Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands.…
Babylon was a land in which life was overshadowed by a vast idolatry. What this idolatry was, we may see, in part, by a visit to the British Museum. There are to be seen at this hour figures and inscriptions which might well have been gazed on by the writers of this very psalm, and which show how the Baal worship which, in its different forms, prevailed from the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean, was the most striking feature of the life of the Imperial race that had conquered Palestine. To this hour, the ruins of what was the great Temple of Belus within the city, and of the Temple of Nimrod without the city, show how powerfully this idolatry must have addressed itself to the senses of the people. And the same conclusion is warranted by the anxious warnings of Isaiah in anticipation of the captivity, and by the language of the later psalmists who wrote in Babylon. Isaiah describes with a fine and indignant irony how in Babylon, too, the smith with the tongs, and the carpenter with his rule, would combine to make an idol according to the beauty of a man, and how worship would be paid to what was, in reality, only the stock of a tree. And the psalmist of the later epoch was, we can hardly doubt, inspired to write at the sight of the splendid images in the Babylonian temples, and notably, perhaps, by that of the golden image of Belus. "Their idols are silver and gold," etc. (Psalm 115:4-8). It was this idolatry which Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego resisted at the risk of their lives, and at which Daniel struck a deadly blow when, according to the Alexandrian account — till lately read in our churches, and undoubtedly embodying a germ of substantial history — he exposed on a great scale the fraud of the priest of Baal and destroyed his image.
Parallel VersesKJV: Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands.