‘You shall not bow down to them or serve them’

By John Wijngaards, The Indian Journal of Theology’, Vol. 18 (1969) pp. 180-190

The Ten Commandments list three forceful prohibitions regarding idol-worship:

‘You shall have no gods except Me. You shall not make yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything in heaven above or on earth beneath or in the waters under the earth. You shall not ‘bow down to them or serve them’. (Exod. 20: 3-5a; Dent. 5: 7-9a).

What is the meaning of the phrase ‘bow down to them and serve them’? Does it imply real idolatry in the sense of attribut­ing divine status to an idol? Or does it forbid illicit practices such as worshipping Yahweh in the form of an image? It is well-known that Flavius Josephus and Philo distinguished the pro­hibition of idolatry (Exod. 20:3 ; Deut. 5:7) from the prohibition of making images (Exod. 20:4—5a ; Deut. 5:8-9a).[4] This distinc­tion would imply that the ‘ bowing down and serving ’ concerns also statues representing Yahweh. The prohibition would then mainly concern the illegitimate form of worship. Its implication would move in the liturgical field: purifying the genuine Yahweh worship from some unacceptable expressions of it. The prohibition would be directed against the wrong cultic and ceremonial expression of Yahweh worship. The phrase could then rightly be translated as ‘you shall not bow down and worship them’[5] or ‘you must not bow down to them, nor pay divine honour to them’.[6]

It is far from me to deny the importance of the prohibition of image worship in the religion of Israel. No doubt we are touching here on a characteristic feature of Jahwism. Israel’s understanding of God, of His transcendence over nature and of His inexpressibility in any created form, stands out clearly from the understanding of the divine found in the surrounding nations.[7] In Deut. 4:15 ff. and in the curse of Deut. 27:15 the prohibition of image worship is explicitly applied to the making of images of Yahweh Himself. The sanctuaries of Shiloh and Jerusalem did not possess an image of Yahweh. The polemics against the golden calves (Exod. 32; 1 Kgs. 12:26-30) aim directly at the making of forbidden statues of Yahweh. The prohibition of making images certainly included the making of likenesses of Yahweh Himself. Seen in this light the ‘bowing down and serving’ would refer to the ritual surrounding such forbidden statues. Liturgical cult given to such statues, even it they represent Yahweh, is thereby strictly forbidden.

However, a thorough study of the formula ‘to bow down and serve’, reveals that more than a mere liturgical prohibition is meant. The precise meaning of the phrase, in the understanding of the Old Testament itself, could be circumscribed as: ‘You shall not enter into a religious covenant with them by partaking in the ceremony of bowing down to them? In this meaning the “”prohibition could only apply to real idolatry, to acclaiming some­one else as god besides Yahweh. This would confirm the opinion of the rabbinical tradition according to which the prohibition of idolatry and of image worship is only one commandment.[8] [9] ‘ Sowing down and serving ’ would seem to express a very definite act of allegiance to a god. It would seem to be the act of idolatry, the fatal step whereby one turns away from Yahweh and decides to lay one’s fortunes in the hands of another god. It is this last aspect that we will illustrate in this essay.

The Covenantal Implication of the Term ‘Service’

It is a well-known fact that all the Semites considered their gods to be kings and lords and termed their own relationship to the gods as one of servitude. There is an amazing consistency of terminology here. The Ugaritic, Hebrew, Aramaic and Arabic languages employed the root °abad to express this ‘servitude’, with the corresponding warad or arad in Assyrian and Baby­lonian (6) The notion °abad covered a wide field. It included the concept of classical slavery by which a person became another man’s property by birth or sale (Exod. 21:1-11). It included the: concept of a person who freely agreed to work for someone else .as Jacob who ‘served’ Laban (Gen. 29:18). It included the concept of ‘forced labour’ such as was put on the Hebrews in Egypt (Exod. 14:5). It included the subjection due to a monarch (1 Chr. 21:3; 2 Kgs. 10:5; etc.). It is interesting to note that the Septuagint translation made an effort to disentangle these — various possible meanings by the rendering of the Hebrew °abad’ through distinct Greek terms.7 The very elasticity of the Semitic Toot warns us to be cautious when explaining its meaning in a religious context[10] [11] The fact that all Semites spoke of themselves as ‘serving* their gods, does not mean that all had the same understanding of what this term implied. Moreover, the consistent use of tire term ‘service’ in the Old Testament does not guarantee that the term covered the same meaning for all inspired writers. The term is so vague that we may only deduce its concrete applica­tions from the particular context indicated.

