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Exodus 22 English Standard Version (ESV)

Laws About Social Justice

16 “If a man seduces a virgin who is not betrothed and lies with her, he shall give the bride-price for her and make her his wife. 17 If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the bride-price for virgins.

18 “You shall not permit a sorceress to live.

19 “Whoever lies with an animal shall be put to death.

20 “Whoever sacrifices to any god, other than the Lord alone, shall be devoted to destruction.

21 “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. 22 You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. 23 If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, 24 and my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.

25 “If you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor, you shall not be like a moneylender to him, and you shall not exact interest from him. 26 If ever you take your neighbor’s cloak in pledge, you shall return it to him before the sun goes down, 27 for that is his only covering, and it is his cloak for his body; in what else shall he sleep? And if he cries to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.

28 “You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people.

29 “You shall not delay to offer from the fullness of your harvest and from the outflow of your presses. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to me. 30 You shall do the same with your oxen and with your sheep: seven days it shall be with its mother; on the eighth day you shall give it to me.

31 “You shall be consecrated to me. Therefore you shall not eat any flesh that is torn by beasts in the field; you shall throw it to the dogs.



  • This chapter continues the detailed laws. It first deals with the law concerning property.  In this paragraph, Moses identified heinous sins.  Read this portion slowly as if you were in that time receiving this law.
  • The laws express a person’s responsibility toward others, those to whom they must show respect. To do wrong to a neighbor is to sin against God. The seduction is The sin of witchcraft was punishable by death, as was the unspeakable sin of bestiality and sacrificing unto any other god; these three sins were practiced in the heathen religions of surrounding nations, and Israel was to take no part in them.
  • There were laws of not charging interest when lending to the poor; as well as returning a pledge of their cloak which would be used as a blanket at All people must be treated with dignity and respect. God’s care and protection of the foreigner, needy widow and orphan are expressed throughout Scripture (cf. James 1:27). He hears the cry of those in need, and if they are mistreated, His wrath is stirred up.
  • According to the principle of this passage, how could you, your cell and your church design or adjust your social concern ministry in order to live more in line with God’s will for “holiness” and heart of compassion for the marginalized? What is one action that you could achieve in this week to allow you to live the life of a “holy people” (v31)?



O Holy God, You’ve not only made provision for my forgiveness, You’ve written Your laws upon my heart. Help me to surrender daily in obedience to You.  And help me to do _________________________________ so that I may live the life of a “holy people”.