In the first century C.E. Iconium was one of the principal cities in the Roman province of Galatia and lay astride the main trade route from Ephesus to Syria. The city had an influential Jewish population. Paul and Barnabas, after being forced to leave Pisidian Antioch, preached in the city of Iconium and its synagogue and there aided many Jews and Greeks to become believers. But when an attempt was made to stone them, they fled from Iconium to Lystra. Soon Jews from Antioch and Iconium came to Lystra and stirred up the crowds there so that they stoned Paul. Thereafter Paul and Barnabas went to Derbe and then courageously returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the brothers and appointing “older men” to positions of responsibility in the congregations established in these cities.—Acts 13:50, 51; 14:1-7, 19-23.
Later, after the circumcision issue arose and was settled by the apostles and older men of the Jerusalem congregation, Paul seems to have revisited Iconium. It was on this second missionary journey that Paul took along Timothy, a young man having a fine reputation among the brothers at Lystra and Iconium.—Acts 16:1-5; 2 Tim. 3:10, 11.
Iconium was on the border between Phrygia and Lycaonia. This may explain why certain ancient writers, including Strabo and Cicero, assigned it to Lycaonia, whereas Xenophon called it the last city of Phrygia. From a geographical standpoint, Iconium belonged to Lycaonia, but, as indicated by archaeological discoveries, it was Phrygian in culture and speech. Inscriptions found at the site in 1910 show that Phrygian was the language used there for two centuries after Paul’s time. Appropriately, therefore, the writer of Acts did not include Iconium as part of Lycaonia, where the “Lycaonian tongue” was spoken.—Acts 14:6, 11.
A boundary city of Zebulun. (Josh. 19:14-16) While its exact location is unknown, some link Idalah with Khirbet el-Huwarah, less than a mile (c. 1.5 kilometers) SW of the suggested location of Bethlehem in Zebulun.
(Idʹdo) [Heb., ʽId·dohʹ, ʽId·dohʼʹ, Yeʽ·dohʹ, Yeʽ·diʹ, ʽId·doʼʹ; decked, adorned].
1. Son of Joah; a Levite of the family of Gershom.—1 Chron. 6:19-21.
3. A visionary whose writings were consulted by the compiler of Chronicles for information concerning the affairs of Kings Solomon, Rehoboam and Abijah. Iddo’s writings are referred to as an “exposition,” a “commentary” or a “midrash.”—2 Chron. 9:29; 12:15; 13:22, NW, 1955 ed., ftn.
5. A priest listed among those returning to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel in 537 B.C.E. In the days of High Priest Joiakim the paternal house of Iddo was headed by Zechariah. (Neh. 12:1, 4, 12, 16) He may be the same as No. 4.
6. [Yid·dohʹ; loving, beloved]. Son of a certain Zechariah; prince of the half tribe of Manasseh in Gilead in King David’s time.—1 Chron. 27:21, 22.
An idol is an image, representation of anything or a symbol that is an object of passionate devotion, whether material or imagined. Generally speaking, idolatry is the veneration, love, worship or adoration of an idol. It is usually practiced toward a real or supposed higher power, whether such power is believed to have animate existence (as a human or animal god or an organization) or whether it is inanimate (as a force or lifeless object of nature). Idolatry generally involves some form, ceremony or ritual.
NOT ALL IMAGES ARE IDOLS
God’s law not to form images (Ex. 20:4, 5) did not rule out the making of all representations and statues. This is indicated by Jehovah’s later command to make two golden cherubs on the cover of the Ark and to embroider representations of cherubs on the inner tent covering of ten tent cloths for the tabernacle and the curtain separating the Holy from the Most Holy. (Ex. 25:18; 26:1, 31, 33) Likewise, the interior of Solomon’s temple, the architectural plans for which were given to David by divine inspiration (1 Chron. 28:11, 12), was beautifully embellished with engraved carvings of cherubs, palm-tree figures and blossoms. Two cherubs of oil-tree wood overlaid with gold stood in the Most Holy of that temple. (1 Ki. 6:23, 28, 29) The molten sea rested upon twelve copper bulls, and the sidewalls of the copper carriages for temple use were decorated with figures of lions, bulls and cherubs. (1 Ki. 7:25, 28, 29) Twelve lions lined the steps leading up to Solomon’s throne.—2 Chron. 9:17-19.
