Exodus 23:25
And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.
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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. Exodus 23:25Relation of Jehovah to Israel. - The declaration of the rights conferred by Jehovah upon His people is closed by promises, through which, on the one hand, God insured to the nation the gifts and benefits involved in their rights, and, on the other hand, sought to promote that willingness and love which were indispensable to the fulfilment of the duties incumbent upon every individual in consequence of the rights conferred upon them. These promises secured to the people not only the protection and help of God during their journey through the desert, and in the conquest of Canaan, but also preservation and prosperity when they had taken possession of the land.

Exodus 23:20-27

Jehovah would send an angel before them, who should guard them on the way from injury and destruction, and bring them to the place prepared for them, i.e., to Canaan. The name of Jehovah was in this angel (Exodus 23:21), that is to say, Jehovah revealed Himself in him; and hence he is called in Exodus 33:15-16, the face of Jehovah, because the essential nature of Jehovah was manifested in him. This angel was not a created spirit, therefore, but the manifestation of Jehovah Himself, who went before them in the pillar of cloud and fire, to guide and to defend them (Exodus 13:21). But because it was Jehovah who was guiding His people in the person of the angel, He demanded unconditional obedience (Exodus 23:21), and if they provoked Him (תּמּר for תּמר, see Exodus 13:18) by disobedience, He would not pardon their transgression; but if they followed Him and hearkened to His voice, He would be an enemy to their enemies, and an adversary to their adversaries (Exodus 23:22). And when the angel of the Lord had brought them to the Canaanites and exterminated the latter, Israel was still to yield the same obedience, by not serving the gods of the Canaanites, or doing after their works, i.e., by not making any idolatrous images, but destroying them (these works), and smiting to pieces the pillars of their idolatrous worship (מצבת does not mean statues erected as idols, but memorial stones or columns dedicated to idols: see my Comm. on 1 Kings 14:23), and serving Jehovah alone. Then would He bless them in the land with bountiful provision, health, fruitfulness, and length of life (Exodus 23:23-26). "Bread and water" are named, as being the provisions which are indispensable to the maintenance of life, as in Isaiah 3:1; Isaiah 30:20; Isaiah 33:16. The taking away of "sickness" (cf. Exodus 15:26) implied the removal of everything that could endanger life. The absence of anything that miscarried, or was barren, insured the continuance and increase of the nation; and the promise that their days should be fulfilled, i.e., that they should not be liable to a premature death (cf. Isaiah 65:20), was a pledge of their well-being.

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