Remembering this general rule, we may observe that in certain Old Testament traditions the ‘service’ of Yahweh is Under­stood as a ‘vassality’, as a ‘covenanted service’ such as one owes to an overlord. °Abad means ‘covenantal vassality’ in many secular instances. The political dependence of Moab, Aram and Edom (2 Sam. 8:2, 6, 14) and the feudal relationship of Hosea^ (2 Kgs. 17:3), Jehoiakim (2 Kgs. 24:1) and of the Jewish chieftains left in Judea after the destruction of Jerusalem (2 Kgs. 25:24) are expressed with this term. The vassal kings of Hadadezer (2 Sam. 10:19) and of Solomon (1 Kgs. 5:1) are called their servants. The phrase ‘I am your servant’ is known to be a submission formula in the Hittite treatise. (9) This formula we find also in the Old Testament with the same technical connotation of submission to an overlord. We meet it in Ahaz’s letter to Tiglath-pileser (2 Kgs. 16:7), in the words of the astute Gibeonites (Josh. 9:9, 11; 10:6), in Goliath’s challenge (1 Sam. 17:9) and in David’s alliance with Achish (1 Sam. 27:12). In all these cases the ‘service’, the vassality is ratified by a solemn pact; the two ideas are inalien­able. The delegation from Jabesh-gilead proposes to Nahash: ‘Conclude a pact with us and we will serve you’ (1 Sam. 11:1). The vassals of Hadadezer sign a peace-treaty with David, and so lose their independence (2 Sam. 10 :19). Vassality service and pact are such a natural combination that Yahweh satirizes Job’s inability to master the crocodile in these words: ‘Will he conclude a pact with you, so that you will have him as ‘servant’ (vassal) for ever?’ (Job 40:28)

Does the ‘service’ of Yahweh have such covenantal implications?  In certain texts this is undeniable.  It is now generally agreed upon by scholars that Josh. 24:1-28 has preserved an ancient tradition of how the covenant of Yahweh was ratified.

The typical Hittite treaty pattern has been retained in it with a high degree of accuracy.16 The main stipulation, of loyalty to Yahweh is formulated in the text as a choice between ‘serving Yahweh’ or ‘serving other gods’. The term ’abad recurs 15 times; nine times it has Yahweh for its object and six times other gods. It is handled as the technical term, indicating the new status acquired after the conclusion of the covenant, Choose this day. whom you will serve … as for me and my house, we will serve Yahweh’ (Josh. 24:15). The people answer: ‘We also will serve Yahweh’ (Josh. 24:18). ‘Serving’ Yahweh has here undoubtedly the meaning of entering a vassality relationship with Him through the treaty

Equally telling is the evidence from the oracle in Exod. 4:22-23. In it we read;

‘You shall say to the Pharaoh: ‘Thus speaks Yahweh. My first-born son is Israel. I had given you this command: Let my son go, that he may serve Me. Since you refuse to let him depart, I will take the life of your first-born.’

It was fashionable to understand this oracle in the context of two masters fighting about the ownership over a slave.[12] [13] In the light of our new comparative treaty texts, it is now obvious that we should understand the oracle in the context of two overlords, both claiming sovereignty rights over the same vassal. Israel is, after all, a nation. The Egyptian Pharaoh claimed the rights of sovereignty over them, but Yahweh Himself wants to become their sovereign through a covenant. Such disputes between over- lords frequently occurred. Murshilish, the Emperor of the Hittites, settled such a dispute between petty overlords with the words:

‘Murshilish, the Emperor, has removed Abdianati, the king of Siyannu, and his sons from (the dominion of) the king of Ugarit. He has given him as “servant” (vassal) to the king of Karkemish. (12)

