Imágenes de páginas

516 $ 404, state of idolatay in the time of christ.

other, while those of the Porch explained the whole on their system of Panthéism. The philosophers indeed disputed with much subtilty respecting the architect of the universe, but they knew nothing about the CREATOR, the all-wise, and all-powerful Judge of 17ten. * They worshipped the gods themselves, and threw no obstacles in the way of others rendering them the same worship; but they had understanding enough at the same time on the subject to condemn the vices, which had been attributed to them, and to give them an allegorical interpretation. They still left to them the government of the world and of men; but they exploded the idea of the existence of TARTARUs or the Infernal Regions; although they failed, as it is remarked by Polybius, (Hist. VI.6.) to substitute any thing better in its place. The doctrine, which some of them advanced, respecting the existence of the soul after death, they found themselves unable to maintain by such arguments, as would be considered proof; and they overlooked alto-" gether the subject of the difference of allotment to the good and evil, when this life is over, Cicero, Tusc. QUAEs. LIB. I. 11. The good principles, which some advanced, were controverted and denied by others, and the people, not being in a condition to pass an opinion on disputes of this nature, followed the authority of the priests. If, indeed, any tenets of the philosophers obtained circulation among the populace, they were only those of the worst kind; such as the simultaneous death of the soul and the body, and the denial of a divine Providence, Pliny, Hist. NAT. Lib. II. 2. VII. 56. As respects some of the moral duties, the philosophers may have made some advance, as to correctness, on former opinions; but how deficient they were after all, will be seen, when it is remarked, that they made the honour, utility, and propriety of actions the rule of their moral merit or demerit, and permitted the practice of fornication, the prostitution of boys, the exposure of children, and the hatred of enemies. The Stoicks defended the practice of suicide, insisted on the sternest apathy, and joined with the Platonists in recommending a contemplative life. As such a life did not suit with the feelings and practice of the great bulk of mankind, the philosophers indulged only in intercourse with one another. But even if they had been unanimous, in teaching a

[ocr errors]

§ 405. or IMAGES MADE roR sacred PURPoses. 517

system of morals, which might be considered perfect, there would have been a want of something still ; there would have been a want of motives, of incitements, to influence them and their disciples, to put it into practice. Whence Cicero complains, that the doctrines of these philosophers were rather the ostentation of learning, than the prompter and law of their conduct, TUSCUL. QUAEST. Lib. II. 4. *


Two kinds of these images are mentioned in the Bible, viz. those of Jehovah and those of the false deities; which, especially in the history of the kingdom of Israel, (2 Kgs. 10:29. 13: 2, 11. 14: 24.) are carefully distinguished from each other. Both were interdicted to the Hebrews, for they were considered as being in danger of attributing some inherent efficacy to those of Jehovah, as well as of the other deities, Exod. 32: 4. Deut. 13: 2, 3, 4:12 —20.

The images of Jehovah were,

I. The Calf, mentioned in Exod. 32:4, 5; and the two calves erected by Jeroboam in the cities of Dan and Bethel. They were made in imitation of the two celebrated living bulls in Egypt, viz. Apis at Memphis and Mnevis at Heliopolis. These calves are said to be gold in the same sense, that the Table and Altar are said to be so, i.e. covered with gold.

II. The Ephod of Gideon. This certainly was not the sacerdotal garment, called an Ephod; for such a garment could not. have been made of gold, which is represented to have been the case with the Ephod in question, Jud. 6: 25–33, 8: 24–27. It was a piece of wood, sculptured in the likeness of an Ephod, and covered with gold. In confirmation of this view, it may be observed, that the word Hops is used, (Is. 30. 22.) for a covering or superficies of gold. - T -

III. The image of Micah in mount Ephraim; which is expressly said to be an image of Jehovah, Jud. 17:3—13. 18:3, 6, 15–31.

Idols properly so called, occur under different names, which are sometimes interchanged with each other. The words onto and 7:on, an image or effigy, are general terms, which are appli. ed to idols and effigies for sacred purposes of any kind; the words 518 § 406. of the host or ARMY of heaven.

so and so mean properly a sculptured image; Hoon may mean any monument whatever; especially one for superstitious purposes. The word Hoop means a covering of silver and gold, and by

synecdoche, the idol itself, which is thus covered; the terms * * *3.

as and as: from the Arabick Joãc to cut out or hew, signify

an idol, as the etymology of the words intimates, which is hewn out

or sculptured. Idols are sometimes denominated too. he word does not

< * 22% to 4% -2. appear to be from the Arabick J-, to be large, but from the Hebrew #3 to roll, because the trunks of these idols could be easily rolled; with a contemptuous allusion, at the same time, to the round and voluble excrements of certain brute animals. We also find other contemptuous names for idols, viz. Yoo, an abomi

nation and Eos, an appellation, applied to idols, on account of .

their weakness. Jehovah, on the contrary, is termed hors the Mighty, sp: - as the Mighty one of Jacob, and Esop' - as the mighty one of Israel, Gen. 49: 24. Is 49: 26.60: 16. Ps. 132: 2, 5.

§ 406. OF THE Host or ARMY of HEAven.

