The Golden Calf
When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from
the mountain, the people gathered around Aaron, and said to him,
"Come, make gods for us, who shall go before us; as for this
Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we
do not know what has become of him." 2 Aaron said to them,
"Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives,
your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me." 3 So
all the people took off the gold rings from their ears, and brought
them to Aaron. 4 He took the gold from them, formed it in a mold,
and cast an image of a calf; and they said, "These are your
gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!"
5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron
made proclamation and said, "Tomorrow shall be a festival
to the LORD." 6 They rose early the next day, and offered
burnt offerings and brought sacrifices of well-being; and the
people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to revel. 7 The
LORD said to Moses, "Go down at once! Your people, whom you
brought up out of the land of Egypt, have acted perversely; 8
they have been quick to turn aside from the way that I commanded
them; they have cast for themselves an image of a calf, and have
worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, 'These are your gods,
O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!'"
9 The LORD said to Moses, "I have seen this people, how stiff-necked
they are. 10 Now let me alone, so that my wrath may burn hot against
them and I may consume them; and of you I will make a great nation."
11 But Moses implored the LORD his God, and said, "O LORD,
why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought
out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?
12 Why should the Egyptians say, 'It was with evil intent that
he brought them out to kill them in the mountains, and to consume
them from the face of the earth'? Turn from your fierce wrath;
change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people. 13
Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, how you swore
to them by your own self, saying to them, 'I will multiply your
descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I
have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall
inherit it forever.'" 14 And the LORD changed his mind about
the disaster that he planned to bring on his people.
God Give Me Patience NOW!
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If the people were worried about why Moses was delayed you
would think they'd organize a search party, instead they sought
to replace him as a messenger of God with a golden calf. Some
see this as idolatry but some think that the golden calf was not
going to be worshipped as a god, but rather as a pedestal or intermediary
in Moses' absence. Maybe it was just a good excuse to have an
orgy (the work translated as "revel" has sexual connotations).
Interestingly God tells Moses to go down at once to your people
(as opposed to "my" people). God is pretty annoyed at
them and while Moses talks God out of simply wiping them out,
there will be consequences.
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