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Let’s read the whole story first:
1And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron, and said to 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 [don’t know] what is become of him."
2And Aaron said to them, "Break off the golden earrings [those pagan symbols], which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them to me." 3 And all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. 4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf [it was a work of art]: and they said, "These be your gods, O Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt."
5And when Aaron saw it, he [caused to be] built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, "Tomorrow is a feast to the LORD [meaning the LORD as represented by the calf idol]." 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 [as the pagans did in their religions].
7And the LORD said to Moses, "Go, get you down; for your people, which YOU brought 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 your gods, O Israel, which have brought you up out of the land of Egypt’."
9And the LORD said to Moses, "I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked [obstinate] 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 you a great nation."
11And Moses besought the LORD [stood and argued with] his God, and said, "LORD, why does Your wrath wax hot against YOUR people, which YOU have 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 Your fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against Your people[Moses was aghast at the thought of the Son of God killing His people].
13"Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give to your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever’."
14And the LORD repented of the evil which He thought to do to His people [the unchangeable God changed His mind, or so it seems!].
15And 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.
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." 18 And he [Moses] 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."
19And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh to 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 broke 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 strowed [spread] it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.
21And Moses said to Aaron, "What did this people to you, that you have brought so great a sin upon them?" 22 And Aaron said, "Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: you know the people, that they are set on mischief. 23 For they said to 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 to them, ‘Whosoever has any gold, let them break it off [he left out the fact that they were earrings].’ So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there [miraculously] came out this calf."
25And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked to their shame among their enemies:) 26 then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, "Who is [or who stayed] on the LORD'S side? Let him come to me." And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him. 27 And he said to them, "Thus says the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate [a house to house witchhunt] throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour." [Moses was still very angry.]
28And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men [plus their wives and children]. 29 For Moses had said, "Consecrate yourselves today to the LORD, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that He may bestow upon you a blessing this day."
30And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said to the [repentant] people, "You have sinned a great sin [they were scared they were to be next]: and now I will go up to the LORD; peradventure I SHALL MAKE AN ATONEMENT FOR YOUR SIN." 31 And Moses returned to the LORD, and said, "Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. 32 Yet now, if You will forgive their sin – [he left the rest unsaid] ; and if not, blot me, I pray You, out of Your book [of life] which You have written."
33And the LORD said to Moses, "Whosoever has sinned against Me, him [only] will I blot out of My book. 34 Therefore now go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you. Behold, My Angel shall go before you: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them." 35 And the LORD plagued the people, because they made [asked for] the calf, which Aaron made.
Forty years later, Moses reminded a new generation of that incident committed by their fathers.
1Hear, O Israel: You are to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess nations greater and mightier than yourself, cities great and fenced up to heaven, 2 a people great and tall, the children of the Anakims, whom you know, and of whom you have heard say, "Who can stand before the children of Anak!" 3 Understand therefore this day, that the LORD your God is He which goes over before you; as a consuming fire He shall destroy them [See note 5, and become aware of "how"], and He shall bring them down before your face: so shall you drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD has said to you." 4 Speak not you in your heart, after that the LORD your God has cast them out from before you, saying, "For my righteousness the LORD has brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD does drive them out from before you. 5 Not for your righteousness, or for the uprightness of your heart, do you go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD your God does drive them out from before you [as they reject His protection, they will kill each other or run away from you], and that He may perform the word which the LORD swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
6Understand therefore, that the LORD your God gives you not this good land to possess it for your righteousness; for you are a stiffnecked people.
7Remember, and forget not, how you provoked the LORD your God to wrath in the wilderness: from the day that you did depart out of the land of Egypt, until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the LORD.
8Also in Horeb [Mt Sinai] you provoked the LORD to wrath, so that the LORD was angry with you to have destroyed you [over the golden calf worship]. 9 When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant which the LORD made with you, then I abode in the mount forty days and forty nights, I neither did eat bread nor drink water: 10 and the LORD delivered to me two tables of stone written with the finger of God; and on them was written according to all the words, which the LORD spoke with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly.
11And it came to pass at the end of forty days and forty nights, that the LORD gave me the two tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant. 12 And the LORD said to me, "Arise, get you down quickly from hence; for your people which you have brought forth out of Egypt have corrupted themselves; they are quickly turned aside out of the way which I commanded them; they have made them a molten image." 13 Furthermore the LORD spoke to me, saying, "I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiff-necked people: 14 let Me alone, that I may destroy them, and blot out their name from under heaven: and I will make of you a nation mightier and greater than they." [Moses omitted his plea for them.]
15So I turned and came down from the mount, and the mount burned with fire: and the two tables of the covenant were in my two hands. 16 And I looked, and, behold, you had sinned against the LORD your God, and had made you a molten calf: you had turned aside quickly out of the way which the LORD had commanded you. 17 And I took the two tables, and cast them out of my two hands, and broke them before your eyes. [He remembered his sin in breaking the tablets.]
18And I fell down before the LORD, as at the first, forty days and forty nights [up on the mount a second time]: I did neither eat bread, nor drink water, because of all your sins which you sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger. 19 For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure, wherewith the LORD was wroth against you to destroy you. But the LORD hearkened to me at that time also.
20And the LORD was very angry with Aaron to have destroyed him: and I prayed for Aaron also the same time.
21And I took your sin, the calf which you had made, and burnt it with fire, and stamped it, and ground it very small, even until it was as small as dust: and I cast the dust thereof into the brook that descended out of the mount.
22And at Taberah [the place of burning, Numbers 11:1-3], and at Massah [the complaints of the people over water, Exodus 17:5-7], and at Kibrothhattaavah [the eating of the quails, Numbers 11:33-34], you provoked the LORD to wrath. 23 Likewise when the LORD sent you from Kadeshbarnea [forty years ago], saying, "Go up and possess the land which I have given you;" then you rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God, and you believed Him not, nor hearkened to His voice.
24You have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you. 25 Thus I fell down before the LORD forty days and forty nights [a second time], as I fell down at the first; because the LORD had said He would destroy you. 26 I prayed therefore to the LORD, and said, O LORD GOD, destroy not Your people and Your inheritance, which You have redeemed through Your greatness, which You have brought forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand.
27Remember Your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; look not to the stubbornness of this people, nor to their wickedness, nor to their sin: 28 lest the [people of the] land whence You brought us out say, "Because the LORD was not able to bring them into the land which He promised them, and because He hated them, He has brought them out to slay them in the wilderness. 29 Yet they are Your people and Your inheritance, which You brought out by Your mighty power and by Your stretched out arm.
1At [before] that time the LORD said to me, "Hew you two tables of stone like to the first, and come up to Me into the mount, and make you an ark [a box] of wood. 2 And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which you broke, and you shall put them in the ark."
3And I made an ark of shittim wood [literally Bezaleel and his men made it, Exodus 37:1], and hewed two tables of stone like to the first, and went up into the mount, having the two tables in my hand [as a result of breaking the originals].
4And He wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the LORD spoke to you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and the LORD gave them to me. 5 And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they be, as the LORD commanded me.
If you think of God as a legitimate remover of those who stand in opposition to Him, then this article is not for you.
If you think of Him as a Saviour of those who are on His side, but a destroyer of those who rebel, then this article is not for you.
If you think of Him as a King who must protect His subjects by causing civil war to eliminate rebels, then this article is not for you.
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Only read on if you want to know the fearful truth about the God of the universe.
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