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Torah Portion Ketchup – A few more thoughts on Yittro

February 21, 2012

I had a couple other thoughts on Yittro, the Ten Commandments, and the Voice of God.

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. 5Thou 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 fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments

What constitutes a graven image? Is it any picture, statue, portrait, etc? Or does it only pertain to idolatry?

I need to go back and study the Hebrew on this but, what I am able to find at Blue Letter Bible suggests that the phrase “graven image” is taken from one Hebrew word “pecel meaning idol.

As support for this I offer the following thought: Hebrew is an ancient pictographic language, every letter represents a picture of an animal, person, object, action, etc.

If there was a total and complete ban on all pictures and statues, scribes would have been in violation of this every time they wrote anything, including scripture.  The stone tablets that the Ten Commandments are written on would have contained these same “pictures.”  (I know that in this portion they were spoken, but later they are written down.)  It doesn’t make sense to me that God would ban all images in a written statement made of images.

When we studied this portion our normal teacher was absent because of family illnesses; when he returned this week he had some other thoughts from the scriptures about Yahweh speaking:

Psalm 29

 1Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength.

 2Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

 3The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the LORD is upon many waters.

 4The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.

 5The voice of the LORD breaketh the cedars; yea, the LORD breaketh the cedars of Lebanon.

 6He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.

 7The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire.

 8The voice of the LORD shaketh the wilderness; the LORD shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.

 9The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests: and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory.

 10The LORD sitteth upon the flood; yea, the LORD sitteth King for ever.

 11The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.

This psalm is written about the Voice of God and its effect on the Earth.  (Verse 3 reminds me of Genesis 1:2.)   God’s voice shatters trees into splinters, shakes the earth like a calf or young unicorn skipping.  He makes animals have babies; I was told that this effectively means notpregnantpregnantbaby as in snap your fingers fast. The voice of The Lord is powerful indeed. The other thing to take away from this is that the Voice of Yahweh brings both destruction and life.

It isn’t the last time this voice will be heard either…

Hebrews 12:26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.

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