This chapter is another laws/rules chapter. Sorry. But this chapter also involves an angel preparing the way. This chapter includes justice & mercy laws, sabbath laws, 3 annual festivals, & an angel preparing the way. I hope y’all enjoy the read!
Let’s get into the laws/rules of justice & mercy:
Don’t spread false reports. Don’t help a “wicked” man man by being a bad witness.
Don’t follow the crowd in doing something wrong. When you give your testimony in a lawsuit, don’t go with the crowd. Don’t show favoritism to a poor man in their lawsuit.
If you come across your enemies livestock wandering around, be sure to take it back to your enemy. If you see the animal of someone who doesn’t like you fall down under its load, don’t leave it there. Be sure you help him with it.
Don’t deny justice to the poor, in their lawsuits. Have nothing to do with a false charge. Don’t put an innocent/honest person to death. God will NOT acquit the guilty.
Don’t accept a bribe. For a bribe blinds those who see & twists the words of the righteous.
Don’t oppress a foreigner. Because you yourselves know how it feels to a foreigner in Egypt.
Here’s the Sabbath laws/rules:
For 6 years, you’re to sow & harvest the crops. But during the 7th year, let the land lie unplowed & unused. Then the poor of the people may get food from it. The wild animals may eat what they leave. Do the same with your vineyards & olive groves. (There’s also a rule that when you harvest the crops to leave the corners of the field unharvested. So that the poor & animals could eat it.)
6 days you work. On the 7th day, don’t do ANY work whatsoever. Your animals, slaves, & foreigners living with you also.
Be careful to do everything God’s said. Don’t say the names of other gods. Don’t let them be heard on your lips.
Here’s about the 3 annual festivals:
3x a year you’re to celebrate a festival to God.
Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For 7 days eat bread made without yeast. Do this at the assigned time, in the month of Abib. Because you came out of Egypt in that month.
No one is to show up before God empty-handed. (Yep. That’s right.)
Celebrate the Feast of Harvest with the firsts of your crops that you sowed.
Celebrate the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year. When you get your crops out of the field.
3x a year all the men are to appear before God.
Don’t offer the blood of a sacrifice to God along with anything containing yeast.
The fat of God’s festival offerings must not be kept until morning. (Think of it like the manna the Israelites had in the desert to eat.)
Bring the best of the “first fruits” of your crops to the house of God. (At this point they didn’t have the Temple in Jerusalem yet. So the house of God, at this point in time, was a tent. Yep, a tent.)
Don’t cook a young goat in its mother’s milk. (This, I’ve always felt, was a totally random place to put this line.)
(This is the end of the laws/rules.)
God then says: “I’m gonna be sending an angel ahead of you to guard you. It’s going bring you to the place I’ve promised you. Pay attention to him & listen to what he says. Don’t fight him. He won’t forgive your rebellion. My name is in him. If you listen to him & do what he says EXACTLY, your enemies are done. My angel’s gonna go ahead & bring you into the Promised Land. I’ll wipe out those who live there. Don’t bow down before their gods. Don’t worship their gods. Don’t follow their practices. You’ve got to destroy them & break their sacred stones. Worship your God. I’ll bless your food & water. No one will miscarry or go barren. I’ll give y’all a full life span.”
God continues to say: “I’ll send my terror ahead of you. I’ll throw into confusion every nation y’all encounter. Your enemies will run away. I’ll send the hornet ahead of you to drive out the people groups that are in your way. I’ll not drive them out in a single year. Because the land is so desolate & the wild animals are too numerous for you. Little by little, they’ll be driven out. I’ll establish your borders from the Red/Reed Sea to the Sea of the Philistines (or now known as the Mediterranean.), & from the desert to the Euphrates. I’ll hand over the people who live in the land. You’ll drive them out. Don’t make a covenant with their gods or with the people living there already. Don’t let them live there anymore. Or they’ll make you sin against me. The worship of their gods will certainly be a snare for you.”