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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on Exodus

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Commentary spanning earlier chapters

20.22–23.19 : The Covenant Collection, or Book of the Covenant

(see 24.7 ). This legislation begins and ends with commands regarding ritual ( 20.22–26; 23.10–19 ), so that worship surrounds social legislation. The laws presuppose a settled agricultural society ( 22.5–6 ). They reflect Israelite life in Canaan, when laws of the surrounding culture were borrowed and adapted to the covenant tradition. Most scholars see this as the earliest of the biblical law collections.

22.18–23.9 : Social and religious commands,

mostly in unconditional second‐person style, continuing 20.22–26 .

22.18–20 :

Capital offenses ( 21.12–17 ).

20 :

20.3; Deut 13.12–18 .

21–27 :

In a society based on land ownership, patrilineality, and patriarchy, God is the protector of the legally and economically defenseless: resident aliens, widows, fatherless (orphan), and poor.

21 :

Memory of the experience in Egypt creates empathy for aliens within Israel ( 23.9 ).

25 :

Cf. Lev 25.35–38 .

26–27 :

A lender can keep a garment as security only for the day, since a poor borrower needs it at night (Deut 24.12–13; Am 2.8 ).

28 :

Lev 24.15–16; 2 Sam 16.9; 1 Kings 2.8–9; 21.10 .

29–30 :

2.22–23n.; 13.1–2,11–16 , and notes. However, it is uncertain if the redemption of the firstborn is recognized here.

31 :

Flesh torn by beasts is regarded as unclean because it is not properly drained of blood (Lev 7.24; 17.15 ).

23.1–9 :

Equal justice for all.

1–3 :

20.16.

4–5 :

Justice extends even to helping your enemy (contrast Deut 22.1–4 ).

9 :

22.21 .

23.10–19 : A ritual calendar

( 34.18–24; Lev 23; Deut 16.1–17 ) concludes the Covenant Collection, so that social laws are framed by worship ( 20.22–26 ).

10–11 :

Fallow land (Lev 25.2–7 ). The land, the poor, and wild animals are all objects of concern.

12 :

Here the observance of the seventh day, not here called the sabbath, is based upon concern for the needs of exploitable humans and animals (cf. 20.11; 16.22–30n.; Deut 5.14–15 ).

13 :

20.3 .

14–17 :

Three annual pilgrimage festivals to a major sanctuary (1 Sam 1.3,21 ).

15 :

Unleavened bread, 12.14–20n.; 13.3–10 . Abib, 13.4n. Empty‐handed, without a sacrificial offering.

16 :

The festival of harvest, later called Shavuot, the festival of weeks, or Pentecost, celebrated in May–June at the time of the wheat harvest ( 19.1n.; Lev 23.15–21; Deut 16.9–12 ). The third festival, the festival of ingathering, later called Sukkot, the festival of booths (Lev 23.33–43; Deut 16.13–15 ), celebrated at the end of the year (autumn), according to the old agricultural calendar ( 12.2n. ), when fruit, grapes, and olives are harvested.

17 :

Women and young children are not obligated to make the pilgrimage. They do make the pilgrimage, however, in 1 Sam 1; 2.19; cf. Ex 10.9 .

18–19 :

34.25–26 . Fat, see Lev 3.3–4 . The ancient meaning of the prohibition against boiling a kid in its mother's milk (Deut 14.21 ) is disputed.

23.20–33 : The divine warrior will conquer the promised land

for Israel, and in return Israel is to keep separate from other peoples and their gods (Deut 7 ).

20–21 :

The angel represents God's own presence ( 14.19 ).

23,28 :

3.8n.

25–26 :

15.26 .

27–28 :

Terror (Gen 35.5; Josh 10.10 ) and pestilence (Deut 7.20 ) are frequent weapons of “holy war.”

31 :

Red Sea, the Gulf of Eilat/Aqaba, the eastern arm of the Red Sea; sea of the Philistines, the Mediterranean; the wilderness, the desert south of Israel. For these boundaries, cf. Gen 15.18; Deut 11.24 .

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