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On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 22: The Idolatry of Kings
As the ancient children of Israel had conquered the land of Canaan, as it is described throughout Scripture they themselves had eventually strayed and had begun to adopt the ways of those whom they had conquered. So Solomon, explaining this phenomenon which we considered one of the important Lessons from History when we discussed Wisdom chapter 12, had begun to describe for his readers the Patterns of Idolatry, which in turn have led to the Adulation of Men. But in ancient times the adulation of men then led to the worship of kings, and men would ultimately be compelled to accept the idolatry of kings.
Earlier in Wisdom, in chapter 2, Solomon had illustrated for us a Portrait of the Wicked whereby he described the desires of wicked men who would oppress the righteous and make themselves the law, as they are portrayed as have exclaimed “Let our strength be the law of justice: for that which is feeble is found to be nothing worth.” In making themselves the law and oppressing the righteous, it seems that the next natural step in the development of tyranny is to acquire control of the minds of the people so that the tyrants can continue to rule over their lives.
Believing what one chooses to believe is a privilege of modern Liberalism. In ancient times, throughout much of history, men often had no choice in what they professed to believe, even if they thought otherwise. So Paul and Silas were in Philippi in Macedonia when they upset some pagans, who, as it is recorded in Acts chapter 16, had seized them “20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Judaeans, do exceedingly trouble our city, 21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. 22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. 23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely.” Being Romans, the men were required to believe a certain religion and to live by it. In that manner the aristocracy and priesthood of ancient Rome held its grip on the functioning of the greater society.
For many centuries in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, kings understood the relationship between rulership and religion, and how their rule over the people was more conveniently facilitated by controlling the religion of the people. In the earliest Mesopotamian literature, it is evident that the first rulers were the priests of one pagan god or another. Early kings worked together with pagan priests to maintain rule and control over the people. So it seems that dynasties favored the god whose priests would best suit them, or who had suited their ancestors, and they associated themselves with the god and its priesthood so that they could assume the perceived power of the god. The religious beliefs of the people were actually manipulated by the priests of the god in order to suit the rulers. An example of the relationship between ancient rulers and religion is found in Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament (James Pritchard, editor, Princeton University Press, p. 4) in remarks on ancient Egyptian inscriptions, under the subtitle The Theology of Memphis where we read:
When the First Dynasty established its capital at Memphis, it was necessary to justify the sudden emergence of this town to central importance. The Memphite god Ptah was therefore proclaimed to have been the First Principle, taking precedence over other recognized creator-gods. Mythological arguments were presented that the city of Memphis was the “place where the Two Lands are united” and that the Temple of Ptah was the “balance in which Upper and Lower Egypt have been weighed.” The extracts presented here are particularly interesting, because creation is treated in an intellectual sense, whereas other creation stories… are given in purely physical terms….
Those other creation stories are ostensibly older, but here we see that the pharaohs of Memphis had actually revised Egyptian religion in order to justify their own pretense to power, and therefore the pharaohs would ultimately rule over both Upper and Lower Egypt. So, as the story goes, Memphis was allegedly founded by king Menes who was said to have united the two lands of Egypt, although in that particular aspect the Hellenistic accounts are not entirely upheld by the archaeological record, which may simply be due to a confusion of some ancient names during the Hellenistic period. The Menes of the Hellenistic literature may well have been the pharaoh known in the inscriptions as Narmer. But in any event, the control of the religious narrative was evidently important to the pharaohs who sought to maintain control of the people.
