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THE ISRAELITES WORSHIP TRE GOLDEN CALI
From Exodus Chap. xxxii. and xxxiii. 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 what has become of him.
And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden eare rings which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me.
And all the people brake off the golden ear-rings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron.
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, Israel, which brough thee up out of the land of Egypt.
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.
And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt-offerings, and brought peace-offerings; end the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.
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.
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 thereVOL. II.
unto, anå said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and behold it is a stiff-necked people.
Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.
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 ?
Wherefore should the Egyptians speak and say, For mischief did he bring thein 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.
Remeniber Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swearest 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.
And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.
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.
And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.
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.
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.
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.
And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strewed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.
And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them? And Aaron said, Let not the anger
lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief,
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.
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 amongst their enemies).
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.
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 neighbours
And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.
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 ablessing this day.
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 Lond; peradventure I shall make an atonement for
sin. And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold.
Yet now if thou wilt forgive their sin: and if not, biot 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.
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
them. And the Lord plagued the people, because they made the calf which Aaron made.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Depart, and go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, unto thy seed will I give it:
And I will send an angel before thee: and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite :
Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people ; lest I consume thee in the way.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. It seems the Israelites were impatient to pursue their journey : and, perhaps, supposed that Moses had pê. rished in the devouring fire that appeared on the top of the mountain ; and that the cloudy pillar would no longer guide them towards Canaan, so they resolved to have some visible representation of God, according to the practice of the heathens among whom they had lived, who made images of gods which had no existence but in the imaginations of their worshippers. The idol which Aaron made, from its being called a calf, is supposed to have been in imitation of the god Apis, a bull, which was worshipped by the Egyptians, and which they used to conduct in great trimuph to Memphis, their capital city.
The setting up of this idol was a very heinous crime; especially as the LORD God had made it a part of His Covenant with them, that they should not make to themselves graven images, or set up any thing in competition with Himself, the only DIVINE IMAGE, who is tery God of very God.
The people had justly incurred the displeasure of God; but the SUPREME .Being is not like mankind, subject to a variety of conflicting passions, which agitate the mind, and sometimes rise to such a height as to produce revenge, hatred, and malice : God is at all times the same : therefore when we read here, that God was angry, and that His wrath waxed hot-and that the LORD repented of the evil, &c. we are to understand, that the wickedness of men deserved that His justice should punish them with severity; that His mercy abated the rigour of the sentence.
The Lord had already determined what he would do, in respect to his rebellious people, namely, to accept