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Why is obscure Bible verse from Exodus trending on Twitter?
Rapper Pusha T, far left, has a song out that takes its name from a verse in Exodus.
May 24th, 2012
12:21 PM ET

Why is obscure Bible verse from Exodus trending on Twitter?

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - It’s not every day a Bible verse lights up social media, but a relatively obscure verse from the Hebrew Bible - what Christians call the Old Testament - was trending on Twitter worldwide Thursday.

The verse, Exodus 23:1, offers this admonition: “You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with the wicked to act as a malicious witness.” (New Revised Standard Version)

It comes in a section following Moses’ bringing the Ten Commandments down from Mount Sinai. "Exodus 23:1" also is the title of a new song from rapper Pusha T, which may explain why it’s trending.

In the song, Pusha T aims verbal barbs at someone who he says wronged him. Hip-hop websites have speculated that that someone is fellow rapper Drake.

“Beef is best served like steak/well done/get a gun in your face,” Pusha T raps in the song, which makes no mention of the Bible verse but which certainly channels its spirit.

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And the rapper cited the verse Thursday when he tweeted: "Do not spread false reports. Do not help a wicked man by being a malicious witness." That’s the New Living Translation of Exodus 23:1.

The Book of Exodus tells the story of the Israelites fleeing from bondage in Egypt, wandering in the desert in the years before they reach Israel. Exodus 23:1 comes not long after the story of God’s parting of the Red Sea so that the Israelites could escape, a tale that established Moses as a hero.

After Moses returns from Sinai and delivers the Ten Commandments, he goes on to explain God’s laws in greater detail. The laws dictate how the Israelites are to function as a society, regarding everything from property rights to the conduct of annual festivals.

Gallery: Bible verses and pop culture

“This verse is understood by the rabbis to mean two separate things,” Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld from Ohev Sholom, the National Synagogue in Washington, wrote in an e-mail to CNN, referring to Exodus 23:1.

“The great medieval commentator Rashi understands the first half of the verse to mean: ‘Don't accept a false report or malicious rumors about someone,’ ” the scholar said. “Other commentators say the first part of the verse means don't spread false rumors.

“The second part of the verse has a slightly different meaning. It means: ‘Don't convince another person to join with you and offer false testimony,’” Herzfeld wrote, noting that Jewish law requires two witnesses for testimony to be heard.

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O. Wesley Allen Jr., an associate professor of homiletics and worship at Kentucky's Lexington Theological Seminary, said that Exodus 23:1 is among several verses in which “God dictates to Moses instructions that in different ways unpack and expand upon elements of the (Ten Commandments).”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Bible • Music

soundoff (883 Responses)
  1. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    May 25, 2012 at 5:11 am |
    • Jesus

      ~Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!~

      May 29, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  2. Name*Loran

    Also means, God said, The cross the only way to him!
    Don't believe anything else! 🙂

    May 25, 2012 at 3:40 am |
  3. Exodus

    Thanks for the hype. This verse makes sense. If only everybody followed the advice

    "You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with the wicked to act as a malicious witness.”

    Yes, indeed!!

    May 24, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
  4. Tev

    GOOD MUSIC >>>YM

    May 24, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
  5. "Atheism is not healthy," "just sayin," and "pervert alert" are all the same poster

    --formerly known as herbie
    --also hides behind numerous other names on here
    --stinks up the place with his dull-witted and uncreative trolling
    --is a moron who truly does not understand that he is a moron
    --do not give this moron the attention he craves. it's bad for him and bad for us.
    Have a Great Day!

    May 24, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • just sayin

      Nice theory... Prove It. God bless

      May 25, 2012 at 5:07 am |
    • herbie

      There is no herbie.

      May 25, 2012 at 5:09 am |
    • just sayin

      You shall not spread a false report. God bless

      May 25, 2012 at 5:10 am |
  6. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    I wonder what HS is lacking in life. What would impel a woman to spend all her time on earth on some blog, posting spew no one regards as anything but laughable, while her earthly days dwindle to nothing?

    May 24, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      So, Tommie, Tom, I'm to believe that you are never on this site using multiple handles to spew your babble. I happen to be working at home while I pop in here once in a while to post. Yes, and I am in agreement with you ... the last week or so has been more time than anyone needs reading your baloney.

      May 24, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I don't give a ripe sh!t what you believe, you ninny. I don't post under any handle but this one. Too bad your enormous ego can't imagine that there are dozens who post here that think you're as big an idiot as ever walked the planet, honey.

      Suck on that.

      May 24, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      You trip yourself up every time you post under a phony handle Tommie, Tom. Not every non-believer is as crude as you. You own that hatred you created.

      May 24, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
  7. Jebus

    Praise be to me!

    May 24, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • nope

      Nope,
      Be cursed as the fool you are.

