1Když lid viděl, že Mojžíš otálí sestoupit z hory, shromáždil se proti Áronovi a řekl mu: Vstaň a udělej nám bohy, kteří půjdou před námi. Vždyť o tom Mojžíšovi, muži, který nás vyvedl z egyptské země, — nevíme, co se s ním stalo. 2Áron jim odpověděl: Strhněte zlaté kroužky, které jsou na uších vašich žen, vašich synů a vašich dcer a přineste mi to. 3Všechen lid strhl zlaté kroužky, které měli na uších, a přinesli to Áronovi. 4Vzal to od nich, odlil to do formy a udělal slité tele. Nato oni řekli: Izraeli, toto jsou tvoji bohové, kteří tě vyvedli z egyptské země. 5Když to Áron viděl, postavil před ním oltář. Pak Áron zvolal: Zítra bude Hospodinův svátek. 6Příštího dne časně vstali, obětovali zápalné oběti a přinesli pokojné oběti. Pak se lid usadil, aby jedli a pili; načež vstali, aby dováděli. 7Hospodin promluvil k Mojžíšovi: Jdi, sestup dolů, neboť tvůj lid, který jsi vyvedl z egyptské země, propadl zvrácenosti. 8Rychle se odvrátili od cesty, kterou jsem jim přikázal; udělali si slité tele, klaněli se mu, obětovali mu a říkali: Izraeli, toto jsou tvoji bohové, kteří tě vyvedli z egyptské země. 9Hospodin řekl Mojžíšovi: Díval jsem se na tento lid. Hle, je to lid tvrdé šíje. 10Nyní mě nech, abych vzplanul hněvem proti nim a skoncoval s nimi. Tebe však učiním velkým národem. 11Mojžíš se snažil udobřit Hospodina, svého Boha, a řekl: Hospodine, proč vzplanul tvůj hněv proti tvému lidu, který jsi vyvedl z egyptské země velkou silou a mocnou rukou? 12Proč by měli Egypťané říkat: Se zlým úmyslem je vyvedl, aby je pobil v horách a vyhubil je z povrchu země. Odvrať se od svého planoucího hněvu a lituj zla vůči svému lidu. 13Pamatuj na Abrahama, Izáka a Izraele, své otroky, kterým jsi při sobě přísahal a řekl jsi jim: Rozmnožím vaše potomstvo jako nebeské hvězdy a celou tuto zemi, o níž jsem promluvil, dám vašemu potomstvu a dostanou ji navěky do dědictví. 14A Hospodin litoval zla, které promluvil, že učiní svému lidu. 15Mojžíš se vydal na cestu a sestupoval z hory. V ruce měl dvě desky svědectví, desky popsané z obou stran; byly popsány z jedné i druhé strany. 16Ty desky byly Boží dílo, to písmo bylo Boží písmo, vyryté na deskách. 17Když Jozue uslyšel halas lidu, jak křičí, řekl Mojžíšovi: V táboře je válečný křik. 18On řekl: Není to křik vítězů ani křik poražených, slyším křik zpívajících! 19I stalo se, když se přiblížil k táboru a uviděl tele a tance, vzplanul Mojžíš hněvem, odhodil desky z rukou a roztřískal je pod horou. 20Vzal tele, které udělali, spálil ho ohněm, drtil ho, až ho rozdrtil, rozsypal ho na hladinu vody a dal pít synům Izraele. 21Mojžíš řekl Áronovi: Co ti ten lid udělal, že jsi na něj uvedl tak velký hřích? 22Áron odpověděl: Ať můj pán neplane hněvem. Ty znáš tento lid, že je nakloněn ke zlu. 23Řekli mi: Udělej nám bohy, kteří půjdou před námi. Vždyť o tom Mojžíšovi, muži, který nás vyvedl z egyptské země, — nevíme, co se s ním stalo. 24Odpověděl jsem jim: Kdo má zlato, strhněte ho. Dali mi ho, hodil jsem ho do ohně a vyšlo toto tele. 25Když Mojžíš viděl lid, že je bez zábran — protože Áron ho nechal bez zábran ku posměchu jejich protivníků, 26postavil se Mojžíš do brány tábora a zavolal: Kdo je Hospodinův, ke mně. Shromáždili se k němu všichni synové Léviho. 27On jim řekl: Toto praví Hospodin, Bůh Izraele: Připašte si každý meč k boku, projděte tábor sem a tam od brány k bráně a zabíjejte každý svého bratra, každý svého přítele, každý svého příbuzného. 28Synové Léviho učinili podle Mojžíšova příkazu a onoho dne padlo z lidu asi tři tisíce mužů. 29Mojžíš řekl: Zasvěťte se dnes Hospodinu, neboť každý byl proti svému synovi a proti svému bratru, aby vám dnes dal požehnání. 30I stalo se příštího dne, že Mojžíš řekl lidu: Zhřešili jste velkým hříchem. Nyní vystoupím k Hospodinu, snad získám smíření za váš hřích. 31Mojžíš se vrátil k Hospodinu a řekl: Ach, tento lid zhřešil velkým hříchem. Udělali si zlaté bohy. 32Nuže, jestli sejmeš jejich hřích, bude dobře, jestli ne, vymaž mě ze své knihy, kterou jsi napsal. 33Hospodin Mojžíšovi odpověděl: Kdo proti mně zhřešil, toho vymažu ze své knihy. 34Nyní jdi a veď lid, kam jsem ti řekl. Hle, můj anděl půjde před tebou. Ale v den svého navštívení je navštívím s trestem za jejich hřích. 35Hospodin postihl lid za to, co udělali s teletem, které udělal Áron.
