Deuteronomy 4:15
Take you therefore good heed to yourselves; for you saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spoke to you in Horeb out of the middle of the fire:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) Ye saw no manner of similitude.—The worship of the invisible Jehovah is here specially insisted on. The difficulty of learning to worship one whom we cannot see is, happily, one which our education does not enable us to realise in its relation to Israel of old. All nations had their visible symbols of deity. Centuries afterwards the world described the followers of Christ as Atheists, because they had no visible God. It is especially recorded in praise of Moses that “he endured as seeing Him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27).

Deuteronomy 4:15. Ye saw no similitude in Horeb — God, who, in some other places and times, did appear in a human form, now in this most solemn appearance, when he came to give eternal laws for the direction of the Israelites in the worship of himself, and in their duty to their fellow- creatures, purposely avoided all such representations, to show that he abhors all worship by images, of what kind soever, because he is the invisible God, and cannot be represented by any visible image.4:1-23 The power and love of God to Israel are here made the ground and reason of a number of cautions and serious warnings; and although there is much reference to their national covenant, yet all may be applied to those who live under the gospel. What are laws made for but to be observed and obeyed? Our obedience as individuals cannot merit salvation; but it is the only evidence that we are partakers of the gift of God, which is eternal life through Jesus Christ, Considering how many temptations we are compassed with, and what corrupt desires we have in our bosoms, we have great need to keep our hearts with all diligence. Those cannot walk aright, who walk carelessly. Moses charges particularly to take heed of the sin of idolatry. He shows how weak the temptation would be to those who thought aright; for these pretended gods, the sun, moon, and stars, were only blessings which the Lord their God had imparted to all nations. It is absurd to worship them; shall we serve those that were made to serve us? Take heed lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God. We must take heed lest at any time we forget our religion. Care, caution, and watchfulness, are helps against a bad memory.Hero worship exhibited itself in the practice of setting up images of human form as household gods (Penates, compare Genesis 31:19; Genesis 35:2), or as local and civic divinities: a practice forbidden by Deuteronomy 4:16. Nature worship in its baser shapes is seen in the Egyptian idolatry of animals and animal figures, and is condemned in Deuteronomy 4:17-18 : while its less ignoble flight, the worship of the sun, moon, and stars, is forbidden in Deuteronomy 4:19. The great legislator may be regarded as taking in the passage before us a complete and comprehensive survey of the various forms of idolatrous and corrupt worship practiced by the surrounding Oriental nations, and as particularly and successively forbidding them every one. 15. Take … good heed … for ye saw no manner of similitude—The extreme proneness of the Israelites to idolatry, from their position in the midst of surrounding nations already abandoned to its seductions, accounts for their attention being repeatedly drawn to the fact that God did not appear on Sinai in any visible form; and an earnest caution, founded on that remarkable circumstance, is given to beware, not only of making representations of false gods, but also any fancied representation of the true God. By which caution he insinuates man’s great proneness to the worship of images.

God, who in other places and times did appear in a similitude, in the fashion of a man, now in this most solemn appearance, when he comes to give eternal laws for the regulation and direction of the Israelites in the worship of God, and in their duty to men, he purposely avoids all such representations, to show that he abhors all worship of images, or of himself by images of what kind soever, as it here follows, Deu 4:16-19, because he is the invisible God, and cannot be represented by any visible image. See Isaiah 40:18 Acts 17:29. Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves,.... As to keep all the laws given them, so particularly to avoid idolatry:

for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day the Lord spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire; and therefore, as they had nothing that directed and led them, so they had nothing that could be a temptation to them, to make any form or likeness, and worship it.

Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no {l} manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire:

(l) Signifying, that destruction is prepared for all who make any image to represent God.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. ye saw no manner of form] Resumes and repeats the reminder in Deuteronomy 4:12 in a way that would have been unnecessary but for the digression in 13 f.; and proves that the latter is original. Form, Heb. temûnah.Verses 15-20. - As the people had seen no form or figure when God spake to them, so they were to beware for their very lives (cf. ver. 9) of acting corruptly by making any kind of image, whether of man or of beast, for the purpose of worshipping God as represented by it; they were also to beware of being so attracted by the splendor of the heavenly bodies as to be forcibly seduced to worship them and offer them religious service. They were not in this respect to imitate the heathen; for God, who had delivered them out of the furnace of Egyptian bondage, had taken them for himself to be his special possession; and therefore they were to take heed not to forget the covenant of Jehovah their God, nor to offend him by making any image or representation of him as the object of worship. Among the heathen, and especially in Egypt, images were the very pillar and support of religion; but in Israel, as God had revealed himself to them without form, it was as a spirit he was to be worshipped, and not under any outward representation. Israel was therefore not to forget the things which it had seen at Horeb with its own eyes.

Deuteronomy 4:9

"Only beware and take care of thyself." To "keep the soul," i.e., to take care of the soul as the seat of life, to defend one's life from danger and injury (Proverbs 13:3; Proverbs 19:16). "That thou do not forget את־הדּברים (the facts described in Exodus 19-24), and that they do not depart from thy heart all the days of thy life," i.e., are not forgotten as long as thou livest, "and thou makest them known to thy children and thy children's children." These acts of God formed the foundation of the true religion, the real basis of the covenant legislation, and the firm guarantee of the objective truth and divinity of all the laws and ordinances which Moses gave to the people. And it was this which constituted the essential distinction between the religion of the Old Testament and all heathen religions, whose founders, it is true, professed to derive their doctrines and statutes from divine inspiration, but without giving any practical guarantee that their origin was truly divine.

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