Exodus 22:28
You must not blaspheme God or curse the ruler of your people.
The Divine Right of Magistrates to RespectJ. W. Burn.Exodus 22:28
Jehovah's Proteges and RepresentativesJ. Orr Exodus 22:21-29

Here are two regulations, commanding not to be usurious in the lending of money to the poor, and not to retain the pledged garment over night. How forcibly they bring out the one crowning ill connected with poverty in the eyes of the world! The poor man is the man without money; and lack of money bars his way in only too many directions. Let him be ever so noble in character, ever so heroic, wise, and self-denying in action, it avails nothing. The poor wise man delivered the little city that was besieged by a great king; yet no man remembered that same poor man. These Israelites had gone out of Egypt with immense wealth, but probably even then it was very unequally distributed; and the tendency would be, as the tendency always is, for the inequality to become greater still. Hence in this regulation God was addressing those who from the inordinate feeling of desire which wealth inspires, would be peculiarly tempted to take advantage of the poor. God never shows any mercy to the rich man so far as his riches are concerned. Those riches are full of peril, and fuller of peril to their owner than to any one else. He who counselled, by his Son, to pluck out the right eye and cut off the right hand, is not likely to pay respect to a thing like wealth, even more external still. The chief matter in these regulations is how the poor and needy may be most advantaged, and whatever will do that most effectually is the thing to be done. Whether mere money be lost or gained is a matter of no consequence whatever.

I. THESE PROVISIONS WITH RESPECT TO LENDING OBVIOUSLY DO NOT EXCLUDE GIVING. "If thou lend money," etc. But God, in many instances, would be better pleased with giving than with lending. If only men were seeking with all their hearts to do his will, all these minute regulations would be unnecessary. The advantage of the poor, as we have just seen, was the main thing to be considered here. And it might be for the advantage of the receiver, and still more for the advantage of the giver in the highest sense of the word advantage, to give, hoping to receive nothing again. Just as money does untold harm when foolishly and wickedly spent, so when wisely spent it may do untold good. Lending may serve well, but giving may serve much better; and that is the wisest course which is judged to do the most good. Some would find it easier to give than to lend, being naturally generous, disposed to lavishness, shrinking from the risk of being thought stingy. And yet sometimes in giving they would be doing a very hurtful thing, for lending would be better.

II. Nor is there anything like A FORBIDDING OF THE LOAN OF MONEY FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES. If one man lends to another a certain sum of money with which to trade, it is plain that he acts lawfully in getting interest for the use of it. For if he were not lending money to another, he would be using it himself, and the interest represents his profit, which is the same whoever uses the money. The trade of the world, and therefore the good of the world would be greatly limited and hampered but for the use of borrowed capital. It may be that the man who has the capital has neither the disposition nor ability to use it. Let him then, upon a fair consideration, lend the capital to the man who can use it.

III. Chiefly we must strive to avoid THE TAKING SELFISH ADVANTAGE OF OUR NEIGHBOUR'S NECESSITIES. Rather we should rejoice to take advantage of these necessities to show beyond all dispute, that the love of God is indeed the ruling principle of our hearts. Man's extremity, it has often been said, is God's opportunity, and so it should be the Christian's opportunity. By timely aid, if we have it to bestow, let us strive to deliver the poor from the clutches of the usurer, and especially let us give our aid to what may be devised for the curing of poverty's disease altogether. Every alteration either in laws or customs which will tend to diminish Poverty - let it have our strenuous support. Bear in mind that whatever each man has beyond a certain moderate share of this world's goods can only come to him because others have less than reasonable comfort demands. We should ever be aiming by all methods that are reasonable, just, and practicable, to secure to each one neither poverty nor riches, but just that food which is convenient for him. God wishes every man to have his daily bread; and it is an awful thing that we by our selfishness do so much to make the question of daily bread the only one that many of our fellow-creatures have time or inclination to ask. It seems to take every hour and every energy to keep the wolf from the door. - Y.

The ruler of thy people.
I. THAT THE POWERS THAT BE ARE ORDAINED OF GOD (Romans 13:1-5; 1 Peter 2:13-15).

II. THAT MAGISTRATES MUST RE TREATED WITH RESPECT, both their persons and their decisions (Joshua 1:16-18).

1. Because they administer that which, when it is law at all, is based on the will and authority of God (Romans 13:2).

2. Because they administer that which is the bulwark of national stability and personal safety (Romans 13:3).

III. That magistrates must receive respect, IRRESPECTIVE OF THE EFFECT OF THEIR DECISION (Proverbs 17:26).

1. Because they are but the servants of the law.

2. Because if through human infirmities, justice should occasionally miscarry, it is better to suffer than to bring the law into disrepute (Proverbs 24:21, 22).

