What does the stone represent in the bible?

 

In Leviticus 26, we read of a sacred stone: “Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 26:1

Since the sacred stone is mentioned alongside the idol and the image, this sacred stone was a rock with carvings on it for use in idol worship. The same Hebrew word is also translated “sacred pillar” or “sacred memorial.” One commentary refers to this sacred stone as “an obelisk, inscribed with hieroglyphical and superstitious characters; the former denoting the common and smaller pillars of the Syrians or Canaanites; the latter, pointing to the large and elaborate obelisks which the Egyptians worshipped as guardian divinities, or used as stones of adoration to stimulate religious worship.

 

In Deuteronomy 28:64 the Lord predicted there would be a day when Israel’s disobedience would lead to them worshiping stone idols: “The LORD will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods—gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your ancestors have known” (see also Deuteronomy 4:28).

The prophets condemned the Israelites of their day for following idols of stone. Their words sometimes mocked the practice: “Saying to a stock, Thou art my father; and to a stone, Thou hast brought me forth: for they have turned their back unto me, and not their face: but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us. But where are thy gods that thou hast made thee? let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble: for according to the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah.” Jeremiah 2:27–28; (see also Isaiah 44:9–20).

 

In Daniel, the gods of stone are mentioned in a list of idols worshiped by King Belshazzar (Daniel 5:4). Daniel condemned the king, saying, “But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:” Daniel 5:23

Idol worship, including giving reverence to decorated stones, has always been forbidden. Leviticus 26 affirms the command made earlier in the Ten Commandments:

 

“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;” Exodus 20:4–5

 

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