Exodus 22:23
If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry;
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(23) If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me.—Rather, If thou afflict them sore, and they cry earnestly unto me. On the transgression of the laws against oppression by the later Israelites, see Jeremiah 5:28; Jeremiah 7:6; Jeremiah 22:3; Jeremiah 22:17; Zech. 7:20; Malachi 3:5; Matthew 23:14, &c. The sword of the Babylonians and the sword of the Romans avenged the sufferers, according to the prophecy of Exodus 22:24.

22; 1 - 31 Judicial laws. - The people of God should ever be ready to show mildness and mercy, according to the spirit of these laws. We must answer to God, not only for what we do maliciously, but for what we do heedlessly. Therefore, when we have done harm to our neighbour, we should make restitution, though not compelled by law. Let these scriptures lead our souls to remember, that if the grace of God has indeed appeared to us, then it has taught us, and enabled us so to conduct ourselves by its holy power, that denying ungodliness and wordly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, Titus 2:12. And the grace of God teaches us, that as the Lord is our portion, there is enough in him to satisfy all the desires of our souls.Afflict - A word including all cold and contemptuous treatment. See Deuteronomy 10:18. Contrast the blessing, Deuteronomy 14:29. 6. If fire break out, and catch in thorns—This refers to the common practice in the East of setting fire to the dry grass before the fall of the autumnal rains, which prevents the ravages of vermin, and is considered a good preparation of the ground for the next crop. The very parched state of the herbage and the long droughts of summer, make the kindling of a fire an operation often dangerous, and always requiring caution from its liability to spread rapidly.

stacks—or as it is rendered "shocks" (Jud 15:5; Job 5:26), means simply a bundle of loose sheaves.

No text from Poole on this verse.

If thou afflict them in any wise,..... In any way, or by any means whatever; their minds, by reproaches, censures, insults, and their bodies by stripes, false imprisonment, &c. and in their substance, by withholding from them what belongs to them, taking what they have, or cheating and defrauding them in any respect; or, "in afflicting afflict them" (e); afflict them much, and continue to do so:

and they cry at all unto me; in prayer, as the Targum of Jonathan; or, "in crying cry" (f); cry vehemently, or importunately, and with constancy, or rather, cry ever so little:

I will surely hear their cry; the voice of their prayer, as the same Targum; or, "in hearing I will hear" (g); will certainly take notice of their cries, and return an answer to them, by appearing on their side, and avenging their injuries; for God is the Father of the fatherless, and the husband of the widow, and the Judge of them both: the manner of speaking or form of expression is the same in all these clauses, the words being doubled.

(e) "affligendo afflixeris", Pagninus, Piscator, Ainsworth, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius. (f) "clamando clamaverit", Pagninus, Montanus, Piscator, Ainsworth. (g) "audiendo audiam", Pagninus, Montanus, Piscator, Ainsworth.

If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry;
23. If thou afflict him in any wise, and he cry at all unto me, I will surely hear his cry] so the Heb., making it probable that vv. 21b, 22 (which are moreover distinguished from the context by the plur. ye), 24 (which will naturally go with v. 22) are an addition to the original text. It is true, there are not unfrequent cases in poetry, when a class of persons has been spoken of, of their being referred to individually by a sing. pronoun (see G.-K. § 145m; and the passages collected in the writer’s Jeremiah, p. 362); but this is very unusual in prose: such passages as Genesis 2:19, Leviticus 21:7; Leviticus 25:31, Deuteronomy 7:3, Joshua 24:7, Jdg 12:5; Jdg 21:6, are hardly parallel to the present one.

cryunto me] cf. Deuteronomy 15:9; Deuteronomy 24:15; also James 5:4.

23, 24. If the Israelite does this, Jehovah will treat him with a just retribution.

Verse 23. - And they cry at all unto me Rather, "Surely, if they cry unto me." Compare Genesis 31:42. Exodus 22:23The Israelites were not to offer sacrifice to foreign deities; but a foreigner himself they were not only to tolerate, but were not to vex or oppress him, bearing in mind that they also had been foreigners in Egypt (cf. Exodus 23:9, and Leviticus 19:33-34). - Whilst the foreigner, as having no rights, is thus commended to the kindness of the people through their remembrance of what they themselves had experienced in Egypt, those members of the nation itself who were most in need of protection (viz., widows and orphans) are secured from humiliation by an assurance of the special care and watchfulness of Jehovah, under which such forsaken ones stand, inasmuch as Jehovah Himself would take their troubles upon Himself, and punish their oppressors with just retribution. ענּה to humiliate, includes not only unjust oppression, but every kind of cold and contemptuous treatment. The suffix in אתו (Exodus 22:23) refers to both אלמנה and יתום, according to the rule that when there are two or more subjects of different genders, the masculine is employed (Ges. 148, 2). The כּי before אם expresses a strong assurance: "yea, if he cries to Me, I will hearken to him" (see Ewald, 330b). "Killing with the sword" points to wars, in which men and fathers of families perish, and their wives and children are made widows and orphans.
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