Thou shalt not make thee any graven image
Exodus 20:4-7 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Though typically shortened to Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image the 2nd commandment is the longest commandment serving as a complete prohibition against making any likeness of anything in air, land, or sea. Bowing before such likenesses is also prohibited. This is because God is jealous.
The "iniquity" will be visited unto the third and fourth generations.
- God will punish you because your great grandfather drew a picture of a fish.
- It is telling that the Catholics skip this particular commandment and divide up the 10th commandment into coveting wife and house separately. Mostly because, some would say, Catholicism is all about the graven images. Many Jewish divisions of the ten commandments also skip this ignore this commandment, dividing up the 1st commandment into I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt and Thou shalt have no other gods before me. replacing the 2nd.
In United States Law
- The 2nd commandment is not a part of any U.S. law or custom. The U.S. government sets aside grants specifically to fund and encourage the breaking of this commandment by artists.