Exodus 32:27-35

27 He said to them, "Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, "Put your sword on your side, each of you! Go back and forth from gate to gate throughout the camp, and each of you kill your brother, your friend, and your neighbor.' "
28 The sons of Levi did as Moses commanded, and about three thousand of the people fell on that day.
29 Moses said, "Today you have ordained yourselves for the service of the Lord, each one at the cost of a son or a brother, and so have brought a blessing on yourselves this day."
30 On the next day Moses said to the people, "You have sinned a great sin. But now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin."
31 So Moses returned to the Lord and said, "Alas, this people has sinned a great sin; they have made for themselves gods of gold.
32 But now, if you will only forgive their sin—but if not, blot me out of the book that you have written."
33 But the Lord said to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book.
34 But now go, lead the people to the place about which I have spoken to you; see, my angel shall go in front of you. Nevertheless, when the day comes for punishment, I will punish them for their sin."
35 Then the Lord sent a plague on the people, because they made the calf—the one that Aaron made.

Exodus 32:27-35 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 32:27-35 In-Context

25 When Moses saw that the people were running wild (for Aaron had let them run wild, to the derision of their enemies),
26 then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, "Who is on the Lord's side? Come to me!" And all the sons of Levi gathered around him.
27 He said to them, "Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, "Put your sword on your side, each of you! Go back and forth from gate to gate throughout the camp, and each of you kill your brother, your friend, and your neighbor.' "
28 The sons of Levi did as Moses commanded, and about three thousand of the people fell on that day.
29 Moses said, "Today you have ordained yourselves for the service of the Lord, each one at the cost of a son or a brother, and so have brought a blessing on yourselves this day."
30 On the next day Moses said to the people, "You have sinned a great sin. But now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin."
31 So Moses returned to the Lord and said, "Alas, this people has sinned a great sin; they have made for themselves gods of gold.
32 But now, if you will only forgive their sin—but if not, blot me out of the book that you have written."
33 But the Lord said to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book.
34 But now go, lead the people to the place about which I have spoken to you; see, my angel shall go in front of you. Nevertheless, when the day comes for punishment, I will punish them for their sin."
35 Then the Lord sent a plague on the people, because they made the calf—the one that Aaron made.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Gk Vg Compare Tg: Heb [Today ordain yourselves]
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.