Bible: Exodus 32-34


The Sin of the Golden Calf


When the people saw that Moses delayed 2  in coming down 3  from the mountain, they 4  gathered around Aaron and said to him, “Get up, 5  make us gods 6  that will go before us. As for this fellow Moses, 7  the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what 8  has become of him!

32:2 So Aaron said to them, “Break off the gold earrings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 9  32:3 So all 10  the people broke off the gold earrings that were on their ears and brought them to Aaron. 32:4 He accepted the gold 11  from them, 12  fashioned 13  it with an engraving tool, and made a molten calf. 14  Then they said, “These are your gods, 15  O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”

32:5 When 16  Aaron saw this, 17  he built an altar before it, 18  and Aaron made a proclamation 19  and said, “Tomorrow will be a feast 20  to the Lord.” 32:6 So they got up early on the next day and offered up burnt offerings and brought peace offerings, and the people sat down to eat and drink, 21  and they rose up to play. 22 

32:7 The Lord spoke to Moses: “Go quickly, descend, 23  because your 24  people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have acted corruptly. 32:8 They have quickly turned aside 25  from the way that I commanded them – they have made for themselves a molten calf and have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt.’”

32:9 Then the Lord said to Moses: “I have seen this people. 26  Look 27  what a stiff-necked people they are! 28  32:10 So now, leave me alone 29  so that my anger can burn against them and I can destroy them, and I will make from you a great nation.”

32:11 But Moses sought the favor 30  of the Lord his God and said, “O Lord, why does your anger burn against your people, whom you have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 32:12 Why 31  should the Egyptians say, 32 For evil 33  he led them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy 34  them from the face of the earth? Turn from your burning anger, and relent 35  of this evil against your people. 32:13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel your servants, to whom you swore by yourself and told them, ‘I will multiply your descendants 36  like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken about 37  I will give to your descendants, 38  and they will inherit it forever.’ 32:14 Then the Lord relented over the evil that he had said he would do to his people.

32:15 Moses turned and went down from the mountain with 39  the two tablets of the testimony in his hands. The tablets were written on both sides – they were written on the front and on the back. 32:16 Now the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets. 32:17 When Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, 40  he said to Moses, “It is the sound of war in the camp! 32:18 Moses 41  said, “It is not the sound of those who shout for victory, 42  nor is it the sound of those who cry because they are overcome, 43  but the sound of singing 44  I hear.” 45 

32:19 When he approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses became extremely angry. 46  He threw the tablets from his hands and broke them to pieces at the bottom of the mountain. 47  32:20 He took the calf they had made and burned it in the fire, ground it 48  to powder, poured it out on the water, and made the Israelites drink it. 49 

32:21 Moses said to Aaron, “What did this people do to you, that you have brought on them so great a sin? 32:22 Aaron said, “Do not let your anger burn hot, my lord; 50  you know these people, that they tend to evil. 51  32:23 They said to me, ‘Make us gods that will go before us, for as for this fellow Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has happened to him.’ 32:24 So I said to them, ‘Whoever has gold, break it off.’ So they gave it 52  to me, and I threw it into the fire, and this calf came out.” 53 

32:25 Moses saw that the people were running wild, 54  for Aaron had let them get completely out of control, causing derision from their enemies. 55  32:26 So Moses stood at the entrance of the camp and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come 56  to me.” 57  All the Levites gathered around him, 32:27 and he said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Each man fasten 58  his sword on his side, and go back and forth 59  from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and each one kill his brother, his friend, and his neighbor.’ 60 

32:28 The Levites did what Moses ordered, 61  and that day about three thousand men of the people died. 62  32:29 Moses said, “You have been consecrated 63  today for the Lord, for each of you was against his son or against his brother, so he has given a blessing to you today.” 64 

32:30 The next day Moses said to the people, 65 You have committed a very serious sin, 66  but now I will go up to the Lordperhaps I can make atonement 67  on behalf of your sin.”

