Exodus 20:4
Parallel Verses
New International Version
"You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.

King James Bible
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

Darby Bible Translation
Thou shalt not make thyself any graven image, or any form of what is in the heavens above, or what is in the earth beneath, or what is in the waters under the earth:

World English Bible
"You shall not make for yourselves an idol, nor any image of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

Young's Literal Translation
Thou dost not make to thyself a graven image, or any likeness which is in the heavens above, or which is in the earth beneath, or which is in the waters under the earth.

Exodus 20:4 Parallel
Commentary
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image - As the word פסל pasal signifies to hew, carve, grave, etc., פסל pesel may here signify any kind of image, either of wood, stone, or metal, on which the axe, the chisel, or the graving tool has been employed. This commandment includes in its prohibitions every species of idolatry known to have been practiced among the Egyptians. The reader will see this the more plainly by consulting the notes on the ten plagues, particularly those on Exodus 12.

Or any likeness, etc. - To know the full spirit and extent of this commandment, this place must be collated with Deuteronomy 4:15, etc.: Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves - lest ye corrupt yourselves - and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of Male or Female. All who have even the slightest acquaintance with the ancient history of Egypt, know that Osiris and his wife Isis were supreme divinities among that people.

The likeness of any Beast - בהמה behemah, such as the ox and the heifer. Among the Egyptians the ox was not only sacred but adored, because they supposed that in one of these animals Osiris took up his residence: hence they always had a living ox, which they supposed to be the habitation of this deity; and they imagined that on the death of one he entered into the body of another, and so on successively. This famous ox-god they called Apis and Mnevis.

The likeness of any winged Fowl - The ibis, or stork, or crane, and hawk, may be here intended, for all these were objects of Egyptian idolatry.

The likeness of any thing that Creepeth - The crocodile, serpents, the scarabeus or beetle, were all objects of their adoration; and Mr. Bryant has rendered it very probable that even the frog itself was a sacred animal, as from its inflation it was emblematic of the prophetic influence, for they supposed that the god inflated or distended the body of the person by whom he gave oracular answers.

The likeness of any Fish - All fish were esteemed sacred animals among the Egyptians. One called Oxurunchus had, according to Strabo, lib. xvii., a temple, and divine honors paid to it. Another fish, called Phagrus, was worshipped at Syene, according to Clemens Alexandrinus in his Cohortatio. And the Lepidotus and eel were objects of their adoration, as we find from Herodotus, lib. ii., cap. 72. In short, oxen, heifers, sheep, goats, lions, dogs, monkeys, and cats; the ibis, the crane, and the hawk; the crocodile, serpents, frogs, flies, and the scarabeus or beetle; the Nile and its fish; the sun, moon, planets, and stars; fire, light, air, darkness, and night, were all objects of Egyptian idolatry, and all included in this very circumstantial prohibition as detailed in Deuteronomy, and very forcibly in the general terms of the text: Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in the Heavens above, or that is in the Earth beneath, or that is in the Water under the earth. And the reason of this becomes self-evident, when the various objects of Egyptian idolatry are considered.

To countenance its image worship, the Roman Catholic Church has left the whole of this second commandment out of the decalogue, and thus lost one whole commandment out of the ten; but to keep up the number they have divided the tenth into two. This is totally contrary to the faith of God's elect and to the acknowledgment of that truth which is according to godliness. The verse is found in every MS. of the Hebrew Pentateuch that has ever yet been discovered. It is in all the ancient versions, Samaritan, Chaldee, Syriac, Septuagint, Vulgate, Coptic, and Arabic; also in the Persian, and in all modern versions. There is not one word of the whole verse wanting in the many hundreds of MSS. collected by Kennicott and De Rossi. This corruption of the word of God by the Roman Catholic Church stamps it, as a false and heretical Church, with the deepest brand of ever-during infamy! This commandment also prohibits every species of external idolatry, as the first does all idolatry that may be called internal or mental. All false worship may be considered of this kind, together with all image worship, and all other superstitious rites and ceremonies. See Clarke's note on Exodus 20:23.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Exodus 32:1,8,23 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron...

Exodus 34:17 You shall make you no molten gods.

Leviticus 19:4 Turn you not to idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 26:1 You shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither raise you up a standing image...

Deuteronomy 4:15-19,23-25 Take you therefore good heed to yourselves...

Deuteronomy 5:8 You shall not make you any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath...

Deuteronomy 27:15 Cursed be the man that makes any graven or molten image, an abomination to the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman...

1 Kings 12:28 Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said to them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem...

2 Chronicles 33:7 And he set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God, of which God had said to David and to Solomon his son...

Psalm 97:7 Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all you gods.

Psalm 115:4-8 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands...

Psalm 135:15-18 The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men's hands...

Isaiah 40:18-20 To whom then will you liken God? or what likeness will you compare to him...

Isaiah 42:8,17 I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images...

Isaiah 44:9-20 They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses...

Isaiah 45:16 They shall be ashamed, and also confounded, all of them: they shall go to confusion together that are makers of idols.

Isaiah 46:5-8 To whom will you liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like...

Jeremiah 10:3-5,8,9,14-16 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cuts a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax...

Ezekiel 8:10 So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel...

Acts 17:29 For as much then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like to gold, or silver, or stone...

Acts 19:26-35 Moreover you see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia...

Romans 1:23 And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts...

Revelation 9:20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands...

Revelation 13:14,15 And deceives them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast...

Revelation 14:9-11 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image...

Revelation 16:2 And the first went, and poured out his vial on the earth...

Library
The Decalogue: I --Man and God
'And God spake all these words, saying, 2. I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 4. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in the heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Mediator --The Interpreter
To us, that day at Horeb is a type of the action of the law in our nature: thus doth the law deal with our consciences and hearts. If you have ever felt the law spoken home to you by the Spirit of God, you have heard great thunderings within. You have been forced to cry with Habakkuk, "When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones." And God intended it to be so, that you might look to the flames which Moses saw, and abandon forever all hope of acceptance
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 35: 1889

Thus Has the Question Been on Both Sides Considered and Treated...
12. Thus has the question been on both sides considered and treated; and still it is not easy to pass sentence: but we must further lend diligent hearing to those who say, that no deed is so evil, but that in avoidance of a worse it ought to be done; moreover that the deeds of men include not only what they do, but whatever they consent to be done unto them. Wherefore, if cause have arisen that a Christian man should choose to burn incense to idols, that he might not consent to bodily defilement
St. Augustine—On Lying

The Old Testament Canon from Its Beginning to Its Close.
The first important part of the Old Testament put together as a whole was the Pentateuch, or rather, the five books of Moses and Joshua. This was preceded by smaller documents, which one or more redactors embodied in it. The earliest things committed to writing were probably the ten words proceeding from Moses himself, afterwards enlarged into the ten commandments which exist at present in two recensions (Exod. xx., Deut. v.) It is true that we have the oldest form of the decalogue from the Jehovist
Samuel Davidson—The Canon of the Bible

Cross References
Exodus 32:8
They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, 'These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.'

Exodus 34:17
"Do not make any idols.

Leviticus 19:4
"'Do not turn to idols or make metal gods for yourselves. I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 26:1
"'Do not make idols or set up an image or a sacred stone for yourselves, and do not place a carved stone in your land to bow down before it. I am the LORD your God.

Numbers 12:8
With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?"

Deuteronomy 4:15
You saw no form of any kind the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully,

Deuteronomy 4:16
so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman,

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