Verses of Exodus 23


Exodus 23:20 Commentary - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)


Exo 23:20-22. Behold, I send an angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not: for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him. But, if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.

IT is but too common for men to cast the blame of their own negligence on God. But they who labour so much to exculpate themselves now, will one day be silent; and God will finally be justified in every sentence that he shall pass. His kindness to the church of old may shew us what his conduct is towards us. And they who are thus guided, warned, and encouraged, must, if they perish, ascribe their condemnation to themselves alone. The words before us contain,


The work and office of Christ—

Christ is here called an angel or messenger—
[He is often called by this name in the Holy Scriptures [Note: He is the angel that was in the pillar and the cloud, Exo 14:19. That angel was Jehovah, Exo 13:21. That Jehovah was Christ, 1Co 10:9. See also Mal 3:1.]. Nor does he disdain to assume it himself [Note: Joh 12:49.]. In his essential nature indeed he is equal with the Father. But in his mediatorial capacity he sustains the office of a servant.]

As the angel of the covenant, he leads and keeps his people—
[He is represented as a leader and commander, like Joshua, his type [Note: Isa 55:4.]. He went before them in the wilderness in the pillar and the cloud. And still, though invisibly, guides them in their way to heaven [Note: Psa 25:9; Psa 32:8.].]

Nor does he leave them till he brings them safely to glory—
[He did not forsake the Israelites, till he had accomplished all his promises [Note: Jos 23:14.]. Having “prepared the land for them,” he preserved them for it. Thus has he “prepared mansions for us” also [Note: Joh 14:2.] ; and will surely bring us to the full possession of them [Note: 1Pe 1:4-5.].]

But as this office of Christ implies a correspondent duty in us, God suggests,


A caution against neglecting him—

We are much in danger of displeasing him—
[As our guide, he expects implicit obedience. Nor can we rebel against him without “provoking” his indignation [Note: Isa 63:10.]. Hence we need continual circumspection [Note: 3.].]

The consequence of displeasing him will be very terrible—
[Doubtless to penitents he is full of mercy and compassion. But to impenitent offenders he will manifest his wrath [Note: Psa 7:11-13.]. Nor will he suffer any to continue in their sins with impunity [Note: Eze 24:13-14.].]

His power and dignity are a certain pledge to us that he will avenge the insults that are offered him—
[By “the name of God” we understand not his authority only, but his very nature [Note: Joh 14:10-11; Joh 10:30.]. And this union with the Father is a pledge to us, that he will act as becomes the divine character. Nor will any consideration of mercy ever tempt him again to sacrifice the honour of the Deity to the interests of man.]

It is not however by terror only that God would persuade us; for he adds,


An encouragement to obey him—

Obedience is in some sense the condition of God’s favour—
[We know that there is nothing meritorious in man’s obedience. Yet is there an inseparable connexion between that and the divine favour. Nor is it a partial obedience only that he requires at our hands. It must be earnest, unwearied, uniform, and unreserved.]
And to those who yield him this obedience he will shew himself an active friend, and an almighty protector—
[His favour consists not in a mere inactive complacency. It will manifest itself in a constant and powerful interposition on their behalf [Note: 2Ch 32:8; Isa 49:25.]. He will not fail to secure them the victory over all their enemies.]


Those who disregard the voice of this divine Messenger—

[From what is spoken of his mercy you are ready to think him destitute of justice. And from the depth of his condescension you conclude he will not vindicate his own honour. But where God most fully proclaims his mercy he declares his justice also [Note: Exo 34:7.]. Make not him then your enemy who came from heaven to save you. Consider what means he has used to guide you to the promised land. Consider what great things he would do for you, if you would obey his voice. Consider what certain and terrible destruction your rejection of his mercy will bring upon you [Note: Heb 12:25.]. And instantly surrender up yourselves to his direction and government.]


Those who, though they submit to his government, are doubtful of success—

[The Israelites, notwithstanding all the miracles they had seen, were afraid they should not finally attain the object of their desires. Thus amongst ourselves, many tremble lest their expectations should never be realized. But is not God able to beat down your enemies before you? Or will he forget the promise he has so often renewed? If he be incensed against you, it is not owing to unfaithfulness in him, but to instability in you [Note: Jer 2:17.]. Only be vigilant to obey his will, and to follow him fully: and you need not doubt but that he will preserve you unto his heavenly kingdom [Note: 2Ti 4:18.].]


Those who are following him with cheerfulness to the heavenly land—

[Blessed be God, there are some of you like-minded with Joshua and Caleb [Note: Num 14:24; Num 32:12.]. And are not you living monuments of the power and grace of God? Have you not on many occasions proved his readiness to pardon sin? And do you not daily experience his paternal care and protection? Go on then with increasing vigilance and an assured hope. Know that all the power and perfections of God are engaged for you: and that “having guided you by his counsel, he will finally bring you to glory.”]

Verses of Exodus 23


Consult other comments:

Exodus 23:20 - Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Exodus 23:20 - Joseph Benson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Exodus 23:20 - Calvin's Complete Commentary

Exodus 23:20 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Exodus 23:20 - Adam Clarke's Commentary and Critical Notes on the Bible

Exodus 23:20 - Commentary on the Holy Bible by Thomas Coke

Exodus 23:20 - Companion Bible Notes, Appendices and Graphics

Exodus 23:20 - Expository Notes of Dr. Constable (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 23:20 - Expositors Bible Commentary

Exodus 23:20 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 23:20 - Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Exodus 23:20 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Exodus 23:20 - Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 23:20 - Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary

Exodus 23:20 - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 23:20 - Biblical Illustrator Edited by Joseph S. Exell

Exodus 23:20 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Exodus 23:20 - Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

Exodus 23:20 - The Popular Commentary on the Bible by Kretzmann

Exodus 23:20 - The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

Exodus 23:20 - Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Exodus 23:20 - Commentary Series on the Bible by Peter Pett

Exodus 23:20 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

Exodus 23:20 - The Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary Edited by Joseph S. Exell

Exodus 23:20 - Scofield Reference Bible Notes

Exodus 23:20 - John Trapp's Complete Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 23:20 - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Exodus 23:20 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)