Exodus 23:25
And you shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless your bread, and your water; and I will take sickness away from the middle of you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) He shall bless thy bread, and thy water—i.e., all the food, whether meat or drink, on which they subsisted. It is God’s blessing which makes food healthful to us.

Take sickness away.—Half the sicknesses from which men suffer are directly caused by sin, and would disappear if men led godly, righteous, and sober lives. Others, as plague and pestilence, are scourges sent by God to punish those who have offended Him. If Israel had walked in God’s ways, He would have preserved them from sicknesses of all kinds by a miraculous interposition. (Comp. Deuteronomy 7:15.)

Exodus 23:25-26. He shall bless thy bread and thy water — And God’s blessing will make bread and water more refreshing and nourishing than a feast of fat things, and wines on the lees, without that blessing. And I will take sickness away — Either prevent it or remove it. Thy land shall not be visited with epidemical diseases, which are very dreadful, and sometimes have laid countries waste. The number of thy days I will fulfil — And they shall not be cut off in the midst by untimely deaths. Thus hath godliness the promise of the life that now is.23:20-33 It is here promised that they should be guided and kept in their way through the wilderness to the land of promise, Behold, I send an angel before thee, mine angel. The precept joined with this promise is, that they be obedient to this angel whom God would send before them. Christ is the Angel of Jehovah; this is plainly taught by St. Paul, 1Co 10:9. They should have a comfortable settlement in the land of Canaan. How reasonable are the conditions of this promise; that they should serve the only true God; not the gods of the nations, which are no gods at all. How rich are the particulars of this promise! The comfort of their food, the continuance of their health, the increase of their wealth, the prolonging their lives to old age. Thus hath godliness the promise of the life that now is. It is promised that they should subdue their enemies. Hosts of hornets made way for the hosts of Israel; such mean creatures can God use for chastising his people's enemies. In real kindness to the church, its enemies are subdued by little and little; thus we are kept on our guard, and in continual dependence on God. Corruptions are driven out of the hearts of God's people, not all at once, but by little and little. The precept with this promise is, that they should not make friendship with idolaters. Those that would keep from bad courses, must keep from bad company. It is dangerous to live in a bad neighbourhood; others' sins will be our snares. Our greatest danger is from those who would make us sin against God.I will cut them off - The national existence of the Canaanites was indeed to be "utterly" destroyed, every trace of their idolatries was to be blotted out, no social contact was to be held with them while they served other gods, nor were alliances of any kind to be formed with them. (See Deuteronomy 7; Deuteronomy 12:1-4, Deuteronomy 12:29-31.) But it is alike contrary to the spirit of the divine law, and to the facts bearing on the subject scattered in the history, to suppose that any obstacle was put in the way of well disposed individuals of the denounced nations who left their sins and were willing to join the service of Yahweh. The spiritual blessings of the covenant were always open to those who sincerely and earnestly desired to possess them. See Exodus 20:10; Leviticus 19:34; Leviticus 24:22. 21. my name is in him—This angel is frequently called Jehovah and Elohim, that is, God. Thy bread and thy water, i.e. thy meat and thy drink, that they shall be able to nourish thee, and give thee comfort, which without my blessing they will never be able to do. And ye shall serve the Lord your God,.... And him only, who had brought them out of Egypt, and done so many great and good things for them at the Red sea, and now in the wilderness; by which he appeared to be the true Jehovah, the one and only living God, and to be their God in covenant, who had promised them much, and had performed it; and therefore was in a special and peculiar manner their God, and they were under the highest obligations to serve and worship him in the way and manner he directed them to:

and he shall bless thy bread and thy water; and make them nourishing and refreshing to them, and preserve them thereby in health, as well as prosper and succeed them, and increase their worldly substance:

and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee; the stroke of bitterness, or the bitter stroke, as the Targum of Jonathan, any grievous disease, which is bitter and distressing; signifying that there should be none among them, but that they should be healthful, and free from distempers and diseases.

And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy {o} bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.

(o) That is, all things necessary for this present life.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
25a. The positive complement of v. 24: Jehovah is to be the object of Israel’s worship.

25b, 26. The blessings which will follow upon Israel’s obedience: abundance of food, freedom from sickness, fertility of flocks and herds, and long life.

25b. and he shall bless] read with LXX., Vulg., Di., &c., and I will bless (cf. the following, ‘and I will take’); originally (if vv. 23–25a be a later insertion) the continuation of v. 22 end.

take sickness away, &c.] Cf. Exodus 15:26; and the reminiscence of the present passage in Deuteronomy 7:15 (as of v. 26a in Deuteronomy 7:14 b).

