquest (vv 20-33). The commandments shows the way in which a division must be observed in actions. The personal laws in the Book of the Covenant terminate with the remarkable instruction of v 19, which is thrice repeated in the Law (v 19; Exo 24:16; Deu 14:21). The prohibition not to boil a kid in his mother's milk seems to constitute a warning against allowing that which is designed for life to become the means of death. The over-indulgence of children can cause that, and has been sad cause of many lives lost for the kingdom (Num 14:3-31), seen in Eli's sons (1Sa 3:13), Adonijah (1Ki 1:6). Compare Pro 19:18; 23:13-14; 29:15; 1Ti 3:4. The final v in Exo 23 draws attention to Yahweh's constant concern for unstable flesh. That generation in the wilderness failed under test (Num 11:13)" (GEM).

Exo 23:4

YOUR ENEMY'S: Not merely "your brother's", as in Mat 22:4. "Brother", as used by Jesus, sig all men. These phrases are added because of man's inherent readiness to exclude some from fraternal relation.

Exo 23:19

DO NOT COOK A YOUNG GOAT IN ITS MOTHER'S MILK: Found in Exo 23:19; 34:26 and Deu 14:21. Five possibilities: (1) The mother would suffer from still producing milk, with no offspring to nurse. (2) The Canaanites worshiped milk as coming from certain goddesses (ie, keep away from worship of idols of land). (3) A prohibition against imitating the superstitious rites of the Egyptians, who, at the end of their harvest, cooked a kid in its mother's milk and sprinkled the broth as a magical charm on their gardens and fields, to render them more productive the following season (JFB). (4) The suckling should not be killed so young, cut off in its prime. (Christ the sacrifice suffered in the midst of his own people.) (5) Do not "destroy" your child with the "milk" of excessive kindness/coddling!

Exo 23:20

ANGEL: "Malak" = God's messenger or agent. Angel of God's presence (Isa 63:9). Immortal, void of fleshly lusts: Exo 32:34; 33:2.

Exo 23:21

MY NAME IS IN HIM: All the angel's speech is directed by God's power: Rev 19:13; Jdg 2:1-4; Joh 5:43; 8:47; Gen 28:12.

Exo 23:28

HORNET: Hieroglyphic sym of the united dynasty of upper and lower Egypt. Thutmose III had undertaken 3 campaigns against Canaan. He extorted much wealth, leaving the land in a weakened condition (Arch Expl 25; Dawn 58:5).

Exo 23:31

THE SEA OF THE PHILISTINES: The only time the Mediterranean Sea is so called.

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