Whereupon the king took counsel
Of some of his principal men, that had as little religion as himself, and were only concerned for the civil state; and the result of their consultation was as follows:
and made two calves of gold;
in imitation of that which was made by Aaron, and encouraged by his example and success; and having been in Egypt some time, he might have learned the calf or ox worship there, and might take his pattern from thence, and have two as they had; the one they called Apis, which was worshipped at Memphis, and another called Mnevis, worshipped at Hierapolis, as many learned men have observed; these were she calves, according to the Septuagint and Josephus F17:
and said unto them;
not his counsellors, but the people of the land:
it is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem;
pretending he sought their ease, by contriving a method to prevent their long fatiguing journeys, to go up with their sacrifices, firstfruits and the Jews
behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of
using the same words Aaron did on a like occasion; not that he thought these were really gods, and had divinity in them; nor could he hope or expect that the people would believe they had; but that these were representations of the true God, who had brought them out of Egypt; and that it might as well be supposed that God would cause his Shechinah to dwell in them as between the cherubim over the ark.
F17 Ut supra, (Antiqu. l. 8. c. 8.) sect. 4.
F18 Schulchan Aruch, par. 1. c. 580. sect. 2.