The king of the Hittites himself contests with the king of the Hurrites the overlordship over Sunashshura, the king of Kizzuwatna. He sends a telegram-style message, which in its demand is curiously parallel to the Old Testament oracle: ‘Give me back my “servant” (vassal)!’ (13) The ancient

oracle: ‘Let my son go, that he may serve Me’ had thus covenantal connota­tions. In the latter traditions of die Exodus this is taken up in the frequently repeated demand: ‘Let My people go, that they may serve Me’ (Exod. 7:16; 7:26; 8:16; 9:1; 9:13; 10:3; cf. also 10:7, 8, 24; 12:31). What will this ‘service’ imply, this ‘service of Yahweh’ for which the Hebrews will have to travel three days far into the desert (Exod. 5:1-3)? This ‘service’ undoubtedly implies sacrifice (Exod. 5:3; 10:25-26), but it is not just any sacrifice: it implies the sacrifice on the mountain (Exod. 24:5-8, 9-11) which ratified the covenant.  In this sense God could say to Moses: ‘This will be the sign by which you can know that your mission comes from Me . . . When you ‘have led the people out of Egypt, you will ‘serve’ God on this moun­tain’ (Exod. 3:12). The Exodus from Egypt and the Covenant on Sinai are linked as condition and purpose. ‘ Service ’ to the Pharaoh and ‘ service ’ to Yahweh in the covenant are the negative and positive poles of Israel’s existence in the ancient formulations^ (Exod. 19:3-6; 15:25b-26; Deut. 6:20-24).[14] [15]

As we stated before, the term °abad is by itself wide enough to admit of various connotations at the same time. Applied to religious ‘service’ it may include the idea of true slavery, of sacrifice, of submission to Yahweh as king, At any rate, in some texts it will also have included the connotation of ‘covenantal vassality’, of being bound to Yahweh as to one’s overlord. This connotation seems especially strong when ‘service to Yahweh’ is opposed to ‘service of an earthly overlord’ (Exod. 4:23) or to ‘service of other gods’ (Josh. 24). ‘Service’ of Yahweh begins for Israel through the Covenant

The Ceremonial Background of ‘Bowing Down and Serving’

The Hebrew term hishthawai, ‘to bow down’, is some­times used in conjunction with the root °abad, ‘to serve’. Isaac blesses Jacob with these words:

‘Let peoples serve you and nations bow down to you’. (Gen. 27:29).

The same blessing is spoken over the king in Ps. 72: ‘May the kings of Tarshish and of the islands bring him ‘tribute! May the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts! May all kings bow down to him! May all nations serve him’ (Ps. 72:10-11).

Both texts speak of vassals who express their allegiance to the overlord by ‘bowing to him’. This ‘bowing to the overlord’ parallels the entering into his service, the acknowledging of the covenantal relationship.

It can hardly be doubted that these ways of speaking were no mere antiquated phrases. There must have been a ceremony in which vassal kings were actually made to ‘bow down’ to their overlords, thereby acknowledging his sovereignty. The petty kings of Palestine wrote to their overlord in Egypt:  ‘At, the feet of the king, my sovereign, seven times, seven times, I fall’ (16) The prostration before the sovereign must have been accompanied by a declaration of one’s servitude, i.e. with words such as ‘I am your servant’ (see above). In this way Joshua prostrates before the commander of Yahweh’s army with the words: ‘What does my lord bid his servant?’ (Josh. 5:14). Abigail submits to David in the same manner (1 Sam. 25:23); and so does Mephibosheth when he acknowledges David as king (2 Sam. 9:6). We may well presume that the prostration never was a silent one: it was always accompanied with self-submitting, praising or thanking acclama­tions. The picture which ‘bowing to someone and serving’ evoked to the Israelite was a well-defined one. It would evoke the scene of a vassal approaching the throne of his overlord, prostrating before him and stating: ‘I am your servant’. It was the scene of a man losing his independence, of a man forced to submission, of a man entering the new status of vassality. The prostration symbolized and effectively began the status of dependency.

The Origin of the Phrase ‘Bowing to and Serving’ in Religious Usage

We might, perhaps, a priori expect that Israel’s acts of sub­mission to Yahweh were also to find expression in a phrase urging Israel ‘to bow to Yahweh and serve Him’. Surprisingly enough this type of phrase is never applied to Yahweh. The phrase ‘bowing to and serving’, when employed in religious context, occurs twenty-two times, and it always has other gods for its object.

