Exodus 23:2: Following the Majority


Hello ,I’m a noahide from korea.
I read this article and would like to ask for a fact check
I’ve asked around, but no one has an answer. Please help me.
The article says
The Talmud cites the last three words of Exodus 23:2 and interprets them to mean, “Follow the majority.” But the text says the exact opposite! Just read the whole verse. The meaning is clearly, “Don’t follow the majority.” Even J. H. Hertz, the former chief rabbi of England, wrote: “The Rabbis disregarded the literal meaning of the last three Hebrew words, and took them to imply that, except when it is ‘to do evil,’ one should follow the majority.”7 And that is their support for negating and disregarding the voice of God! A verse that says “Don’t follow the majority” was sliced up and reinterpreted so as to mean, “Follow the majority,” and, on this basis, God Himself was overruled. It almost takes your breath away.

I don’t know Hebrew, but the Jewish interpretation in English makes me think like the Christian scholar who wrote this. Did the rabbis twist the text away from its original meaning? Or is the Hebrew translation wrong? Thank you.



  1. While I appreciate why you have come to the conclusion that you have, it is not taking into account the methodology of interpreting the Written Torah through the Oral Torah. The Rabbis are nor disregarding the last three words of the verse. What the Rabbis are doing is applying the methodology of interpretation to reveal a hidden dimension of the Law that does not appear explicitly in the words of the verse. Despite the fact that the verse does not categorically state that there is an obligation to follow the majority, the Rabbis learn that that this is one message behind the wording.

    In general, it is very important to understand that the Torah and Jewish Law are far more than what is found in the Written Bible. The Written Bible is the “skeleton,” but there is another enormous body called the Oral Torah that is the “flesh,” and from which the vast majority of Jewish Law is formulated. It is not possible to understand Jewish Law and the obligations of each person by reading only the written part of the Torah.

    Exactly how the methodology is applied is beyond this kind of forum, but, if you are interested, I would suggest that you read:
    The Collected Writings of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, Volume 5: Origin of the Oral Law
    The Oral Law by Harry C. Schimmel
    ArtScroll Schottenstein Edition of the Talmud’s introductory volume.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team