32:31 So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Alas, this people has committed a very serious sin, 68  and they have made for themselves gods of gold. 32:32 But now, if you will forgive their sin, 69  but if not, wipe me out 70  from your book that you have written.” 71  32:33 The Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me – that person I will wipe out of my book. 32:34 So now go, lead the people to the place I have spoken to you about. See, 72  my angel will go before you. But on the day that I punish, I will indeed punish them for their sin.” 73 

32:35 And the Lord sent a plague on the people because they had made the calf 74 the one Aaron made. 75 

33:1 The Lord said to Moses, “Go up 76  from here, you and the people whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, to the land I promised on oath 77  to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ 78  33:2 I will send an angel 79  before you, and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite. 80  33:3 Go up 81  to a land flowing with milk and honey. But 82  I will not go up among you, for you are a stiff-necked people, and I might destroy you 83  on the way.”

33:4 When the people heard this troubling word 84  they mourned; 85  no one put on his ornaments. 33:5 For 86  the Lord had said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites, ‘You are a stiff-necked people. If I went up among you for a moment, 87  I might destroy you. Now take off your ornaments, 88  that I may know 89  what I should do to you.’ 90  33:6 So the Israelites stripped off their ornaments by Mount Horeb.


The Presence of the Lord


Moses took 92  the tent 93  and pitched it outside the camp, at a good distance 94  from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. Anyone 95  seeking 96  the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting that was outside the camp.

33:8 And when Moses went out 97  to the tent, all the people would get up 98  and stand at the entrance to their tents 99  and watch 100  Moses until he entered the tent. 101  33:9 And 102  whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the Lord 103  would speak with Moses. 104  33:10 When all the people would see the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people, each one at the entrance of his own tent, would rise and worship. 105  33:11 The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, 106  the way a person speaks 107  to a friend. Then Moses 108  would return to the camp, but his servant, Joshua son of Nun, a young man, did not leave the tent. 109 

33:12 Moses said to the Lord, “See, you have been saying to me, ‘Bring this people up,’ 110  but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. But you said, ‘I know you by name, 111  and also you have found favor in my sight.’ 33:13 Now if I have found favor in your sight, show me 112  your way, that I may know you, 113  that I may continue to find 114  favor in your sight. And see 115  that this nation is your people.”

33:14 And the Lord 116  said, “My presence 117  will go with you, 118  and I will give you rest.” 119 

33:15 And Moses 120  said to him, “If your presence does not go 121  with us, 122  do not take us up from here. 123  33:16 For how will it be known then that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not by your going with us, so that we will be distinguished, I and your people, from all the people who are on the face of the earth? 124 

33:17 The Lord said to Moses, “I will do this thing also that you have requested, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know 125  you by name.”

33:18 And Moses 126  said, “Show me your glory.” 127 

33:19 And the Lord 128  said, “I will make all my goodness 129  pass before your face, and I will proclaim the Lord by name 130  before you; I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy.” 131  33:20 But he added, “You cannot see my face, for no one can 132  see me and live.” 133  33:21 The Lord said, “Here 134  is a place by me; you will station yourself 135  on a rock. 33:22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and will cover 136  you with my hand 137  while I pass by. 138  33:23 Then I will take away my hand, and you will see my back, 139  but my face must not be seen.” 140 


The New Tablets of the Covenant


The Lord said to Moses, “Cut out 142  two tablets of stone like the first, and I will write 143  on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you smashed. 34:2 Be prepared 144  in the morning, and go up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and station yourself 145  for me there on the top of the mountain. 34:3 No one is to come up with you; do not let anyone be seen anywhere on the mountain; not even the flocks or the herds may graze in front of that mountain.” 34:4 So Moses 146  cut out two tablets of stone like the first; 147  early in the morning he went up 148  to Mount Sinai, just as the Lord had commanded him, and he took in his hand the two tablets of stone.

