Verse 16. They have mouths. For their makers fashioned them like themselves. An opening is made where the mouth should be, and yet it is no mouth, for they eat not, they speak not. They cannot communicate with their worshippers; they are dumb as death. If they cannot even speak, they are not even so worthy of worship as our children at school. Jehovah speaks, and it is done: but these images utter never a word. Surely, if they could speak, they would rebuke their votaries. Is not their silence a still more powerful rebuke? When our philosophical teachers deny that God has made any verbal revelation of himself they also confess that their god is dumb.
Eyes have they, but they see not. Who would adore a blind man -- how can the heathen be so mad as to bow themselves before a blind image? The eyes of idols have frequently been very costly; diamonds have been used for that purpose; but of what avail is the expense, since they see nothing? If they cannot even see us, how can they know our wants, appreciate our sacrifices, or spy out for us the means of help! What a wretched thing, that a man who can see should bow down before an image which is blind! The worshipper is certainly physically in advance of his god, and yet mentally he is on a level with it; for assuredly his foolish heart is darkened, or he would not so absurdly play the feel.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 16-17. Mouths, eyes, ears. So many members as the images have, serving to represent perfections ascribed to them, so many are the lies. --David Dickson.
Verse 16-17. They can neither speak in answer to your prayers and inquiries, nor see what you do or what you want, nor hear your petitions, nor smell your incenses and sacrifices, nor use their hands either to take anything from you, or to give anything to you; nor so much as mutter, nor give the least sign of apprehending your condition or concerns. --Matthew Pool.
Verse 16-17. Mouths, but they speak not: ears, but they hear not.
A heated fancy or imagination
May be mistaken for an inspiration.
True; but is this conclusion fair to make --
That inspiration must be all mistake?
A pebble stone is not a diamond: true;
But must a diamond be a pebble too?
To own a God who does not speak to men,
Is first to own, and then disown again;
Of all idolatry the total sum
lase having gods that are both deaf and dumb. --John Byron, 1691-1763.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 16-17. The Portrait of many,
- "Mouths, but they speak not." No prayer, praise, confession.
- "Eyes, but they see not." Discern not, understand not, take no warning; do not look to Christ.
- "Ears, but they hear not." Attend no ministry, or are present but unaffected; hear not God.
- "Neither is there any breath in their mouths." No life, no tokens of life, no prayer and praise which are the breath of spiritual life.