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Justice for All


You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with the wicked to act as a malicious witness. 2You shall not follow a majority in wrongdoing; when you bear witness in a lawsuit, you shall not side with the majority so as to pervert justice; 3nor shall you be partial to the poor in a lawsuit.

4 When you come upon your enemy’s ox or donkey going astray, you shall bring it back.

5 When you see the donkey of one who hates you lying under its burden and you would hold back from setting it free, you must help to set it free.

6 You shall not pervert the justice due to your poor in their lawsuits. 7Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent and those in the right, for I will not acquit the guilty. 8You shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the officials, and subverts the cause of those who are in the right.

9 You shall not oppress a resident alien; you know the heart of an alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.

Sabbatical Year and Sabbath

10 For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield; 11but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the wild animals may eat. You shall do the same with your vineyard, and with your olive orchard.

12 Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest, so that your ox and your donkey may have relief, and your homeborn slave and the resident alien may be refreshed. 13Be attentive to all that I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips.

The Annual Festivals

14 Three times in the year you shall hold a festival for me. 15You shall observe the festival of unleavened bread; as I commanded you, you shall eat unleavened bread for seven days at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt.

No one shall appear before me empty-handed.

16 You shall observe the festival of harvest, of the first fruits of your labor, of what you sow in the field. You shall observe the festival of ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in from the field the fruit of your labor. 17Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord G od.

18 You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with anything leavened, or let the fat of my festival remain until the morning.

19 The choicest of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of the L ord your God.

You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.

The Conquest of Canaan Promised

20 I am going to send an angel in front of you, to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. 21Be attentive to him and listen to his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression; for my name is in him.

22 But if you listen attentively to his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and a foe to your foes.

23 When my angel goes in front of you, and brings you to the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, and I blot them out, 24you shall not bow down to their gods, or worship them, or follow their practices, but you shall utterly demolish them and break their pillars in pieces. 25You shall worship the L ord your God, and I will bless your bread and your water; and I will take sickness away from among you. 26No one shall miscarry or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days. 27I will send my terror in front of you, and will throw into confusion all the people against whom you shall come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you. 28And I will send the pestilence in front of you, which shall drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites from before you. 29I will not drive them out from before you in one year, or the land would become desolate and the wild animals would multiply against you. 30Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land. 31I will set your borders from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the Euphrates; for I will hand over to you the inhabitants of the land, and you shall drive them out before you. 32You shall make no covenant with them and their gods. 33They shall not live in your land, or they will make you sin against me; for if you worship their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.

20. Behold, I send an Angel before thee. God here reminds the Israelites that their wellbeing is so connected with the keeping of the Law, that, by neglecting it, they would sorely suffer. For He says that He will be their leader by the hand of an angel, which was a token of His fatherly love for them; but, on the other hand, He threatens that they would not be unpunished if they should despise such great mercy and follow their own lusts, because they will not escape the sight of the angel whom He had appointed to be their guardian. Almost all the Hebrew rabbins,267267     For this opinion, Corn. a Lapide quotes Justin. contra Tryphon. fol. 58; and Eusebius, lib. 4, Demonstr. Evang. 28, and Raban. with whom many others agree, too hastily think that this is spoken of Joshua, but the statements, which we shall consider more fully just beyond, by no means are reconcilable with his person. But their mistake is more than sufficiently refuted by this, first of all, that if we understand it of Joshua, the people would have been without the angel as their leader as long as they wandered in the desert; and, besides, it was afterwards said to Moses, “Mine Angel shall go before thee,” (Exodus 32:34;) and again, “And I will send an Angel before thee,” (Exodus 33:2.) Moses, too, elsewhere enlarges on this act of God’s goodness, that He should have led forth His people by the hand of an angel. (Numbers 20:16.) But what need is there of a long discussion, since already mention has been so often made of the angel of their deliverance? This point ought now to be deemed established, that there is no reference here to a mortal man; and what we have already said should be remembered, that no common angel is designated, but the chief of all angels, who has always been also the Head of the Church. In which matter the authority of Paul should be sufficient for us, when he admonishes the Corinthians not to tempt Christ as their fathers tempted Him in the desert. (1 Corinthians 10:9.) We gather this, too, from the magnificent attribute which Moses immediately afterwards assigns to Him, that “the name of God should be in him.” I deem this to be of great importance, although it is generally passed over lightly. But let us consider it particularly. When God declares that He will send His angel “to keep them in the way,” He makes a demand upon them for their willing obedience, for it would be too base of them to set at nought, or to forget Him whose paternal care towards them they experience. But in the next verse, He seeks by terror to arouse them from their listlessness, where He commands them to beware of His presence, since He would take vengeance on their transgressions; 268268     In the Fr. the following paragraphs are omitted. wherein, also, there is a delicate allusion to be observed in the ambiguous meaning of the word employed. For, since שמר, shamar, in Hebrew signifies “to guard,” after He has said that an angel shall be their guardian, He warns them, on the other hand, that they should guard themselves. Herein the Angel is exalted above the rank of a human being, since He is appointed to be their judge, if the Israelites should offend in any respect; not in the way that judgment is deputed to the Prophets with reference to their doctrine, the power of which is supreme, but because nothing shall be hidden from Him. For Scripture assigns to God alone as His peculiar attribute, that we should walk before His face. What follows is to the same effect, “provoke him not,” which is everywhere spoken of God. But, as I have just said, this seems to me to be of most importance, that the name of God was to be in Him, or in the midst of Him, which is equivalent to this, that in Him shall reside my majesty and glory; and, therefore, He shall possess both the knowledge of hearts, as well as dominion, and the power of judgment. Besides, we have already said that there is no absurdity in designating Christ by the name of the Angel, because He was not yet the Incarnate Mediator, but as often as He appeared to the ancient people He gave an indication of His future mission.

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