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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



EXODUS 23

 

CHAPTER XXIII.

 

Ver. 1.  Lie, by countenancing calumny.  Judges must never do any thing which they know to be unjust, whatever the witnesses may assert.  The person who speaks against his neighbour, would injure him, if he had an opportunity.  Quintel. --- Heb. "Thou shalt not raise a false report."  H.

 

Ver. 3.  Favour.  Mercy would then be contrary to justice.  Ps. lxxi. 2.  S. Aug. q. 88.

 

Ver. 8.  Bribes, which naturally induce the receiver to shew favour, and therefore cannot be too carefully avoided.  The Athenians put to death those who bribed the judges, and required the latter to restore ten-fold.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  The hearts.  You have experienced what sorrow and misery they feel.  M.

 

Ver. 11.  Year.  Thus God was pleased to teach them to place entire confidence in him, and to compassionate the distress of the poor.  Most people suppose, that the sabbatic year commenced in autumn; as otherwise the land would have remained without any harvest two years.  This law began to be observed the 7th year after Josue crossed the Jordan.  Jerusalem was thrice besieged during the sabbatic years.  Jer. xxxiv. 8.  1 Mac. vi. 51.  See Josep. Ant. xii. 14. xiv. 28.  God blessed the 6th year, so that it produced as much as three.  Lev. xxv. 21.  C. --- On the feast of tabernacles, (in September) at the beginning of the 7th year, Deuteronomy was to be read aloud to all the people, the Hebrew slaves might obtain their liberty, and if a person could not restore what he had borrowed, it was to be remitted for ever.  Deut. xv. and xxxi. 10.  T.

 

Ver. 13.  Name.  Hence it is supposed, the Jews had given abusive titles to the idols; as they call Beelzebub the god-fly, &c.  No respect was to be shewn to them.  C.

 

Ver. 14.  Three.  Women are not here mentioned; but they are, Deut. xxxi. 12.  Children under 13 were exempted from the obligation, according to the Caraites.  Men from 20 to 60, not lawfully hindered, were bound to appear.  Levit. xxvii. 3.

 

Ver. 15.  Empty.  But shalt offer something in sacrifice, and for the support of the Levites, freely.  Deut. xvi. 10.  At the Passover, the first-fruits of barley were to be offered, as those of wheat would be ready at Pentecost.  The third feast was that of tabernacles, at the conclusion of the civil year.  Presents were to be made to God, in testimony of their submission to him; as they were to the kings of the east, by their subjects.  Tavernier, Perse. iv. 16.  See 1 K. x. 27.  1 Par. xviii. 2. ---  A sixtieth part of the fruits, at least, was carried to the temple.  They consisted of wheat, barley, grapes, figs, apricots, olives, and dates.  The king himself carried his basket, and when the solemn procession arrived at the temple, the Levites began to sing Ps. xxix. I will extol thee, O Lord, &c.  After which, the people repeated the words of Deut. xxvi. 3.; and having given their baskets to the priests, (v. 4,) recited parts of the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th verses.  C. --- God.  Here the Sept. add, "For when I shall have cast the Gentiles from before thy face, and extended thy limits."

 

Ver. 18.  Thou, &c.  This has a reference to the feast of the Passover, v. 15, (Onkelos) as well as the following verse.  C.

 

Ver. 19.  Dam.  The paschal victim must not be so young as to be still suckled.  The Sam. subjoins, "Because that would be like immolating an animal found dead, and the God of Jacob hates it."  C. --- Some imagine that this law alludes to a superstitious custom of the pagans, (Spencer Rit. ii. 8,) or it forbids eating animals while they are, as it were, all milk, not eight days old.  Rivet.

 

Ver. 20.  Angel; my only son.  Philo. --- S. Paul says, they tempted Jesus Christ, (1 Cor. x. 9,) who is styled, the angel of the covenant.  Mal. iii. 1.  Some apply this to Josue, others to S. Michael, who, from the cloud, conducted the army of Israel.  C.

 

Ver. 21.  Forgive.  Dimittet, as well as the Heb. and Sept., may signify, "he will not abandon."  H. --- My name.  Moses, Josue, and still more our Saviour, acted in the name and by the authority of God the Father.

 

Ver. 25.  Waters, or all things necessary for your sustenance.

 

Ver. 26.  Fruitless.  Heb. may also be, "miscarrying." --- Days.  An untimely death was a judgment of God on the wicked, though sometimes he chooses to draw his elect quickly out of this dangerous world.  Wisd. iv. 11.

 

Ver. 27.  Destroy.  Heb. "fill with consternation."

 

Ver. 28.  Hornets, or wasps.  Wisd. xii. 8.  Josue (xxiv. 12,) assures us this was verified.  Thus scorpions forced the Ethiopians to abandon their country, and flies and wasps drove away the Mysians and Phaselides.  See Bochart iv. 13.  The latter people were of PhÅ“nician extraction, and probably fled before Josue.  Most of the Chanaanites withdrew into Africa; some perhaps into America.  C.

 

Ver. 29.  Beasts.  Herod the great killed many in hunting.  Josep. Bel. i. 16.   Two bears rushed upon the children, 4 K. ii. 24.  How much would they have increased in all the countries from the Euphrates to the Nile, had they been destitute of any other inhabitants but the Hebrews, (C.) many of whom perished in the desert!

 

Ver. 33.  Scandal.  If you have any society with these nations, it will turn to your ruin, which was but too literally manifested afterwards.

 

 








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