The worship of idols (Bar 6:4-6:7)

“Now in Babylon

You will see gods

Made of silver,

Or made of gold,

Or made of wood.

People carry them

On their shoulders.

This inspires fear

Among the heathens.

Take care!

Beware of becoming at all

Like the foreigners!

Do not let fear

Of these gods

Possess you,

When you see the multitude

Before and behind them

Worshiping them!

But say in your heart!

‘It is you!

O Lord!

Whom we must worship!’

My angel

Is with you!

He is watching

Over your lives.”

The author of this letter has a warning for the exiles while they are in Babylon. They will see gods made of silver, gold, and wood that will be carried on people’s shoulders to inspire fear. They should be careful to not become like these foreigners. They should not fear these gods. Even when they see the multitudes before and behind these gods in possessions or parades, they should not be intimidated. They were to remember in their hearts that they were to only worship the Lord. To help them out, an angel would be watching over their lives.

The worship of idols (Wis 13:10-13:10)

“But miserable,

With their hopes set on dead things,

Are those Who give the name ‘gods’

To the works of men’s hands.

That is gold fashioned with skill.

That is silver fashioned with skill,

In the likenesses of animals.

That is a useless stone,

The work of an ancient hand.”

Now this author is much more opposed to the works of human hands seen as gods (θεοὺς ἔργα χειρῶν ἀνθρώπων) rather than works of nature, which were not as bad. These idol worship people are miserable. They put their hopes in dead things and called them gods. These skillful art works of gold and silver were usually in the form of some kind of animal. These ancient man made stones that were considered useless.