In many aspects, this pretext of control was even further systematized in Egyptian religion, as we read on pages 5 and 6 of Ancient Near Eastern Texts, in footnotes explaining the theology of Memphis, that “The temple of Ptah at Memphis was called the ‘Great Seat,’ or throne, and the granary which kept Egypt alive.” So here we see that the religion was built around economic factors, and then in another note we read: “The rescue of Osiris, the grain-god, from drowning is given in explanation of the position of Memphis as the granary of Egypt. In the following context, one must understand that Osiris’s son was Horus and that Horus was the king of Egypt. Hence Horus was correctly located at Memphis.” Here we must note that Horus was “correctly located at Memphis” in order to justify the rule of Egypt by the kings at Memphis, who are now known to us as the pharaohs of the First Dynasty. So after we read in the text how it was that the gods of the Egyptians had come to Memphis, thereby legitimizing the rule of the kings of Memphis over all of Egypt, we see in the text that: “Thus Osiris came to be in the land in the ‘House of the Sovereign’ on the north side of this land, which he had reached. His son Horus appeared as King of Upper Egypt and appeared as King of Lower Egypt, in the embrace of his father Osiris, together with the gods who were in front of him and who were behind him.”
As we have seen the religion of Egypt being rewritten to justify the rule of the kings at Memphis, now we shall see it rewritten to justify their idolatry. So even more relevant to this portrayal of the early origins of idolatry in the Wisdom of Solomon, and perhaps even more amusing, is how the ancient pharaohs of Memphis justified their own idolatry, as we read on page 5 of Ancient Near Eastern Texts: “(Thus) it happened that it was said of Ptah: ‘He who made all and brought the gods into being.’ He is indeed Ta-tenen, who brought forth the gods, for everything came forth from him, nourishment and provisions, the offerings of the gods, and every good thing. Thus it was discovered and understood that his strength is greater than (that of the other) gods. And so Ptah was satisﬁed, after he had made everything, as well as all the divine order. He had formed the gods, he had made cities, he had founded nomes, he had put the gods in their shrines, he had established their offerings, he had founded their shrines, he had made their bodies like that (with which) their hearts were satisfied. So the gods entered into their bodies of every (kind of) wood, of every (kind of) stone, of every (kind of) clay, or anything which might grow upon him, in which they had taken form. So all the gods, as well as their ka’s [spirits- WRF] gathered themselves to him, content and associated with the Lord of the Two Lands.”
Yahweh, the God of Israel, condemned this sort of idolatry, and forbid the notion that He should be represented by such idols. But while Solomon had described the beginnings of idolatry with the casual making of idols out of otherwise useless chunks of wood by a workman in his spare time, which eventually led to the more intentional manufacture of idols by workmen for profit, here the ancient Egyptians had claimed that their gods had actually inhabited the bodies of wood, stone and clay from which their idols were made, and that their supreme god Ptah himself had created the shrines which contained those idols. Indeed, it is no coincidence that the Wisdom of Solomon itself comes to life in a summary examination of the idolatry of Egypt.
Likewise, when after the death of Solomon Yahweh God had divided the kingdom into Israel and Judah, and Jeroboam the son of Nebat came to rule over the kingdom of Israel, he also understood that he could not control the people so long as they travelled to Jerusalem in Judah to worship Yahweh at the temple, which was under the control of the king of Judah. Thus we read, in 1 Kings chapter 12: “26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: 27 If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah. 28 Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 29 And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. 30 And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan. 31 And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi. 32 And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. 33 So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.”
Surely Jeroboam did not contrive an entirely new religion, as the children of Israel also compelled Aaron to create a golden calf when they grew impatient at Sinai five hundred years earlier. But just like the ancient rulers of Egypt and Mesopotamia, Jeroboam knew that he must control the religion of the people if we were to maintain his own rule over them. So he also appointed a priesthood which would be subservient to himself, rather than to Yahweh.
While the patterns of idolatry as they were described by Solomon here in Wisdom seem to portray a much earlier time in the history of man than the events concerning Israel in Canaan, or even Memphis in Egypt, the result and the consequences are the same. Then as men eventually looked to other men as the objects of their idolatry, ultimately they would engage in the worship of kings, either willingly or by compulsion, and that is what Solomon begins to describe here as we continue with Wisdom in chapter 14. As wicked men thought to be a law unto themselves, they would also seek to be worshipped so long as they ruled. So men obeyed kings by worshipping gods according to the decrees of kings, or they worshipped the kings themselves, as the kings enshrined themselves as gods. So now we shall continue where we had left off in Wisdom chapter 14 with verse 16, which reads:
16 Thus in process of time an ungodly custom grown strong was kept as a law, and graven images were worshipped by the commandments of kings.
