¶ And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the
mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto
him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses,
the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not [do not
know] what is become of him.
2 And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me.
3 And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron.
.4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
5 And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD.
.6 And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.
1 - People saw that Moses delayed They felt release from the restraint. We may learn the importance of faithfulness and holiness whether others see us or not.
1 - Up, make us gods This gives meaning to the first and second commandments. The second reads, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or. . . ." ex2004.
2 - Aaron said ... Consider what might have caused Aaron to act as he did.
4 - These be thy gods Notice that Aaron did not say this. Compare ex2001.
5 - Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord This is an important verse. Many religious leaders today claim to serve the true God while making evil seem good.
6 - Offered ... to eat ... to play Proclaiming truth and doing right things do not please God when mixed with falsehood and evil actions 1sa1522.
6 - Play Heathen worship climaxed with unrestrained adultery nu2501, 1co1006, v25.
Image © Corel, Cow or calf worship in Egypt. Notice the sun disk in its horns
¶ And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people,
which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves:
8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
.9 And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:
10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.
8 - Turned aside quickly Not long before they had promised to obey whatever the Lord would ask ex1908, ex2403, 2pe0222.
8 - Molten calf As they had worshipped in Egypt.
8 - These be thy gods Not logical but a clear choice to reject the true God.
10 - Make of thee a great nation This would have tested Moses' faithfulness.
And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath
wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land
of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?
.12 Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.
13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.
.14 And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.
- Why ... wrath ... against thy people? Moses pleads that
they were still God's people (compare v7). Here Moses was praying for the
forgiveness of the people. We may intercede with God for the salvation
of rebellious people – maybe our own relatives. The individual sinner must
lay aside his evil ways and return to God by his own choice. Our prayers
must be recognized by the satanic forces allowing the Holy Spirit to have
a stronger influence. jb4210,
12 - Wherefore ... Egyptians ... say Moses was jealous for God's reputation.
13 - Remember ... to whom thou swarest Moses claims the promises of God. We may do the same when we pray.
14 - Repented The Lord is not confessing evil but is withdrawing the curse. ps10644, je1805, jl0212. Of course He knows the end from the beginning and has not made a mistake 1sa1529, is4609, is5511.
¶ And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables
of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their
sides; on the one side and on the other were they written.
16 And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.
17 And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp.
.18 And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear.
15 - Two tables Covenants were then made in duplicate. The
whole law was probably engraved on each one. Of course they were in stone
rather than the typical clay tablets which were baked to make them hard.
I doubt that the stones had curved tops as we picture them. It's possible
that the first four commandments (commitment to God) were on one stone
and the last six (kindness to humans) on the other. We can ask Moses.
18 - Being overcome They had turned their emotions back to the evil practices of Egypt. What is called music today is often part of deep wickedness with alcohol, drugs, loud overpowering music, and sex.
And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw
the calf, and the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the
tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.
.20 And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.
- Brake them The people had broken their covenant.
20 - Calf ... burnt ... ground A forceful rebuke. Josiah had taken a similar action 2ki2301-27. See on the end of the story about the image Nebuchadnezzar dreamed about da0234,5.
21 - Strawed That is, "sprinkled." Later an image was ground to powder.
¶ And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that
thou hast brought so great a sin upon them?
22 And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief.
23 For they said unto me, Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
24 And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.
And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them
naked unto their shame among their enemies:)
.26 Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD'S side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.
27 And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.
28 And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.
29 For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves to day to the LORD, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day.
- Naked Sin is always degrading.
26 - Sons of Levi gathered The Levites were later given special responsibilities nu0147ff. - ff means following verses, although usually omitted.
Why would the response be along tribal lines? I suggest that the leadership of the tribe of Levi had encouraged faithfulness and maybe even planned prayer times. Today we have family units. This is encouragement that God will bless faithfulness.
A more obvious reason for the response to Moses is that the tribe members refused to participate in the wicked worship. They were then ready to follow the order.
27 - Wicked killed We are not told details but the slain ones may have been hardened in rebellion. God forgives those who repent but this does not always result in excuse from punishment or consequences.
¶ And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people,
Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the LORD; peradventure
I shall make an atonement for your sin.
.31 And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold.
.32 Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will
I blot out of my book.
.34 Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them.
35 And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.
- My book God keeps a record. We may infer that God wrote
our names in the book with the plan that we would accept salvation. Those
who choose sin, lose their place in the book.
34 - Angel shall go before. We may see the angel as Christ ex1321, re1001.