Exodus 20:23

Exodus 20:23

Ye shall not make with me
This is a proposition of itself, as appears by the accent Athnach placed at the end of it, which divides it from the following, and therefore "gods of silver" belong to the next clause or proposition; something seems to be wanting to complete the sense, which the Talmudists F19 and Jarchi after them supply thus,

``ye shall not make with me as the likeness of my ministers which minister before me on high;''

as the seraphim, ministering angels as the sun, moon, and stars; and so the Targum of Jonathan paraphrases the words,

``ye shall not make, to worship, the likeness of the sun, and of the moon, and of the stars, and of the planets, and of the angels that minister before me:''

or rather, "ye shall not make any likeness with me", or any likeness of me; and so the words stand connected with the preceding verse, that since they only saw the cloud and fire, and perceived the voice of God from thence, but saw no likeness or similitude of him, therefore they were not to make any under a pretence of worshipping him with it, or in it, or by it; and so Ben Melech adds, by way of explanation, although your intention is to my service: "gods of silver and gods of gold ye shall not make unto you"; for so this clause is to be read: that is, images made of gold and silver, images of angels, or of the host of heaven, the sun, moon, and stars, or of great men on earth, as kings or heroes, or of any creature in heaven, earth, or sea; these they were not to make unto them, in order to serve and worship them, or to worship God in them, or by them, or with them: the first images for idolatrous worship were made of gold and silver, because, being rich and glittering, they more affected the minds of the people, as the golden calf a little after made, and perhaps the gods of Egypt were such, at least some of them; wherefore this law against idolatry is repeated, because the people of Israel were prone unto it, and many of them had been ensnared with it in Egypt, upon every occasion were ready to relapse into it: or images made of meaner materials, as brass, wood, and stone, though not mentioned, are equally forbidden; for if those of richer materials were not to be made and worshipped, much less those of baser ones.


F19 T. Bab. Roshhashanah, fol. 24. 1. 2. Avoda Zara, fol, 43. 1. 2.