Exodus 32:35 MEANING

Exodus 32:35
(35) The Lord plagued the people.--We are not to understand by this (with Kalisch) that a pestilence was sent, but only that sufferings of various kinds befell those who had worshipped the calf, and were, in fact, punishments inflicted on them for that transgression.

Verse 35. - The Lord plagued, or "struck" - i.e., "punished" the people. There is nothing in the expression which requires us to understand the sending of a pestilence.

32:30-35 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.And the Lord plagued the people,.... That is, continued so to do at certain times, with the pestilence, or other calamities; for this seems not to refer, as some think, to the slaughter of the 3000 men: the reason follows:

because they made the calf which Aaron made; that is, they provided him with materials to make it; they urged and solicited him to do it, and would not be easy without it, so that the making of it is ascribed to them; or they served it, as Onkelos; or bowed unto it, as Jonathan; with which agree the Syriac, Arabic, and Samaritan versions, which render it, they served, or worshipped, or sacrificed to the calf which Aaron made.

Courtesy of Open Bible