Psalm 135:15

Hebrew Bible

12 He gave their land as an inheritance, as an inheritance to Israel his people. 13 O Lord, your name endures, your reputation, O Lord, lasts. 14 For the Lord vindicates his people and has compassion on his servants. 15 The nations’ idols are made of silver and gold; they are man-made. 16 They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see, 17 and ears, but cannot hear. Indeed, they cannot breathe.

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

"... Even though, for example, Asklepios was “so-called a god” by the pagans, the only real existence that Asklepios had was in the imagination of the pagan and the physical representation in the idol. Thus Philo, Wisdom of Solomon, Paul, and the Strong can argue that the god is only the idol, the idol is nothing, and therefore the god is nothing. This is why a common form of criticizing pagan gods is to label them to be the “work of human hands.” (One way to describe idols and thus pagan gods is to combine the terms for “hands” with another root meaning “make” or ‘form” e.g., χειροποίητος: Wisdom of Solomon 14:8; χειροκμήτος: Decalogue 66, but it is even more common to describe the process of making idols: e.g., Psalm 135:15-18; Isaiah 44:9-20; Jeremiah 10:3-14; Hosea 8:4-6; 13:2; Habakkuk 2:18-19; Wisdom of Solomon 13:10-19; 14:8-31) There is, however, a difference in the way Paul and the Strong understand the non-existence of idol-gods. As we have seen in preceding chapters, the agreement that gods do not exist can result in radically different theological and ethical interpretations of how to interact with idols. Subsequent correction and instruction by Paul will get to the heart of the matter concerning the implications of the non-existence of idols. The problem addressed in 1 Cor 8 is that the actions of the Strong have the potential to “destroy” the Weak. Paul will later argue that despite the non-existence of the idol, there is still a demonic reality behind it (1 Corinthians 10:20). The Strong admit that many people continue to recognize other deities, and thus the Strong state that “even if there are those called gods, either in heaven or on earth.” A parallel to the idea of pagan deities being “so-called gods” is found in Wisdom of Solomon 15:15, where the idols of the nations are called gods. According to Wisdom of Solomon, associations with idols are to be avoided, even though Wisdom makes no mention of a demonic presence ..."

Rogers, Trent A. The Representation of God in First Corinthians 8-10: Understanding Paul in the Context of Wisdom, Philo, and Josephus (pp. 244-245) Cedarville University, 2015

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