34:5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there and proclaimed the Lord by name. 149  34:6 The Lord passed by before him and proclaimed: 150  “The Lord, the Lord, 151  the compassionate and gracious 152  God, slow to anger, 153  and abounding in loyal love and faithfulness, 154  34:7 keeping loyal love for thousands, 155  forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. But he by no means leaves the guilty unpunished, responding to the transgression 156  of fathers by dealing with children and children’s children, to the third and fourth generation.”

34:8 Moses quickly bowed 157  to the ground and worshiped 34:9 and said, “If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, let my Lord 158  go among us, for we 159  are a stiff-necked people; pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.”

34:10 He said, “See, I am going to make 160  a covenant before all your people. I will do wonders such as have not been done 161  in all the earth, nor in any nation. All the people among whom you live will see the work of the Lord, for it is a fearful thing that I am doing with you. 162 

34:11Obey 163  what I am commanding you this day. I am going to drive out 164  before you the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite. 34:12 Be careful not to make 165  a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, lest it become a snare 166  among you. 34:13 Rather you must destroy their altars, smash their images, and cut down their Asherah poles. 167  34:14 For you must not worship 168  any other god, 169  for the Lord, whose name 170  is Jealous, is a jealous God. 34:15 Be careful 171  not to make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, for when 172  they prostitute themselves 173  to their gods and sacrifice to their gods, and someone invites you, 174  you will eat from his sacrifice; 34:16 and you then take 175  his daughters for your sons, and when his daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will make your sons prostitute themselves to their gods as well. 34:17 You must not make yourselves molten gods.

34:18You must keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days 176  you must eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you; do this 177  at the appointed time of the month Abib, for in the month Abib you came out of Egypt.

34:19Every firstborn of the womb 178  belongs to me, even every firstborn 179  of your cattle that is a male, 180  whether ox or sheep. 34:20 Now the firstling 181  of a donkey you may redeem with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, then break its neck. 182  You must redeem all the firstborn of your sons.

No one will appear before me empty-handed. 183 

34:21On six days 184  you may labor, but on the seventh day you must rest; 185  even at the time of plowing and of harvest 186  you are to rest. 187 

34:22You must observe 188  the Feast of Weeks – the firstfruits of the harvest of wheat – and the Feast of Ingathering at the end 189  of the year. 34:23 At three times 190  in the year all your men 191  must appear before the Lord God, 192  the God of Israel. 34:24 For I will drive out 193  the nations before you and enlarge your borders; no one will covet 194  your land when you go up 195  to appear before the Lord your God three times 196  in the year.

34:25You must not offer the blood of my sacrifice with yeast; the sacrifice from the feast of Passover must not remain until the following morning. 197 

34:26The first of the firstfruits of your soil you must bring to the house of the Lord your God.

You must not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.” 198 

34:27 The Lord said to Moses, “Write down 199  these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” 34:28 So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; 200  he did not eat bread, and he did not drink water. He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten commandments. 201 


The Radiant Face of Moses


Now when Moses came down 203  from Mount Sinai with 204  the two tablets of the testimony in his hand 205 when he came down 206  from the mountain, Moses 207  did not know that the skin of his face shone 208  while he talked with him. 34:30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, the skin of his face shone; 209  and they were afraid to approach him. 34:31 But Moses called to them, so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and Moses spoke to them. 34:32 After this all the Israelites approached, and he commanded them all that the Lord had spoken to him on Mount Sinai. 34:33 When Moses finished 210  speaking 211  with them, he would 212  put a veil on his face. 34:34 But when Moses went in 213  before the Lord to speak with him, he would remove the veil until he came out. 214  Then he would come out and tell the Israelites what he had been commanded. 215  34:35 When the Israelites would see 216  the face of Moses, that 217  the skin of Mosesface shone, Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with the Lord. 218 

NET Bible Study Environment