In the decalogue                                  2 times: Exod. 20:5; Deut. 5:9

In the elohistic sanctuary code             l times: Exod. 23:24

In the Deuteronomistic Law                 4 times: Deut. 8:19; 11:16; 29:25; 30:17

In the Deuteronomistic redactions of history: 11 times: Josh. 23:7,16; Judg. 2:19; 1 Kgs. 9:6,9; 16:31; 22:54; 2 Kgs. 17:16, 35; 21:3,21.

Jeremiah                                         4 times:  Jer. 13:10; 16:11; 22,9; 25:6.

We might, perhaps, a priori expect that Israel’s acts of sub­mission to Yahweh were also to find expression in a phrase urging Israel ‘to bow to Yahweh and serve Him’. Surprisingly enough this type of phrase is never applied to Yahweh. As I stated before, the phrase ‘bowing to and serving’, when employed in religious context, occurs twenty-two times, and it always has other gods for its object. The phrase does not occur in other strands of tradition, such as the Jahwistic one, or the early prophets (Hosea, Amos, Isaiah), or the many pre-deuteronomic narratives of the historical books.[13]  The affinity of the Deuteronomists to the elohistic tradition is  an established fact, and so is Jeremiah’s relationship to the Deuteronomic school. We may thus conclude that our philologi­cal survey poses two questions:

(a) Why do we find this phrase with only one line of tradition, namely the Elohistic-Deuteronomic one?

(b) Why has the phrase never been applied to Yahweh? Why is it always employed regarding ‘other gods’?

It is sometimes stated that the prohibitory form of the phrase was familiar to the Deuteronomists because of its frequent repeti­tion in the decalogue; that on this account it was no more than natural for them to quote it always in this negative form, and thus-in a form applied to foreign gods. This answer will not do.

The avoidance of applying the phrase to Yahweh is so deliberate and consistent that it presupposes a fixed theological concept for the phrase. The Deuteronomists use the term ‘to bow down’, so frequent in earlier writings also regarding Yahweh worship, almost exclusively of idol-worship. (18) In conjunction with ‘to serve’ they never use it of Yahweh. The phrase ‘to bow down and to serve’ must have connoted something that was incompa­tible with allegiance to Yahweh.

The first clue to a definite connotation of the phrase may be found in the elohistic sanctuary code. W. Beyerlin has con­vincingly demonstrated that this ‘sanctuary code’ came about as an adaptation of the decalogue to the new conditions of a settled population. Both forms of the sanctuary code (Exod. 23: 12-19 and Exod. 34:14-26) go back to one basic text of a very ancient date. The code tries to safeguard Jahwism from the impact of the ancient Canaanitic agricultural religion.[14] The elohistic ver­sion of this code says: ‘You shall not bow down before their gods nor serve them’ (Exod. 23:24). As we have seen above, this last form of the phrase would undoubtedly evoke the picture of someone entering into a vassality servitude. It can, then, hardly be accidental that the same chapter contains an elohistic exten­sion of the code which says: ‘You shall not make a covenant with them or with their gods’ (Exod. 23:32). The elohistic form of the sanctuary code envisages thus the possibility of becoming a ‘vassal’ to the gods of Canaan by ‘bowing to them and serving them’. If we are to take the text seriously—and there is no reason why we should not—there must have been at the time of the elohistic redaction, i.e., from 850 b.c. or later,20 a definite opportunity for Israelites to join the Canaanitic religion by entering a covenant.

Another clue is provided by the deuteronomistic historians. As we have said before, they use the phrase ‘to bow to. and to serve’ eleven times in their redactional commentary to Israel’s history. If we inspect these passages we find the phrase often used in a general warning against idolatry (Josh. 23:7, 16; 1 Kgs. 9:6, 9; 2 Kgs. 17 :35) or in summarizing statements about the idolatry of the Israelites (Judg. 2:19; 2 Kgs. 17 :16). About two specific kings, Manasseh and Amon, the general statement is made that they ‘bowed to and served’ idols. All these statements do not seem to refer to a specific historical occasion. But we see a distinct reference to a precise historical occasion in 1 Kgs. 16:31 where we read about Ahab:

‘And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, he took for wife Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians. And he went and served Baal and bowed to him. He erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he built in Samaria’ (1 Kgs. 16:13—32).

