Deuteronomy 4:17
Parallel Verses
New International Version
or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air,

King James Bible
The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air,

Darby Bible Translation
the pattern of any beast that is on the earth, the pattern of any winged fowl that flieth in the heaven,

World English Bible
the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the sky,

Young's Literal Translation
a form of any beast which is in the earth -- a form of any winged bird which flieth in the heavens --

Deuteronomy 4:17 Parallel
Commentary
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

The likeness of any beast, etc. - Such as the Egyptian god Apis, who was worshipped under the form of a white bull; the ibis and hawk, among the fowls, had also Divine honors paid to them; serpents and the crocodile among reptiles; besides monkeys, dogs, cats, the scarabaeus, leeks, and onions! See this explained at large, Exodus 20:4 (note).

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

In these verses there is an evident allusion to the idolatrous worship in Egypt. Among the Egyptians, almost everything in nature was the object of their idolatry; among BEASTS were oxen heifers, sheep, goats, lions, dogs, monkeys, and cats; among BIRDS, the ibis, crane, and hawk; among REPTILES, the crocodile, serpents, frogs, flies, and beetles; all the FISH of the Nile, and the Nile itself; besides the sun, moon, planets, stars, fire, light, air, darkness, and night. These are all included in the very circumstantial prohibition in the text, and very forcibly in the general terms of Ex.

Deuteronomy 20:4 For the LORD your God is he that goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.

, the reason of which prohibition becomes self-evident, when the various objects of Egyptian idolatry are considered.

Romans 1:23 And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts...

Library
February the Sixteenth Crowding Out God
"Lest thou forget." --DEUTERONOMY iv. 5-13. That is surely the worst affront we can put upon anybody. We may oppose a man and hinder him in his work, or we may directly injure him, or we may ignore him, and treat him as nothing. Or we may forget him! Opposition, injury, contempt, neglect, forgetfulness! Surely this is a descending scale, and the last is the worst. And yet we can forget the Lord God. We can forget all His benefits. We can easily put Him out of mind. We can live as though He were
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

Of the Cities of Refuge.
Hebron, the most eminent among them, excites us to remember the rest. "The Rabbins deliver this; Moses separated three cities of refuge beyond Jordan, [Deut 4:41-43;] and, against them, Joshua separated three cities in the land of Canaan, [Josh 20:7,8]. And these were placed by one another, just as two ranks of vines are in a vineyard: Hebron in Judea against Bezer in the wilderness: Shechem in mount Ephraim against Ramoth in Gilead: Kedesh in mount Napthali against Golan in Basan. And these three
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica

"Destroyed for Lack of Knowledge"
God's favor toward Israel had always been conditional on their obedience. At the foot of Sinai they had entered into covenant relationship with Him as His "peculiar treasure. . . above all people." Solemnly they had promised to follow in the path of obedience. "All that the Lord hath spoken we will do," they had said. Exodus 19:5, 8. And when, a few days afterward, God's law was spoken from Sinai, and additional instruction in the form of statutes and judgments was communicated through Moses, the
Ellen Gould White—The Story of Prophets and Kings

The Second Commandment
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am o jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of then that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.' Exod 20: 4-6. I. Thou shalt not
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

Cross References
Romans 1:23
and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

Deuteronomy 4:18
or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below.

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