And it came to pass, as soon, as he came nigh unto the
To the bottom of the mountain, and pretty near where the people were encamped:
that he saw the calf, and the dancing;
the golden image of the calf, and the people dancing about it, in honour of it, and as glad they had got a symbol and representation of God to go before them; and so the Egyptians did before the golden ox; as Philo says, before observed:
and Moses's anger waxed hot:
he fell into a passion of indignation at the sight of such execrable idolatry, though he was so meek a man, and though he had himself expostulated with the Lord why his wrath should wax hot against this people; but, when he saw it with his own eyes he could not contain himself, but his spirit was raised to a very great pitch of anger, and could not forbear showing it in some way or another, and particularly in the following manner:
and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the
of Sinai; at the foot of it: he brought the tables, though he knew what they had done, and no doubt showed them to them, told them what they were, and enlarged on the wonderful condescension and goodness of God in giving them such laws, and writing them with his own hand, engraving them himself on such tables of stone; and then broke them to pieces, to denote that they had broken these laws, and deserved to be broke in pieces and destroyed themselves; and this he did before their eyes, that they might be the more affected with it, and be the more sensible of their loss; and this was not the mere effect of passion, at least a sinful one, but was under the influence and direction of God himself; since we never read he was blamed for this action, though afterwards ordered to make two tables like them: the Jews say F11, this was done on the seventeenth day of Tammuz, which answers to part of June and part of July, and is observed by them as a fast on account of it.
F11 Misn. Taanith, c. 4. sect. 7.