This does refer to a very definite event in the life of Ahab. He not only worshipped the calves in Bethel and Dan, but he intro­duced Baalism as the official religion of Samaria. He married a devotee of Baal, built a house in Baal’s honour, consecrated its main altar, and formally acknowledged his allegiance to Baal by the ceremony of bowing to Baal’s statue and declaring himself ‘Baal’s servant’. This status of Baalism continued all through Ahab’s reign (873-854 B.C.), through the reign of Ahaziah, Ahab’s son, (854-53 B.C.; cf. 1 Kgs. 22:54) and, in a moderated form, under Ahab’s grandson, Jehoram (853—842 b.c ; cf. 2 Kgs. 3:2). It is only at Jehu’s revolt that Baalism was again removed from its public status (2 Kgs. 10:18-20). From 873-842 b.c., that is from die beginning of Ahab’s reign until Jehu’s revolt, great pressure must have been exerted on Israelites to join Baalism. As Ahab had done, so all Israelites were to follow Baal. To this specific action the deuteronomistic redactor applies the term ’to bow to (Baal and serve him’. In this specific danger the warning of the elohistic recension of the sanctuary code not ‘to bow down to their gods nor serve them’, ‘not to make covenants with their gods’ would fit admirably well. We might, therefore, propose as a theory that the phrase ‘to bow down to Baal and serve him’ became a phrase denoting the act of joining Baalism in Samaria during the reign of Omri’s dynasty. [15]

There is another consideration to support this. The Elijah and Elisha traditions have undoubtedly originated in the course of strong Israelite opposition to the Baalistic persecutions. No doubt, this ‘setting-in-life’ has helped to shape the traditions. Obadiah’s excuse that he ‘had hidden, prophets of Yahweh and had given them food in secret’ (1 Kgs. 18:13) certainly reflects similar excuses of Israelites who had openly supported the Baalis­tic tyranny. Naaman’s difficulty may reflect the struggle of con­science in many leading Israelites:

‘Henceforth your servant will not offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god but Yahweh. In this matter may Yahweh pardon your servant: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, leaning on my arm, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, when I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, Yahweh pardon your servant in this matter’ (2 Kgs. 5:17-18).

Naaman thus asks permission to partake in the ceremonies of idol-worship in as far as his official rank as royal courtier would require. Naaman proposes to join some external cere­monies only, such as standing by during the prostration, without internal assent to the idolatrous worship. His very office at court requires at least a Small degree of such external participation, and Naaman asks if God will allow him to do so. Elisha’s reply is positive: ‘Go in peace’. To many contemporaries this same problem and the same moral solution must have been proposed: many Israelites did not want to submit to Baalism, but were forced, by reason of their function at court, to take part in the: external ceremonies. When Jehu intends to kill all worshippers of Baal, he calls for an assembly in Baal’s temple. But before he gives the sign to start the massacre, he gives orders to search if no worshippers of Yahweh are among them (2 Kgs. 10:23).  This obviously implies that even servants of Yahweh used to mingle with the crowds in the Baal Temple! Being in Baal’s Temple did not mean automatically that one had joined Baalism!  Elijah was under the impression that he alone was left as servant of Yahweh, but he obtains the consoling answer:

‘I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him’ 1 Kgs. 19:18.

Quite a few Israelites had, therefore, managed successfully to keep clear from the action by which they would have become formal worshippers of Baal. They may have been present at the Baalistic functions. They may have had to partake in some of these functions to some extent. But they had not fully surrendered to Baalism by the rite of full prostration before the statue and the accompanying acclamation. In short: they had not bowed to Baal and served him’. We may, therefore, conclude that the Elijah and Elisha traditions confirm our theory regarding the Baltic ‘setting-in-life’ of die phrase ‘to bow to and to serve’.