This certainly evokes the beliefs set forth in those inscriptions of the pharaohs of Memphis.
Today this same phenomenon exists in a much more sophisticated manner, and rulers continue to control the religion of the people. In England, the State has controlled the Church of England ever since its inception. When an Anglican priest is ordained, he swears allegiance to the monarch. So the Church of England has always preached a corrupt form of Christianity which is subservient to the whims of the British ruling families. Similar to the situation which Jeroboam had faced, Americans saw the Anglican Church as an agent of the king, and many Anglican priests in America at the time of the Revolution had resigned their positions in the Church while other Christian denominations in the Colonies became more influential.
In the United States, where there was not supposed to be a king, but where there was supposed to be freedom of worship, the government has more recently come to control the churches through a mechanism which it wrote into the tax code, known as IRS 501c3. While churches do not ever pay income taxes, the income being in the form of gifts and donations, the government persuades, and even now coerces the churches to restrain their teachings so that church benefactors may deduct the value of their gifts and donations from their own individual income tax liabilities. In that manner, to the degree of the tax liability on those gifts, the government is basically subsidizing the churches by the amount of taxes forgiven in the gifts of their donors, in exchange for the obligation imposed on the churches to depart from sound Christian doctrine, in order to teach things which are in compliance, or not to teach what is not in compliance, with government regulations in spite of Scripture.
There were forty-one American States which at one time had laws against miscegenation. While nearly thirty of the remaining States repealed their laws against miscegenation by the 1960’s, presumably a single court decision in 1967 forced the last sixteen States which still had them to repeal such laws, all of those States being in the South. In some States which never had laws against miscegenation, throughout their early history miscegenation was not an issue. In others, government policy had followed the policies of the dominant churches, which is especially true as such laws were repealed in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts at an early time. But in most States, the policies of the churches were ultimately compelled to follow the policy of the government. Lately, churches such as the Southern Baptist and Latter Day Saints had expressly forbid miscegenation, and now they accept it, even no longer considering it to be a sin.
So did the Bible change? It would be difficult today, with the proliferation of written records, for rulers to rewrite religion as they did in ancient Memphis. But the clergy which has cooperated with the rulers have changed the Bible in their translations and interpretations of terms which clearly refer to miscegenation, and even to Sodomy. So even more recently, as the government has become more and more permissive of Sodomites, so have the churches. Until 1962, every State had laws barring bestiality, and all but three had laws forbidding sexual relations between men and even some types of unnatural sexual intercourse between men and women as Sodomy. The States which did not repeal such laws as late as 2003 were once again compelled to repeal them by another court decision issued that same year.
So now not only do the churches ignore the Biblical fact that miscegenation is identified as a form of fornication in Scripture, and that God forbids such fornication, but they even take advantage of the archaic language of the King James Version and are beginning to deny that the Scripture forbids Sodomy, at least in the form of sexual relations between men. So in modern translations, they are corrupting perceptions of Scripture and of God by obfuscating the clear meaning of words which describe such forms of Sodomy. Just like ancient Memphis [in the podcast I mistakenly said “Thebes”], the effect is still the same, that the religion of the people is being manipulated to the advantage of those who would rule over them.
The Christian perception of Jews, who are a people accursed by Yahshua, or Jesus, Christ, and who were also accursed by Yahweh God in the Old Testament, is also a subject of the blatant corruption in modern interpretations of Scripture which are being made, or which have been made in order to suit the objectives of rulers.
Now as we proceed with Wisdom chapter 14, Solomon describes the transformation from the worship of idols decreed by kings, to the worship of the kings themselves. But while the language of Wisdom describes these phenomena in a simple and straightforward manner, when they are observed in history it is evident that they more often develop in a subtle and more complex manner. So it continues in reference to the worship of images by the commandment of kings:
14:17 Whom men could not honour in presence, because they dwelt far off, they took the counterfeit of his visage from far, and made an express image of a king whom they honoured, to the end that by this their forwardness they might flatter him that was absent, as if he were present.
