Exit Parallel Mode
 
32
Israel Worships a Golden Calf
1The people saw that Moses took a long time to come down from the mountain. So they gathered around Aaron. They said to him, "Come. Make us a god that will lead us. This fellow Moses brought us up out of Egypt. But we don't know what has happened to him."
2Aaron answered them, "Take the gold earrings off your wives, your sons and your daughters. Bring the earrings to me."
3So all of the people took off their earrings. They brought them to Aaron. 4He took what they gave him and made it into a metal statue of a god. It looked like a calf. He shaped it with a tool.
Then the people said, "Israel, here is your god who brought you up out of Egypt."
5When Aaron saw it, he built an altar in front of the calf. He said, "Tomorrow will be a feast day in the Lord's honor."
6So the next day the people got up early. They sacrificed burnt offerings and brought friendship offerings. They sat down to eat and drink. Then they got up to dance wildly in front of their god.
7The Lord spoke to Moses. He said, "Go down. Your people you brought up out of Egypt have become very sinful. 8They have quickly turned away from what I commanded them. They have made themselves a statue of a god that looks like a calf. They have bowed down and sacrificed to it. And they have said, 'Israel, here is your god who brought you up out of Egypt.'
9"I have seen those people," the Lord said to Moses. "They are stubborn. 10Now leave me alone. My anger will burn against them. I will destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation."
11But Moses asked the Lord his God to show favor to the people. "Lord," he said, "why should your anger burn against your people? You used your great power and mighty hand to bring them out of Egypt. 12Why should the Egyptians say, 'He brought them out to hurt them. He wanted to kill them in the mountains. He wanted to wipe them off the face of the earth'? Turn away from your burning anger. Please take pity on your people. Don't destroy them!
13"Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel. You made a promise. You took an oath in your name. You said, 'I will make your children after you as many as the stars in the sky. I will give them all of this land I promised them. It will belong to them forever.' "
14Then the Lord took pity on his people. He didn't destroy them as he had said he would.
15Moses turned and went down the mountain. He had the two tablets of the covenant in his hands. Words were written on both sides of the tablets, front and back. 16The tablets were the work of God. The words had been written by God. They had been carved on the tablets.
17Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting. So he said to Moses, "It sounds like war in the camp."
18Moses replied, "It's not the sound of winning.
It's not the sound of losing.
It's the sound of singing that I hear."
19As Moses approached the camp, he saw the calf. He also saw the people dancing. So he burned with anger. He threw the tablets out of his hands. They broke into pieces at the foot of the mountain.
20He took the calf the people had made. He burned it in the fire. Then he ground it into powder. He scattered it on the water. And he made the people of Israel drink it.
21He said to Aaron, "What did these people do to you? How did they make you lead them into such terrible sin?"
22"Please don't be angry," Aaron answered. "You know how these people like to do what is evil. 23They said to me, 'Make us a god that will lead us. This fellow Moses brought us up out of Egypt. But we don't know what has happened to him.'
24"So I told them, 'Anyone who has any gold jewelry, take it off.' They gave me the gold. I threw it into the fire. And out came this calf!"
25Moses saw that the people were running wild. Aaron had let them get out of control. The people had become a joke to their enemies.
26Moses stood at the entrance to the camp. He said, "Anyone who is on the Lord's side, come to me." All of the Levites joined him.
27Then he spoke to them. He said, "The Lord, the God of Israel, says, 'Each man must put on his sword. Then he must go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other. Each man must kill his brother, friend and neighbor.' " 28The Levites did as Moses commanded. About 3,000 of the people died that day. 29Then Moses said to the Levites, "You have been set apart for the Lord today. You stood against your own sons and brothers. And he has blessed you this day."
30The next day Moses said to the people, "You have committed a terrible sin. But now I will go up to the Lord. Maybe if I pray to him, he will forgive your sin."
31So Moses went back to the Lord. He said, "These people have committed a terrible sin. They have made a god out of gold for themselves. 32Now please forgive their sin. But if you won't, then erase my name from the scroll you have written."
33The Lord replied to Moses, "I will erase from my scroll only the names of those who have sinned against me. 34Now go. Lead the people to the place I spoke about. My angel will go ahead of you. But when the time comes for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin."
35The Lord struck the people with a plague. That's because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made.
32
The Gold Calf
1When the people saw that Moses delayed in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said to him, “Come, make gods#32:1 Or make a god, also in v. 23 for us who will go before us because this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt — we don’t know what has happened to him!” #Ex 13:21; 24:18; Dt 9:9; Ac 7:40
2Aaron replied to them, “Take off the gold rings#Ex 35:22; Jdg 8:24-27 that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters and bring them to me.” 3So all the people took off the gold rings that were on their ears and brought them to Aaron. 4He took the gold from them, fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made it into an image of a calf.
