Leviticus 19:4
Turn you not to idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the LORD your God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) 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 41:23.19:1-37 laws. - There are some ceremonial precepts in this chapter, but most of these precepts are binding on us, for they are explanations of the ten commandments. It is required that Israel be a holy people, because the God of Israel is a holy God, ver. 2. To teach real separation from the world and the flesh, and entire devotedness to God. This is now the law of Christ; may the Lord bring every thought within us into obedience to it! Children are to be obedient to their parents, ver. 3. The fear here required includes inward reverence and esteem, outward respect and obedience, care to please them and to make them easy. God only is to be worshipped, ver. 4. Turn not from the true God to false ones, from the God who will make you holy and happy, to those that will deceive you, and make you for ever miserable. Turn not your eyes to them, much less your heart. They should leave the gleanings of their harvest and vintage for the poor, ver. 9. Works of piety must be always attended with works of charity, according to our ability. We must not be covetous, griping, and greedy of every thing we can lay claim to, nor insist upon our right in all things. We are to be honest and true in all our dealings, ver. 11. Whatever we have in the world, we must see that we get it honestly, for we cannot be truly rich, or long rich, with that which is not so. Reverence to the sacred name of God must be shown, ver. 12. We must not detain what belongs to another, particularly the wages of the hireling, ver. 13. We must be tender of the credit and safety of those that cannot help themselves, ver. 14. Do no hurt to any, because they are unwilling or unable to avenge themselves. We ought to take heed of doing any thing which may occasion our weak brother to fall. The fear of God should keep us from doing wrong things, though they will not expose us to men's anger. Judges, and all in authority, are commanded to give judgment without partiality, ver. 15. To be a tale-bearer, and to sow discord among neighbours, is as bad an office as a man can put himself into. We are to rebuke our neighbour in love, ver. 17. Rather rebuke him than hate him, for an injury done to thyself. We incur guilt by not reproving; it is hating our brother. We should say, I will do him the kindness to tell him of his faults. We are to put off all malice, and to put on brotherly love, ver. 18. We often wrong ourselves, but we soon forgive ourselves those wrongs, and they do not at all lessen our love to ourselves; in like manner we should love our neighbour. We must in many cases deny ourselves for the good of our neighbour. Ver. 31: For Christians to have their fortunes told, to use spells and charms, or the like, is a sad affront to God. They must be grossly ignorant who ask, What harm is there in these things? Here is a charge to young people to show respect to the aged, ver. 32. Religion teaches good manners, and obliges us to honour those to whom honour is due. A charge was given to the Israelites to be very tender of strangers, ver. 33. Strangers, and the widows and fatherless, are God's particular care. It is at our peril, if we do them any wrong. Strangers shall be welcome to God's grace; we should do what we can to recommend religion to them. Justice in weights and measures is commanded, ver. 35. We must make conscience of obeying God's precepts. We are not to pick and choose our duty, but must aim at standing complete in all the will of God. And the nearer our lives and tempers are to the precepts of God's law, the happier shall we be, and the happier shall we make all around us, and the better shall we adorn the gospel.Compare 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. 3. Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths—The duty of obedience to parents is placed in connection with the proper observance of the Sabbaths, both of them lying at the foundation of practical religion. Turn not your hearts and faces from me, whom alone you pretend to respect, unto them. He intimates, that their turning to idols is a turning from God, and that they could not serve both God and idols.

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. Turn ye not unto idols,.... From the one only true and living God to them that are not gods, as the word used signifies, who are nothing; for, as the apostle says, an idol is nothing in the world, 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.

(g) "ne respiciatis", Montanus, Tigurine version, Drusius. (h) Pesichta, Maimonides.

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). In the concluding exhortation God pointed expressly to the fact, that the nations which He was driving out before the Israelites (the participle משׁלּח is used of that which is certainly and speedily coming to pass) had defiled the land by such abominations as those, that He had visited their iniquity and the land had spat out its inhabitants, and warned the Israelites to beware of these abominations, that the land might not spit them out as it had the Canaanites before them. The pret. ותּקא (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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