So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings.a1 Afterward they sat down to eat and drink2 and got up to indulge in revelry.37
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt,4 have become corrupt.58
They have been quick to turn away6 from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol7 cast in the shape of a calf.8 They have bowed down to it and sacrificed9 to it and have said, 'These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.'109
"I have seen these people," the LORD said to Moses, "and they are a stiff-necked11 people.
Now leave me alone12 so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy13 them. Then I will make you into a great nation."1411
But Moses sought the favor15 of the LORD his God. "O LORD," he said, "why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand?1612
Why should the Egyptians say, 'It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth'?17 Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster18 on your people.
Remember19 your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self:20 'I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars21 in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land22 I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.' "
Then the LORD relented23 and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.
Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets of the Testimony24 in his hands.25 They were inscribed26 on both sides, front and back.
The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.2717
When Joshua28 heard the noise of the people shouting, he said to Moses, "There is the sound of war in the camp."
Moses replied: "It is not the sound of victory, it is not the sound of defeat; it is the sound of singing that I hear."
When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf29 and the dancing,30 his anger burned31 and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces32 at the foot of the mountain.
And he took the calf they had made and burned33 it in the fire; then he ground it to powder,34 scattered it on the water35 and made the Israelites drink it.
He said to Aaron, "What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?"
"Do not be angry,36 my lord," Aaron answered. "You know how prone these people are to evil.3723
They said to me, 'Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don't know what has happened to him.'3824
So I told them, 'Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.' Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf !"3925
Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock40 to their enemies.
So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, "Whoever is for the LORD, come to me." And all the Levites rallied to him.
Then he said to them, "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.' "4128
The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died.
Then Moses said, "You have been set apart to the LORD today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day."
The next day Moses said to the people, "You have committed a great sin.42 But now I will go up to the LORD; perhaps I can make atonement43 for your sin."
So Moses went back to the LORD and said, "Oh, what a great sin these people have committed!44 They have made themselves gods of gold.4532
But now, please forgive their sin46--but if not, then blot me47 out of the book48 you have written."
The LORD replied to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out49 of my book.
Now go, lead50 the people to the place51 I spoke of, and my angel52 will go before you. However, when the time comes for me to punish,53 I will punish them for their sin."
And the LORD struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf54 Aaron had made.