Then they said, “Israel, these are your gods,#32:4 Or “Israel, this is your god or “Israel, this is your God, also in v. 8 who brought you up from the land of Egypt!” #Dt 9:16; Jdg 17:3-4; 1Kg 12:28; Neh 9:18; Ps 106:19; Ac 7:41
5When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of it and made an announcement: “There will be a festival#Lv 23:2,37; 2Kg 10:20 to the Lord tomorrow.” 6Early the next morning they arose, offered burnt offerings, and presented fellowship offerings. The people sat down to eat and drink, and got up to party.#Nm 25:2; 1Co 10:7
7The Lord spoke to Moses: “Go down at once! For your people you brought up from the land of Egypt have acted corruptly.#Gn 6:11-12; Dt 9:12 8They have quickly turned from the way I commanded them; they have made for themselves an image of a calf. They have bowed down to it, sacrificed to it, and said, ‘Israel, these are your gods, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.’”#Ex 20:3-4,23; 34:15; Dt 32:17; 1Kg 12:28 9The Lord also said to Moses: “I have seen this people, and they are indeed a stiff-necked#Ex 33:3,5; 34:9; 2Ch 30:8; Is 48:4; Ac 7:51 people. 10Now leave me alone, so that my anger can burn against them and I can destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”#Ex 22:24; Nm 14:12; Dt 9:14
11But Moses sought the favor of the Lord his God: “Lord, why does your anger burn against your people you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and a strong hand? 12Why should the Egyptians say, ‘He brought them out with an evil intent to kill them in the mountains and eliminate them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger and relent concerning this disaster planned for your people.#Nm 14:13-16; Dt 9:18,26-29 13Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Israel — you swore to them by yourself#Gn 22:16-18; Heb 6:13 and declared, ‘I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of the sky and will give your offspring all this land that I have promised, and they will inherit it forever.’”#Gn 12:7; 13:15; 15:7,18; 26:4; 35:11-12 14So the Lord relented#2Sm 24:16; Ps 106:45 concerning the disaster he had said he would bring on his people.
15Then Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hands. They were inscribed on both sides — inscribed front and back. 16The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was God’s writing, engraved on the tablets.#Ex 31:18; Dt 9:15
17When Joshua heard the sound of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, “There is a sound of war in the camp.”
18But Moses replied:
It’s not the sound of a victory cry
and not the sound of a cry of defeat;
I hear the sound of singing!
19As he approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses became enraged and threw the tablets out of his hands, smashing them at the base of the mountain. 20He took the calf they had made, burned it up, and ground it to powder. He scattered the powder over the surface of the water and forced the Israelites to drink the water.
21Then Moses asked Aaron, “What did these people do to you that you have led them into such a grave sin?”
22“Don’t be enraged, my lord,” Aaron replied. “You yourself know that the people are intent on evil.#Gn 20:9; 26:10; Ex 14:11; Dt 9:16-17,21 23They said to me, ‘Make gods for us who will go before us because this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt — we don’t know what has happened to him!’ 24So I said to them, ‘Whoever has gold, take it off,’ and they gave it to me. When I threw it into the fire, out came this calf!”
25Moses saw that the people were out of control, for Aaron had let them get out of control, making them a laughingstock to their enemies.#32:25 Hb obscure 26And Moses stood at the camp’s entrance and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” And all the Levites gathered around him. 27He told them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘Every man fasten his sword to his side; go back and forth through the camp from entrance to entrance, and each of you kill his brother, his friend, and his neighbor.’”#Nm 25:5; Dt 33:9 28The Levites did as Moses commanded, and about three thousand men fell dead that day among the people. 29Afterward Moses said, “Today you have been dedicated#32:29 Text emended; MT reads “Today dedicate yourselves; LXX, Vg read “Today you have dedicated yourselves to the Lord, since each man went against his son and his brother. Therefore you have brought a blessing on yourselves today.”#Nm 25:11-13; Zch 13:3
30The following day Moses said to the people, “You have committed a grave sin. Now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I will be able to atone for your sin.”#1Sm 12:20; 2Sm 16:12
31So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Oh, these people have committed a grave sin; they have made a god of gold for themselves.#Ex 20:23; Dt 9:18 32Now if you would only forgive their sin. But if not, please erase me from the book you have written.”#Ps 69:28; Dn 12:1; Rm 9:3; Php 4:3; Rv 3:5; 21:27
33The Lord replied to Moses: “Whoever has sinned against me I will erase from my book.#Dt 29:20; Ps 9:5 34Now go, lead the people to the place I told you about; see, my angel will go before you. But on the day I settle accounts, I will hold them accountable for their sin.”#Dt 32:35; Rm 2:5-6 35And the Lord inflicted a plague on the people for what they did with the calf Aaron had made.