The Golden Calf
When the people saw that Moses delayed coming down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron. The people (to Aaron): Make us gods, which shall go before us; as for Moses, the man that brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what is become of him.
Aaron: Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, sons, and daughters, and bring them to me.
All the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. And he received them from their hand, and fashioned the gold with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf.
The people: These are your gods, O Israel, which brought you out of the land of Egypt.
And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation.
Aaron: Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord.
And they rose up early the next day, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink and rose up to play.
The Lord (to Moses): Go, get down from the mountain; for your people, which you brought out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made themselves a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed to it, and said, These are your gods, O Israel, which have brought you out of the land of Egypt. I have seen this people, and it is a stiff-necked people: Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of you a great nation.
And Moses besought the Lord his God.
Moses: Lord, why does your wrath wax hot against your people, which you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief he did bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from your fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of I will give to your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.
And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do to his people.
Moses turned and went down from the mountain, and the two tablets of the testimony were in his hand: the tablets were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written. And the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.
Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted.
Joshua (to Moses): There is a noise of war in the camp.
Moses: It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear.
As soon as Moses came near the camp, he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tablets out of his hands and broke them beneath the mountain. And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, ground it to powder, and scattered it on the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.
Moses (to Aaron): What did this people to you, that you have brought so great a sin on them?
Aaron: Do not let the anger of my lord wax hot: you know the people, that they are set on mischief. For they said to me, Make us gods, which shall go before us: as for this Moses, the man that brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what is become of him. And I said to them, Whoever has any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it to me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.
When Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked to their shame among their enemies:) Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp.
Moses: Who is on the Lord’s side? let him come to me.
And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together with Moses.
Moses: The Lord God of Israel says this, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.
And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.
Moses: Consecrate yourselves today to the Lord, even every man on his son, and on his brother; that he may bestow on you a blessing this day.
The next day:
Moses (to the people): You have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I shall make an atonement for your sin.
Moses returned to the Lord.
Moses: Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made themselves gods of gold. Yet now, if you will forgive their sin—; and if not, blot me out of your book which you have written.
The Lord (to Moses): Whoever has sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. Therefore now go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you: behold, my Angel shall go before you: nevertheless in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin on them.
And the Lord plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.