Exodus 32:1-6

The Golden Calf

1 When the people saw that Moses delayed in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said to him, "Come, make us a god[a] who will go before us because this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt-we don't know what has happened to him!"
2 Then Aaron replied to them, "Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters and bring [them] to me."
3 So all the people took off the gold rings that were on their ears and brought [them] to Aaron.
4 He took [the gold] from their hands, fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made it into an image of a calf. Then they said, "Israel, this is your God,[b] who brought you up from the land of Egypt!"
5 When Aaron saw [this], he built an altar before it; then he made an announcement: "There will be a festival to the Lord tomorrow."
6 Early the next morning they arose, offered burnt offerings, and presented fellowship offerings. The people sat down to eat and drink, then got up to revel.[c]

Exodus 32:1-6 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO EXODUS 32

This chapter gives an account of the idolatry of the Israelites making and worshipping a golden calf, Ex 32:1-6 the information of it God gave to Moses, bidding him at the same time not to make any suit in their favour, that he might consume them, and make a large nation out Moses's family, Ex 32:7-10 the intercession of Moses for them, in which he succeeded, Ex 32:11-14 his descent from the mount with the two tables in his hands, accompanied by Joshua, when he was an eyewitness of their idolatry, which raised his indignation, that he cast the two tables out of his hands and broke them, took the calf and burnt it, and ground it to powder, and made the children of Israel drink of it, Ex 32:15-20 the examination of Aaron about the fact, who excused himself, Ex 32:21-24 the orders given to the Levites, who joined themselves to Moses, to slay every man his brother, which they did to the number of 3000 men, Ex 32:25-29 another intercession for them by Moses, which gained a respite of them for a time, for they are threatened to be visited still for their sin, and they were plagued for it, Ex 32:30-35.

Exodus 32:1-6 In-Context

1 When the people saw that Moses delayed in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said to him, "Come, make us a god who will go before us because this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt-we don't know what has happened to him!"
2 Then Aaron replied to them, "Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters and bring [them] to me."
3 So all the people took off the gold rings that were on their ears and brought [them] to Aaron.
4 He took [the gold] from their hands, fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made it into an image of a calf. Then they said, "Israel, this is your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!"
5 When Aaron saw [this], he built an altar before it; then he made an announcement: "There will be a festival to the Lord tomorrow."
6 Early the next morning they arose, offered burnt offerings, and presented fellowship offerings. The people sat down to eat and drink, then got up to revel.
7 The Lord spoke to Moses: "Go down at once! For your people you brought up from the land of Egypt have acted corruptly.
8 They have quickly turned from the way I commanded them; they have made for themselves an image of a calf. They have bowed down to it, sacrificed to it, and said, 'Israel, this is your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.' "
9 The Lord also said to Moses: "I have seen this people, and they are indeed a stiff-necked people.
10 Now leave Me alone, so that My anger can burn against them and I can destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation."

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Or us gods
  • [b]. Or Israel, this is your god, or Israel, these are your gods
  • [c]. 1 Co 10:7
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