      May 24, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    May 24, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Jesus

      `Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      May 29, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  9. Rebel4Christ

    People who don't believe in God must really have an empty life!!!

    May 24, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • herbie must have a really empty life

      he cant stop his daily feeble trolling under 50 different names.

      May 24, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • herbie

      There is no herbie

      May 24, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • Jamie

      No more empty than any Christian,the only difference is that you silly church people are in severe denial about it.

      Though, I suppose the bliss that arises from ignorance can be misinterpreted as being "whole." I too experienced this for 18 years before I finally opened my eyes and realized it was nothing but a gigantic pyramid scheme/social order brainwashing facility.

      Religion is nothing but the pig tricking the horse into pulling the stones up the hill. You should probably read more; most intelligent people/non-theists (Basically synonyms) are avid readers.

      Now if i may make a reference; There are no gods or kings, only man.

      May 24, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Herbies who post here must get no s3x.

      May 24, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
  10. Muneef

    (You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with the wicked to act as a malicious witness.) it rather sounds like the present news media...?!

    May 24, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  11. Oki

    my verbal barbs is lvl 60, dominated.

    May 24, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
  12. DJR

    That's a crazy tidbit. To start with the foundation of the rapper is in the church, he knows Jesus. Secondly the WORD stirs the thought process. Well duh! The words are physical properties from GOD on how to set up and exist in a good society. How to survive as a community, nation world. Read the press releases .. were screwed!

    May 24, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
  13. capitalist

    If a personal God does exist, what would be the value of faith? - Joseph Campbell.

    May 24, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Don Camp

      In the Bible faith more often means not the belief in a fact or the belief that something is a fact but the commitment to that fact in action. To believe God exists is not belief in that sense. If I really believe God exists I will act accordingly.

      May 24, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  14. SilentBoy741

    Daniel 12:4
    "But thou, O Daniel, shut up".

    May 24, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  15. Jamie

    Christians need to stop capitalizing their pronouns. It's pretty silly.

    May 24, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Agapatos

      . . . so are a thousand other little acts of kindness and reverence. (Thank goodness for silliness.)

      May 24, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • chubby rain

      ...that are also done by people of other faith and people of no faith (making Christianity unnecessary at best)

      May 24, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
  16. Andrew

    G.O.O.D. Music

    May 24, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  17. El Duderino (if you're not into the whole brevity thing)

    Exodus 21:20-21: When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.

    May 24, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Agapatos

      . . . Not quite. The verse ends ". . . for the slave is his MONEY." (I'm not quite sure what this means, but one possible interpretation is that the loss of that much money and production-capability is already enough of a punishment, in itself, so that the Law doesn't need to tack on any extra punishment ). Remember, this part of Exodus is punishing acts of VIOLENCE, and presumably, if the master relented, and tried to save his slave (or at least to let the slave live) then it was a passing act of violence (caused by passion and emotion), not an enduring act of violence (caused by the Will) which must be punished and corrected.

      May 24, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Heathens of today, instead of paying their debts (slavery in biblical times), run to the courts to declare bankruptcy. Changes for the better they whine, as righteous folks have to pay their way through life.

      May 24, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Don Camp

      In the first instance, it is a capital crime. The punishment is death. (See verse 12) In the second instance, it is what we would call manslaughter. The punishment if the loss of the person who belongs to the master.

      May 24, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • sam

      'Heathens' is a such a pretty word.

      May 24, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      sam, yes, heathens hate the word fool so they changed it to atheist.

      May 24, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      I like heretic....

      May 25, 2012 at 1:00 am |
  18. rb

    God doesn't exist and he didn't speak to Moses. Moses was having hallucinations, during a stressful period. If somebody claimed such things today, we'd think they are nuts. Now this communication that Moses imagined is used for people to hate and exclude others and for Republicans to win elections.

    May 24, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • If God Exists...then what?

      Obama. Colin Powell, etc. Believe in God.

      ?

      May 24, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • momoya

      @ If God Exists..

      Do you think you might provide a little more substance?. You are hinting at points rather than making them.

      May 24, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Paul

      I think, rb, that you must have hit your head on a rock today. 😉

      ALL of America's Founding Fathers–all brilliant and educated men–believed in God. Most of them were Christians. Were they "nuts"? If so, how is it that America ever got off the ground with a bunch of "nuts" as Founders?

      Oh, and one other thing: you can't say "God doesn't exist" unless you have all knowledge. Are you claiming omnipotence?

      May 24, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Paul

      ^^^^correction: "Are you claiming OMNISCIENCE?"

