Words for Idols

Words for idols in Hebrew are almost always very interesting.  In the Responsorial Psalm for today, many translations of Psalm 96.6 read: “For all the gods of the people are idols…” (NRSV, NASB, among others).  Yet when one looks at the root idea of the word underlying the translation idols it appears to mean something akin to worthlessness.  So, it is not that the Psalmist is saying that the gods of the nations are little statues.  He is making a value judgment about them.

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