Verse 15: Can We Make Graven Images?
|“||Shall We Make Graven Images?
Exodus 20:4 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:
Leviticus 26:1 ¶ Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God.
Deuteronomy 27:15 Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen.
Exodus 25:18 And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat.
1 Kings 7:15-16 For he cast two pillars of brass, of eighteen cubits high apiece: and a line of twelve cubits did compass either of them about. And he made two chapiters of molten brass, to set upon the tops of the pillars: the height of the one chapiter was five cubits, and the height of the other chapiter was five cubits:
23 And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.
24 And under the brim of it round about there were knops compassing it, ten in a cubit, compassing the sea round about: the knops were cast in two rows, when it was cast.
25 It stood upon twelve oxen, three looking toward the north, and three looking toward the west, and three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east: and the sea was set above upon them, and all their hinder parts were inward.
The confusion is caused by translation from Hebrew into English. The phrase "graven image" derives from a single Hebrew word, pecel, that should've been translated idol instead, since that is how it is always used throughout the Bible. For that reason Hebrew lexicons consistently define it as "idol."
Furthermore, the context of the passages themselves shows that it is idols being discussed, not merely graven images. (cp. Exodus 20:3,5; Leviticus 26:1) To quote Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe, "The prohibition against making graven images was distinctly set in the context of worshiping idols... there was no chance that the people of Israel would fall down before the cherubim in the most holy place, since they were forbidden to go in the holy place at any time. Even the high priest went only once a year on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16)... These cherubim were not given to Israel as images of God; they were angels. Nor were they given to be worshiped. Hence, there is no way in which the command to make them violated the commandment in Exodus 20."
|“||Genesis 17:15 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be.
16 And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.
Abraham marries his half-sister. God blesses the union in Genesis 22:17.
Leviticus 20:17 And if a man shall take his sister, his father's daughter, or his mother's daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it is a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people: he hath uncovered his sister's nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity.
Incest is a disgrace.
Deuteronomy 27:22 Cursed be he that lieth with his sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter of his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen.
The perpetrator is "cursed."
- See also Pre-Flood Longevity
As Romans 5:13 says, "sin is not imputed when there is no law." Before the time of Moses there was no necessity for a law against incest because such vast lifespans made for very different family units, and incest was thus not wrong in the same way it is today. The commandment against incest was not given until the time of Moses because incest was not wrong before that, since people lived such extraordinarily long lives, centuries longer than we do today. Technically it wasn't incest by today's standards since early humans each had lifespans of 900 years (Genesis 5).
Incest was only declared wrong by the time of Moses when people had average lifespans of 70 years (Psalms 90:10) and God when the Flood started began reducing the average lifespan to 120 years (Genesis 6:3). Lifespans did not reach this point until about the time of Moses, who lived exactly the 120 years specified. (Deuteronomy 34:7) Incest today is considered wrong, as it should be, because children who grow up with one another as part of the same family should not have sexual relationships. However, ancient people like Noah's family lived centuries upon centuries and could be born many centuries apart in age from their siblings, old enough by today's standards to be the great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandparents of their brothers and sisters.
In the case of Abraham, he lived to be 175 years old, whereas his half-sister and wife Sarah lived to be 127 years old. (Genesis 25:7, Genesis 23:1-2) Both lived longer lives than anyone today can live. People lived such long lives at the time that Abraham's great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather, Noah himself, did not die until 18 years after Abraham was born, at the ripe age of 950 years old! Under the Biblical model, such ancient patriarchs could have siblings considerably older and more distant in relation than is seen today, which is why the commandment against incest was not yet given, and incest at the time was not wrong.
- Barker, D. (2019). "Bible Contradictions." FFRF.
- Brown, Driver, Briggs and Gesenius (2019). "Hebrew Lexicon Entry for Pecel." BibleStudyTools.
Strong's Hebrew Lexicon (2019). "Lexicon: Strong's H6459 - Pecel." BlueLetterBible.
- Geisler, N. & Howe, T. (1992). "Exodus 25:18FF-If it is Wrong to Make Graven Images, Why Did God Command Moses to Make One?" In "When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties." Defending Inerrancy.
- TheThinkingAtheist. Bible Contradictions. Retrieved from http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/page/bible-contradictions.
- N.a. (2019). "Biblical Contradictions? American Atheists.