The Gold Calf
1Now when the people saw that Moses #Ex. 24:18; Deut. 9:9–12delayed coming down from the mountain, the people #Ex. 17:1–3gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, #Acts 7:40“Come, make us gods that shall #Ex. 13:21go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who #Ex. 32:8brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”
2And Aaron said to them, “Break off the #Ex. 11:2; 35:22; Judg. 8:24–27golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. 4#Ex. 20:3, 4, 23; Deut. 9:16; Judg. 17:3, 4; 1 Kin. 12:28; Neh. 9:18; Ps. 106:19; Acts 7:41And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf.
Then they said, “This is your god, O Israel, that #Ex. 29:45, 46brought you out of the land of Egypt!”
5So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a #Lev. 23:2, 4, 21, 37; 2 Kin. 10:20; 2 Chr. 30:5proclamation and said, “Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord.” 6Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people #Ex. 32:17–19; Num. 25:2; 1 Cor. 10:7sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.
7And the Lord said to Moses, #Deut. 9:8–21; Dan. 9:14“Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt #Gen. 6:11, 12have corrupted themselves. 8They have turned aside quickly out of the way which #Ex. 20:3, 4, 23; Deut. 32:17I commanded them. They have made themselves a molded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, #1 Kin. 12:28‘This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!’ ” 9And the Lord said to Moses, #Ex. 33:3, 5; 34:9; Deut. 9:6; 2 Chr. 30:8; Is. 48:4; (Acts 7:51)“I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people! 10Now therefore, #Deut. 9:14, 19let Me alone, that #Ex. 22:24My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And #Num. 14:12I will make of you a great nation.”
11#Deut. 9:18, 26–29Then Moses pleaded with the Lord his God, and said: “Lord, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12#Num. 14:13–19; Deut. 9:28; Josh. 7:9Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your fierce wrath, and #Ex. 32:14relent from this harm to Your people. 13Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You #Gen. 22:16–18; (Heb. 6:13)swore by Your own self, and said to them, #Gen. 12:7; 13:15; 15:7, 18; 22:17; 26:4; 35:11, 12; Ex. 13:5, 11; 33:1‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’ ” 14So the Lord #2 Sam. 24:16relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people.
15And #Deut. 9:15Moses turned and went down from the mountain, and the two tablets of the Testimony were in his hand. The tablets were written on both sides; on the one side and on the other they were written. 16Now the #Ex. 31:18tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God engraved on the tablets.
17And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, “There is a noise of war in the camp.”
18But he said:
“It is not the noise of the shout of victory,
Nor the noise of the cry of defeat,
But the sound of singing I hear.”
19So it was, as soon as he came near the camp, that #Deut. 9:16, 17he saw the calf and the dancing. So Moses’ anger became hot, and he cast the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain. 20#Num. 5:17, 24; Deut. 9:21Then he took the calf which they had made, burned it in the fire, and ground it to powder; and he scattered it on the water and made the children of Israel drink it. 21And Moses said to Aaron, #Gen. 26:10“What did this people do to you that you have brought so great a sin upon them?”
22So Aaron said, “Do not let the anger of my lord become hot. #Ex. 14:11; Deut. 9:24You know the people, that they are set on evil. 23For they said to me, ‘Make us gods that shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ 24And I said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them break it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I cast it into the fire, and this calf came out.”
25Now when Moses saw that the people were #Ex. 33:4, 5unrestrained (for Aaron #2 Chr. 28:19had not restrained them, to their shame among their enemies), 26then Moses stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, “Whoever is on the Lord’s side—come to me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him. 27And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and #Num. 25:5–13let every man kill his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.’ ” 28So the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And about three thousand men of the people fell that day. 29#Ex. 28:41; 1 Sam. 15:18, 22; Prov. 21:3; Zech. 13:3Then Moses said, “Consecrate yourselves today to the Lord, that He may bestow on you a blessing this day, for every man has opposed his son and his brother.”
30Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses said to the people, #1 Sam. 12:20, 23“You have committed a great sin. So now I will go up to the Lord; #2 Sam. 16:12perhaps I can #Num. 25:13make atonement for your sin.” 31Then Moses #Deut. 9:18returned to the Lord and said, “Oh, these people have committed a great sin, and have #Ex. 20:23made for themselves a god of gold! 32Yet now, if You will forgive their sin—but if not, I pray, #Ps. 69:28; Is. 4:3; Mal. 3:16; Rom. 9:3blot me #Dan. 12:1; Phil. 4:3; Rev. 3:5; 21:27out of Your book which You have written.”
33And the Lord said to Moses, #Lev. 23:30; (Ezek. 18:4; 33:2, 14, 15)“Whoever has sinned against Me, I will #Ex. 17:14; Deut. 29:20; Ps. 9:5; Rev. 3:5; 21:27blot him out of My book. 34Now therefore, go, lead the people to the place of which I have #Ex. 3:17spoken to you. #Ex. 23:20; Josh. 5:14Behold, My Angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, #Deut. 32:35; Rom. 2:5, 6in the day when I visit for punishment, I will #Ps. 89:32visit punishment upon them for their sin.”
35So the Lord plagued the people because of #Neh. 9:18what they did with the calf which Aaron made.