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28 “You must not blaspheme[a] God[b] or curse the ruler of your people.

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  1. Exodus 22:28 tn The two verbs in this verse are synonyms: קָלַל (qalal) means “to treat lightly, curse,” and אָרַר (ʾarar) means “to curse.”
  2. Exodus 22:28 tn The word אֱלֹהִים (ʾelohim) is “gods” or “God.” If taken as the simple plural, it could refer to the human judges, as it has in the section of laws; this would match the parallelism in the verse. If it was taken to refer to God, then the idea of cursing God would be more along the line of blasphemy. B. Jacob says that the word refers to functioning judges, and that would indirectly mean God, for they represented the religious authority, and the prince the civil authority (Exodus, 708).

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