The Greek word σπουδή translated as forwardness here is haste or speed, and therefore also exertion and even attention. So with some other differences, we would render verse 17 to read:
He whom within sight men were not able to honor [οὓς ἐν ὄψει μὴ δυνάμενοι τιμᾶν ἄνθρωποι] by dwelling at a far distance [διὰ τὸ μακρὰν οἰκεῖν τὴν πόρρωθεν], modeling a view [ὄψιν ἀνατυπωσάμενοι] they made a visible likeness of the king whom they honored [ἐμφανῆ εἰκόνα τοῦ τιμωμένου βασιλέως ἐποίησαν] that as being present [ἵνα ὡς παρόντα] they may flatter he who is afar off [τὸν ἀπόντα κολακεύωσιν] through the attention [διὰ τῆς σπουδῆς].
What is implicit here, is the transformation from where kings had decreed that men worship certain images, as the pharaohs of Egypt had done, to people who instead worshipped images of the kings themselves, which is evident in later Egyptian and also in imperial Roman history. While we will not discuss the Roman worship of the emperors as gods in detail here, we did so at length quite recently, in Part 45 of our commentary on the Gospel of John, which was titled Gods and Emperors. The Roman Republic had its images which were worshipped, for which Paul of Tarsus had criticized them in his epistle to the Romans. But in Paul’s own time, beginning with Julius Caesar, the deceased emperors were being worshipped as gods, and temples were beginning to be constructed and dedicated even to the worship of living emperors. So once a man begins worshipping the works of his hands, there is no end to the escalation of idolatry, and the efforts of rulers to control it, or to become the objects of idolatry.
Now Solomon speaks in reference to those who would create the aforementioned images of kings:
18 Also the singular diligence of the artificer did help to set forward the ignorant to more superstition.
The Greek word ἐπίτασις, in the phrase εἰς ἐπίτασιν, is translated as singular diligence here. Literally ἐπίτασις, a noun, is a stretching but in certain contexts it can also be an intensity or describe an increase of intensity or force. Here it seems to play on the meaning of the word σπουδή in verse 17, which is haste, speed, zeal, exertion, or as we have translated it here, attention.
We may accept the translation of ἐπίτασις as diligence, although we would translate the verse to read:
But in the diligence [εἰς ἐπίτασιν δὲ] of the religion of the craftsman even the ignorant [θρησκείας καὶ τοὺς ἀγνοοῦντας ἡ τοῦ τεχνίτου] were urged to devotion [προετρέψατο φιλοτιμία].
Here we interpret the Greek word φιλοτιμία, which is literally a love of honour or distinction, or sometimes in a bad sense ambition, as devotion since it describes the image of the king as an object of worship. So in that same manner Solomon continues to speak of the craftsman and says:
19 For he, peradventure willing to please one in authority, forced all his skill to make the resemblance of the best fashion.
The translation of this verse actually obscures the cunning of the artificer, so we would more literally translate it to read:
For indeed, he perhaps being willing to please the ruler [ὁ μὲν γὰρ τάχα κρατοῦντι βουλόμενος ἀρέσαι], expressed in his craft a likeness more beautiful [ἐξεβιάσατο τῇ τέχνῃ τὴν ὁμοιότητα ἐπὶ τὸ κάλλιον].
Here it is apparent that the images of ancient rulers were very likely created to be more beautiful, or handsome, than the rulers themselves as the artisans had also sought to please the rulers. Now Solomon explains the result of the manufacture of such images:
20 And so the multitude, allured by the grace of the work, took him now for a god, which a little before was but honoured.
The last clause of this verse may have been better translated to read:
… the man who was little honored before [τὸν πρὸ ὀλίγου τιμηθέντα ἄνθρωπον] is now accounted an object of worship [νῦν σέβασμα ἐλογίσαντο].
So while the people dwelling afar off from the king had only given him a little honor, once an image of the king was set up close by to their own homes, which they could see much more often, they began to worship both the king and his image as a god.
