Exodus 34:17
You shall make you no molten gods.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.—It is just possible that the Israelites when they worshipped the golden calf may have conceived that they were not breaking the second commandment, which forbade the adoration of any “graven image.” An express law was therefore made against “molten images.”

34:10-17 The Israelites are commanded to destroy every monument of idolatry, however curious or costly; to refuse all alliance, friendship, or marriage with idolaters, and all idolatrous feasts; and they were reminded not with idolaters, and all idolatrous feats; and they were reminded not to repeat the crime of making molten images. Jealously is called the rage of a man, Pr 6:34; but in God it is holy and just displeasure. Those cannot worship God aright, who do not worship him only.An expansion of Exodus 34:12. The unfaithfulness of the nation to its covenant with Yahweh is here for the first time spoken of as a breach of the marriage bond. The metaphor is, in any case, a natural one, but it seems to gain point, if we suppose it to convey an allusion to the abominations connected with pagan worship, such as are spoken of in Numbers 25:1-3.9, 10. he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us—On this proclamation, he, in the overflowing benevolence of s heart, founded an earnest petition for the Divine Presence being continued with the people; and God was pleased to give His favorable answer to Moses' intercession by a renewal of His promise under the form of a covenant, repeating the leading points that formed the conditions of the former national compact. Nor graven, nor any other, as it plainly appears both from the nature of the things, and from many parallel scriptures; but he mentions molten, because their late idol was of that kind. Thou shalt make thee no molten gods. Made of a melted liquid, whether gold, or silver, or brass, poured into a mould; and though graven images are not mentioned, they are included, a part being put for the whole, as appears not only from the injunction to break images in general, whether graven or molten, Exodus 34:13 but from the second command, which expressly forbids the making and worshipping of them; but "molten" ones are particularly mentioned, because it is probable they were chiefly such the Canaanites worshipped, and especially, because the calf the Israelites had lately made and worshipped was a molten one. Thou shalt make thee no {e} molten gods.

(e) As gold, silver, brass, or anything that is molten: in this is condemned all types idols, no matter what they are made of.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. Molten gods thou shalt not make thee] Cf. Leviticus 19:4 (H) ‘And molten gods ye shall not make you’; also, for the general thought, Exodus 20:23.

Vv. 18–26 agree, for the most part verbally, with Exodus 13:13-14; Exodus 23:12; Exodus 23:15-19. The agreements and differences will be seen most clearly, if the two recensions are printed in parallel columns, with the differences in 34 marked either by italics or, where anything is omitted, by a space in the text.

Exodus 23:10-11. (The fallow year.)  

Exodus 23:12. Six days shalt thou do thy work: but on the seventh day thou shalt desist: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy bondmaid, and the sojourner, may be refreshed.  Exodus 34:21. Six days shalt thou labour; but on the seventh day thou shalt desist: in plowing time and in harvest thou shalt desist.

Exodus 23:13. And in all things that I have said unto you take ye heed: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard upon thy mouth.  Cf. Exodus 34:14 a. For thou shalt not worship any other god.

Exodus 23:14. Three times (regâlim) thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year.  

Exodus 23:15 a. The feast of unleavened cakes shalt thou keep. Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened cakes, according as I commanded thee, at the appointed time in the month of Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt;  Exodus 34:18. The feast of unleavened cakes shalt thou keep. Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened cakes [Exodus 13:6 a], as I commanded thee, at the appointed time in the month of Abib; for in the month of Abib thou camest out from Egypt.

Exodus 23:12. And thou shalt cause to pass over all that first openeth the womb unto Yahweh: and all that first openeth [the womb], the casting of beasts that thou shalt have, the males (shall be) Yahweh’s:  Exodus 34:19. All that first openeth the womb is mine: and all thy cattle that is male, that which first openeth [the womb] of ox and sheep:

Exodus 23:13. and all that which first openeth [the womb] of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb [or kid]; and if thou dost not redeem it, thou shalt break its neck: and all the first-born of men among thy sons thou shalt redeem.  Exodus 34:20. and that which first openeth [the womb] of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb [or kid]; and if thou dost not redeem it, thou shalt break its neck: all the first-born of thy sons thou shalt redeem.

[Cf. Exodus 22:29 b The first-born of thy sons thou shalt give unto me.]  

Exodus 23:15 b … and none shall appear before me empty.  And none shall appear before me empty.

Exodus 23:16 … and the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours which thou sowest in the field; and the feast of ingathering at the going out of the year, when thou gatherest in thy labours out of the field.  Exodus 34:22. And the feast of weeks thou shalt hold thee, the firstfruits of wheat harvest; and the feast of ingathering at the close of the year.

