The Theology of the Old Testament
1 Chronicles 16:25
For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods.

in the perusal of the Old Testament few sentiments more frequently meet our eye than comparisons between the great object of worship among the Jews and those imaginary deities to which the Gentiles in general paid adoration. This contrast pervades alike their doctrines of religion, their precepts of morality, and their hymns of thanks and praise. To the mind of a legislator, a judge, or a prophet of Israel, comparisons of this kind naturally and unavoidably arose, when he witnessed the ignorance, the polytheism, and the superstitions of the nations around him. As the religious sentiments of the Jews and Gentiles correspond with the objects of their faith and worship respectively, a concise comparison between the theology of the Bible and that of the heathen philosophers cannot fail to be interesting and instructive.

I. The Greeks and Romans undoubtedly excelled the Jews, if not in the natural endowments of the mind, at least IN EVERY ARTIFICIAL IMPROVEMENT. But in their doctrines respecting the Creator, and His providence and His laws, they can come in no competition with the nation whom they fancied they had reason to despise.

II. The writers of Greece and Rome greatly exceeded those of Judea IN THE VARIETY OF THEIR PUBLICATIONS. in the variety of the subjects to which their genius appears to have been adapted. In the authors of the Old Testament, when we again advert to the peculiar subject of their excellence, we find such poetical addresses of reverence or supplication to the supreme Being, and such descriptions of His proceedings and His providence, as the whole circle of human literature cannot elsewhere supply.

III. Amongst the Greeks and Romans the most rational opinions entertained on these difficult and important subjects were CONFINED TO A SMALL NUMBER OF THE SUPERIOR CLASSES OF SOCIETY. From the unlearned populace those opinions were, for reasons of pride or policy, systematically and successfully concealed. Amongst the Jews, on the other hand, we find no traces of one creed for the learned and another for the ignorant.

IV. The philosophers of Greece and Rome, if they did not themselves believe, permitted or taught the people in general to believe THAT A DIFFERENT DEITY PRESIDED OVER EVERY SEPARATE NATION and every separate city; over almost every different profession among men, and almost every different object of nature; that these various deities often disagreed in their interests and opinions, and opposed each other in their wishes and pursuits. The Jews believed and taught that there was One mighty Being, the Maker and Ruler of the world; to whose authority every other sentient being owed implicit obedience.

V. The public worship of the Gentiles was ADDRESSED ON VARIOUS OCCASIONS TO AS VARIOUS OBJECTS THAT WERE NO GODS; and their rites and ceremonies were contaminated always by superstition, and not seldom by impiety. The worship of the Jew was addressed to one God, under one uniform character, as the only proper object of adoration; whose perfections no image could fitly represent, and to whom pure and spiritual worship was the most acceptable. To the one the Sabbath was a pious rest from his labours. With the other, religious festivals were seasons of intemperance, often immoral, and always licentious.

(W. Barrow, LL. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods.

WEB: For great is Yahweh, and greatly to be praised. He also is to be feared above all gods.

The Broader Aspect of Hebrew Piety
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