Home > Content Index > Books of the Bible > Exodus > Not following the crowd

What does Exodus 23:2 teach us about not following the crowd?

not following the crowd
Question: "What does Exodus 23:2 teach us about not following the crowd?"

In the context of many laws comprising the Mosaic Covenant (often called the Mosaic Law), God instructs Israel that they should not follow the crowd in doing evil (Exodus 23:2a). He adds that the people should not change their testimony to follow after the crowd in perverting justice (Exodus 23:2b). Popular opinion is generally not God’s opinion, and He warns people against following the wisdom of the crowd.

Paul contrasts the wisdom of God with the wisdom of the age, recognizing that people do not come to know God through the wisdom of the crowd or the wisdom of the world (1 Corinthians 1:20–21). God didn’t choose many that the world would consider wise, mighty, or noble (1 Corinthians 1:26). Instead, He chose those who were not esteemed by the word so that they would boast in God and not in themselves (1 Corinthians 1:27–29). Similarly, in his letter to the Colossians, Paul warns against being taken captive by popular philosophies, traditions, and elementary principles that are not of Christ (Colossians 2:8).

Solomon discusses this kind of contrast in the context of “under the sun” thinking versus “beyond the sun” thinking. He explains how under the sun there is nothing of any lasting meaning, and how the pursuits of life are fleeting and ultimately empty (for example, see Ecclesiastes 1:14). On the other hand, when one is pursuing the basic functions of life in recognition of God, there is joy and fulfillment (Ecclesiastes 2:4; 12:13). Jesus was not silent on this contrast, either. He describes that there is a broad way taken by many that leads to destruction; on the other hand, there is a narrow way that few take, and it leads to life (Matthew 7:13–14).

The challenge for us is that we are creatures who prefer the approval of those around us. Peer pressure is a powerful thing, but the Bible shows us the importance of not following the crowd, but rather seeking to follow what is right in the eyes of God. As Paul put it, we should not be conformed to the world system; instead, we should be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1–2) through what God has communicated in His Word. Following the crowds will get us in trouble. Peer pressure is such a temptation for people that, even as part of God’s law for Israel, revealed through Moses, God warned the people not to be pressured to follow the crowd into wrongdoing.

Recommended Resource: Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers Holman Old Testament Commentary by Glen Martin

More insights from your Bible study - Get Started with Logos Bible Software for Free!

Related Topics:

What happened to the Ark of the Covenant?

What was the significance of the commands against mixing different things in Deuteronomy 22:9–11?

What is the difference between laws, commands, commandments, decrees, and statutes?

What is the location of the real Mount Sinai?

What is the Shekinah glory?

Return to:

Questions about Exodus

What does Exodus 23:2 teach us about not following the crowd?

Share this page on:

Find Out How to...

Statement of Faith
The Gospel
Crucial Questions
Content Index
Top 20 Questions

Question of the Week

Preferred Bible Version:


Subscribe to our Question of the Week

Get our Questions of the Week delivered right to your inbox!