Psalm 115:4

Hebrew Bible

1 Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name bring honor, for the sake of your loyal love and faithfulness. 2 Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” 3 Our God is in heaven. He does whatever he pleases. 4 Their idols are made of silver and gold—they are man-made. 5 They have mouths, but cannot speak; eyes, but cannot see; 6 ears, but cannot hear; noses, but cannot smell;

Wisdom of Solomon 15:15


13 For these persons, more than all others, know that they sin when they make from earthy matter fragile vessels and carved images. 14 But most foolish, and more miserable than an infant, are all the enemies who oppressed your people. 15 For they thought that all their heathen idols were gods, though these have neither the use of their eyes to see with, nor nostrils with which to draw breath, nor ears with which to hear, nor fingers to feel with, and their feet are of no use for walking. 16 For a human being made them, and one whose spirit is borrowed formed them; for none can form gods that are like themselves. 17 People are mortal, and what they make with lawless hands is dead; for they are better than the objects they worship, since they have life, but the idols never had.

 Notes and References

"... Verse 2 can perhaps be paraphrased 'If we sin we will not give up our loyalty to our God, for we fear his power; but knowing that our repute reflects on our God, out of love we will not sin.' 'Immortality' (verse 3) is again future life (contrast Wisdom of Solomon 8:13), for (Psalm 115:4, 8 are echoed) we are not deceived by 'art or man's device' into Pygmalion-like desire for an image (verse 5); those who make or desire or revere them are worthy of them. (15:7-13) in a variation on the amateur wood-carver (13:11-19) and the famous sculptor (14:18—20), depicts the maker of clay figures, whose own borrowed soul (verse 8; Wisdom of Solomon 8:19) must be returned; and who thinks only of gain despite awareness of guilt (verse 13). Jewish potters are attested in second to first-century BCE Egypt, and perhaps verse 13 implies criticism of some who sold images. (15:14-19) turns to Gentile oppressors who adopt all heathen gods without discrimination (Psalm 115:5—7 is echoed). The gibe suits Ptolemaic government in Egypt; returning to Milton's 'brutish gods of Nile' (11:15), it prepares for resumption of the series of contrasts between Egypt and Israel which was broken off at 11:14 ..."

Barton, John, and John Muddiman The Oxford Bible Commentary (p. 664) Oxford University Press, 2001

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