3. But if their decisions violate conscience, then Acts 4:19, 20; Acts 5:29.


1. Fear will warp the judgment.

2. Fear will divert the course of justice.

V. That magistrates are not only entitled to respect, BUT TO OUR SYMPATHY AND PRAYERS (Psalm 22:1, 2; Ezra 6:10; 1 Timothy 2:2).

VI. THAT DISRESPECT TO MAGISTRATES IS SEVERELY CONDEMNED (Jude 1:8). Let magistrates, all who are in authority and all who administer law whether civil or domestic, whether in law courts, homes, or houses of business, remember —

1. That they are responsible to God (2 Samuel 23:3). Let them see

(1)that they accurately know the law, and

(2)that their administration is conscientious and courageous (Psalm 72; 4:12-14).

2. That they are responsible to man. Upon their decisions depend the well-being of the citizen, and the stability of the realm.

3. That their title to sympathy and veneration is recognized by the people at large.

(J. W. Burn.)

Mount Sinai
Amongst, Blaspheme, Curse, Evil, Gods, Judges, Prince, Revile, Ruler
1. Of Theft
5. Of damage
7. Of trespasses
14. Of borrowing
16. Of fornication
18. Of witchcraft
19. Of bestiality
20. Of idolatry
21. Of strangers, widows, and fatherless
25. Of usury
26. Of pledges
28. Of reverence to magistrates
29. Of the first fruits
31. Of torn flesh

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Exodus 22:28

     4065   orderliness
     5509   rulers
     5550   speech, negative
     5800   blasphemy
     5827   curse
     8243   ethics, social
     8470   respect, for God

Excursus on Usury.
The famous canonist Van Espen defines usury thus: "Usura definitur lucrum ex mutuo exactum aut speratum;" [96] and then goes on to defend the proposition that, "Usury is forbidden by natural, by divine, and by human law. The first is proved thus. Natural law, as far as its first principles are concerned, is contained in the decalogue; but usury is prohibited in the decalogue, inasmuch as theft is prohibited; and this is the opinion of the Master of the Sentences, of St. Bonaventura, of St. Thomas
Philip Schaff—The Seven Ecumenical Councils

Parable of the Importunate Widow.
^C Luke XVIII. 1-8. ^c 1 And he spake a parable unto them to the end that they ought always to pray, and not to faint; 2 saying, There was in a city a judge, who feared not God, and regarded not man [an utterly abandoned character]: 3 and there was a widow in that city; and she came oft unto him, saying, Avenge me of [rather, Do justice to me as to] mine adversary. [In Scripture language widowhood is symbolic of defenselessness (Ex. xxii. 22-24; Deut. x. 18; xxvii. 19; Mal. iii. 5; Mark xii. 40),
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Ciii. Zacchæus. Parable of the Pounds. Journey to Jerusalem.
(Jericho.) ^C Luke XIX. 1-28. ^c 1 And he entered and was passing through Jericho. [This was about one week before the crucifixion. Jericho is about seven miles from the Jordan and about seventeen and a half from Jerusalem.] 2 And behold, a man called by name Zacchaeus; and he was a chief publican, and he was rich. [See p. 76. It is probable that Zacchæus was a sub-contractor under some Roman knight who had bought the privilege of collecting taxes at Jericho, or perhaps the privilege of all
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Epistle Xl. To Mauricius Augustus.
To Mauricius Augustus. Gregory to Mauricius, &c. The Piety of my Lords in their most serene commands, while set on refuting me on certain matters, in sparing me has by no means spared me. For by the use therein of the term simplicity they politely call me silly. It is true indeed that in Holy Scripture, when simplicity is spoken of in a good sense, it is often carefully associated with prudence and uprightness. Hence it is written of the blessed Job, The man was simple and upright (Job i. 1).
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

Appeal to the Christian Women of the South
BY A.E. GRIMKE. "Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not within thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place: but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this. And Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer:--and so will I go in unto the king,
Angelina Emily Grimke—An Appeal to the Christian Women of the South

