For the customs and decrees of the peoples are [mere] delusion [exercises in futility]; It is only wood which one cuts from the forest [to make a god], The work of the hands of the craftsman with the axe or cutting tool.
For the customs and ordinances of the peoples are false, empty, and futile; it is but a tree which one cuts out of the forest [to make for himself a god], the work of the hands of the craftsman with the ax or other tool.
The ·customs [statutes; ordinances; requirements] of other people are ·worth nothing [meaningless; useless; L a breath]. ·Their idols are just wood cut from the forest [L A tree from the forest is cut down], shaped by a ·worker [craftsman] with his ·chisel [or ax; or adze; or blade].
Don’t act like the people who make horoscopes and try to read their fate and future in the stars! Don’t be frightened by predictions such as theirs, for it is all a pack of lies. Their ways are futile and foolish. They cut down a tree and carve an idol;
Listen to the Message that God is sending your way, House of Israel. Listen most carefully: “Don’t take the godless nations as your models. Don’t be impressed by their glamour and glitz, no matter how much they’re impressed. The religion of these peoples is nothing but smoke. An idol is nothing but a tree chopped down, then shaped by a woodsman’s ax. They trim it with tinsel and balls, use hammer and nails to keep it upright. It’s like a scarecrow in a cabbage patch—can’t talk! Dead wood that has to be carried—can’t walk! Don’t be impressed by such stuff. It’s useless for either good or evil.”
For the [religious] chukkot (customs, statutes) of the nations are vain delusions; for one cutteth etz out of the ya’ar (forest), the ma’aseh (handiwork) of the hands of the charash (workman, artisan), with the axe.
For the laws of peoples be vain (For the religions, or the customs, of the peoples, or of the nations, be empty and futile), for why the work of [the] hands of a craftsman hath cut down with an ax a tree of the forest.
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