This once again elucidates the importance of the commandment in the Old Covenant law which forbids the making of such graven images, since the people are easily misled into the worship of those images, or the men or other concepts that the images represent.
It seems like those who would rule over the people in modern times understood that most Protestants, at least, would not worship a man or the image of a man. So today in America, and in much of the world formerly known as Christendom, even if the people may no longer worship the images of men, they do indeed commit the same form of idolatry, however they have substituted the image of a flag. And while they may even proclaim that Christ is King, they turn and pledge allegiance to the flag. Therefore, to paraphrase Matthew 15:8, while the people imagine themselves to draw near to Christ with their mouths, and honor Him with their lips, their hearts are far from Him. Instead, they obey the government which their flag represents, and at the same time they accept miscegenation and fornication and Sodomy and all of the other sins which that government insists that they accept, as their priests and pastors are now actually agents for that government. Solomon continues by describing the deceit of such idolatry:
21 And this was an occasion to deceive the world: for men, serving either calamity or tyranny, did ascribe unto stones and stocks the incommunicable name.
So far as I have ever read, or at least remember, this is the very first mention of the “incommunicable Name” and the only mention of such a name in Scripture.
Today, while men pledge their allegiance to a flag and imagine that it represents a nation “under God”, the government which the flag represents is absolutely contrary to the God with whom men think the flag might be associated. As in the ancient world, where kings claimed to worship a god and associated themselves with that god in order to assume the powers of that god, they also ruled at their own whim, just as Solomon had described the wicked who become a law unto themselves. If we today are ruled by men who are not obedient to God, then we should know that we are ruled by men who stand in defiance to God, and indeed, we are ruled by men who despise Yahweh God and His Christ. These are the wicked who would make a law unto themselves.
However we would translate this verse more literally to read:
And this became as a trap in life [καὶ τοῦτο ἐγένετο τῷ βίῳ εἰς ἔνεδρον] that in the circumstances in which tyranny enslaves men [ὅτι ἢ συμφορᾷ ἢ τυραννίδι δουλεύσαντες ἄνθρωποι] that the Incommunicable Name is bestowed upon stones and wood [τὸ ἀκοινώνητον ὄνομα λίθοις καὶ ξύλοις περιέθεσαν].
So more immediate to Solomon’s own context, here we have an ancient explanation of a phenomenon which has been noticed by archaeologists and which has been misunderstood and even abused by the modern interpreters of antiquity. This statement by Solomon explains for us how the Name of Yahweh, the so-called “incommunicable name” here, came to appear in such places as the base of a column built by Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep III in the 14th century before Christ, which was perhaps about 80 years after the Exodus of Moses, and also how the Name was found in inscriptions dating as far back as the 9th century BC in Kuntillet Ajrud, which was part of ancient Edom in the western portion of the Sinai Peninsula. The Name of Yahweh also appeared in other places where it may not be expected to have appeared.
Here we also see an explanation of a phenomenon which was described by Paul of Tarsus, who chastised the Romans in the opening chapter of his epistle to the Romans for having “changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.” So the Romans corrupted the “incommunicable name” by their representations of Jove, which is the same name Yahweh.
But where we see the phrase “incommunicable name” at the end of this verse, that is often interpreted in a manner which forbids the utterance of the Name of Yahweh, as the modern Jews also assert. That is not a correct interpretation of the Greek phrase here τὸ ἀκοινώνητον ὄνομα within the context of the Hebrew Bible. The word ἀκοινώνητος is an adjective formed from a negated form of the verb κοινωνέω, which means to have or do in common with or to have a share of or take part in a thing.
In the context of the Old Testament, it means that the Name of Yahweh is not to be communicated in the sense that it is not to be shared with people other than the children of Israel, as Yahweh is exclusively the God of Israel. Speaking of the law by which the children of Israel knew the Name of Yahweh, we read in the 147th Psalm, which is attributed to the prophets Haggai and Zachariah: “19 He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. 20 He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD.” We also read n the law, in Leviticus chapter 22: “32 Neither shall ye profane my holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the LORD which hallow you, 33 That brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD.” Yahweh, being hallowed among the children of Israel, they can indeed share His Name with one another.
