Exodus 23:2
Parallel Verses
New International Version
"Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd,

New Living Translation
"You must not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you are called to testify in a dispute, do not be swayed by the crowd to twist justice.

English Standard Version
You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice,

New American Standard Bible
"You shall not follow the masses in doing evil, nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after a multitude in order to pervert justice;

King James Bible
Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
You must not follow a crowd in wrongdoing. Do not testify in a lawsuit and go along with a crowd to pervert justice.

International Standard Version
You are not to follow the majority in doing wrong, and you are not to testify in a lawsuit so as to follow the majority and pervert justice.

NET Bible
"You must not follow a crowd in doing evil things; in a lawsuit you must not offer testimony that agrees with a crowd so as to pervert justice,

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Never follow a crowd in doing wrong. When you testify in court, don't side with the majority to pervert justice.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause hiding behind many to wrest judgment;

King James 2000 Bible
You shall not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shall you testify in a dispute to follow after a crowd to pervert judgment:

American King James Version
You shall not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shall you speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment:

American Standard Version
Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to turn aside after a multitude to wrest justice :

Douay-Rheims Bible
Thou shalt not follow the multitude to do evil: neither shalt thou yield in judgment, to the opinion of the most part, to stray from the truth.

Darby Bible Translation
Thou shalt not follow the multitude for evil; neither shalt thou answer in a cause, to go after the multitude to pervert [judgment].

English Revised Version
Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to turn aside after a multitude to wrest judgment:

Webster's Bible Translation
Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment:

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

Young's Literal Translation
Thou art not after many to evil, nor dost thou testify concerning a strife, to turn aside after many to cause others to turn aside;
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

23:1-9 In the law of Moses are very plain marks of sound moral feeling, and of true political wisdom. Every thing in it is suited to the desired and avowed object, the worship of one only God, and the separation of Israel from the pagan world. Neither parties, friends, witnesses, nor common opinions, must move us to lessen great faults, to aggravate small ones, excuse offenders, accuse the innocent, or misrepresent any thing.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 2. - Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil. Rather, "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to evil." A law alike for deed, for word, and for thought. The example of the many is to be shunned. "Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat." But "strait is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life; and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:13, 14). It is extraordinary that so many, even of professing Christians, are content to go with the many, notwithstanding the warnings against so doing, both of the law and of the Gospel. Neither shalt thou speak, etc. Rather, "Neither shalt thou bear witness in a cause to go aside after a multitude to put aside justice." The general precept is followed by a particular application of it. In judging a cause, if thou art one of the judges, thou shalt not simply go with the majority, if it he bent on injustice, but form thine own opinion and adhere to it.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil,.... The Targums of Jerusalem and Jonathan add, but to do good. As in private life, the examples of the many, who are generally the most wicked, are not to be followed, though they too often are; examples, and especially of the multitude, having great influence, and therefore to be guarded against; so in public courts of judicature, where there are many judges upon the bench, if one of them is sensible that the greater part go wrong in their judgment of a case, he ought not to follow them, or be influenced by them, but go according to the dictates of his own conscience, and the evidence of things as they appear to him, and neither agree to justify the wicked, nor condemn the righteous:

neither shall thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment; or "thou shalt not answer" (r); either in pleading in a cause, and taking the side of it the majority is on, and for that reason, though it is a manifest perversion of justice; or by giving a vote on that side, and on that account, whereby a wrong judgment passes; and this vote given either according to the number of witnesses, which ought not always to be the rule of judgment; for it is not the number of witnesses, but the nature, evidence, and circumstances of their testimony, that are to be regarded: Jarchi says, in judgments of life and death, they go after the mouth of one witness to absolve, and after the mouth of two to condemn: or according to the number of judges on the bench, and their superiority in years and knowledge; and so some render the word, "after the great ones" (s); for a judge is not to be influenced by names or numbers in giving his vote, but to judge according to the truth of things, as they appear to him: hence the Jews say, that the younger or puisne judges used to be asked their judgment first, that they might not be influenced by others superior to them; and a like method is taken with us in the trial of a peer, the younger lords always giving their opinion first: as to the number of votes by which a cause was carried in court, it is said (t), not as the decline to good, is the decline to evil; the decline to good, i.e. to absolution, is by the sentence of one (a majority of one); the decline to evil, i.e. to condemnation, is by the mouth or sentence of two, a majority of two.

(r) "neque respondeas", Tigurine version; "non respondebis", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Drusius. (s) "post potentiores", Junius & Tremellius; "post magnos", Lyra, Cartwright. (t) Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 1. sect. 6.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

2. decline—depart, deviate from the straight path of rectitude.

Exodus 23:2 Additional Commentaries
Context
Justice and Mercy
1"You shall not bear a false report; do not join your hand with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. 2"You shall not follow the masses in doing evil, nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after a multitude in order to pervert justice; 3nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his dispute.…
Cross References
Exodus 23:6
"Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits.

Deuteronomy 16:19
Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the innocent.

Deuteronomy 24:17
Do not deprive the foreigner or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge.

Job 31:34
because I so feared the crowd and so dreaded the contempt of the clans that I kept silent and would not go outside--

Proverbs 18:5
It is not good to be partial to the wicked and so deprive the innocent of justice.
Treasury of Scripture

You shall not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shall you speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment:

follow

Exodus 32:1-5 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the …

Genesis 6:12 And God looked on the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all …

Genesis 7:1 And the LORD said to Noah, Come you and all your house into the ark; …

Genesis 19:4,7-9 But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, …

Numbers 14:1-10 And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the …

Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil to you to serve the LORD, choose you this day …

1 Samuel 15:9 But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and …

1 Kings 19:10 And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: …

Job 31:34 Did I fear a great multitude, or did the contempt of families terrify …

Proverbs 1:10,11,15 My son, if sinners entice you, consent you not…

Proverbs 4:14 Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.

Matthew 27:24-26 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a …

Mark 15:15 And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas to …

Luke 23:23,24,51 And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified…

John 7:50,51 Nicodemus said to them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,)…

Acts 24:27 But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix' room: and Felix, …

Acts 25:9 But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and …

Romans 1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things …

Galatians 2:11-13 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, …

speak or answer to decline

Exodus 23:6,7 You shall not wrest the judgment of your poor in his cause…

Leviticus 19:15 You shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: you shall not respect …

Deuteronomy 1:17 You shall not respect persons in judgment; but you shall hear the …

Psalm 72:2 He shall judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with judgment.

Jeremiah 37:15,21 Why the princes were wroth with Jeremiah, and smote him, and put …

Jeremiah 38:5,6,9 Then Zedekiah the king said, Behold, he is in your hand: for the …

Ezekiel 9:9 Then said he to me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah …

Haggai 1:4 Is it time for you, O you, to dwell in your paneled houses, and this …

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