In two of the three passages in which "picture" is used in the Authorized Version it denotes idolatrous representations, either independent images or more usually stones "portrayed," i.e. sculptured in low relief, or engraved and colored. ( Ezekiel 23:14 ) Layard, Nin. and Rob. ii. 306, 308. Moveable pictures, in the modern sense, were doubtless unknown to the Jews. The "pictures of silver" of ( Proverbs 25:11 ) were probably well surfaces or cornices with carvings.
This word (in the plural) is found 3 times in the King James Version, namely, Numbers 33:52; Isaiah 2:16; Proverbs 25:11. In Numbers and Proverbs "pictures" represents the Hebrew word maskith, "showpiece" "figure." The context in Numbers suggests that the "pictures" or "carved figures" (the Revised Version (British and American) "figured stones") which the Israelites were to destroy were symbols of Canaanite worship and therefore foreign to the religion of Yahweh. In Proverbs for the King James Version "pictures of silver," the English Revised Version has "baskets (the American Standard Revised Version "network") of silver," but a more probable translation is "carvings of silver." "Pictures" stands for a slightly different word (but from the same root) in Isaiah, namely, sekhuyoth; the Revised Version (British and American) renders "imagery" (the Revised Version margin "watchtowers"). The prophet probably alludes to carved figures (of gods in animal or human shapes) on the prows of vessels.
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