Another confirmation may be seen in what we know of the Baalistic rites from Ugaritic sources. The myth of Baal’s death and revival was celebrated annually to symbolise and bring about the renewal of life and fertility. This solemnity was re-enacted in the form of a long cultic drama, all the elements of which have as yet not been clearly, disentangled. From an analysis of the available texts we can, however, discern some characteristic liturgical features. Baal’s dud with the Sea about die Sovereignty illustrates some of them (text 68:5-35; 137:15-40) (21) Sea’s emissaries underline Sea’s churn on sovereignty by not bowing (hwy) to the assembly of gods (text 137:15, 31). El yields at first to Sea’s demand and wants to hand over Baal as his ‘servant’ or vassal’ (bd) (text 137:37 f). In other words, the question is, who is going to bow to whom, who is going to ‘serve’ whom!

Baal decides to fight for his sovereignty (mlk-drkt: text 68:10) and in feet succeeds to drive Sea from ids throne (text 68 :12, 20, 23). After this Baal is proclaimed king (milk: text 68:32), also by his rival Sea! The acclamation ‘save Aliyn Baal’ is also found (text °nt:l:l) We may, therefore, surmise that the prostration to Baal, the acclamation of Baal as king and the acknowledgement of oneself as Baal’s ‘servant’, formed the climax of the ceremony. Through this ritual one formally and explicitly joined Baalism. The prohibition ‘you shall not bow down to them nor serve them’ would thus have the very pointed meaning of forbidding participation in this annual Baalistic kingship celebration.


There are many more questions that remain to be answered. Was the allegiance to Baal conceived of as a covenantal relation­ship? Was the religious allegiance to other gods similar to that of Baal, or was Baalism something apart and different? How long did Baalism exert its influence ova Israel? Was its main power broken by Jehu or did it still actively recruit adherents in later times? What was the earliest encounter between Jahwism and Baalism?  Was it a clash right from the beginning or did the incompatibilities only stand out clearly as time went on?

Many aspects of the religious history of Israel can only be reconstructed by us imperfectly. Quite a few Old Testament phrases can only be understood and explained with some approxi­mation. The full actual, real, living implications of such phrases will to some extent escape us. Hallowed phrases that were used by one generation after another, from one century into another, from one religious context into another, must have taken on many connotations in the course of time. This is how God worked in the Old Testament: battering out slowly the fuller and deeper meaning of His Sacred Words. To restrict the meaning erf any phrase to a static and exclusive interpretation would not do justice to this dynamic power of God’s revealed text.

And so it is with the phrase: ‘You shall not bow down to them nor serve them’. In the early formulation of the decalogue it may have had a primarily liturgical connotation. It may then have been understood as prohibition to pay homage to any statue, even to statues of Yahweh. Whatever this earliest understanding may have been, after the Baalistic persecutions in the Northern Kingdom the phrase seems to have taken on a decidedly anti-Baalistic meaning. ‘ Bowing down to Baal and serving him’ was recognized by the elohistic and deuteronomistic theologians as the act of religious lapse, as the act idolatry by which one joined Baalism or another idolatrous religion.[16] ‘ Bowing to and serving ’ is never applied to Yahweh. It is not even applied to worship of the golden calves, images under which Yahweh Himself was worshipped. ‘Bowing to and serving’ became the classical ex­pression for declaring oneself the vassal of another god. ‘You shall not have other gods besides Me’ is, therefore, perfectly paralleled by the prohibition ‘You shall not bow down to them nor serve them’! For only Yahweh was Israel’s God. Only Yahweh became their sovereign and overlord through the Covenant. Only to Yahweh Israel should avow allegiance, by prostration, by acclamations, by sacrifice and praise. Only Yahweh had a right to Israel’s ‘service’.

God still has the right to our undivided service now. And that is, I believe, the meaning of the phrase for our times. Also in our days there is the danger of giving one’s allegiance to another god, not in the sense of the old-time idolatry, but more in the sense of accepting some other norm as higher than our submission to God. Such is the sin of the politician who, consciously and freely, joins a party or agrees to a policy which he knows to be contrary to God’s declared Will. Such is the decision of the businessman who, knowingly and willingly, adopts a way of making money that is contrary to justice. Such is the evil will by which a person concludes a marriage bond which he or she knows to be incompatible with Christian morals. The idols of our times are power, money and pleasure. Against these, if made into idols, God’s demand of loyalty is unmistakable: ‘Do not bow down to or serve other gods!’ Do not avow allegiance to any principle, to any norm, to any state of life that is not in harmony with God’s Will. For only Yahweh you shall serve!



