Scarecrows

Jer 10:2 Thus says the LORD, “Do not learn the way of the nations, And do not be terrified by the signs of the heavens Although the nations are terrified by them;

Jer 10:3 For the customs of the peoples are delusion; Because it is wood cut from the forest, The work of the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool.

Jer 10:4 “They decorate {it} with silver and with gold; They fasten it with nails and with hammers So that it will not totter.

Jer 10:5 “Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field are they, And they cannot speak; They must be carried, Because they cannot walk! Do not fear them, For they can do no harm, Nor can they do any good.”

Here Jeremiah addresses two kinds of superstitions that are still common today: bad omens and awesome technology. Both are associated with folk religion everywhere, but here they are explicitly associated with paganism. 

Omens, star alignments, and other “natural signs” are not signs from God; their meaning is mainly attributed to them by people. Likewise, people tend to glorify their own creative work, whether it is a wooden idol, a financial system, a corporation, or a computer system. Their moral significance derives from people using them for particular ends, because they themselves are dead. Without people doing things in their name, “they can do no harm, nor can they do any good.”

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