Monday, August 11, 2014

Crafting Idols from Eisegesis and Prooftexts

You also took your beautiful jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given you, and made for yourself images of men, and with them played the whore.  (Ezek 16:17)

[T]he “vessels of exultation,”* about which Moses wrote in Numbers—the incense-pans, the libation-bowls, the golden lampstand, the ark overlaid in gold with gold inside and outside, and so on—“you took” and melted them down, and “you made masculine likenesses and fornicated with them.”  According to the allegorical interpretation, however, the passage will be explained in this way: The golden and silver vessels, that is, the incense-pans, the libation-bowls, the golden lampstand, and so on, are what we have in the sacred writings; therefore, when we twist the meaning of Scripture into another meaning, which is contrary to the truth, we melt down the divine words and change the things of God into other likenesses.  If we do this, we have fallen into the sin which Jerusalem had now committed.  The vessels of our exultation are the Law and Prophets; we exult over these; in these we are raised up.  But when we expound them in a way different from the truth, we transform the vessels of our exultation from the rational silver and the perceptible gold, which God has given to us, and we are making for ourselves masculine images, and fornicating with them.

Origen of Alexandria: Exegetical Works on Ezekiel, Homily 7.2

*  Origen is using the words of the Septuagint which relate to “beautiful jewels” of verse 17.  These are the vessels in which the people justly gloried because they were given by God’s hand.

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