Turn away from idols (Isa 31:6-31:7)

“Turn back to him

Whom you have deeply betrayed!

O people of Israel!

On that day

All of you shall throw away

Your idols of silver,

Your idols of gold,

That your hands have sinfully made for you.”

Isaiah warns that they have to turn back to Yahweh, whom they have betrayed. They have to throw away their silver and gold idols that they have sinfully made for themselves. Once again, this is an indication that idolatry may have been taking place in Jerusalem.

Judges (Sir 46:11-46:12)

“The judges also,

With their respective names,

Were holy famous men.

Their hearts did not fall

Into idolatry.

They did not turn away

From the Lord.

May their memory be blessed!

May their bones send forth new life

Where they lie!

May the names of those

Who have been honored

Live again in their children!”

Sirach does not name any specific judges in his praise of these judges to whom a whole book of the Hebrew Bible describes in some detail, Judges. They did not fall into idolatry, since they did not turn away from the Lord. Their memory should be blessed. Their bones should bring life to where they have been placed. Their names should be honored, as they live again in their children. Despite this plea to honor their names, Sirach does not mention any one particular name of a judge, even though the whole institution of judges was held in high esteem.

Deviations in worship (Deut 16:21-17:7)

“You shall not plant any tree as a sacred pole beside the altar that you make for Yahweh your God. Nor shall you set up a stone pillar, things that Yahweh your God hates. You must not sacrifice to Yahweh your God an ox or a sheep that has a defect, anything seriously wrong. That is abhorrent to Yahweh your God.”

There should be no hint of any kind of deviant worship with sacred trees, sacred poles or sacred stones near the altar of Yahweh. The sacrifices of animals must be perfect not throwaways.

“If there is found among you, in one of your towns that Yahweh your God is giving you, a man or woman who does what is evil in the sight of Yahweh your God. They have transgressed the covenant by going to serve other gods and worshiping them, whether the sun or the moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have forbidden. If it is reported to you or you hear of it, you should make a thorough inquiry. If the charge is proved true that such an abhorrent thing has occurred in Israel, then you shall bring out to your gates that man or that woman who has committed this crime. You shall stone the man or woman to death. On the evidence of two or three witnesses the death sentence shall be executed. A person must not be put to death on the evidence of only one witness. The hands of the witnesses shall be the first raised against the person to execute the death penalty, afterwards, the hands of all the people. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.”

Once again we have a very strong statement against idolatry within Israel’s own towns. If you hear about it, it must be investigated. If the charge is true by 2 or more witnesses, then that person should be stoned to death, led by the witnesses. Evil must be purged from your midst.