Multirude no Prevailing Argument
Exodus 23:2
You shall not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shall you speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment:

The Lord that made us knoweth our mould and how easily we are persuaded to taste of the forbidden fruit, and how prone to be carried headlong to error, and therefore gives us a caveat, and sets a bar and stop in our way, that we run not to evil because we see others run or lead the way before us. And we shall do well by the way to take notice of our own corruption, as the Lord doth, that in the same we may see the necessity of this precept; for first, nature corrupt is as attractive of evil as the adamant naturally draws iron; just as a spark to tinder or gunpowder. Secondly, evil is diffusive of itself, and such an acquaintance there is between it and us, as the plague cannot so easily infect our bodies as sin doth poison and suddenly infect our souls. Thirdly, our nature is social, and not as the brutes; we readily thrust into company, and therefore being naturally enemies to solitariness, we are ready to follow if any one lead us the way; but if many or a multitude (as here) then we run, and for haste never stay to reason the case, neither in what way nor upon what errand. And, therefore, the Lord would have His people to fence themselves with a rule of prudence, that they be not misled by the crooked steps of others and their own perverse inclinations.

1. One reason is in the text: because a multitude may err and run to evil, and may decline to overthrow truth.

2. Multitudes cannot make that to be good which is evil in itself, neither in doctrine nor manners; well they may make an evil worse, but none better.

3. Multitudes cannot keep off the revenge of evil; one evil mate may help his fellow into sin, but cannot help him out of punishment,

4. Multitudes and most men are commonly the worst. The way to hell is broad and the gate wide that leads to destruction, and many go in thereat (Matthew 7:13). "Hell enlargeth itself (Isaiah 5:14)." Tophet is large and wide (Exodus 30:33). And therefore it cannot be the safest way which the most walk in. Contrarily, the fewest are commonly the best; pearls are rare; many hundred false prophets to one poor Micaiah; God's part in the world was ever but a gleaning and a small remnant; and the apostle (1 John 5:19) pronounceth in the name of believers, "We know we are of God, and the whole world lieth in unrighteousness."

5. It is better to walk the right way alone than to wander out of the way with company; better go to heaven alone, or with a few, than with multitudes to hell.Come we now to application of this point.

1. If it be so dangerous to follow a multitude to evil, what a fearful thing it is to lead a multitude to evil! as the magistrate that enacts and commands evil; like Jeroboam that made all Israel to sin. Or the minister that shall be weak as another man by whose example many are corrupted, through loose speeches, unseemly behaviours, libertine courses, fellowship with the abject, opposing the persons and strict courses of such as fear God.

2. See how desperately many men frame their courses while they live as if to do as the most do, were a good and warrantable plea. Because the most are irreligious, without the fear of God, and without conscience: so are they. The most scorn to attend God's ordinance: so do they. Commit a felony, riot, robbery, or rebellion with a multitude, and try if in thy trial before the judge it will be a good plea to say, "I was led, and followed the multitude." What then would you have us to do? In matters of faith build upon a surer foundation than upon numbers and multitudes, whom it was never safe to follow; nor was it ever a good argument either of the truth or true Church. In Christ's time the multitude followed the Scribes and Pharisees, but not Christ nor His apostles; and all the multitude cried, "Crucify Him." And how uncertain a rule this is the father tells us who observed, that in synods and councils the greater side doth oftentimes overcome the better; and another who saith, that in all Divine cases we must not number voices, but weigh them. What sure ground can be expected from the rude multitude, than which nothing is more fickle and uncertain? But we have a surer word, "Being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner-stone" (Ephesians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 3:11). And we say as Hushai to Absolom (2 Samuel 16:18) "Nay, but whom the Lord and this people, and all the men of Israel chose, his will I be, and with him will I abide."

(T. Taylor, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment:

WEB: "You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; neither shall you testify in court to side with a multitude to pervert justice;

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