American gods III
8 And then shall that jqWicked be revealed, r[whom the Lord] shall consume s[with the spirit of his mouth], and shall destroy with tthe brightness of ahis coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is uafter the working of wSatan xwith all power and ysigns and lying ywonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of zunrighteousness in athem that perish; because they received not bthe love of zthe truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause cGod shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe da lie: 12 That they all might be damned who ebelieved not zthe truth, but fhad pleasure in zunrighteousness.
shall destroy with tthe brightness of ahis coming:
10 He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. 11 So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. 12 Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.
11 And for this cause cGod shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe da lie: 12 That they all might be damned who ebelieved not zthe truth, but fhad pleasure in zunrighteousness.
The Heb. kāzāḇ indicates something that falls short of expectations, or fails to live up to its promise, in this case (Ps. 62:9) man. The remaining references are to idolatry and false religions, which are wickedly deceitful, and which prove to be empty, worthless (’āwen, šāw’), a sham (ta‘tu‘îm), disappointing all trust (šeqer).
32 But as for your gods, see if you can find them, and let the person who has taken them die! And if you find anything else that belongs to you, identify it before all these relatives of ours, and I will give it back!” But Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the household idols.
33 Laban went first into Jacob’s tent to search there, then into Leah’s, and then the tents of the two servant wives—but he found nothing. Finally, he went into Rachel’s tent. 34 But Rachel had taken the household idols and hidden them in her camel saddle, and now she was sitting on them. When Laban had thoroughly searched her tent without finding them, 35 she said to her father, “Please, sir, forgive me if I don’t get up for you. I’m having my monthly period.” So Laban continued his search, but he could not find the household idols.
Then God said to Jacob, “Get ready and move to Bethel and settle there. Build an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother, Esau.”
2 So Jacob told everyone in his household, “Get rid of all your pagan idols, purify yourselves, and put on clean clothing. 3 We are now going to Bethel, where I will build an altar to the God who answered my prayers when I was in distress. He has been with me wherever I have gone.”
4 So they gave Jacob all their pagan idols and earrings, and he buried them under the great tree near Shechem. 5 As they set out, a terror from God spread over the people in all the towns of that area, so no one attacked Jacob’s family.
16 Leaving Bethel, Jacob and his clan moved on toward Ephrath. But Rachel went into labor while they were still some distance away. Her labor pains were intense. 17 After a very hard delivery, the midwife finally exclaimed, “Don’t be afraid—you have another son!” 18 Rachel was about to die, but with her last breath she named the baby Ben-oni (which means “son of my sorrow”). The baby’s father, however, called him Benjamin (which means “son of my right hand”). 19 So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). 20 Jacob set up a stone monument over Rachel’s grave, and it can be seen there to this day.
IDOLATRY—image-worship or divine honour paid to any created object. Paul describes the origin of idolatry in Rom. 1:21–25: men forsook God, and sank into ignorance and moral corruption (1:28).
The forms of idolatry are, (1.) Fetishism, or the worship of trees, rivers, hills, stones, etc.
(2.) Nature worship, the worship of the sun, moon, and stars, as the supposed powers of nature.
(3.) Hero worship, the worship of deceased ancestors, or of heroes.
During their long residence in Egypt the Hebrews fell into idolatry, and it was long before they were delivered from it (Josh. 24:14; Ezek. 20:7). Many a token of God’s displeasure fell upon them because of this sin.
The idolatry learned in Egypt was probably rooted out from among the people during the forty years’ wanderings; but when the Jews entered Palestine, they came into contact with the monuments and associations of the idolatry of the old Canaanitish races, and showed a constant tendency to depart from the living God and follow the idolatrous practices of those heathen nations. It was their great national sin, which was only effectually rebuked by the Babylonian exile. That exile finally purified the Jews of all idolatrous tendencies.
