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Danger of Idolatry. 15 Because you saw no form at all on the day the Lord spoke to you at Horeb from the midst of the fire, be strictly on your guard 16 not to act corruptly by fashioning an idol for yourselves to represent any figure, whether it be the form of a man or of a woman,(A) 17 the form of any animal on the earth, the form of any bird that flies in the sky, 18 the form of anything that crawls on the ground, or the form of any fish in the waters under the earth. 19 And when you look up to the heavens and behold the sun or the moon or the stars, the whole heavenly host, do not be led astray into bowing down to them and serving them.(B) These the Lord, your God, has apportioned to all the other nations under the heavens; 20 but you the Lord has taken and led out of that iron foundry, Egypt, that you might be his people, his heritage, as you are today.(C)

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You shall not make for yourself an idol or a likeness of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; [a]you shall not bow down before them or serve them. For I, the Lord, your God, am a jealous[b] God, bringing punishment for their parents’ wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation,

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Footnotes

  1. 5:9–10 Israel is confronted with a choice, to “love” or to “hate” the Lord, and with the consequences of each choice. “Wickedness” works destruction not only on those who do it but also down the generations, in a sort of ripple effect. Yet, if Israel keeps the commandments, they will experience the Lord’s hesed (“love”) down to the thousandth generation. Thus the Lord’s merciful love is disproportionate to the evil results of iniquity (“down to the third and fourth generation”). To the thousandth generation: lit., “to thousands”; cf. 7:9.
  2. 5:9 Jealous: see note on 4:24.

You shall not make for yourself an idol(A) or a likeness of anything[a] in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth;

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Footnotes

  1. 20:4 Or a likeness of anything: compare this formulation to that found in Dt 5:8, which understands this phrase and the following phrases as specifications of the prohibited idol (Hebrew pesel), which usually refers to an image that is carved or hewn rather than cast.

23 You shall not make alongside of me gods of silver, nor shall you make for yourselves gods of gold.(A)

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17 You shall not make for yourselves molten gods.(A)

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Do not turn aside to idols, nor make molten gods for yourselves.(A) I, the Lord, am your God.

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Chapter 26

The Reward of Obedience. [a]Do not make idols for yourselves. You shall not erect a carved image or a sacred stone for yourselves, nor shall you set up a carved stone for worship in your land;(A) for I, the Lord, am your God.

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Footnotes

  1. 26:1–46 This chapter concludes the revelation of laws at Mount Sinai (cf. v. 46). Blessings and curses are also found at the end of Deuteronomy’s law collection (Dt 28). Similar lists of blessings and curses appear in the conclusions of ancient Near Eastern treaties.

II

Their idols are silver and gold,(A)
    the work of human hands.(B)
They have mouths but do not speak,
    eyes but do not see.
They have ears but do not hear,
    noses but do not smell.
They have hands but do not feel,
    feet but do not walk;
    they produce no sound from their throats.
Their makers will be like them,
    and anyone who trusts in them.

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    but the handmade idol is accursed, and its maker as well:
    he for having produced it, and the corruptible thing, because it was termed a god.(A)

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