Epistle xvii. To Felix, Bishop of Messana.
To Felix, Bishop of Messana. To our most reverend brother, the Bishop Felix, Gregory, servant of the servants of God [246] . Our Head, which is Christ, to this end has willed us to be His members, that through His large charity and faithfulness He might make us one body in Himself, to whom it befits us so to cling that, since without Him we can do nothing, through Him we may be enabled to be what we are called. From the citadel of the Head let nothing divide us, lest, if we refuse to be His members,
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

Feast of the Dedication. The Jews Attempt to Stone Jesus and He Retires to Peræa.
(Jerusalem and Beyond Jordan.) ^D John X. 22-42. ^d 22 And it was the feast of the dedication at Jerusalem: 23; it was winter; and Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch. [The feast of dedication was one of eight days' duration and began upon the 25th Chisleu, which, according to the calculation of M. Chevannes, fell upon the nineteenth or twentieth of December, a.d. 29. The feast was kept in honor of the renovation and purification of the temple in the year b.c. 164, after it had been desecrated
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

A Summary of the Christian Life. Of Self-Denial.
The divisions of the chapter are,--I. The rule which permits us not to go astray in the study of righteousness, requires two things, viz., that man, abandoning his own will, devote himself entirely to the service of God; whence it follows, that we must seek not our own things, but the things of God, sec. 1, 2. II. A description of this renovation or Christian life taken from the Epistle to Titus, and accurately explained under certain special heads, sec. 3 to end. 1. ALTHOUGH the Law of God contains
Archpriest John Iliytch Sergieff—On the Christian Life

Jesus' Last Public Discourse. Denunciation of Scribes and Pharisees.
(in the Court of the Temple. Tuesday, April 4, a.d. 30.) ^A Matt. XXIII. 1-39; ^B Mark XII. 38-40; ^C Luke XX. 45-47. ^a 1 Then spake Jesus ^b 38 And in his teaching ^c in the hearing of all the people he said unto ^a the multitudes, and to his disciples [he spoke in the most public manner], 2 saying, ^c 46 Beware of the scribes, ^a The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat: 3 all things whatsoever they bid you, these do and observe: but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Circumcision, Temple Service, and Naming of Jesus.
(the Temple at Jerusalem, b.c. 4) ^C Luke II. 21-39. ^c 21 And when eight days [Gen. xvii. 12] were fulfilled for circumcising him [The rite was doubtless performed by Joseph. By this rite Jesus was "made like unto his brethren" (Heb. ii. 16, 17); that is, he became a member of the covenant nation, and became a debtor to the law--Gal. v. 3] , his name was called JESUS [see Luke i. 59], which was so called by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. [Luke i. 31.] 22 And when the days of their
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Development of the Earlier Old Testament Laws
[Sidenote: First the principle, and then the detailed laws] If the canon of the New Testament had remained open as long as did that of the Old, there is little doubt that it also would have contained many laws, legal precedents, and ecclesiastical histories. From the writings of the Church Fathers and the records of the Catholic Church it is possible to conjecture what these in general would have been. The early history of Christianity illustrates the universal fact that the broad principles are
Charles Foster Kent—The Origin & Permanent Value of the Old Testament

The Blessing of Jacob Upon Judah. (Gen. Xlix. 8-10. )
Ver. 8. "Judah, thou, thy brethren shall praise thee; thy hand shall be on the neck of thine enemies; before thee shall bow down the sons of thy father. Ver. 9. A lion's whelp is Judah; from the prey, my son, thou goest up; he stoopeth down, he coucheth as a lion, and as a full-grown lion, who shall rouse him up? Ver. 10. The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come, and unto Him the people shall adhere." Thus does dying Jacob, in announcing
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

The Eighth Commandment
Thou shalt not steal.' Exod 20: 15. AS the holiness of God sets him against uncleanness, in the command Thou shalt not commit adultery;' so the justice of God sets him against rapine and robbery, in the command, Thou shalt not steal.' The thing forbidden in this commandment, is meddling with another man's property. The civil lawyers define furtum, stealth or theft to be the laying hands unjustly on that which is another's;' the invading another's right. I. The causes of theft. [1] The internal causes
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

The book of Exodus--so named in the Greek version from the march of Israel out of Egypt--opens upon a scene of oppression very different from the prosperity and triumph in which Genesis had closed. Israel is being cruelly crushed by the new dynasty which has arisen in Egypt (i.) and the story of the book is the story of her redemption. Ultimately it is Israel's God that is her redeemer, but He operates largely by human means; and the first step is the preparation of a deliverer, Moses, whose parentage,
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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