The first and second commandments are directed against idolatry of every form. Individuals and communities were equally amenable to the rigorous code. The individual offender was devoted to destruction (Ex. 22:20). His nearest relatives were not only bound to denounce him and deliver him up to punishment (Deut. 13:2–10), but their hands were to strike the first blow when, on the evidence of two witnesses at least, he was stoned (Deut. 17:2–7). To attempt to seduce others to false worship was a crime of equal enormity (13:6–10). An idolatrous nation shared the same fate. No facts are more strongly declared in the Old Testament than that the extermination of the Canaanites was the punishment of their idolatry (Ex. 34:15, 16; Deut. 7; 12:29–31; 20:17), and that the calamities of the Israelites were due to the same cause (Jer. 2:17). “A city guilty of idolatry was looked upon as a cancer in the state; it was considered to be in rebellion, and treated according to the laws of war. Its inhabitants and all their cattle were put to death.” Jehovah was the theocratic King of Israel, the civil Head of the commonwealth, and therefore to an Israelite idolatry was a state offence (1 Sam. 15:23), high treason. On taking possession of the land, the Jews were commanded to destroy all traces of every kind of the existing idolatry of the Canaanites (Ex. 23:24, 32; 34:13; Deut. 7:5, 25; 12:1–3).
The OT frequently uses the language of prostitution (זָנָה, zānāh, “to play the whore”; Exod 34:5) or adultery (נָאַף, nāʾap, “to commit adultery”; Jer 3:9) to describe idolatry. Just as sexual infidelity breaks the marriage agreement (Lev 20:10), so religious infidelity breaks the covenant (Jer 3:6–11; Ezek 16:8, 15). Many examples blend sexual and religious language, speaking of sacrifices and offerings in the midst of describing sexual liaisons (e.g., Isa 57:3–10; Jer 2:20–28). Other passages use verbs that literally describe adultery or illicit sexual activity to indicate the activity of going off to worship foreign gods (Exod 34:15; Deut 31:16; Ezek 6:9).
While the NT does not explicitly use the language of adultery or sexual immorality (e.g., πορνεία, porneia) to describe idolatry, the conceptual link may still be found in the vice lists that often mention both sexual immorality and idolatry, frequently in direct sequence or very close proximity (1 Cor 5:11; 6:9; Gal 5:19–20; Rev 21:8; 22:15). On two occasions, Paul links idolatry with the sin of covetousness, perhaps extending the idea of idolatry from worship of other gods to worship of or desire for things (Eph 5:5; Col 3:5).
בַּעַל (baʿal). n. masc. Baal, master, lord, husband. Refers generally to one who is an owner or master, but also the common epithet of a Canaanite storm god.
One of the most common OT complaints about idolatry is that Israel has abandoned Yahweh and gone to serve Baal (or the “Baals”), as well as the other gods of the surrounding Canaanite peoples
Used in the singular, baʿal typically referred to a specific deity, one of the chief gods of the Canaanite pantheon. Used in the plural, the Baals (,בְּעָלִים bĕʿālîm) may have been shorthand for referring to Canaanite gods in general, though the use of baʿal in place names or with reference to worship at a specific location could point to worship of regional deities (e.g., baʿal pĕʿôr, “Baal of Peor,” could mean “lord of Peor”; Num 25:3). Most of the references to Baal as a deity come in Judges, 1–2 Kings, Jeremiah, and Hosea; in general, these passages criticize Israel for worshipping Baal. Much of the conflict in the Deuteronomistic History (Joshua–2 Kings) is framed as a battle for Israel’s religious loyalty. Israel keeps wandering off to worship the idols of other nations, but Yahweh and his prophets are continually trying to get them to worship Yahweh alone. The battle between Yahweh and Baal is most dramatically demonstrated through Elijah’s confrontation with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel (1 Kgs 18). That account mocks the idea that Baal was a real god worthy of worship (1 Kgs 18:26–29), and Yahweh’s demonstration of power contrasts with Baal’s absence (1 Kgs 18:38–40). Elijah’s lesson for Israel was that the battle between Yahweh and Baal was no battle at all, because only one was real and only one could answer—Yahweh.
Asherah was a Canaanite goddess worshiped by the Israelites alongside their worship of Baal and other Canaanite deities (1 Kgs 18:19; 2 Kgs 23:4). Most of the OT references to Asherah are not explicit uses of the word as the deity’s name; rather, “the Asherah” is the object, usually a tree or pole, that is erected in her honor or to facilitate worship (Deut 16:21; 1 Kgs 16:33). Biblical law prescribed cutting down these trees or poles (Exod 34:13; Deut 7:5; 12:3) and prohibited the planting of one (Deut 16:21). The destruction of altars and other physical objects representing foreign deities including Asherah was a central aspect of the religious reforms of Gideon (Judg 6), Asa (1 Kgs 15:9–15), Hezekiah (2 Kgs 18:4), and Josiah (2 Kgs 23).
פֶּסֶל (pesel). n. masc. idol, carved image. Refers generally to a man-made image or figure made of wood, stone, or metal.