Deuteronomy 4:12-19, 23, 24
12. And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice.
12. Tunc loquutus est Jehova ad vos e medio ignis: vocem verborum audistis, at formam non vidistis praeter vocem.
13. And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.
13. Et exposuit vobis pactum suum quod praecepit vobis ut faceretis: nempe decem verba, quae scrip-sit super duas tabulas lapideas.
14. And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it.
14. Mihi praecepit Jehova tempore illo ut docerem vos statuta et judicia, quae faceretis in terra, ad quam transitis possidendam.
15. Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves, (for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire,)
16. Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female;
16. Ne forte corrumpamini, et faciatis vobis sculptile, formam ullius simulachri, effigiem masculi aut foeminae.
17. The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air;
17. Effigiem cujusque animalis quod est in terra: effigiem cujuscunque volucris alatae quae volat per coelos:
18. The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth:
18. Effigiem cujuscunque repentis in terra: effigiem cujuscunque piscis qui est in aquis sub terra.
19. And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.
19. Neve attollas oculos tuos in coelum: et quum videris solem, lunam, et stellas cum universo exercitu coelorum, impellaris ut adores atque colas ea, quae distribuit Jehova Deus tuus omnibus populis sub universo coelo.
23. Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the Lord thy God hath forbidden thee.
23. Custodite vos, ne forte obliviscamini foederis Jehovae Dei vestri, quod percussit vobiscum, et faciatis vobis sculptlie, quamcunque simili-tudinem, sicut praecepit Jehova Deus tuus.
24. For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.
24. Nam Jehova Deus tuus, ignis consumens est, et Deus zelotes.
14. For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
14. Non incurvabis te Deo alieno. Nam Jehova zelotes nomen ejus, Deus zelotes est.
Deuteronomy 8:19, 20
19. And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day, that ye shall surely perish.
19. Si obliviscendo oblitus fueris Jehovae Dei tui, et ambulaveris post deos alienos, et colueris eos, et te in-curvaveris illis, testificor vobis hodie quod pereundi sitis perituri.
20. As the nations which the Lord destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God.
20. Sicut gentes quas Jehova disperdit a facie vestra, sic peribitis: eo quod non obediveris voci Jehovec Dei vestri.
If any one should object that God is not inconsistent with Himself, and yet, as has been said, that He has more than once taken upon Himself a visible form, the reply is simple and easy, that, whenever He appeared to the patriarchs in a visible form, He gave a temporary sign, which still was by no means contradictory of this commandment. Isaiah saw the Lord of hosts sitting on His throne; yet he boldly cries out as from the mouth of God, "To whom will ye liken me?" (Isaiah 60:25.) Nor need I repeat how constantly he speaks against idolaters; certainly he inveighs more strongly than any of the prophets against the folly, nay, the madness of those who make to themselves any image of God; because they thus turn truth into falsehood; and finally he assumes the same principle as that of Moses, that the true nature of God is corrupted by tricks and delusions if a corruptible thing be called His image. But what was His vision itself? The seraphim, who surrounded God's throne, sufficiently shewed by their covering their faces with their wings that the sight of Him could not be borne by mortals. As to what Ezekiel relates, no painter could represent it; for God has always appeared distinguished from the shape of any creature by those marks which surpass man's apprehension. This conclusion, therefore, always remains sure, that no image is suitable to God, because He would not be perceived by His people otherwise than in a voice. But then also fire was a symbol of His presence, yet He testified by it that His glory is incomprehensible, and thus would prevent men from idol-making. We have elsewhere explained what it is "to guard themselves as to their souls." 1 But we infer, from his anxious exhortations, that they should take heed, how great is the leaning of the human soul to idolatry. This is the tendency of that attestation against them, which I have inserted from (Deuteronomy 8); for Moses not only threatens them, but, as if summoning witnesses according to the custom of solemn trials, denounces that they shall perish, in order to inspire them with greater fear by this earnest mode of address. Whence it appears that this insane lust (of idolatry) is not to be repressed by ordinary means. With the same object he says that they are "corrupted, or corrupt themselves," who make any similitude of God. Thus Paul also declares that in this way the truth is changed into a lie, (Romans 1:25;) and Jeremiah and Habakkuk condemn images for their falsehood. (Jeremiah 10:14; Habakkuk 2:18.) No wonder, then, that an idol should be called the "corruption" of men, since it adulterates the worship of God; and it is a most just recompense to those who pollute the pure and perfect knowledge of God, that they should be thence infected with a rottenness which consumes their souls. Hence, also, the stupid ignorance of the Papists is confuted who confine this prohibition to the ancient people, as if it were now permitted to paint or to sculpture (images of God) 2 as if they had been Jews whom Paul was addressing, when he reasoned from the common origin of our nature: "Forasmuch as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold or silver," or corruptible matter. (Acts 17:29) 3 There is no necessity for entering into details; but the Spirit declares no less plainly now that we must keep ourselves from idols, (1 John 5:21,) than He of old forbade their being made. Moreover, it was an act of diabolical madness to make away with one of the Ten Commandments, in order that they might rush into this foul and detestable extravagance with impunity. They pretend that the Jews were formerly prohibited from idolatry with greater strictness, because they were too much disposed to it, as if they were not themselves much worse in this respect. But, setting aside this, who does not see that the vice of superstition, which is natural to the human mind, was corrected by this remedy? Until, therefore, men have laid aside their nature, we infer that this Commandment is necessary for them.
2 Added from Fr.
3 Addition in Fr., "Or, c'estoit aux Payens qu'il parloit ainsi; " Now, they were heathens whom he thus addressed.
4 See Job 31:26-27. Any discussion on the history of Sabaism would be superfluous here. Dr. Layard, (Nineveh and its Remains, vol. 2. p. 446,) points out, that "representations of the heavenly bodies, as sacred symbols, are of constant occurrence in the most ancient sculptures; " whilst the "one symbol" of the supreme Deity is "a winged figure in a circle," sometimes assuming the form of "a winged globe, wheel, or disc," resembling the Egyptian representation of the sun, and the Persian Ormuzd.
5 Lat. "subsistendum." Fr. "s'amuser."
6 S.M. says, "Rabbi Aben-Ezra, and the author of the 'Bundle of Myrrh,' foolishly think that the Gentiles were under the dominion of decrees emanating from the stars; but that the Jews were free, because the Lord turneth aside their noxious influences. But this text teaches us, that the functions of the stars are distributed among the nations, inasmuch as they afford light and heat, and temper the cold to all men." -- W.
7 So the V. which is followed by A.V. and S.M. Our expositor seems to mean that
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