Exodus 20 – 21

Exodus 20

Then the Husband of Israel, to whom Israel had pledged obedience, THUNDERED his basic will from the mount to his collective bride!

The Eternal is the God who has brought us out of spiritual bondage to Satan and sin!

Exodus 20:1 And God spake all these words, saying,  20:2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

We are not to allow anything to come between us and our God; no, not family, or church organizations, or elders, or friends; nor money nor any temptation to do any sin, nor fear of any threat against us!

20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 20:6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

The true spiritual Ekklesia are those who follow the Lamb of God and live by EVERY WORD of GOD.  Calling organizations the “Church of God” when NO physical organization is the Church of God is a LIE and takes God’s name in vain!

20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 20:9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 20:10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [anyone that you are responsible for] is within thy gates: 20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

First and foremost we are to honour God our Father in heaven by enthusiastically learning and living by his every Word (Mat 4:4).  We are also to honour our physical parents and the elders in the faith the best we can, while always putting our Father in heaven above all else. 

20:13 Thou shalt not kill [shed innocent blood].

The word kill as used here refers to murder, the shedding of innocent blood.  Our authorities and governments are commanded to kill the wicked.

20:14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Adultery is sex of any type with a woman engaged or married to another man.  This does not specifically forbid fornication which is forbidden elsewhere in the statutes.

Spiritually adultery refers to exalting anyone or anything above the husband of our baptismal espousal by following them contrary to the Word of God. 

20:15 Thou shalt not steal.

We are to take nothing which belongs to others and which we have no right to take.  

20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

False witness can be outright lies or it can be taking points out of context to make them seem to mean something different than what they were intended to mean.  It can be subtle twists of the truth to deceive.  False witness is to be deceitful, to deceive about anything.

20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

Covet means to unlawfully desire.  If you want something belonging to another then offer to buy it lawfully and if the answer is no, then give it up and do not dwell on your desire which has become unlawful.

The people saw the awesomeness of God and greatly feared.

20:18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.

Then the people asked Moses to be their intercessor or mediator between them and God.

20:19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. 20:20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.

Moses approached God.

20:21 And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.

God tells Moses to command the people not to make idols of any thing, but to worship God alone.  He speaks of idols of gold and silver; and in our day many make idols of money and wealth or physical things and personal advantage, or we make idols of men, church leaders and corporate church organizations. 

An idol is ANYTHING that comes between us and God.

Today this world is full of idols and the Ekklesia is filled with the idolizing of men and corporate entities which they place above the whole Word of God!

20:22 And the LORD said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. 20:23 Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold.

Our spiritual altar is the Rock of our Salvation, even Jesus Christ the true Lamb of God!  The Stone, the Rock that is made without hands (Dan 2) which is the Chief Corner Stone!

Daniel 2:34   Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.

Ephesians 2:20   And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

Exodus 20:24 An altar of earth [stone] thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee. 20:25 And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone [signifying Jesus Christ the stone (Rock) of our salvation], thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.

20:26 Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.


Exodus 21

The foundations of a successful society are:

1.  Security of our person from harm  and security of our lives, 

2.  Security of our families,

3.  Security of our property,  and

4.  Security of our livelihood, or ability to make a living.

God’s judgments and statutes, many of which [such as divorce] were for a physical unconverted people to maintain peace and order among a hardhearted people; fulfill the foundational principles on which successful societies can be built. 

All of the commandments, laws, statutes, precepts and judgments of the Word of God have spiritual applications as well as physical applications; and EVERY WORD OF GOD is to be obeyed in both its physical and its spiritual aspects.

The Ten Commandments represent the whole law gelled down to the very basic principles of the nature of God. 

The Statutes define the commandments a little further, by explaining how we should keep the commandments under various circumstances.  The Statutes are also principles by which we may make other judgments; for example the issue of ” if an ox gore a person” is directly applicable to us if our dog or any other [owned] animal is not properly controlled and attacks a person.

Exodus 21:1 Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them.

In those days it was common to sell oneself to a period of service in payment for a debt.  This is a form of what we might call indentured servitude today, such as when an immigrant  sold himself for a certain number of years of servitude in exchange for passage and land in the new world from the big companies who had received crown land grants. 

This is about six years of maximum allowed service by males and the Land Sabbath year of release from all debt (Deu 15:1-3). 

21:2 If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. 21:3 If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him.

The following presents women servants who were bought by the master to be a wife for his male servant.   A maidservant is not to be released on the seventh year, because she is owned by the master.  This would be a powerful incentive for the male servant to remain with his master.

21:4 If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself.

The servant may make a personal decision to remain with his master. 

21:5 And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: 21:6 Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.


Many of these are cases where a family is very poor and deep in debt and a rich neighbour offers to pay off the debt if they will agree to give their daughter in marriage to him or his son etc. 

This is about concubinage where the lady is forced by circumstances into a relationship, as opposed to entering into a marriage of her own full free will.