Jamieson Fausset Brown Bible Commentary 1
THE GOLDEN CALF. (Exo. 32:1-35)
when the people saw that Moses delayed--They supposed that he had lost his way in the darkness or perished in the fire.
the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron--rather, "against" Aaron in a tumultuous manner, to compel him to do what they wished. The incidents related in this chapter disclose a state of popular sentiment and feeling among the Israelites that stands in singular contrast to the tone of profound and humble reverence they displayed at the giving of the law. Within a space of little more than thirty days, their impressions were dissipated. Although they were still encamped upon ground which they had every reason to regard as holy; although the cloud of glory that capped the summit of Sinai was still before their eyes, affording a visible demonstration of their being in close contact, or rather in the immediate presence, of God, they acted as if they had entirely forgotten the impressive scenes of which they had been so recently the witnesses.
said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us--The Hebrew word rendered "gods" is simply the name of God in its plural form. The image made was single, and therefore it would be imputing to the Israelites a greater sin than they were guilty of, to charge them with renouncing the worship of the true God for idols. The fact is, that they required, like children, to have something to strike their senses, and as the Shekinah, "the glory of God," of which they had hitherto enjoyed the sight, was now veiled, they wished for some visible material object as the symbol of the divine presence, which should go before them as the pillar of fire had done. 2
Aaron said, . . . Break off . . . earrings--It was not an Egyptian custom for young men to wear earrings, and the circumstance, therefore, seems to point out "the mixed rabble," who were chiefly foreign slaves, as the ringleaders in this insurrection. In giving direction to break their earrings, Aaron probably calculated on gaining time; or, perhaps, on their covetousness and love of finery proving stronger than their idolatrous propensity. If such were his expectations, they were doomed to signal disappointment. Better to have calmly and earnestly remonstrated with them, or to have preferred duty to expediency, leaving the issue in the hands of Providence. 3
all the people brake off the golden earrings--The Egyptian rings, as seen on the monuments, were round massy plates of metal; and as they were rings of this sort the Israelites wore, their size and number must, in the general collection, have produced a large store of the precious metal. 4
fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf--The words are transposed, and the rendering should be, "he framed with a graving tool the image to be made, and having poured the liquid gold into the mould, he made it a molten calf." It is not said whether it was of life size, whether it was of solid gold or merely a wooden frame covered with plates of gold. This idol seems to have been the god Apis, the chief deity of the Egyptians, worshipped at Memphis under the form of a live ox, three years old. It was distinguished by a triangular white spot on its forehead and other peculiar marks. Images of it in the form of a whole ox, or of a calf's head on the end of a pole, were very common; and it makes a great figure on the monuments where it is represented in the van of all processions, as borne aloft on men's shoulders.
