Risks

How would the law and arts advance
If all did as the ones before?
Let there be risks amid the dance
And voyages to distant shores.
~Day Williams

Joshua

Joshua
As for my house,
We’ll serve the Lord,
And in due time
Reap sure rewards.

~Day Williams

EXODUS CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE


1 The LORD said: “Don’t spread harmful rumors, and

Don’t give false testimony that would help

A criminal. 2 You always have to tell

The truth in court, no matter whether others

Speak falsely and obstruct the way of justice.

3 Don’t treat the poor with special favor just

Because they’re poor, 4 and if you find an ox

Or donkey that has wandered off, take it

Back where it should be, even if the man

Who owns it is your enemy, 5 and if

A donkey’s overloaded and falls down,

Do what you can to help out, even if

The owner doesn’t like you. 6 Make sure that

The poor are given equal justice in

The courts, 7 and don=t charge anybody falsely

Or sentence someone innocent to death.

I won=t forgive you if you do. 8 Do not

Take bribes, for bribes blind judges. Justice is

Twisted by bribes. 9 Don’t mistreat foreigners,

For you were foreigners in Egypt, and

You know what it is like. 10 The LORD said: “Plant

And harvest crops for six years, 11 but allow

The land to rest the seventh year. The poor

Shall eat what they want from your fields and vineyards

And olive trees that year, and when they have

All they want out of your fields, leave the rest

For the wild animals. 12 You are to work

On the first six days of the week, but rest

And take it easy on the seventh day.

This law is not for you alone, but for

Your oxen, slaves, and donkeys, as well as

For any foreigners among you. 13 Make

Certain that you obey all I have said.

Don’t pray to other gods or say their names.”

14 The LORD said: “Celebrate three festivals

Each year to honor me. 15 You’ll celebrate

The Unleavened Bread Feast by eating bread

Made with no yeast, as I’ve commanded. Do

This at the proper time within the month

Of Abib, for it is the month when you

Left Egypt; and make certain each man brings

The proper offerings. 16 Each spring when you

Begin to harvest your wheat, celebrate

The Harvest Festival, and celebrate

The Shelters Festival each autumn when

You pick your fruit. 17 Your men must come to these

Three festivals each year to worship me.

And when you sacrifice an animal

To me, 18 don’t offer bread with yeast. Make sure

The animal’s fat is burned that same day.

19 Each year bring the best part of your first harvest

Into the place of worship. Do not boil

A young goat in its mother’s milk.” 20 God said:

“I’ll send an angel to protect and lead

You in the land I have prepared for you.

21 Obey all that the angel says, because

I’m giving him complete authority,

And he won’t tolerate rebellion. 22 If

You faithfully obey him, I will be

A savage enemy of all your foes.

23 My angel will direct you to the land

Of Amorites and Hittites, Perizzites

And Canaanites, the Jebusites and Hivites,

And I will wipe them out. 24 Don’t worship their

Own gods or imitate their customs. But

Instead, destroy their idols; shatter their

Stone images, 25 and worship only me,

The LORD your God. I will bless you with plenty

Of food and water and I’ll keep you strong.

26 Your women will give birth to healthy children,

And everyone will live a long life. 27 I

Will terrify those nations and will make

Your enemies so muddled that they’ll run

From you. 28 I’ll make the Hivites, Canaanites,

And Hittites panic as you come near, 29 but

I won’t do all this in the first year, for

The land would grow poor and wild animals

Would run amok. 30 Instead, I will force out

Your adversaries bit by bit and give

Your nation time to grow in strength enough

To overtake the land. 31 I’ll see your borders

Reach from the Red Sea to the Euphrates

River and from the Mediterranean

Sea to the desert: I will let you beat

The natives, and you’ll force them from the land,

32  But do not make agreements with them or

Their gods. 33 Don’t let them stay with your land:

They’ll trick you into sin and make you care

About their gods and that will be a snare.”

(Rendered in blank verse by Day Williams.)