Now Solomon speaks in reference to the result of the idolatry of the people:
22 Moreover this was not enough for them, that they erred [or wandered] in the knowledge of God; but whereas they lived in the great war of ignorance, those so great plagues [or evils] called they peace.
It should be absolutely clear by our current observation that the “great war of ignorance” is still being fought to this very day, as most supposed Christians consistently surrender themselves to Satan and commit idolatry, even celebrate idolatry, and not only that but they are celebrating idolatry, but also what Paul of Tarsus described as the punishment for idolatry, which is Sodomy. Yet they believe they are acting according to the will of God, so much evil is perpetrated in the name of “good” and “peace”.
Everything which the ancient children of Israel had done to sin against Yahweh, they did in a wayward pursuit of the peace of men. The acceptance of the other races and their gods always leads to miscegenation, as we see in Exodus chapter 34 where the Word of Yahweh says: “14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: 15 Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice; 16 And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods.” Much earlier, the ruler of Shechem had tried to make peace with Jacob with the offer of a covenant of miscegenation, in Genesis chapter 34: “15 But in this will we consent unto you: If ye will be as we be, that every male of you be circumcised; 16 Then will we give our daughters unto you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people.” So with that the ancient Canaanite way of peace is made manifest, that there may be peace if all people worship the same gods and mix their races one with another.
So thinking that his words with Jacob would prevail, we read further in that same chapter of Genesis: “20 And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and communed with the men of their city, saying, 21 These men are peaceable with us; therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein; for the land, behold, it is large enough for them; let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters. 22 Only herein will the men consent unto us for to dwell with us, to be one people, if every male among us be circumcised, as they are circumcised. 23 Shall not their cattle and their substance and every beast of theirs be ours? only let us consent unto them, and they will dwell with us.” With that it is evident that for hope of profit in merchandise, the Canaanites were accustomed to making such pacts with outsiders. Much later, when the children of Israel were about to be taken into Assyrian captivity for their sins, in the punishments which Yahweh had pronounced upon them for having accepted the gods of the aliens and seeking peace with them through trade, we read in Hosea chapter 2 in reference to Israel: “8 For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal. 9 Therefore will I return, and take away my corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, and will recover my wool and my flax given to cover her nakedness. 10 And now will I discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers [the other races], and none shall deliver her out of mine hand.”
They were warned of punishment for this seven hundred years earlier, in Deuteronomy chapter 29, where the Word of Yahweh said: “18 Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood; 19 And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst: 20 The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven.” Saying “I shall have peace”, that is why Solomon says here that the people lived in the “great war of ignorance”, where so great plagues they call “peace”.
A little further on in that chapter of Deuteronomy, we see once again a reason is given for the stated incommunicability of the Name of Yahweh in relation to the children of Israel, where it says that: “29 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” But where Solomon had said here that the Incommunicable Name was bestowed upon stones and wood, it is evident that the Sacred Name was made common, that the vanity of the people had profaned it by sharing it where it should not have been shared, even as they themselves also took to worshipping idols and the gods of the heathen.
Ecumenism, the concept that all men can worship the same gods, or the lie that all men serve the same God, is the device of rulers who seek to profit from all men in merchandise, or even as merchandise. Originally the term referred only to denominations of Christians, but has more recently been extended to Jews and their Muslim cohorts, and in the same frame of time in which laws prohibiting fornication and Sodomy were also eradicated we see the modern expansion of ecumenism to Jews and Muslims.
Even later, in Ezra chapter 9, upon the rebuilding of Jerusalem the scribe had reflected on the sins of Israel and how they had failed to keep the law and he wrote: “10 And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments, 11 Which thou hast commanded by thy servants the prophets, saying, The land, unto which ye go to possess it, is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people of the lands, with their abominations, which have filled it from one end to another with their uncleanness. 12 Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons, nor seek their peace or their wealth for ever: that ye may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever.”
