Deuteronomy 4:28
And there ye 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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(28) 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.

4:24-40 Moses urged the greatness, glory, and goodness of God. Did we consider what a God he is with whom we have to do, we should surely make conscience of our duty to him, and not dare to sin against him. Shall we forsake a merciful God, who will never forsake us, if we are faithful unto him? Whither can we go? Let us be held to our duty by the bonds of love, and prevailed with by the mercies of God to cleave to him. Moses urged God's authority over them, and their obligations to him. In keeping God's commandments they would act wisely for themselves. The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom. Those who enjoy the benefit of Divine light and laws, ought to support their character for wisdom and honour, that God may be glorified thereby. Those who call upon God, shall certainly find him within call, ready to give an answer of peace to every prayer of faith. All these statutes and judgments of the Divine law are just and righteous, above the statutes and judgments of any of the nations. What they saw at mount Sinai, gave an earnest of the day of judgment, in which the Lord Jesus shall be revealed in flaming fire. They must also remember what they heard at mount Sinai. God manifests himself in the works of the creation, without speech or language, yet their voice is heard, Ps 19:1,3; but to Israel he made himself known by speech and language, condescending to their weakness. The rise of this nation was quite different from the origin of all other nations. See the reasons of free grace; we are not beloved for our own sakes, but for Christ's sake. Moses urged the certain benefit and advantage of obedience. This argument he had begun with, ver. 1, That ye may live, and go in and possess the land; and this he concludes with, ver. 40, That it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee. He reminds them that their prosperity would depend upon their piety. Apostacy from God would undoubtedly be the ruin of their nation. He foresees their revolt from God to idols. Those, and those only, shall find God to their comfort, who seek him with all their heart. Afflictions engage and quicken us to seek God; and, by the grace of God working with them, many are thus brought back to their right mind. When these things are come upon thee, turn to the Lord thy God, for thou seest what comes of turning from him. Let all the arguments be laid together, and then say, if religion has not reason on its side. None cast off the government of their God, but those who first abandon the understanding of a man.Compare with these verses Leviticus 26:33-40, and Deuteronomy 28:64 ff. 28. there ye shall serve gods, the work of men's hands—The compulsory measures of their tyrannical conquerors would force them into idolatry, so that their choice would become their punishment. i.e. Idols. 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 them up to another, as is manifest from Romans 1:24,25.

And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone,.... Idols made by men, cut out of wood and stone; these they should be enticed into the service of, or compelled to serve; which was still more brutish and stupid than to worship the sun, moon, and stars, which were not the works of men's hand, but the glorious works of the eternal God. But since in their captivities they were not subject to idolatry, but were cured of it thereby, another sense of the words is given by some, as by Onkelos and Jonathan, who paraphrase the words of serving the people, that serve idols; but what follows confirms the first sense:

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.
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 4:28There among the heathen they would be obliged to serve gods that were the work of men's hands, gods of wood and stone, that could neither hear, nor eat, nor smell, i.e., possessed no senses, showed no sign of life. What Moses threatens here, follows from the eternal laws of the divine government. The more refined idolatry of image-worship leads to coarser and coarser forms, in which the whole nature of idol-worship is manifested in all its pitiableness. "When once the God of revelation is forsaken, the God of reason and imagination must also soon be given up and make way for still lower powers, that perfectly accord with the I exalted upon the throne, and in the time of pretended 'illumination' to atheism and materialism also" (Schultz).
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