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1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come downe out of the mount, the people gathered themselues together vnto Aaron, and said vnto him, Up, make vs gods which shall goe before vs: for as for this Moses, the man that brought vs vp out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.

2 And Aaron saide vnto them, Breake off the golden earerings which are in the eares of your wiues, of your sonnes, and of your daughters, and bring them vnto me.

3 And all the people brake off the golden earerings, which were in their eares, and brought them vnto Aaron.

4 And hee receiued them at their hand, and fashioned it with a grauing toole, after hee had made it a molten calfe: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee vp out of the land of Egypt.

5 And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it, and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the Lord.

6 And they rose vp early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings: and the people sate downe to eate and to drinke, and rose vp to play.

7 And the Lord said vnto Moses, Goe, get thee downe: for thy people which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, haue corrupted themselues.

8 They haue turned aside quickly out of the way which I commaunded them: they haue made them a molten Calfe, and haue worshipped it, and haue sacrificed thereunto, and saide, These bee thy gods, O Israel, which haue brought thee vp out of the land of Egypt.

9 And the Lord said vnto Moses, I haue seene this people, and behold, it is a stiffenecked people.

10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may waxe hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.

11 And Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doeth thy wrath ware hot against thy people, which thou hast brought foorth out of the land of Egypt, with great power, and with a mighty hand?

12 Wherefore should the Egyptians speake and say, For mischiefe did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountaines, & to consume them from the face of the earth? Turne from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this euill against thy people.

13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel thy seruants, to whom thou swarest by thine owne selfe, and saidest vnto them, I will multiply your seed as the starres of heauen: and all this land that I haue spoken of, will I giue vnto your seed, and they shall inherit it for euer.

14 And the Lord repented of the euill which he thought to doe vnto his people.

15 And Moses turned, and went downe from the Mount, and the two Tables of the Testimony were in his hand: the Tables were written on both their sides; on the one side, and on the other were they written.

16 And the Tables were the worke of God; and the writing was the writing of God, grauen vpon the Tables.

17 And when Ioshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, hee said vnto Moses, There is a noise of warre in the campe.

18 And he said, It is not the voyce of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voyce of them that cry for being ouercome: but the noyse of them that sing doe I heare.

19 And it came to passe, assoone as he came nigh vnto the campe, that he saw the Calfe, and the dancing: and Moses anger waxed hot, and he cast the Tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.

20 And he tooke the Calfe which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it vpon the water, and made the children of Israel drinke of it.

21 And Moses said vnto Aaron, What did this people vnto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sinne vpon them?

22 And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord waxe hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischiefe.

23 For they said vnto me, Make vs gods which shall goe before vs: for as for this Moses, the man that brought vs vp out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.

24 And I said vnto them, Whosoeuer hath any gold, let them breake it off: So they gaue it mee: then I cast it into the fire, & there came out this Calfe.

25 And when Moses saw that the people were naked, (for Aaron had made them naked vnto their shame, amongst their enemies)

26 Then Moses stood in the gate of the campe, and saide, Who is on the Lords side? let him come vnto mee. And all the sonnes of Leui gathered themselues together vnto him.

27 And hee said vnto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put euery man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the campe, and slay euery man his brother, and euery man his companion, and euery man his neighbour.

28 And the children of Leui did according to the word of Moses; and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.

29 For Moses had said, Consecrate your selues to day to the Lord, euen euery man vpon his sonne, and vpon his brother, that he may bestow vpon you a blessing this day.

30 And it came to passe on the morrow, that Moses said vnto the people, Ye haue sinned a great sinne: And now I will goe vp vnto the Lord; peraduenture I shall make an atonement for your sinne.

31 And Moses returned vnto the Lord, and said, Oh, this people haue sinned a great sinne, and haue made them gods of gold.

32 Yet now, if thou wilt forgiue their sinne; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy Booke, which thou hast written.

33 And the Lord said vnto Moses, Whosoeuer hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my Booke.

34 Therefore now goe, leade the people vnto the place of which I haue spoken vnto thee: Behold, mine Angel shall goe before thee; Neuerthelesse in the day when I visit, I will visit their sinne vpon them.

35 And the Lord plagued the people, because they made the Calfe, which Aaron made.

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Commentary for Exodus 32

The people cause Aaron to make a golden calf. (1-6) God's displeasure, The intercession of Moses. (7-14) Moses breaks the tables of the law, He destroys the golden calf. (15-20) Aaron's excuse, The idolaters slain. (21-29) Moses prays for the people. (30-35)1-6 While Moses was in the mount, receiving the law from God, the people made a tumultuous address to Aaron. This giddy multitude were weary of waiting for the return of Moses. Weariness in waiting betrays to many temptations. The Lord must be waited for till he comes, and waited for though he tarry. Let their readiness to part with their ear-rings to make an idol, shame our niggardliness in the service of the true God. They did not draw back on account of the cost of their idolatry; and shall we grudge the expenses of religion? Aaron produced the shape of an ox or calf, giving it some finish with a graving tool. They offered sacrifice to this idol. Having set up an image before them, and so changed the truth of God into a lie, their sacrifices were abomination. Had they not, only a few days before, in this very place, heard the voice of the Lord God speaking to them out of the midst of the fire, Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image? Had they not themselves solemnly entered into covenant with God, that they would do all he had said to them, and would be obedient? ch. #24:7|. Yet before they stirred from the place where this covenant had been solemnly made, they brake an express command, in defiance of an express threatening. It plainly shows, that the law was no more able to make holy, than it was to justify; by it is the knowledge of sin, but not the cure of sin. Aaron was set apart by the Divine appointment to the office of the priesthood; but he, who had once shamed himself so far as to build an altar to a golden calf, must own himself unworthy of the honour of attending at the altar of God, and indebted to free grace alone for it. Thus pride and boasting were silenced.