The Host of heaven, Eynor Rox, which are represented as being made the objects of worship, are the stars. As early as the time of Moses, we find, that these heavenly bodies were not only worshipped themselves, but also images of them, Exod. 20: 4. Deut. 17: 3. Hence, through a failure of distinguishing between second and original causes, or what may be termed the permission of God in his Providence and his immediate agency, which is common among oriental writers, the stars are said in Deut. 4: 19, to be distributed among the nations, as objects of their worship, while God has selected the people of Israel for his own, that they might worship Him. The Mehestani, (the disciples of Zoroaster,) not only worshipped the stars, but paid their homage likewise to the innumerable spirits, with which, in their opinion, they were peopled. These spirits they believed to be their guardian defenders against the evil Ahrimanius and his demons, Dan. 4: 23.

Notwithstanding the worship of the stars, a practice, which was very widely spread, was interdicted to the Hebrews, they

§ 407, of the sun and the God baal. 519

very often, especially during the seventy years immediately preceding the Captivity, adored them, erected altars, and burnt incense to them in their houses, I Kgs. 22: 19. 2 Chron. 18: 18. 33: 3.2 Kgs. 17:16.21: 3. 23: 4, 5. Jer. 8: 2. 19:13. Zeph. 1: 5.

Note. The phrase, noso: Hyrto, Jehovah of hosts, or rather when fully written, n\No. "ribs HoH, Jehovah, the Lord of Hosts, which occurs first in the book of Psalms and the books of Samuel, is not to be rendered the God of the stars, nor the God of the gods; for, however frequently the singular Rox may be thus used, it is certain, that the plural, viz. nnnox, is never employed in reference to the stars. Nor is another rendering, which is sometimes given, viz. the God of armies, a correct one. It is true, that, at a very ancient period, the Hebrews were denominated the armies or hosts of Jehovah, Hyn; n"Nix; but we never find, at the early period to which we allude, the converse of these expressions, viz. n\Nox. Hyn, the God of armies. We prefer, therefore, the rendering of the Septuagint, which translates the phrase in question, tavroxgarog, the ruler of all things or the omnipotent. Indeed both the singular six and the plural nonex, which are from the verb Nils to arise, are applied to everything, which arises or makes its appearance either in earth or heaven, Gen. * 2: 1.


The Sun, or, as an object of worship, is always mentioned by Moses, in connection with the moon and stars, to all of which, as it would seem from his representations, effigies or images were erected, Exod. 20:4. Deut. 4: 19. 17: 13. The sect of the Arabians, called Nabataeans, erected altars to the Sun, on the tops of houses, and worshipped him with libations and with the burning of incense, Strabo p. 784. comp. Jer. 19:13. Zeph. 1: 5. We find, that a city was consecrated to the Sun in Egypt, in the time of Joseph, and that men of distinguished rank were set apart to his service, Gen. 41: 45, 50.46:20. The city, to which we allude, viz. Heliopolis, (in Hebrew jox and is) was a place of note, so late as the time of Jeremiah, (see chap. 43:13,) in consequence of the obelisks, won; no naxo, which were erected in honour of 520 § 407. of the sun AND the god BAAL.

that luminary. One of these obelisks is still remaining upon its base; the others are prostrated and broken, Niebuhr's Travels I. 98, 99. Strabo p. 805. Abdollatif in Jahn's Arabick Chrestomathy, p. 139: et seq. It is these monuments of superstition, (obelisks,) although perhaps smaller in size, which are meant by the word Bori, and which, although they were interdicted by Moses, (Levit. 26: 30.) were, notwithstanding, at a subsequent period erected by his countrymen, Is. 17: 8. 27: 9. Ezek. 6: 4, 6, 2 Chron. 14: 5. We learn from 2 Chron... 37: 4–7, that these obelisks were erected on the altars of Baal; they were of course consecrated to the Sun, since Baal, especially when it is read in connection with Astarte or Ashtaroth i. e. the moon, means the Sun, for instance in Jud. 2: 13. 10:6. 1 Sam. 7:4. 12: 10, also in 2 Kgs, 23: 5, where the expressions to Ezz, the sun Baal, are coupled together. Baal Gad, 13 byz, moreover, which is mentioned, Jos. 11: 17. 12; 7. 13:5, is evidently the same with that City of the sun, which formerly existed in Syria and was called by the Greeks HEliopolis; where at this day amid its ruins, which now bear the name of Baalbek, are found the remains of a most magnificent Temple, Baal Samen, a deity of the Phenicians, eulogized in the fragments of Sanconiathon, is no other than Bog by: the lord of heaven, i. e. the sun. It is stated by Macrobius, (Saturnal. I, 23) that the Sun in his character of deity was represented, in the cities named Heliopolis both in Syria and Egypt, by the image of an unbearded youth. His right hand, like that of a charioteer, was in an elevated posture, and sustained a whip; his left hand grasped the thunderbolt. This idolatrous effigy was covered throughout with gold. The hieroglyphical characters, which can be traced on the obelisks, of which we have already spoken, and likewise on the remains of other ancient monuments in Egypt, are denominated, in the writings of Moses, n"zipp jas, also noton ; and are forbidden by him, on account of their having been made objects of superstitious worship, Lev. 26:1. Num. 33:52. comp. Ezek. 8: 7–13. There is no doubt, that the men, mentioned in Ezekiel 8: 7– 13, worshipped hieroglyphical representations. The Mehestani considered the Sun to be the eye of Ormuz,

« AnteriorContinuar »