When the people saw that Moshe delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aharon, and said to him, "Come, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moshe, the man who brought us up out of the land of Mitzrayim, we don't know what has become of him."
Aharon said to them, "Take off the golden rings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them to me."
All the people took off the golden rings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aharon.
He received what they handed him, and fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made it a molten calf; and they said, "These are your gods, Yisra'el, which brought you up out of the land of Mitzrayim."
When Aharon saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aharon made a proclamation, and said, "Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD."
They rose up early on the next day, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace-offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.
The LORD spoke to Moshe, "Go, get down; for your people, who you brought up out of the land of Mitzrayim, have corrupted themselves!
They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it, and have sacrificed to it, and said, 'These are your gods, Yisra'el, which brought you up out of the land of Mitzrayim.'"
The LORD said to Moshe, "I have seen these people, and, behold, they are a stiff-necked people.
Now therefore leave me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them, and that I may consume them; and I will make of you a great nation."
Moshe begged the LORD his God, and said, "The LORD, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, that you have brought forth out of the land of Mitzrayim with great power and with a mighty hand?
Why should the Mitzrim speak, saying, 'He brought them forth for evil, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the surface of the eretz?' Turn from your fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against your people.
Remember Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yisra'el, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, 'I will multiply your seed as the stars of the sky, and all this land that I have spoken of I will give to your seed, and they shall inherit it forever.'"
The LORD repented of the evil which he said he would do to his people.
Moshe turned, and went down from the mountain, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand; tablets that were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other they were written.
The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tables.
When Yehoshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moshe, "There is the noise of war in the camp."
He said, "It isn't the voice of those who shout for victory, neither is it the voice of those who cry for being overcome; but the noise of those who sing that I hear."
It happened, as soon as he came near to the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing: and Moshe' anger grew hot, and he threw the tablets out of his hands, and broke them beneath the mountain.
He took the calf which they had made, and burnt it with fire, ground it to powder, and scattered it on the water, and made the children of Yisra'el drink of it.
Moshe said to Aharon, "What did this people to you, that you have brought a great sin on them?"
Aharon said, "Don't let the anger of my lord grow hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil.
For they said to me, 'Make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moshe, the man who brought us up out of the land of Mitzrayim, we don't know what has become of him.'
I said to them, 'Whoever has any gold, let them take it off:' so they gave it me; and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf."
When Moshe saw that the people had broken loose, (for Aharon had let them loose for a derision among their enemies,)
then Moshe stood in the gate of the camp, and said, "Whoever is on the LORD's side, come to me!" All the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him.
He said to them, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Yisra'el, 'Every man put his sword on his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate throughout the camp, and every man kill his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor."
The sons of Levi did according to the word of Moshe: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.
Moshe said, "Consecrate yourselves today to the LORD, yes, every man against his son, and against his brother; that he may bestow on you a blessing this day."