Because men have not learned from The Wisdom in History, neither in Ezra’s time nor in our own, they were doomed to repeat the same errors. In Ezra’s time, the 70-weeks kingdom of Judaea at Jerusalem had ultimately converted all of the surrounding Canaanites and Edomites to the religion of Yahweh, which is contrary to the law, and that formed the population of Judaea at the time of Christ, which also caused all of the division among the people and rulers which is apparent in the Gospel of Christ, and the bastards which resulted are not known as Jews. Christ consistently upbraided them for hypocrisy, and Paul of Tarsus later said of them that “For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret”, in Ephesians chapter 5, because they have always embraced all sorts of perversions and when they believe they can prevail, they force those perversions upon the rest of society, as they have done once again today.
Today the Edomite Jews once again rule over us, and once again we have departed from our God and have taken to the ways of the heathen in the legal acceptance of both miscegenation and Sodomy. The accommodation of internationalism and world trade in merchandise is once again the primary objective of society, and government has been undermined and abrogated by the bankers and merchants for that purpose. So the wicked who would oppress the righteous have once again become kings, and force the righteous to worship their gods.
Once again, Solomon describes some of the consequences of idolatry:
23 For whilst they slew their children in sacrifices, or used secret ceremonies, or made revellings of strange rites;
The word for sacrifices, the plural form of τελετή, is intitiations. The phrase κρύφια μυστήρια is literally secret mysteries. While the word ἔξαλλος, which is literally “from of another” is generally defined by Liddell & Scott as special or distinguishing, here we must agree with the King James translators and write strange. But a θεσμός is not a rite, but is generally a law or ordinance, and more precisely a law as something which has been established. The usual word for law in Greek Scriptures is νόμος, which is originally and primarily a feeding place or pasture. In that sense, I believe that the word became used to describe law as law is a necessity in the sustaining of a people. So to distinguish θεσμός from νόμος as well as for our other reasons, the final phrase may be translated more literally:
… or leading frenzied festivals of strange ordinances.
The Bacchic orgies and other rites of the Greek pagan religions certainly can be described as “frenzied festivals.” Earlier in the discourse on idolatry in Wisdom, we discussed child sacrifice in the ancient world, and compared it to the abortion clinics of the modern world. While in the ancient world men drank the blood of slaughtered infants, as Solomon had also attested, today they consume that blood in other ways, and deceive others into consuming it, through so-called health and beauty products and vaccines and other supposed medicines. We also discussed the orgiastic rituals of ancient pagans, and how men from the temples went so far as sending out rape parties to abuse men or women which they encountered in the roads and in the fields of the countryside. The sacred rites of such perverts have never ended, although they are still often secretive, as they were also among the Greeks and in ancient Mesopotamia. Now Solomon continues to describe the consequences of idolatry, which should also resonate with some of our own friends listening today, but I will not elaborate as to why:
24 They kept neither lives nor marriages any longer undefiled: but either one slew another traiterously [literally, by ambush], or grieved him by adultery.
The pronoun him in the end of the verse should simply be another reference to one another, a man or woman. So while infidelity and murder are sins, infidelity and the murder of one’s own husband or wife are also among the consequences of idolatry, which are the punishments for idolatry. Even in first century Rome, marriage came to be of little regard and husbands and wives were often divorced so that others could be married, often for more advantageous political arrangements, and later in Roman history divorce was often casual. But sometimes there was even murder where divorce was inconvenient, and the treachery of men such as Henry VIII was not novel in the 16th century. According to more than one Roman historian, the emperor Nero had five “wives”, but the fourth was a castrated young boy and the fifth was a former adult male slave.