7-14 God says to Moses, that the Israelites had corrupted themselves. Sin is the corruption of the sinner, and it is a self-corruption; every man is tempted when he is drawn aside of his own lust. They had turned aside out of the way. Sin is a departing from the way of duty into a by-path. They soon forgot God's works. He sees what they cannot discover, nor is any wickedness of the world hid from him. We could not bear to see the thousandth part of that evil which God sees every day. God expresses the greatness of his just displeasure, after the manner of men who would have prayer of Moses could save them from ruin; thus he was a type of Christ, by whose mediation alone, God would reconcile the world to himself. Moses pleads God's glory. The glorifying God's name, as it ought to be our first petition, and it is so in the Lord's prayer, so it ought to be our great plea. And God's promises are to be our pleas in prayer; for what he has promised he is able to perform. See the power of prayer. In answer to the prayers of Moses, God showed his purpose of sparing the people, as he had before seemed determined on their destruction; which change of the outward discovery of his purpose, is called repenting of the evil.

15-20 What a change it is, to come down from the mount of communion with God, to converse with a wicked world. In God we see nothing but what is pure and pleasing; in the world nothing but what is sinful and provoking. That it might appear an idol is nothing in the world, Moses ground the calf to dust. Mixing this powder with their drink, signified that the backslider in heart should be filled with his own ways.

21-29 Never did any wise man make a more frivolous and foolish excuse than that of Aaron. We must never be drawn into sin by any thing man can say or do to us; for men can but tempt us to sin, they cannot force us. The approach of Moses turned the dancing into trembling. They were exposed to shame by their sin. The course Moses took to roll away this reproach, was, not by concealing the sin, or putting any false colour upon it, but by punishing it. The Levites were to slay the ringleaders in this wickedness; yet none were executed but those who openly stood forth. Those are marked for ruin who persist in sin: those who in the morning were shouting and dancing, before night were dying. Such sudden changes do the judgments of the Lord sometimes make with sinners that are secure and jovial in their sin.

30-35 Moses calls it a great sin. The work of ministers is to show people the greatness of their sins. The great evil of sin appears in the price of pardon. Moses pleads with God for mercy; he came not to make excuses, but to make atonement. We are not to suppose that Moses means that he would be willing to perish for ever, for the people's sake. We are to love our neighbour as ourselves, and not more than ourselves. But having that mind which was in Christ, he was willing to lay down his life in the most painful manner, if he might thereby preserve the people. Moses could not wholly turn away the wrath of God; which shows that the law of Moses was not able to reconcile men to God, and to perfect our peace with him. In Christ alone, God so pardons sin as to remember it no more. From this history we see, that no unhumbled, carnal heart, can long endure the holy precepts, the humbling truths, and the spiritual worship of God. But a god, a priest, a worship, a doctrine, and a sacrifice, suited to the carnal mind, will ever meet with abundance of worshippers. The very gospel itself may be so perverted as to suit a worldly taste. Well is it for us, that the Prophet like unto Moses, but who is beyond compare more powerful and merciful, has made atonement for our souls, and now intercedes in our behalf. Let us rejoice in his grace.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Exodus 32

  • Pastor John
    The Golden Calf and everything Israel did was from the beginning of the "Curse!" The "Curse" began with the "Woman" in the "Garden of Eden" when she went into agreement with the devil and not only betrayed the "Word of God", but deceived Adam as well. Adam gave into her voice which was the devils voice. Jesus dealt with the woman and the devil and denied them both, thus creating the New Testament
  • JMcAdow
    God must have been talking about the golden calf idolatry. When you worship another God other than the One True God, then God burned with anger and sworn to visit their sin upon them. I imagine it is in essance totally denying the love and adoration of what God has done in your life and in turn substitute it for another displeasing kind of thing.
  • A disciple
    "And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book." Once saved, afterwards destroyed for sin and unbelief, and for refusing the Holy Spirit! How MANY times has the LORD warned, Take heed and beware, that you not fall; but that you endure true and faithful to the end, THAT YOU MIGHT ATTAIN THAT FOR WHICH YOU HAVE BEEN ATTAINED BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS!
  • A disciple
    Herbert; I don't agree with the term, Dual Religions. If there is really a work of God's Spirit wrought in our hearts through faith in Jesus, and we have repented and converted according to the truth; then there will be no easy running back to the idols and uncleanness of the world but by violence against our own conscience and convictions; and then the remorse is unbearable! Israel showed none!
  • Elder Herbert williams
    Exodus chapter 32 explains Israel's concept of Dual Religion .Recently at this same place they had fulley embraced the Jehovah God as he spoke to them from the fiery mountains of 🔥 fire and they had sworned to served Him for ever. But now because Moses hadn't returned at the appointed 🕙 they quickly returned to the pagan idol gods of Egypt and had the High priest Aaron to build them a idol god .
  • BSP
    Verse 1: The Israelites were following a man and depending on Moses for their relationship with Jehovah God. They were fleshly minded and not spiritual minded.

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