These representations, however, were not idols for worship. Only the officiating priests saw the representations of the tabernacle interior and, later, of the temple interior. No one but the high priest entered the Most Holy, and that normally but once a year on the Day of Atonement. (Heb. 9:7) Thus there was no danger of the Israelites’ being ensnared into idolizing the golden cherubs in the sanctuary. These representations primarily served as a picture of the heavenly cherubs. (Compare Hebrews 9:24, 25.) That they were not to be venerated is evident from the fact that the angels themselves were not to be worshiped.—Col. 2:18; Rev. 19:10; 22:8, 9.
Of course, there were times when images became idols, although not originally intended as objects of veneration. The copper serpent that Moses formed in the wilderness came to be worshiped and therefore faithful King Hezekiah crushed it to pieces. (Num. 21:9; 2 Ki. 18:1, 4) The ephod made by Judge Gideon became a “snare” to him and to his household.—Judg. 8:27.
IMAGES AS AIDS IN WORSHIP
The Scriptures do not sanction the use of images as a means to address God in prayer. Such a practice runs counter to the principle that those seeking to serve Jehovah must worship him with spirit and truth. (John 4:24; 2 Cor. 4:18; 5:6, 7) He tolerates no mixing of idolatrous practices with true worship, as illustrated by his condemnation of calf worship, although the Israelites had attached his name thereto. (Ex. 32:3-10) Jehovah does not share his glory with graven images.—Isa. 42:8.
There is not a single instance in Scripture where faithful servants of Jehovah resorted to the use of visual aids to pray to God or engaged in a form of relative worship. Of course, some may cite Hebrews 11:21, which, according to the Catholic Douay Version, reads: “By faith Jacob, dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and adored the top of his rod.” Then in a footnote on this scripture it is held that Jacob paid relative honor and veneration to the top of Joseph’s rod, and the comment is made: “Some translators, who are no friends to this relative honour, have corrupted the text, by translating it, he worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.” However, rather than being a corruption of the text, as this footnote maintains, this latter rendering and comparable variants thereof are in agreement with the sense of the Hebrew text at Genesis 47:31 and have been adopted even by a number of Catholic translations, such as The Jerusalem Bible.
FORMS OF IDOLATRY
Acts of idolatry referred to in the Bible included such revolting practices as ceremonial prostitution, child sacrifice, drunkenness and self-laceration to the point of causing blood to flow. (1 Ki. 14:24; 18:28; Jer. 19:3-5; Hos. 4:13, 14; Amos 2:8) Idols were venerated by partaking of food and drink (Ex. 32:6; 1 Cor. 8:10), by bowing and sacrificing to them, by song and dance and even by a kiss. (Ex. 32:8, 18, 19; 1 Ki. 19:18; Hos. 13:2) Idolatry was also committed by arranging a table of food and drink for false gods (Isa. 65:11), by making drink offerings, sacrificial cakes and sacrificial smoke (Jer. 7:18; 44:17) and by weeping in religious ceremony. (Ezek. 8:14) Certain actions, such as tatooing the flesh, making cuttings upon the flesh or imposing baldness on the forehead, cutting the sidelocks and destroying the extremity of the beard, were prohibited by the Law, possibly because of being linked with prevailing idolatrous practices of neighboring peoples.—Lev. 19:26-28; Deut. 14:1.
Then there are the more subtle forms of idolatry. Covetousness is idolatry (Col. 3:5), since the object of an individual’s cravings diverts affection away from the Creator and thus, in effect, becomes an idol. Instead of serving Jehovah God in faithfulness, a person can become a slave to his belly, that is, fleshly desire or appetite, and make this his god. (Rom. 16:18; Phil. 3:18, 19) Since love for the Creator is demonstrated by obedience (1 John 5:3), rebellion and pushing ahead presumptuously are comparable to acts of idolatry.—1 Sam. 15:22, 23.
Idolatry had its beginning, not in the visible realm, but in the invisible. A glorious spirit creature developed the covetous desire to resemble the Most High. So strong was his desire that it alienated his affections toward his God, Jehovah, and his idolatry caused him to rebel.—Job 1:6-11; 1 Tim. 3:6; compare Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:13-15, 17.