26a. Cf. Deuteronomy 7:14 b; also (expressed positively) the blessings promised in Deuteronomy 28:11; Deuteronomy 30:9, and Leviticus 26:9 (H).

26b. I will fulfil] Life will not come to an end prematurely, either for the individual, or for the nation (cf. Exodus 20:12).Verse 25. - He shall bless thy bread and thy water. If the Israelites were exact in their obedience, and destroyed the idols, and served God only, then he promised to bless "their bread and their water" - the food, i.e., whether meat or drink, on which they subsisted, and to give them vigorous health, free from sickness of any kind, which he pledged himself to take away from the midst of them. Though Christians have no such special pledge, there is, no doubt, that virtuous and godly living would greatly conduce to health, and take away half the sicknesses from which men suffer, even at the present day. The next command in Exodus 23:19 has reference to the feast of Harvest, or feast of Weeks. In "the first-fruits of thy land" there is an unmistakeable allusion to "the first-fruits of thy labours" in Exodus 23:16. It is true the words, "the first of the first-fruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the Lord thy God," are so general in their character, that we can hardly restrict them to the wave-loaves to be offered as first-fruits at the feast of Weeks, but must interpret them as referring to all the first-fruits, which they had already been commanded not to delay to offer (Exodus 22:29), and the presentation of which is minutely prescribed in Numbers 18:12-13, and Deuteronomy 26:2-11, - including therefore the sheaf of barley to be offered in the second day of the feast of unleavened bread (Leviticus 23:9.). At the same time the reference to the feast of Weeks is certainly to be retained, inasmuch as this feast was an express admonition to Israel, to offer the first of the fruits of the Lord. In the expression בּכּוּרי ראשׁית, the latter might be understood as explanatory of the former and in apposition to it, since they are both of them applied to the first-fruits of the soil (vid., Deuteronomy 26:2, Deuteronomy 26:10, and Numbers 18:13). But as ראשׁית could hardly need any explanation in this connection, the partitive sense is to be preferred; though it is difficult to decide whether "the first of the first-fruits" signifies the first selection from the fruits that had grown, ripened, and been gathered first-that is to say, not merely of the entire harvest, but of every separate production of the field and soil, according to the rendering of the lxx ἀπαρχηὰς τῶν πρωτογεννημάτων τῆς γῆς, - or whether the word ראשׁית is used figuratively, and signifies the best of the first-fruits. There is no force in the objection offered to the former view, that "in no other case in which the offering of first-fruits generally is spoken of, is one particular portion represented as holy to Jehovah, but the first-fruits themselves are that portion of the entire harvest which was holy to Jehovah." For, apart from Numbers 18:12, where a different rendering is sometimes given to ראשׁית, the expression מראשׁית in Deuteronomy 26:2 shows unmistakeably that only a portion of the first of all the fruit of the ground had to be offered to the Lord. On the other hand, this view is considerably strengthened by the fact, that whilst בּכּוּר, בּכּוּרים signify those fruits which ripened first, i.e., earliest, ראשׁית is used to denote the ἀπαρχή, the first portion or first selection from the whole, not only in Deuteronomy 26:2, Deuteronomy 26:10, but also in Leviticus 23:10, and most probably in Numbers 18:12 as well. - Now if these directions do not refer either exclusively or specially to the loaves of first-fruits of the feast of Weeks, the opinion which has prevailed from the time of Abarbanel to that of Knobel, that the following command, "Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk," refers to the feast of Ingathering, is deprived of its principal support. And any such allusion is rendered very questionable by the fact, that in Deuteronomy 14:21, where this command is repeated, it is appended to the prohibition against eating the flesh of an animal that had been torn to pieces. Very different explanations have been given to the command. In the Targum, Mishnah, etc., it is regarded as a general prohibition against eating flesh prepared with milk. Luther and others suppose it to refer to the cooking of the kid, before it has been weaned from its mother's milk. But the actual reference is to the cooking of a kid in the milk of its own mother, as indicating a contempt of the relation which God has established and sanctified between parent and young, and thus subverting the divine ordinances. As kids were a very favourite food (Genesis 27:9, Genesis 27:14; Judges 6:19; Judges 13:15; 1 Samuel 16:20), it is very likely that by way of improving the flavour they were sometimes cooked in milk. According to Aben Ezra and Abarbanel, this was a custom adopted by the Ishmaelites; and at the present day the Arabs are in the habit of cooking lamb in sour milk. A restriction is placed upon this custom in the prohibition before us, but there is no intention to prevent the introduction of a superstitious usage customary at the sacrificial meals of other nations, which Spencer and Knobel have sought to establish as at all events probable, though without any definite historical proofs, and for the most part on the strength of far-fetched analogies.
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