Exodus 23:1: The Bible Verse Inspiring Rap Lyrics—and a Rap Feud

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Pusha T performs at the Heineken Red Star Access G.O.O.D. music event hosted by Tahiry and featuring Cyhi The Prynce and Pusha T held at Maison de Musique on July 15, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Nothing can get a Bible verse trending on Twitter faster than an expletive-filled rap lyric pitting two rap factions against each other.

After the verse Exodus 23:1 popped up as a worldwide trending topic on Thursday, you could simply thank rap fans unfamiliar with their Old Testament. Pusha T, signed to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. record label, released the song with the verse as the title, in which he uses as many expletives as he can to describe an unnamed rapper (now widely believed to be Drake, signed to Lil Wayne’s Young Money Cash Money Brothers label), who is short on loyal friends, long on a bad contract and lost when it comes to influence.

And now Lil Wayne is all upsettoo, using bad words of his own to disparage Pusha T.

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While Pusha T doesn’t actually quote the scripture in his lyrics, he does claim “Beef will have you praying to God” (yeah, not exactly a reference from the Bible). Apart from that lone reference to God, rap fans were left to either Google or their trusty King James Bible to discern what the verse was all about.

The section of Exodus that Pusha T pulls from discusses the responsibility of Israelites in social settings, most likely written by Moses. Verse 1 of chapter 23 says, “You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.” (English Standard Version).

That verse certainly applies to what we can only imagine as the intent of Pusha T’s lyrics. Earlier this month Drake released his own track with faint religious allusions, “Amen,” with rapper Meek Mills. A lyric in that song, “G.O.O.D. ain’t good enough, and your hood ain’t hood enough,” could easily be perceived as a crack at West. So, having Pusha T respond with “Exodus 23:1” seems to fit. Lil Wayne thought so too, taking to his Twitter account to vent his frustration: “(Expletive) Pusha T and anybody that love em”.

In Pusha T’s now-famous track, he claims that the unnamed rapper is signed to a less than desirable contract on a record label that has a number of owners who wouldn’t look favorably on this rapper if times turned tough. The G.O.O.D. rapper points out that this unnamed rapper doesn’t have friends who will die for them or pull a “trigga” for them and spends too much time “throwing that flag up,” a likely reference to Lil Wayne’s propensity to wave his gang affiliation flags.

One rap-song title we’re pretty sure we won’t see anytime soon: Ephesians 4:29 (“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”)

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