Hebrews and images

Hi, in the Awake magazine of Oct. 2014 there is a topic on images. They show a picture of a girl praying to a statute of Mary. It just makes my blood boil that the WT continues to spread the lies that Catholics venerate/pray to statues. They can’t seem to grasp the fact that we do not pray to statues. We are talking to the saint that that statute represents.

I am quoting the Awake here:
A common Claim according to the NCE the Jews had an abundance of images associated with their worship “and these representations were honored, reverenced., and venerated”. As examples, that encyclopedia cites the numerous engravings of fruits, flowers, and animals that adorned the temple in Jerusalem 1Kings 6:18; 7:36.

What You should know contrary to what the NCE asserts, faithful Jews did not venerate any of the engravings or figures associated with the temple. In fact, no-where in the bible do we read of a faithful Israelite using an image for worship.
End quote

Now somewhere in the OT there is a story about a woman Rachael or Rebeka, I don’t remember which, is sitting on an object that she didn’t want her father to find. She claimed that she had her monthly cycle in hopes that her father would not make her get up from what she was sitting on. She didn’t want him to find the image.

Now what was the image? A charm, and idol, something they worshiped or prayed to?

Can some one enlighten me?


What is the NCE?

Pick up this book from St John of Damascus. It’s the definitive defense of the veneration of icons. It addresses your question as well.

On the Divine Images

And here it is online.

“Of old, God the incorporeal and uncircumscribed was never depicted. Now, however, when God is seen clothed in flesh, and conversing with men, (Bar. 3.38) I make an image of the God whom I see. I do not worship matter, I worship the God of matter, who became matter for my sake, and deigned to inhabit matter, who worked out my salvation through matter. I will not cease from honouring that matter which works my salvation. I venerate it, though not as God. How could God be born out of lifeless things? And if God’s body is God by union , it is immutable.”

New Catholic Encyclopedia.

JW’s say lots about the Catholic Church that doesn’t stand up but they generally have more quotes than the “average” Catholic.
Research what they say (this is a great place to start) and you will get great answers but always ask the Holy Spirit for guidance.


This one?
19 Now Laban was away shearing his sheep, and Rachel had stolen her father’s household images.* e
20 Jacob had hoodwinked* Laban the Aramean by not telling him that he was going to flee …]
Jacob and Laban in Gilead. 25 When Laban overtook Jacob, Jacob’s tents were pitched in the hill country; Laban also pitched his tents in the hill country of Gilead. 26 Laban said to Jacob, “How could you hoodwink me and carry off my daughters like prisoners of war?* …]’
**30 Granted that you had to leave because you were longing for your father’s house, why did you steal my gods?”
31 Jacob replied to Laban, “I was frightened at the thought that you might take your daughters away from me by force. 32 As for your gods, the one you find them with shall not remain alive! If, with our kinsmen looking on, you identify anything here as belonging to you, take it.” Jacob had no idea that Rachel had stolen the household images.

  • 33 Laban then went in and searched Jacob’s tent and Leah’s tent, as well as the tents of the two maidservants; but he did not find them. Leaving Leah’s tent, he went into Rachel’s. 34* Meanwhile Rachel had taken the household images, put them inside the camel’s saddlebag, and seated herself upon them. When Laban had rummaged through her whole tent without finding them,g 35 she said to her father, “Do not let my lord be angry that I cannot rise in your presence; I am having my period.” So, despite his search, he did not find the household images. *


  • 31:19] Household images: in Hebrew, teraphim, figurines used in divination (Ez 21:26; Zec 10:2). Laban calls them his “gods” (v. 30). The traditional translation “idols” is avoided because it suggests false gods, whereas Genesis seems to accept the fact that the ancestors did not always live according to later biblical religious standards and laws.

I’m reading a book by Jaroslav pelikan called eastern spirituality it’s his second volume on his magnum opus on the history of catholic doctrine. I’m reading currently about Iconoclast controversy. It is a tough read but a good one. He ultimately showed how the orthodox response to the iconoclasts linking them to an earlier heresy called Gnostism. What we all need to remember is that when we’re a used of idolatry due to arguments like these we should point out that we never pray to the statue. It’s just a physical representation of who were really asking. We simply seek their intercession. Of course trying to explain that only works if their willing to listen.

Wow. Just look at what the Protestants are missing out on with their Pharisaical tradition of “proximity to statue means worshiping statue” stance! I feel bad for them. While they’re getting bogged down with the real superstition of having to answer the question in their own minds of “how many feet from said statue does any prayer need to be cast before it stops being idol worship? Is 10 feet good enough? 20 feet?” etc… Catholics are actually there meditating on so great a mystery as the one described in the quote above and are benefiting from the graces that meditation provides. Let’s hope and pray that such scruples don’t hinder anyone’s relationship to God.

Yes. This one. I was wondering what the idols were used for.

Yes I know what we believe but I was wondering what the ancient Jew before abraham believed about idols. Or were there Hebrews or Jews before Abraham :shrug:.

thanks. When I get a chance I’ll give it a look. I have book marked the page.

Click on the links to Ezekiel and Zechariah and have a look at the footnotes.

  • 31:19] Household images: in Hebrew, teraphim, figurines used in divination (Ez 21:26; Zec 10:2). Laban calls them his “gods” (v. 30). The traditional translation “idols” is avoided because it suggests false gods, whereas Genesis seems to accept the fact that the ancestors did not always live according to later biblical religious standards and laws.

The Jewish sages explain that Laban was an evil man and an idolater, and he actually worshipped those images. Rachel stole them in order to prevent him from worshipping them (see the commentator Rashi). In 35:2 Jacob commands his household to rid themselves of “foreign gods” in their midst, which means the ones that were taken from idol worshippers and were in their possession, although they were not worshipped.

As for the person who wondered earlier if there were any Hebrews before Abraham, no there were not. Abraham is called העברי, “the Hebrew” in the Bible. The literal meaning of the word is “someone from the other side” (of the river, referring either to the Euphrates or the Jordan - he was called this name in Canaan and Egypt). Jewish tradition teaches that Abraham was the first and greatest person to discover the truth of One God on his own. Others existed who worshipped God alone, like Malkizedek, but he was the beneficiary of the tradition passed down from Adam, and he was not nearly as great as Abraham. Abraham was also the only person that succeeded in establishing an eternal dynasty of monotheists; the descendants of other monotheists of his time eventually returned to idolatry.

Are we getting hyper technical? The inference is that they didn’t use images in proper rituals or prayer . When they did, it was sin.

The Ark was a image. The cherubim were images. They were certainly there in the temple when the high priest prayed.

Hi Moses 613

Thanks for the above.

I was the one who wondered if thee were Hebrews/Jews before Abraham.

Stick around Jewish insight is always welcome and needed.

The ark was not an image, it is akin to the tabernacle.

The cheribum depicted that the angels were looking over and guarding the arch.

The angels were not meant to be ‘prayed to’

when people bowed before the ark, they were bowing to the holiness of what was contained there, not to the box and it’s decorations.

I am not commenting on the Catholic use of statues, but I think it is inaccurate to compare them to the angels on the ark.

Of course the Ark was a image. You could see it could you not? And Catholics don’t bow to images they bow to the holiness of the saint depicted in the image, not the wood and paint.

Excellent, thank you!

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