What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof
hath graven it
The graven images the church of Rome enjoins the worship of; the images of the Trinity, of Christ, of the Virgin Mary, of angels and saints departed, and which are still continued since the Reformation; but of what profit and advantage are they? they may be profitable to the graver, who is paid for graving them; and the metal or matters of which they are made, if sold, and converted to another use, may turn to account; but as deities, and worshipped as such, they are of no profit to them that worship them; they can not hear their prayers, nor answer them; can not bestow any favours on them, and deliver them out of any distress; and particularly can not save them from the judgments before denounced: the molten image, and a teacher of lies:
nor is a molten image any ways profitable, which is made of liquid matter, gold or silver melted and poured into a mould, from whence it receives its form: it may be profitable to the founder, and the metal to the owner, if put to another use; but, as a god, is of no service; and both the graven and molten image, the one and the other, each of then is "a teacher of lies", and so unprofitable; if they are laymen's books, as they are said to be, they do not teach them truth; they do not teach them what God is in his nature and perfections; what Christ is in his person and offices; what angels are, who are incorporeal; nor the saints, they neither describe the shape and features of their body, nor express their characters, minds, or manners; they teach men to believe lies, and to worship false deities, as they are. So the Targum renders it, a false deity; which imposes on men, and therefore cannot profit them: or this may be understood of an idolatrous priest, as Aben Ezra; as the idol itself cannot profit, so neither can the priest that teaches men such lies as to worship the idol, and put trust in it: that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols?
or, "whilst making dumb idols" F13; which is great stupidity indeed! that while a man is graving an image, or casting an idol, which are lifeless senseless things, that can neither move nor speak, yea, are his workmanship, yet puts his trust and confidence in them, that they can do him service he needs, help him in distress, and save him out of his troubles; what profit can be expected from these, though ever so nicely framed, when he considers they are of his own framing, and that they are idols, which are nothing in the world, as the word F14 here used signifies; and dumb ones, which can give no answer to the requests of their votaries? The Targum is,
``idols in whom there is no profit.''
F13 (Mymla Mylyla twvel) "faciendo idola muta", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Vatablus.
F14 (Mylyla) "dii nihili", Drusius.