      May 24, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Agapatos

      When God inspires a writer it's usually by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, not by God the Son's direct face-to-face communication with the prophet. The only time that God (the Son) actually speaks to one of the human authors of scripture is when He wants that person to PROPHECY/PROCLAIM something in His name, and then it is additionally God the Son (a.k.a. "the Eternal World") who is directly dictating to the prophet, not just the Holy Spirit shadowing and inspiring the writer to write about this or that topic. So you have two separate cases, one for producing ordinary scriptures (when the Holy Spirit inspires the human author, so that the writing ultimately ends up as something both divine and human, a product of both authors), and the other for producing direct prophecies and messages to be delivered to people (and then it is a product of just the divine author, not the human author, since the human is merely a vessel to take dictation and pass the message on to others). So I think you're assuming that most scriptures are authored in the latter extraordinary way–i.e. prophetic dictation–when really most scriptures are authored in the former–quiet and insipirational–way.

      May 24, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • chubby rain

      How do you know someone is divinely influenced? Why are christianity's prophets right while those of islam, hinduism, and every other religion wrong? Your distinctions are meaningless too. You can't tell if an author is influenced or controlled (and if he is controlled, what happened to that God gave us free will thing. And even if he's being influenced, why doesn't God influence everyone to be good?)

      May 24, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      As usual, the atheists have to teach the Babble to the beliebers. The 10 Commandments were lifted from the Egyuptian Book of the Dead, when they were writing the National Story. The Exudus was a myth. They KNOW there were already Semitic settlements in Cannan BEFORE the supposed date of the Exodus.

      from the Book of the Dead :

      I have not reviled the God.
      I have not laid violent hands on an orphan.
      I have not done what the God abominates . . .
      I have not killed; I have not turned anyone over to a killer.
      I have not caused anyone's suffering . . . I have not copulated (illicitly); I have not been unchaste.
      I have not increased nor diminished the measure, I have not diminished the palm; I have not encroached upon the fields.
      I have not added to the balance weights; I have not tempered with the plumb bob of the balance.
      I have not taken milk from a child's mouth; I have not driven small cattle from their herbage . . .
      I have not stopped (the flow of) water in its seasons; I have not built a dam against flowing water.
      I have not quenched a fire in its time . . .
      I have not kept cattle away from the God's property. I have not blocked the God at his processions.

      May 24, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Paul
      Most of America's Fouding Fathers were deists at best – several were likely atheists.
      On amending the Bible, Thomas Jefferson said:
      "The establishment of the innocent and genuine character of this benevolent morality, and the rescuing it from the imputation of imposture, which has resulted from artificial systems, invented by ultra-Christian sects (The immaculate conception of Jesus, his deification, the creation of the world by him, his miraculous powers, his resurrection and visible ascension, his corporeal presence in the Eucharist, the Trinity; original sin, atonement, regeneration, election, orders of the Hierarchy, etc.) is a most desirable object."
      "I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved–the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!"
      – John Adams
      "If we look back into history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practiced it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England blamed persecution in the Romish Church, but practiced it upon the Puritans. They found it wrong in Bishops, but fell into the practice themselves both here (England) and in New England."
      – Ben Franklin
      During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or 'less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, supersti.tion, bigotry and persecution."
      – James Madison
      And my personal favourite:
      "I do not believe in the creed professed by the Je.wish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church."
      – Thomas Paine

      @Agapatos
      The Holy Spirit inspires people all the time. In 2008, He told Boyce Singleton Jr. to shoot and stab his pregnant girlfriend.
      Deanna Laney heard God direct her to bludgeon her three sons, aged 9, 6 and 15 months. Only the youngest survived.
      Blair Donnelly received instructions to stab to death his 16 year old daughter, Stephanie.
      Christopher Varian was slaughtered with a cheese knife after God spoke with one of his employees.
      God told Jennifer Cisowski to dash her infant's head on the rocks, so ""Just like Jesus raised Lazarus, I threw the baby on the stones by the pool."
      Khandi Busby got a direct message from God advising her that the only way to save her 6 and 8 year old boys was to toss them off a bridge in Dallas. Fortunately, they survived.
      Angel Rico says he received a divine command to strangle his 4 year old son, so he did just that and left him at the side of the highway.
      Lashaun Harris threw her 3 kids – aged 6, 2 and 16 months, into the San Francisco Bay after God let her know that He wanted a human sacrifice.
      Becuase nobody has a psychic interface to intercept supernatural communications, the same doubt of "divine inspiration" must be applied to everyone who hears God – be it The Pope, Moses, Abraham, David Koresh, Joseph Smith or Jim Jones.

      May 25, 2012 at 8:48 am |
  19. terry

    It's trending because the bible is as close to literary sophistication as most of these dolts can get.

    May 24, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • If God Exists...then what?

      Unfortunately, most people today are illiterate re: the impact the Bible has had on literature, poetry, etc. References, allusions, content.

      May 24, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • momoya

      @ If God Exists

      I don't believe that to be the case among people well-versed in those disciplines.. If the ignorant are unaware of the bible's impact... well, duh.

      May 24, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  20. Mr Chihuahua

    This guy's rap SUCKS lol!

    May 24, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.