21 “Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt. 22 “Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. 23 If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. 24 My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless. 25 “If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not treat it like a business deal; charge no interest. 26 If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, return it by sunset, 27 because that cloak is the only covering your neighbor has. What else can they sleep in? When they cry out to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.
“Do not spread false reports. Do not help a guilty person by being a malicious witness. 2 “Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd, 3 and do not show favoritism to a poor person in a lawsuit. 4 “If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it. 5 If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it. 6 “Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits. 7 Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty. 8 “Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the innocent. 9 “Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.
These passages from Exodus contain God’s law regarding those who are weak. These include the widow, orphan, the foreigner, and the poor. Each of these, if they are not cared for, are vulnerable to exploitation. The exploitation of the vulnerable is inconsistent with God’s character, which is expressed in his law. God makes provision for these people. In this text, note two things.
First is that God hears and sees. God sees what happens to the weak and takes notice of them. God hears their cries. A classic example is that God heard the cry of his children while they were enslaved in Egypt. In the same way, God hears the cry and sees the condition of the widow, foreigner, orphan, and the poor. If you feel weak and have been exploited, be comforted that God sees you and hears you.
Second, God will make things right. God judges those who exploit the weak and marginalized. God judgment is expressed in his statement of anger (Ex 22:24) and that he will not acquit the guilty (Ex 23:7). If you have ever been wronged, exploited, or experienced injustice, God will vindicate you and judge the guilty.
1. In what ways have you been marginalized? What are some emotions that you felt?
2. How does it comfort you to know that God hears and sees you? Consider the numerous Bible passages that speak about God’s comfort.