Then the LORD said to Moses,
"See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah,
and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts--
to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze,
to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship.
Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given skill to all the craftsmen to make everything I have commanded you:
the Tent of Meeting, the ark of the Testimony with the atonement cover on it, and all the other furnishings of the tent--
the table and its articles, the pure gold lampstand and all its accessories, the altar of incense,
the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, the basin with its stand--
and also the woven garments, both the sacred garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons when they serve as priests,
and the anointing oil and fragrant incense for the Holy Place. They are to make them just as I commanded you."
Then the LORD said to Moses,
"Say to the Israelites, 'You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy.
" 'Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it must be put to death; whoever does any work on that day must be cut off from his people.
For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day must be put to death.
The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant.
It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested.' "
When the LORD finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the Testimony, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God.
When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, "Come, 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."
Aaron answered them, "Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me."
So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron.
He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, "These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt."
When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, "Tomorrow there will be a festival to the LORD."
So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt.
They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, 'These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.'
"I have seen these people," the LORD said to Moses, "and they are a stiff-necked people.
Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation."
But Moses sought the favor 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?
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'? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people.
Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: 'I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.' "
Then the LORD relented 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 Testimony in his hands. They were inscribed on both sides, front and back.
The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.
When Joshua 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 calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain.
And he took the calf they had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water 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, my lord," Aaron answered. "You know how prone these people are to evil.
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.'
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 !"
Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock 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.' "
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. But now I will go up to the LORD; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin."
So Moses went back to the LORD and said, "Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold.
But now, please forgive their sin--but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written."
The LORD replied to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book.
Now go, lead the people to the place I spoke of, and my angel will go before you. However, when the time comes for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin."
And the LORD struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made.
So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you.
For if I grieve you, who is left to make me glad but you whom I have grieved?
I wrote as I did so that when I came I should not be distressed by those who ought to make me rejoice. I had confidence in all of you, that you would all share my joy.
For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.
If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you, to some extent--not to put it too severely.
The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him.
Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.
I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.
The reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything.
If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven--if there was anything to forgive--I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake,
in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.
Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me,
I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said good-by to them and went on to Macedonia.
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.
For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.
To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?
Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.