Psalms 115:4


King James Version (KJV)

Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands.

American King James Version (AKJV)

Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands.

American Standard Version (ASV)

Their idols are silver and gold, The work of men's hands.

Basic English Translation (BBE)

Their images are silver and gold, the work of men's hands.

Webster's Revision

Their idols are silver and gold; the work of men's hands.

World English Bible

Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands.

English Revised Version (ERV)

Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands.

Clarke's Psalms 115:4 Bible Commentary

Their idols are silver, etc. - They are metal, stone, and wood. They are generally made in the form of man, but can neither see, hear, smell, feel, walk, nor speak. How brutish to trust in such! And next to these, in stupidity and inanity, must they be who form them, with the expectation of deriving any good from them. So obviously vain was the whole system of idolatry, that the more serious heathens ridiculed it, and it was a butt for the jests of their freethinkers and buffoons. How keen are those words of Juvenal! -

- Audis Jupiter, haec? nec labra moves, cum mittere vocem.

Debueras, vel marmoreus vel aheneus? aut cur

In carbone tuo charta pia thura soluta

Ponimus, et sectum vituli jecur, albaque porci

Omenta? ut video, nullum discrimen habendum est.

Effigies inter vestras, statuamque Bathylli.

Sat. xiii., ver. 113.

Dost thou hear, O Jupiter, these things? nor move thy lips when thou oughtest to speak out, whether thou art of marble or of bronze? Or, why do we put the sacred incense on thy altar from the opened paper, and the extracted liver of a calf, and the white caul of a hog? As far as I can discern there is no difference between thy statue and that of Bathyllus."

This irony will appear the keener, when it is known that Bathyllus was a fiddler and player, whose image by the order of Polycrates, was erected in the temple of Juno at Samos. See Isaiah 41:1, etc.; Isaiah 46:7; Jeremiah 10:4, Jeremiah 10:5, etc.; and Psalm 135:15, Psalm 135:16.

Barnes's Psalms 115:4 Bible Commentary

Their idols - Their gods - the gods which they worship, as contrasted with the God whom we adore. The design of this description Psalm 115:4-8 is to show the utter vanity of trusting in such gods, and to lead the people of Israel to put their trust in the true God - in Yahweh.

Are silver and gold - Made of silver and gold, and they must have, therefore, the properties of silver and gold. They can be of value only as silver and gold. They cannot do the work of mind; they cannot do the work of God. The psalmist was not disposed to depreciate the real value of these idols, or to throw contempt on them which they did not deserve. He was disposed to treat them fairly. They were silver and gold; they had an intrinsic value as such; they showed in the value of the material how much the pagan were disposed to honor their objects of worship; and they were not held up to contempt as shapeless blocks of wood or stone. The psalmist might have said that most of them were made of wood or stone, and were mere shapeless blocks; but it is always best to do justice to an adversary, and not to attempt to underrate what he values. The argument of an infidel on the subject of religion may be utterly worthless as an argument for infidelity, but it may evince ability, learning, subtilty, clearness of reasoning, and even candor; and it is best to admit this, if it is so, and to give to it all the credit which it deserves as a specimen of reasoning, or as stating a real difficulty which ought to be solved by somebody - to call it "silver and gold" if it is so, and not to characterize it as worthless, weak, stupid - the result of ignorance and folly. He has great advantage in an argument who owns the real force of what an opponent says; he gains nothing who charges it as the offspring of stupidity, ignorance, and folly - unless he can show that it is so.

The work of men's hands - Shaped and fashioned by people's hands. They cannot, therefore, be superior to those who made them; they cannot answer the purpose of a God.

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