Turn you not to idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the LORD your God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Turn ye not unto idols.—As the Lord is their God, and there is no other God besides Him, the Israelites must never turn their affections nor address prayers or enquiries to idols. This part of the verse therefore corresponds with the first commandment of the Decalogue (Exodus 20:3). The expression here rendered “idols,” which, apart from the Prophets and Hagiographa, only occurs once more (see Leviticus 26:1), denotes non-entities—nothings, and it is in allusion to this import of the word that the Apostle remarks, “We know that an idol is nothing in the world” (1Corinthians 8:4). According to the administrators of the law during the second Temple, the injunction here “turn not” means “face not,” and forbids even the looking at or the examination of an idol.
Nor make yourselves molten gods.—This part of the verse corresponds with the second commandment in the Decalogue (Exodus 20:4-6), though the phrase “molten gods” only occurs once more where the same prohibition is enforced (Exodus 34:17).Leviticus 19:4. Turn ye not unto idols — Hebrew, אלילם, Elilim, No gods, or nothings, as the word signifies, and as idols are called, (1 Corinthians 8:4,) many of them having no being but in the fancy of their worshippers, and all of them having no virtue or power to do good or evil, Isaiah 41:23.Exodus 20:8, Exodus 20:12; Exodus 31:13-14. The two laws repeated here are the only laws in the Decalogue which assume a positive shape, all the others being introduced by the formula, "Thou shalt not." These express two great central points, the first belonging to natural law and the second to positive law, in the maintenance of the well-being of the social body of which Yahweh was the acknowledged king.
Unto idols: the word signifies such as are no gods, or nothings, as they are called, 1 Corinthians 8:4, many idols having no being, but only in the fancy of their worshippers, and all of them having no virtue or power to do good or evil, Isaiah 41:23. Molten gods, nor graven gods neither, as appears from Exo 20, whereby we learn that such expressions are generally to be understood synecdochically. 1 Corinthians 8:4, is of no worth and value, of no consequence and importance, of no avail and usefulness to its devotees; wherefore to turn from the true God to such as these is the greatest stupidity, as well as wickedness: or "look not" at them (g) for help or assistance, for they are not able to give it: and to look at them so as to view them attentively, and consider their likeness, the Jews say (h) is forbidden; and even in the heart and mind, as Aben Ezra observes, to have respect unto them was not right; or in the thoughts, as Gersom:
nor make to yourselves molten gods; of gold, silver, or brass, melted and cast into a mould, as the golden calf was, to which respect may be had. These laws have a respect unto the first and second commandments, Exodus 20:3,
I am the Lord, your God; who only is to be worshipped, and who has forbid the making and worshipping any image, molten or graven, and who will therefore resent idolatry of every sort, and punish for it.Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the LORD your God.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)4. Turn ye not unto] As in Leviticus 19:31 (A.V. ‘Regard not’), and Leviticus 20:6.
idols] (’ělîlîm) things of nought R.V. mg. See reference there. The Heb. word occurs only here and Leviticus 26:1 in Pentateuch; a word of uncertain etymology, possibly suggesting the idea of gods from its sound (similar to that of ’ël and ’ĕlôhîm), but always associated with the idea of worthlessness. It is used by the prophets ironically of false gods in contrast to the true God.
molten gods] See Exodus 34:17. Cp. Deuteronomy 27:15.Verse 4. - Turn ye not unto idols. The word used for idols, elilim, meaning nothings, is contrasted with Elohim, God. Psalm 115 exhibits this contrast in several of its particulars. Cf. St. Paul's statement, "We know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one" (1 Corinthians 8:4). "If the heart of man becomes benumbed to the use of images of false gods of any kind, he sinks down to the idols which are his ideals, and becomes as dumb and unspiritual as they are" (Lunge). The remainder of the verse forbids the transgression of the second commandment, as the earlier part of the verse forbids the transgression of the first commandment: nor make to yourselves molten gods, as was done by Jeroboam when he set up the calves (1 Kings 12:23). Leviticus 18:25) and קאה (Leviticus 18:28) are prophetic (cf. Leviticus 20:22-23), and the expression is poetical. The land is personified as a living creature, which violently rejects food that it dislikes. "Hoc enim tropo vult significare Scriptura enormitatem criminum, quod scilicet ipsae creaturae irrationales suo creatori semper obedientes et pro illo pugnantes detestentur peccatores tales eosque terra quasi evomat, cum illi expelluntur ab ea" (C. a Lap.).
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