Shemot (Exodus): Mishpatim > Ch 23

G-d gives Moses laws prohibiting false witness testimony and following majority for evil

  • You shall not accept a false report; do not place your hand with a wicked person to be a false witness.
  • You shall not follow the majority for evil, and you shall not respond concerning a lawsuit to follow many to pervert [justice].

G-d gives Moses laws regarding fairness in court, and handling possessions of your enemies

  • Neither shall you glorify a poor man in his lawsuit.
  • If you come upon your enemy's bull or his stray donkey, you shall surely return it to him.
  • If you see your enemy's donkey lying under its burden would you refrain from helping him? You shall surely help along with him.
  • You shall not pervert the judgment of your poor man in his lawsuit.

G-d gives Moses laws prohibiting killing of innocent, acceptance of bribery and oppression of strangers

  • Distance yourself from a false matter; and do not kill a truly innocent person or one who has been declared innocent, for I will not vindicate a guilty person.
  • You shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe will blind the clear sighted and corrupt words that are right.
  • And you shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, since you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

G-d gives Moses laws dealing with sowing the land and gathering its produce. Do not work on Shabbat

  • Six years you may sow your land and gather in its produce. But in the seventh [year] you shall release it and abandon it; the poor of your people shall eat [it], and what they leave over, the beasts of the field shall eat. So shall you do to your vineyard [and] to your olive tree[s].
  • Six days you may do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest, in order that your ox and your donkey shall rest, and your maidservant's son and the stranger shall be refreshed.

Do not mention the name of the gods of others

  • Concerning all that I have said to you, you shall beware, and the name of the gods of others you shall not mention; it shall not be heard through your mouth.

G-d gives Moses laws dealing with the three festivals, their pilgrimage & sacrifices. Do not cook a kid in its mother’s milk.

  • Three times you shall slaughter sacrifices to Me during the year.
  • You shall observe the festival of unleavened bread; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread as I have commanded you, at the appointed time of the month of springtime, for then you left Egypt, and they shall not appear before Me empty handed.
  • And the festival of the harvest, the first fruits of your labors, which you will sow in the field, and the festival of the ingathering at the departure of the year, when you gather in [the products of] your labors from the field.
  • Three times during the year, all your males shall appear before the Master, the Lord.
  • You shall not sacrifice the blood of My sacrifice with leaven, and the fat of My festive sacrifice shall not stay overnight until morning.
  • The choicest of the first fruits of your soil you shall bring to the house of the Lord, your God. You shall not cook a kid in its mother's milk.

G-d sends an angel to bring the people into Israel and to destroy their foes, as long as the people obey the commandments

  • Behold, I am sending an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. Beware of him and obey him; do not rebel against him, for he will not forgive your transgression, for My Name is within him.
  • For if you hearken to his voice and do all that I say, I will hate your enemies and oppress your adversaries. For My angel will go before you, and bring you to
    • the Amorites
    • the Hittites
    • the Perizzites
    • the Canaanites
    • the Hivvites
    • the Jebusites
    • and I will destroy them.
  • You shall not prostrate yourself before their gods, and you shall not worship them, and you shall not follow their practices, but you shall tear them down and you shall utterly shatter their monuments. And you shall worship the Lord, your God, and He will bless your food and your drink, and I will remove illness from your midst. There will be no bereaved or barren woman in your land; I will fill the number of your days. I will send My fear before you, and I will confuse all the people among whom you shall come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you.
  • And I will send the tzir'ah before you, and it will drive out the Hivvites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites from before you. I will not drive them away from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the beasts of the field outnumber you. I will drive them out from before you little by little, until you have increased and can occupy the land.

G-d specifies the boundaries of Israel

  • And I will make your boundary from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert to the river, for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hands, and you shall drive them out from before you. You shall not form a covenant for them or for their gods. They shall not dwell in your land, lest they cause you to sin against Me, that you will worship their gods, which will be a snare for you.

Rashi Commentary

  • Neither shall you glorify You shall not bestow honor upon him [the destitute man] by deciding in his favor in his lawsuit, saying, “He is a poor man; I will decide in his favor and honor him.”
  • And the festival of the harvest That is the feast of Shavuoth.
  • and the festival of the ingathering That is the festival of Succoth.
  • You shall not cook a kid Heb. גְּדִי. A calf and a lamb are also included in [the term] גְּדִי, for גְּדִי is only an expression of a tender young animal.
  • their backs That they will flee from before you and turn their backs to you.