1       H. Junker, Das Buch Deuteronomium (Bonn, 1933), p. 42.

2R. Knox, ‘Thou shalt not fashion the likeness of anything . . . to bow down and worship it’.
3J. De Frame, Exodus (Roermond, 1966), pp. 152 ff.
4     Ch. North, ‘The Essence of Idolatry Beih ZAW, 77 (1958), pp. 151-160; G. E. Wright, The Old Testament against its Environment (London, I960), pp. 23 ff.
5          H. Junker, op. cit., p. 42.

  1. W, W. Baudissin, Kurios als Gottesname im Judentum and seine Stelle in der Religionsgeschichte (Giesen, 1929), vol. 111, pp. 524 ff.
  2. K. H. Rengstorf, ‘doulos’, in G. Kittel, ThWNT, vol. H (Stutgart, 1935), pp. 268 ff.
  3. W. Baudissin (op. cit., pp. 20 ff.; 40 ff.; 52 ff.) seems to neglect the distinction between the various meanings.
  4. Treaty of Shuppiluliuma with Tette, B. F. Weidner, Die Staatsvertraege in akkadischer Sprache aus dem Archive von Bogazkoi (Leipzig, 1923), col. I, v. 7 f., p. 59; treaty of Shuppiluliuma with Niqmadu, I. Nougayrol, Le Palais Royal d’Ugarit, vol. IV (Paris, 1956), text 17,340, vs. 12 f., pp. 48 ff.
  5. 10. Baltzer, Das Bundesformular (Neukirchen, 1960), pp. 29-36.
  6. D. Daube has proved the juridical value of Shalah in Ex 4:23; Rechtsgedanken in der ErzShlungen des Pentateuchs ’, Beih ZAW, 77 (1958), p. 36. The juridical value would, however, not only apply to the case of slaves. It would equally apply to the release of a vassal as to the release of a slave.
  7. J. Nougayrol, op. cit;, text 17:382 and 17: 380, vs. 1off, p. 80.
  8. E. f. Weidner, op. cit., pact V11, col I, R 122, p, 91.
  9. The separation of the so-called Exodus-Landgiving tradition from the covenantal tradition is untenable in the light of the recently discovered vassality treaty pattern. See J. Wjjngaards,. The Formulas of the Deu- teronomic Creed (Tilburg, 1963), esp. pp. 21, 57.

15[1]    There was some uncertainty as to the root from which this hithpa’el form derives. Ugaritic studies have confirmed that hwy is the most likely derivation. Cf. C. H. Gordon, Ugaritic Glossary (Rome, 1965), no. 847, p. 395.

  1. See the Amarna letters: J. B. Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Text (Princeton, 1955), pp. 83 ff
  2. In the ‘Deuteronomic Work of History’ (Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings; cf. M. North, Ueberkieferungsgeschichtliche, Studien, I, Halle, 1943) this pre-redactional material (c. 2,893 verses not reckoning the code) is five times as extensive as the redactional text (c- 617 verses). The complete absence of the phrase in the older material is, therefore, highly significant.
  3. There are two exceptions: Deut. 26:10 and 2 Kgs. 17:36.
  4. W. Beyerlin, Herkunft und Geschichte der altesten Sinai-Tradit- ionen (Tubingen, 1961), pp. 97 ff.
  5. Eissfeldt, Einleitung in das Alte Testament (Tubingen, 1964), pp. 266 ff.
  6. C. H. Gordon, Ugaritic Literature (Rome, 1943). Pp. 13-16. For these and the other texts, consult also C. H. Gordon, Ugaritic Textbook (Rome, 1963); the English translation by H. L. Ginsberg, in J. B. Pritchard, op. cit., (Anet), pp. 129 ff.
  7. I do not think it even altogether excluded that the formulation of this phrase ‘You shall not bow down to them or serve them’ was an addition to the decalogue, made under influence of the elohistic and early Deuteronomic reactions against the Baalism of Omri’s dynasty.