Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 4: Harmony of the Law, Part II, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at sacred-texts.com
24. ... Thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.
24. Destruendo destrues eos, et confringendo confringes statuas eorum.
1. These are the statutes and judgments, which ye shall observe to do in the land, which the LORD God of thy fathers giveth thee to possess it, all the days that ye live upon the earth.
1. Haec sunt statuta et judicia quae custodietis, ut faciatis in terra quam daturus est Jehova Deus patrum tuorum tibi, quo possideatis eam omnibus diebus quibns vos vivetis super terrain illam.
2. Ye shall utterly destroy all the places wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree:
2. Destruendo destruetis omnia loca in quibus servierunt gentes quas possessuri estis, diis suis, super montes excelsos, et super colles, et sub omni arbore frondosa.
3. And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.
3. Diruetisque aras earum, et statuas earum confringetis, lucos earum comburetis igni, et sculptilia deorum earum concidetis, abolebitisque nomen earum ex ipso loco.
13. But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves:
13. Aras eorum diruetis, statues eorum confringetis, lucosque eorum succidetis.
5. But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.
5. Sic facietis els, altaria eorum destruetis, et statues eorum confringetis, lucosque eorum succidetis, ac sculptilia eorum comburetis igni.
52. ... destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places:
52. Destruite omnes statues earum, et omnes imagines confiatiles destruite, et omnes aras eorum dissipate.
Exodus 23:24. Thou shalt utterly overthrow them. I allow indeed that these supplements would partly agree with, and be applicable to, the First Commandment; but since express mention is everywhere made in them of idols, this place seems to be better suited to them. After Moses has taught what was necessary to be observed, he adds a political law about breaking down altars and overthrowing images, in order that the people may take the more diligent heed. These passages, however, differ from the foregoing; for in condemning thus far the superstitions which are vicious in themselves, God prescribed what He would have observed even to the end of the world. He now confirms that instruction by temporary enactments, that He may keep His ancient people up to their duty. For we have now-a-days no scruples in retaining the temples, which have been polluted by idols, and applying them to a better use; since we are not bound by what was added consequently (propter consequentiam), as they say, to the Law. I admit indeed that whatever tends to foster superstition should be removed, provided we are not too rigorously superstitious in insisting peremptorily on what is in itself indifferent. The sum amounts to this, that to shew more clearly how greatly God detests idolatry, He would have the memory of all those things abolished which had once been dedicated to idols. The second passage more fully unfolds what Moses had briefly adverted to in the first; for under the word “image,” he included all those tokens of idolatry which he afterwards enumerates, and of which he commands the whole land to be so cleared that no relics of them should remain. From the words, when ye have come into the land “to possess it,” Augustin 297 sensibly infers, that there is no command for private individuals to destroy the instruments of idolatry; but that the people are armed and furnished with this authority to take the charge of regulating the public interests, when they have obtained possession of the land. The third passage is more brief, only enumerating three kinds; the fourth adds “graven images,” (sculptilia.) The fifth omits the groves, and puts in their place images or representations made of molten materials; and here we must observe what we have before adverted to, that the name of statue (statuoe) is sometimes taken in a good sense; and therefore the Jews think that what was permitted to the fathers before the Law is now forbidden. To us, however, it seems more probable, that the statues now condemned are not such as Jacob erected only as a monument, but such as they pretended to be a likeness of God. Some translate the word “titles,” 298 others “pictures,” with what propriety I leave to the judgment of my readers. He adds “image,” 299 a word which, though not in itself sinful, is still deservedly rejected in connection with the worship of God. Man is the image of God; for Moses uses this same word, when relating the creation of man. But to represent God by any figure, before which He is worshipped, is nothing less than to corrupt His glory, and so to metamorphose Him. By speaking of molten images, he admits neither sculptures nor pictures; but since they are generally cast in the precious metals, the people were expressly to beware of keeping gods of gold or silver for ornament.
“Hostes nos dicunt idolorum suorum. Sic praestet Deus, et det omnia in potestate, quomodo dedit quod fractum est. Hoc enim dicimus caritati vestrae, ne faciatis ista, quando in porestate vestra non est, ut faciatis illud. Pravorum hominum est, furiosorum Circumcellionum, et ubi potestatem non habent saevire, et velle mort properant sine causa. Audistis quae vobis legimus, omnes qui nuper in Mappalibus adfuistis. ‘Cum data vobis fuerit terra in potestatem (prius ait in potestatem, et sic dixit quae facienda sunt;) aras eorum, inquit, destruetis, lucos eorum comminuetis, et omnes titulos eorum confringetis.’ (De 7:1, and De 12:9.) Cum acceperitis potestatem, hoc facite. Ubi nobis non est data potestas, non facimus; ubi data est, non praetermittimus,” etc. — Aug. Serm. 62 (Opp. Edit. Bened. T.v.p. 364.)
Nu 33:52, משכיתם A.V., their pictures.
צלמי, tsalemey — “metallic talismanical figures, made under certain constellations, and supposed, in consequence, to be possessed of some extraordinary influences and virtues.” — Ad. Clarke, in loco.