Here adultery is not an accurate translation as words are typically translated in Scripture. The verb is νοθεύω, and the corresponding noun, νόθος, is translated as bastard in Hebrews chapter 12, as opposed to the word υἱός or son. In Greek the opposite of νόθος is γνήσιος, an adjective formed from the word γενεά, or race, which means to be of the race, that is to say, to be a true-born son. Solomon had mentioned such bastards earlier, in Wisdom chapter 4 where he wrote: “ 3 But the multiplying brood of the ungodly shall not thrive, nor take deep rooting from bastard slips, nor lay any fast foundation.” In Part 7 our commentary on Wisdom, titled The End of the Wicked, we noted in part that: Here, the wicked are described as having neglected the righteous, so it is apparent that the wicked men which Solomon is describing are men of his own race who have turned their backs on their own kind.” The surrounding context of that verse supports our assertion there in chapter 4, and later in this chapter we shall see further corroboration.
But these are not the only sins to which idolatry and the worship of kings shall lead, as Solomon continues and says:
25 So that there reigned in all men without exception blood, manslaughter, theft, and dissimulation, corruption, unfaithfulness, tumults, perjury, 26 Disquieting of good men, forgetfulness of good turns, defiling of souls, changing of kind, disorder in marriages, adultery, and shameless uncleanness.
Here once again the translations are not absolutely literal and we would make several changes:
For all hold promiscuously [πάντα δ᾽ ἐπιμὶξ ἔχει] blood and murder [αἷμα καὶ φόνος], theft and guile [κλοπὴ καὶ δόλος], corruption, disbeleif, disorder, false oath [φθορά ἀπιστία τάραχος ἐπιορκία], confusion of good things [θόρυβος ἀγαθῶν], forgetfulness of grace [χάριτος ἀμνηστία], defilement of lives [μιασμός ψυχῶν], corruption of race [γενέσεως ἐναλλαγή], disorder of marriages [γάμων ἀταξία], adultery and licentiousness [μοιχεία καὶ ἀσέλγεια].
This translation is absolutely literal, and we see further references to miscegenation, which is pollution of one’s race in the creation of bastards that is so clearly described in the earlier chapters of Wisdom as the end of the ungodly, those who would turn their backs on their own God and people. This is the end of idolatry, and now Solomon concludes:
27 For the worshipping of idols not to be named is the beginning, the cause, and the end, of all evil.
The reference to idols “not to be named” is in keeping with the commandment in the law found in Exodus chapter 23: “13 And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.” As we have already mentioned, Paul of Tarsus had made a very similar analogy in Romans chapter 1, where at first he had chastised the Romans for forsaking the truth of God and turning to idolatry. So just as Solomon has done here, Paul asserted that infidelity in marriage and Sodomy, rather than race-mixing, is a punishment from God as the inevitable result of idolatry. Of course, just because Paul more fully illustrated one outcome and Solomon another does not mean that one or the other are not true, as in fact, both are true.
So just as Solomon did here, Paul went on to give his own list of resulting sins at the end of Romans chapter 1, and said, according to the King James Version: “28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” So while Solomon here did not mention Sodomy, he described miscegenation, and where Paul mentioned Sodomy, by naming fornication among the other resulting sins, he also meant miscegenation, which is one manner in which he used the same term in his some of his other epistles. It is also very likely, that while Paul chose to use as an example of the result of idolatry a problem which was manifesting itself in Rome at his very time, his inspiration for his discourse in Romans chapter 1 was found here in the Wisdom of Solomon.
This is the result of idolatry, and especially of the idolatry of kings. When men are compelled to do the bidding of kings, the king makes his own laws amenable to the increase of his own empire. Miscegenation, Sodomy and all other sins are the inevitable outcome of the sentiment which Solomon attributed to the wicked at the beginning of this work: “Let our strength be the law of justice…” So it was in the ancient near East, so it was in Rome, and so it is today. Sooner or later, man must realize that only Christ can be King, and until then man shall always be enslaved as the willing servants of sin.
We will leave the rest of Solomon’s conclusion here, in the last four verses of this chapter of Wisdom, for the next presentation in this commentary on the Wisdom of Solomon, Yahweh God be willing. I just couldn’t get everything I needed to say into this one, so as the subject turns to the mercy of God in chapter 15, I thought I would leave the last of the discussion on the consequences of idolatry until then.