Exodus 23:17. Three times (pe‘âmim) in the year shall all thy males appear before (אל פני) the Lord Yahweh.  Exodus 34:23. Three times (pe‘âmim) in the year shall all thy males appear before (פני את) the Lord Yahweh, the God of Israel. 24. For I will dispossess nations before thee, and enlarge thy border; and no man shall desire thy land, when thou goest up to appear before (פניאת) Yahweh thy God, three times in the year.

Exodus 23:18. Thou shalt not sacrifice with leavened bread the blood of my sacrifice; neither shall there remain all night the fat of my feast until morning.  Exodus 34:25. Thou shalt not slaughter with leavened bread the blood of my sacrifice: neither shall there remain all night unto the morning the sacrifice of the feast of the passover.

Exodus 23:19. The first of the firstfruits of thy ground thou shalt bring unto the house of Yahweh thy God. Thou shalt not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.  Exodus 34:26. The first of the firstfruits of thy ground thou shalt bring unto the house of Yahweh thy God. Thou shalt not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.

These are evidently two recensions of one and the same collection of laws. Neither can well be throughout in its original order, and later additions have almost certainly been introduced into both, Exodus 34:21 is obviously, where it stands, out of place, and is in a much better position in Exodus 23:12, Exodus 23:12 b and Exodus 34:21 b look like explanatory additions made to the same original law by two different compilers (comp. Exodus 20:11 with Deuteronomy 5:14 last clause, 15). Exodus 23:13 (see note ad loc.) reads like the conclusion of some collection of laws, no longer in its original place. Exodus 23:14; Exodus 23:17 would hardly both stand in a document written by a single hand: probably Exodus 23:17 has been introduced from Exodus 34:23. In Exodus 23:15 the words from Seven days to appear before me empty leave v. 16 without a verb to govern it (in the "", Exodus 34:22, there is a fresh verb); and have probably been introduced here from Exodus 34:18, Exodus 34:19-20 (to redeem) seems to interrupt the connexion where it stands, and to be interpolated between Exodus 23:15 a and 15b: on the other hand, the first clause of Exodus 34:19 seems in form more original than the first clause of Exodus 13:12, Exodus 34:24 is pretty clearly a reflection of the compiler. The two recensions are derived evidently from a common original; but we cannot in all cases say how the differences between them arose. For notes upon the passage as a whole, the reader is referred to chs. 13 and 23: it will be sufficient here to comment on the more important expressions peculiar to ch. 34.Verse 17. - Thou shalt make thee no molten gods. An express allusion to the recent sin of the golden calf. To recall the duties of the covenant once more to the minds of the people, the Lord repeats from among the rights of Israel, upon the basis of which the covenant had been established (ch. 21-23), two of the leading points which determined the attitude of the nation towards Him, and which constituted, as it were, the main pillars that were to support the covenant about to be renewed. These were, first, the warning against every kind of league with the Canaanites, who were to be driven out before the Israelites (Exodus 34:11-16); and, secondly, the instructions concerning the true worship of Jehovah (Exodus 34:17-26). The warning against friendship with the idolatrous Canaanites (Exodus 34:11-16) is more fully developed and more strongly enforced than in Exodus 23:23. The Israelites, when received into the covenant with Jehovah, were not only to beware of forming any covenant with the inhabitants of Canaan (cf. Exodus 23:32-33), but were to destroy all the signs of their idolatrous worship, such as altars, monuments (see Exodus 23:24), and asherim, the idols of Astarte, the Canaanitish goddess of nature, which consisted for the most part of wooden pillars (see my Comm. on 1 Kings 14:23), and to worship no other god, because Jehovah was called jealous, i.e., had revealed Himself as jealous (see at Exodus 20:5), and was a jealous God. This was commanded, that the Israelites might not suffer themselves to be led astray by such an alliance; to go a whoring after their gods, and sacrifice to them, to take part in their sacrificial festivals, or to marry their sons to the daughters of the Canaanites, by whom they would be persuaded to join in the worship of idols. The use of the expression "go a whoring" in a spiritual sense, in relation to idolatry, is to be accounted for on the ground, that the religious fellowship of Israel with Jehovah was a covenant resembling the marriage tie; and we meet with it for the first time, here, immediately after the formation of this covenant between Israel and Jehovah. The phrase is all the more expressive on account of the literal prostitution that was frequently associated with the worship of Baal and Astarte (cf. Leviticus 17:7; Leviticus 20:5-6; Numbers 14:33, etc.). We may see from Numbers 25:1. how Israel was led astray by this temptation in the wilderness.
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