And there you shall serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands.—That is, “you shall be in bondage to them,” being ruled by their worshippers. And so Rashi explains it. Captivity was the means of eradicating idolatry from Israel rather than encouraging it. But the cause of a people and its idols is so constantly identified in the Old Testament, that those who are in bondage to a nation may naturally be described as in bondage to its gods. The gods were even held to be sharers in the captivity of the nation. It is said of Bel and Nebo, in Isaiah 46:2, “They could not deliver . . . but themselves are gone into captivity”
(29, 30, 31) Comp. Deuteronomy 30:1-5 for a more explicit promise and prophecy of the same thing, and see Note on that passage.Deuteronomy 4:28-29. Ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands — You shall be compelled by men, and given up by me, to idolatry. So that very thing which was your choice, shall be your punishment: it being just and usual for God to punish one sin by giving men up to another. If from thence thou seek the Lord — Whatever place we are in, we may from thence seek him. There is no part of the earth which has a gulf fixed between it and heaven.Leviticus 26:33-40, and Deuteronomy 28:64 ff. Romans 1:24,25.
which neither see, nor hear, nor taste, nor smell; senseless things, which have none of the senses of seeing, hearing, and smelling, nor the faculty of eating, which they need not to support life, of which they are destitute; and therefore it must be monstrous stupidity to worship such lifeless, senseless, objects; see Psalm 115:4.And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)28. ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, etc.] The acme of their punishment. They have chosen to serve idols; idols must they serve in a land where the worship of Jehovah is impossible. This scorn of senseless idols, also in Deuteronomy 27:15, Deuteronomy 28:36; Deuteronomy 28:64, Deuteronomy 29:17, Deuteronomy 31:29, is an essential temper of monotheism, appearing also in Hosea 8:6; Hosea 13:2; Isaiah 2:8; Isaiah 2:20, etc.; Jeremiah 2:8; Jeremiah 10:1-10, and most frequently in Isaiah 40:19 f., Isaiah 41:7, Isaiah 44:9-20, Isaiah 46:6 f.Deuteronomy 4:21 is neither mentioned in Numbers 20 nor at the announcement of Moses' death in Numbers 27:12.; but it is not to be called in question on that account, as Knobel supposes. It is perfectly obvious from Deuteronomy 3:23. that all the details are not given in the historical account of the event referred to. כּל תּמוּנת פּסל, "image of a form of all that Jehovah has commanded," sc., not to be made (Deuteronomy 4:16-18). "A consuming fire" (Deuteronomy 4:24): this epithet is applied to God with special reference to the manifestation of His glory in burning fire (Exodus 24:17). On the symbolical meaning of this mode of revelation, see at Exodus 3:2. "A jealous God:" see at Exodus 20:5.
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