The sale of a female was not an outright sale on the auction block but the giving to wife in exchange for debt relief or for a sum; and the woman is to be secure from being sold to others as chattel by the first master. 

21:7 And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do. 21:8 If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her.

If she is rejected by her husband, she may be redeemed by her father back to her own family [just like a divorcee would return a woman to her father’s house], but she may not be sold to another.

21:9 And if he have betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters.

If a man purchase a woman for his son; she shall be the purchaser’s daughter and he must treat her as such [as his daughter in law].

The purchased concubine or the wife of freewill are both considered to be legal wives because they have become one flesh with their husband; the term wife or concubine is only referring to the original circumstances of the marriage.

Neither divorce nor polygamy were intended by the Creator, but because the Mosaic Covenant was only physical and because of the hardness of their hearts, God allowed these things and made rules to soften the evil.  

21:10 If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.  21:11 And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.

The difference between manslaughter and willful murder.

21:12 He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death. 21:13 And if a man lie not in wait, but God deliver him into his hand; then I will appoint thee a place whither he shall flee. 21:14 But if a man come presumptuously upon his neighbour, to slay him with guile; thou shalt take him from mine altar, that he may die.

To strike one’s parents is an act worthy of death.   In the spiritual sense this is about eternal loyalty to God our Father in heaven and the penalty of death for any rebellion against HIM.

21:15 And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death.

Willful kidnapping is a crime meriting death.

21:16 And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.

To curse one’s parents is the same as cursing our Creator and merits death.

21:17 And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.

The following statute is to help people avoid jumping to conclusions about the cause of a death.  It states that if after a fight a person is well for several days, we are not to assume that a subsequent death was the result of the earlier fight.  This was given at a time when there were no methods of determining the cause of death [postmortems, autopsies] in such circumstances.

21:18 And if men strive together, and one smite another with a stone, or with his fist, and he die not, but keepeth his bed: 21:19 If he rise again, and walk abroad upon his staff, then shall he that smote him be quit: only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall cause him to be thoroughly healed.

Even servants are protected by the law.

21:20 And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished [with death].

The master of a servant is protected by the same law regarding the assumption of the cause of death just like anyone else.

21:21 Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money [the master has already lost the value of his servant].

The law concerning ACCIDENTAL abortion:  Deliberate abortion is murder since at the instant of the meeting of the living egg and the living sperm a completely new and living organism has been created.  For this reason the fertilization of several eggs outside of the body and then deliberately experimenting with them or killing the unwanted ones:  Is murder.

21:22 If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief [she recovers] follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

The term “mischief” refers to the injury or death of the woman.  Later the Rabbins reasoned that it would be better to pay the value of an eye than for a man to give up an eye.  This may seem wiser than God to the mind of man, but it removes the obstacle to abuse for a rich man and allows a rich man to maim others for a price of money. 

If God had wanted rich men to be allowed to perform such wickedness, God would have said so; instead God made the law applicable to all and make equal punishment for these things so that the potential victims would have strong protection.  

21:23 And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, 21:24 Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 21:25 Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

Servants are to go free if any physical harm is inflicted on them.  This law of mercy was thousands of years ahead of its time.  

21:26 And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye’s sake. 21:27 And if he smite out his manservant’s tooth, or his maidservant’s tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth’s sake.

If an animal kills a person it must also surely die.

21:28 If an ox gore a man or a woman, that they die: then the ox shall be surely stoned, and his flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall be quit.

If the owner of a known vicious animal does not take care to keep it under control, then that owner is responsible for the acts of that animal just as if he had committed murder himself.  Today this statute would be more common with vicious dogs than with an ox.   However the owner may redeem himself from the death penalty for the acts of his animals with money by paying compensation to the afflicted family.

21:29 But if the ox were wont to push with his horn in time past, and it hath been testified to his owner, and he hath not kept him in, but that he hath killed a man or a woman; the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death. 21:30 If there be laid on him a sum of money, then he shall give for the ransom of his life whatsoever is laid upon him.

The price of redemption is set at thirty shekels of silver and the death of the offending animal.

21:31 Whether he have gored a son, or have gored a daughter, according to this judgment shall it be done unto him. 21:32 If the ox shall push a manservant or a maidservant; he shall give unto their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.

We are to take great care to make all we do safe for others and if an accident should happen we are responsible and must make the loss good.

21:33 And if a man shall open a pit, or if a man shall dig a pit, and not cover it, and an ox or an ass fall therein; 21:34 The owner of the pit shall make it good, and give money unto the owner of them; and the dead beast shall be his.

The law if one animal should kill another.

21:35 And if one man’s ox hurt another’s, that he die; then they shall sell the live ox, and divide the money of it; and the dead ox also they shall divide. 21:36 Or if it be known that the ox hath used to push in time past, and his owner hath not kept him in; he shall surely pay ox for ox; and the dead shall be his own.


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