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Folly of a Navigator Praying to an Idol

14

Again, one preparing to sail and about to voyage over raging waves

calls upon a piece of wood more fragile than the ship that carries him.

2

For it was desire for gain that planned that vessel,

and wisdom was the artisan who built it;

3

but it is your providence, O Father, that steers its course,

because you have given it a path in the sea,

and a safe way through the waves,

4

showing that you can save from every danger,

so that even a person who lacks skill may put to sea.

5

It is your will that works of your wisdom should not be without effect;

therefore people trust their lives even to the smallest piece of wood,

and passing through the billows on a raft they come safely to land.

6

For even in the beginning, when arrogant giants were perishing,

the hope of the world took refuge on a raft,

and guided by your hand left to the world the seed of a new generation.

7

For blessed is the wood by which righteousness comes.

 

8

But the idol made with hands is accursed, and so is the one who made it—

he for having made it, and the perishable thing because it was named a god.

9

For equally hateful to God are the ungodly and their ungodliness;

10

for what was done will be punished together with the one who did it.

11

Therefore there will be a visitation also upon the heathen idols,

because, though part of what God created, they became an abomination,

snares for human souls

and a trap for the feet of the foolish.

 

The Origin and Evils of Idolatry

12

For the idea of making idols was the beginning of fornication,

and the invention of them was the corruption of life;

13

for they did not exist from the beginning,

nor will they last forever.

14

For through human vanity they entered the world,

and therefore their speedy end has been planned.

 

15

For a father, consumed with grief at an untimely bereavement,

made an image of his child, who had been suddenly taken from him;

he now honored as a god what was once a dead human being,

and handed on to his dependents secret rites and initiations.

16

Then the ungodly custom, grown strong with time, was kept as a law,

and at the command of monarchs carved images were worshiped.

17

When people could not honor monarchs in their presence, since they lived at a distance,

they imagined their appearance far away,

and made a visible image of the king whom they honored,

so that by their zeal they might flatter the absent one as though present.

 

18

Then the ambition of the artisan impelled

even those who did not know the king to intensify their worship.

19

For he, perhaps wishing to please his ruler,

skillfully forced the likeness to take more beautiful form,

20

and the multitude, attracted by the charm of his work,

now regarded as an object of worship the one whom shortly before they had honored as a human being.

21

And this became a hidden trap for humankind,

because people, in bondage to misfortune or to royal authority,

bestowed on objects of stone or wood the name that ought not to be shared.

 

22

Then it was not enough for them to err about the knowledge of God,

but though living in great strife due to ignorance,

they call such great evils peace.

23

For whether they kill children in their initiations, or celebrate secret mysteries,

or hold frenzied revels with strange customs,

24

they no longer keep either their lives or their marriages pure,

but they either treacherously kill one another, or grieve one another by adultery,

25

and all is a raging riot of blood and murder, theft and deceit, corruption, faithlessness, tumult, perjury,

26

confusion over what is good, forgetfulness of favors,

defiling of souls, sexual perversion,

disorder in marriages, adultery, and debauchery.

27

For the worship of idols not to be named

is the beginning and cause and end of every evil.

28

For their worshipers either rave in exultation,

or prophesy lies, or live unrighteously, or readily commit perjury;

29

for because they trust in lifeless idols

they swear wicked oaths and expect to suffer no harm.

30

But just penalties will overtake them on two counts:

because they thought wrongly about God in devoting themselves to idols,

and because in deceit they swore unrighteously through contempt for holiness.

31

For it is not the power of the things by which people swear,

but the just penalty for those who sin,

that always pursues the transgression of the unrighteous.

 


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The John Calvin commentary does not cover Wisdom 14.




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