Similarly, Eve constituted herself the first human idolater by coveting the forbidden fruit, this wrong desire leading her to disobey God’s command. By allowing selfish desire to rival his love for Jehovah and then disobeying him, Adam likewise became guilty of idolatry.—Gen. 3:6, 17.
Since the rebellion in Eden only a minority of mankind has remained free from idolatry. During the lifetime of Adam’s grandson Enosh, men apparently began to practice open idolatry. “At that time a start was made of calling on the name of Jehovah.” (Gen. 4:26) But evidently this was no calling upon Jehovah in faith, something done by righteous Abel many years earlier and for which he suffered martyrdom at the hands of his brother Cain. (Gen. 4:4, 5, 8) Apparently, what was started in the days of Enosh was a false form of worship, in which Jehovahs name was evidently misused or improperly applied. Either men applied God’s name to themselves or to other men (through whom they pretended to approach God in worship), or else they applied the divine name to idol objects (as a visible, tangible aid in their attempt to worship the invisible God).
To what extent idolatry was practiced from the days of Enosh until the Flood the Bible record does not reveal. The situation must have progressively deteriorated, so that in Noah’s day “Jehovah saw that the badness of man was abundant in the earth and every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only bad all the time.” (Gen. 6:5) Besides the inherited sinful inclination of man, the materialized angels, who had relations with the daughters of men, and the hybrid offspring of these unions, the Nephilim, exerted upon the world of that time a strong influence toward bad.—Gen. 6:4, 5.
IDOLATRY IN PATRIARCHAL TIMES
Although the flood of Noah’s day destroyed all human idolaters, idolatry began anew, spearheaded by Nimrod, “a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah.” (Gen. 10:9) Doubtless under Nimrod’s direction the building of Babel and its tower (likely a ziggurat for use in idolatrous worship) began. The plans of those builders were frustrated when Jehovah confused their language. No longer being able to understand one another, they gradually left off building the city and scattered. However, the idolatry that began at Babel did not end there. Wherever those builders went they carried their false religious concepts.—Gen. 11:1-9; see GODS AND GODDESSES.
The next city mentioned in the Scriptures, Ur of the Chaldeans, like Babel, was not devoted to the worship of the true God, Jehovah. Archaeological diggings there have revealed that the patron deity of that city was the moon-god Sin. It was in Ur that Terah, the father of Abram (Abraham), resided. (Gen. 11:27, 28) Living in the midst of idolatry, Terah may have engaged in it, as indicated centuries later by Joshua’s words to the Israelites: “It was on the other side of the River [Euphrates) that your forefathers dwelt a long time ago, Terah the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, and they used to serve other gods.” (Josh. 24:2) But Abraham displayed faith in the true God, Jehovah.
Wherever Abraham, and later his descendants, went they met up with idolatry, influenced by the original apostasy at Babel. So there was an ever-present danger of being contaminated by such idolatry. Even those related to Abraham had idols. The father-in-law of Abraham’s grandson Jacob, Laban, had teraphim, or family gods, in his possession. (Gen. 31:19, 31, 32) Jacob himself found it necessary to instruct his household to put away all their foreign gods, and he hid the idols turned over to him. (Gen. 35:2-4) Perhaps he disposed of them in this way so that none in his household might wrongly use the metal on account of its previous idolatrous use. Whether Jacob initially melted or smashed the images is not stated.
IDOLATRY AND GOD’S COVENANT PEOPLE
As Jehovah had indicated to Abraham, his descendants, the Israelites, became alien residents in a land not theirs, namely, Egypt, and suffered affliction there. (Gen. 15:13) In Egypt they came in contact with rank idolatry, for image making ran riot in that country. Many of the deities worshiped there were represented with animal heads, among them being the cat-headed Bast, the cow-headed Hathor, the falcon-headed Horus, the jackal-headed Anubis and the ibis-headed Thoth, to name but a few. Creatures of sea, air and land were venerated, and at death sacred animals were mummified.
The Law that Jehovah gave to his people after liberating them from Egypt was explicitly directed against idolatrous practices so prevalent among the ancients. The second of the Ten Commandments expressly prohibited making for worship a carved image or a representation of anything in the heavens, on the earth or in the waters. (Ex. 20:4, 5; Deut. 5:8, 9) In his final exhortations to the Israelites, Moses emphasized the impossibility of making an image of the