Exodus 22

This blog series is working its way through Exodus, chapter by chapter. However, it's worth remembering that the chapter divisions in our Bibles were not there in the original text - they were first added by an Englishman in the Middle Ages.

The chapters sometimes begin and end in odd places - for example, almost everyone agrees that the division between Genesis 1 and 2 comes a paragraph earlier than it should. And the first half of Exodus 22 seems to continue the theme of the previous chapter, while the second half is linked to the beginning of the next chapter.

The section which spans chapters 22 and 23 is all about protecting the vulnerable from injustice, and begins and ends by repeating the reason this should matter to God's people: You know what it feels like to be unfairly treated - remember how it was for you in Egypt (see 22:21 and 23:9). This section considers various sorts of vulnerable people (widows, orphans, poor people, foreigners). It also recognises that anyone in a minority is often vulnerable.

Thus we read in 23:2, Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong ... do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd. Most of us find it tempting to follow the crowd - it feels safe, and is the path of least resistance. It avoids having to think too hard - if everyone else is doing it, surely it must be OK. 

Some of us may like to think we are independently minded - but it takes a special person to stand up for what's right if there is personal risk involved. Yet all God's people are supposed to be special people: You are to be my holy people (22:31) - and 'holy' basically means 'special'.

When was the last time you stood out from the crowd in order to defend a vulnerable person or group of people?