When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf1 and the dancing,2 his anger burned3 and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces4 at the foot of the mountain.
And he took the calf they had made and burned5 it in the fire; then he ground it to powder,6 scattered it on the water7 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,8 my lord," Aaron answered. "You know how prone these people are to evil.923
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.'1024
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 !"1125
Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock12 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.' "1328
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."