This chapter is about other various laws that the Israelite community of the Old Testament adhered to. This chapter covers a variety of laws/rules. These are like bylaws, like no jay-walking. I hope y’all enjoy the read!
God talks to Moses again. Letting Moses know more of the laws/rules they needed to know. But first, God told Moses to tell the Israelites to “be holy” because their God was holy. (You’ll find this also in: Leviticus 11:44-45; Leviticus 20:7; I Peter 1:16)
Let’s get into the laws/rules:
This 1st one is just like in the 10 Commandments: Each of you must respect your parents & observe the Sabbaths. (Exodus 20:4 & Exodus 20:12)
Don’t turn to idols or make gods of casted metal for yourselves. This also falls under the 10 Commandments of making graven images. (Exodus 20:1-2)
When you sacrifice a fellowship/peace offering to God, you’ve to sacrifice it the correct way. So that your sacrifice will be accepted on your behalf. It will be eaten on the day you sacrifice it or on the next day. Anything left over by the 3rd day HAD to be burned up. If anything is eaten on the 3rd day, it’s impure & the sacrifice wouldn’t be accepted. Whoever eats it will be held responsible because he (the priest) had desecrated what’s holy to God. That person (the priest) will be excommunicated.
When you reap your crops, don’t reap the very edges of your fields or gather the gleanings of your harvest. (Maybe someone in the comments can explain to me what “the gleanings” means! I’ll edit the post with the definition & give you credit! Thanks!) Don’t go over your vineyard a 2nd time or pick up the grapes that’ve fallen to the ground. This is for the poor & the foreigners.
Don’t steal. (Exodus 20:15)
Don’t lie. (Exodus 20:16. This 10 Commandment refers to bearing false witness. It’s a gray area. It depends on how you look at lying & bearing false witness.)
Don’t deceive one another.
Don’t swear falsely by my name. (In modern times, we are terrible with this one. How many times have you said, a day, “I swear to God…”) This will profane the name of the Israelite God.
Don’t defraud your neighbor or rob them.
Don’t hold back wages of a hired man overnight. (Pay the person the same day. This was back before our modern banking system. Shout-out to the Knights Templars!)
Don’t curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind. But fear your God. (This is a common sense one! C’mon. Don’t be a jerk to people with disabilities. Because God can just as easily make you deaf or blind…or worse.)
Don’t pervert justice. Don’t show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the “great,” but judge your neighbors fairly.
Don’t go gossiping (The text says “spreading slander”) among your people.
Don’t do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life.
Don’t hate your brother in your heart.
Rebuke your neighbor frankly so that you don’t share in his guilt. (This is the whole thing: You knew about it but didn’t say anything to them!)
Don’t seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people. But love your neighbor as yourself. (I’m sure that you’ve hear this a million times. This phase is found multiple places: Matthew 5:43, 19:19, & 22:39; Luke 10:27; Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14; & James 2:8. This is also known as “The Golden Rule.”)
Don’t mate different kinds of animals.
Don’t plant your field with 2 different kinds of seeds, in the same field.
Don’t wear clothing woven with 2 kinds of material. (Sorry, no cotton/polyester blends!)
If a man sleeps with a woman who’s a slave, & this slave girl is engaged to another man, and this slave girl hasn’t been ransomed (We’ll be getting into that later.) or given her freedom, there must be “due” punishment. (Equal payment, pretty much.) The man & slave girl aren’t to be put to death, because she hasn’t been freed. The man, however, HAS to bring a ram to the entrance of the Tent (of Meeting) for a guilt offering to God.
When you enter the land & plant any kind of fruit tree, you’ve got to regard its fruit as forbidden for 3 years. In the 4th year, all its fruit will be holy, an offering of praise to God. In the tree’s 5th year, you can eat the fruit. In this way, their harvest was to be increased.
Don’t eat any meat with blood still in it. (Sorry y’all, no rare meats!!!)
Don’t practice divination (No Ouija boards, no tarot cards, no reading tea leaves, etc.) or sorcery (No magic, no spell casting, etc.).
Don’t cut the hair at the sides of head. (Hence, you see super Orthodox Jews with the curly locks on each side of their heads.) Or clip off the edges of their beards.
Don’t cut your bodies for the dead. (No ritual scarification due to mourning.) Or put tattoo “marks” on yourselves.
Don’t degrade your daughters by making them prostitutes. If you do, your land will turn to prostitution & be filled with wickedness. (This probably harkens out of the Sodom & Gomorrah days.)
Observe my (God’s) Sabbaths & have reverence for my sanctuary. (Exodus 20:8)
Don’t turn to mediums or seek out “spiritists,” for you’ll be defiled by them.
Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly. Revere your God. (See, the ancient Jewish community took care of their elderly.)
When a foreigner/alien lives with you in your land, don’t mistreat them. The foreigners living in your land must be treated as one of you (the Israelites). Love them as yourself, because you were once foreigners/aliens in Egypt.
Don’t use dishonest standards when measuring lengths, weights, or quantities. Use honest scales & honest weights, an honest ephah (a dry measurement), & an honest hin (a liquid measurement).
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