they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt--It is inconceivable that they, who but a few weeks before had witnessed such amazing demonstrations of the true God, could have suddenly sunk to such a pitch of infatuation and brutish stupidity, as to imagine that human art or hands could make a god that should go before them. But it must be borne in mind, that though by election and in name they were the people of God, they were as yet, in feelings and associations, in habits and tastes, little, if at all different, from Egyptians. They meant the calf to be an image, a visible sign or symbol of Jehovah, so that their sin consisted not in a breach of the FIRST [Exod 20:3
], but of the SECOND commandment [Exod 20:4
Aaron made proclamation, and said, To-morrow is a feast to the Lord--a remarkable circumstance, strongly confirmatory of the view that they had not renounced the worship of Jehovah, but in accordance with Egyptian notions, had formed an image with which they had been familiar, to be the visible symbol of the divine presence. But there seems to have been much of the revelry that marked the feasts of the heathen. 7
the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down--Intelligence of the idolatrous scene enacted at the foot of the mount was communicated to Moses in language borrowed from human passions and feelings, and the judgment of a justly offended God was pronounced in terms of just indignation against the gross violation of the so recently promulgated laws. 10
make of thee a great nation--Care must be taken not to suppose this language as betokening any change or vacillation in the divine purpose. The covenant made with the patriarchs had been ratified in the most solemn manner; it could not and never was intended that it should be broken. But the manner in which God spoke to Moses served two important purposes--it tended to develop the faith and intercessory patriotism of the Hebrew leader, and to excite the serious alarm of the people, that God would reject them and deprive them of the privileges they had fondly fancied were so secure. 15
Moses turned, and went down from the mount--The plain, Er-Raheh, is not visible from the top of Jebel Musa, nor can the mount be descended on the side towards that valley; hence Moses and his companion, who on duty had patiently waited his return in the hollow of the mountain's brow, heard the shouting some time before they actually saw the camp. 19
Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands--The arrival of the leader, like the appearance of a specter, arrested the revellers in the midst of their carnival, and his act of righteous indignation when he dashed on the ground the tables of the law, in token that as they had so soon departed from their covenant relation, so God could withdraw the peculiar privileges that He had promised them--that act, together with the rigorous measures that followed, forms one of the most striking scenes recorded in sacred history. 20
he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, &c.--It has been supposed that the gold was dissolved by natron or some chemical substance. But there is no mention of solubility here, or in Deut 9:21
; it was "burned in the fire," to cast it into ingots of suitable size for the operations which follow--"grounded to powder"; the powder of malleable metals can be ground so fine as to resemble dust from the wings of a moth or butterfly; and these dust particles will float in water for hours, and in a running stream for days. These operations of grinding were intended to show contempt for such worthless gods, and the Israelites would be made to remember the humiliating lesson by the state of the water they had drunk for a time [NAPIER]. Others think that as the idolatrous festivals were usually ended with great use of sweet wine, the nauseous draught of the gold dust would be a severe punishment (compare 2Kgs 23:6
, 2Kgs 23:15
; 2Chr 15:16
; 2Chr 34:7
And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot--Aaron cuts a poor figure, making a shuffling excuse and betraying more dread of the anger of Moses than of the Lord (compare Deut 9:20
naked--either unarmed and defenseless, or ashamed from a sense of guilt. Some think they were literally naked, as the Egyptians performed some of their rites in that indecent manner. 26
Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said--The camp is supposed to have been protected by a rampart after the attack of the Amalekites.
Who is on the Lord's side? let him come unto me--The zeal and courage of Moses was astonishing, considering he opposed an intoxicated mob. The people were separated into two divisions, and those who were the boldest and most obstinate in vindicating their idolatry were put to death, while the rest, who withdrew in shame or sorrow, were spared. 29
Consecrate yourselves to-day to the Lord--or, "Ye have consecrated yourselves to-day." The Levites, notwithstanding the dejection of Aaron, distinguished themselves by their zeal for the honor of God and their conduct in doing the office of executioners on this occasion; and this was one reason that they were appointed to a high and honorable office in the service of the sanctuary. 30
Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin--Moses labored to show the people the heinous nature of their sin, and to bring them to repentance. But not content with that, he hastened more earnestly to intercede for them. 32
blot me . . . out of thy book--an allusion to the registering of the living, and erasing the names of those who die. What warmth of affection did he evince for his brethren! How fully was he animated with the true spirit of a patriot, when he professed his willingness to die for them. But Christ actually died for His people (Rom 5:8
the Lord plagued the people, because they made the calf--No immediate judgments were inflicted, but this early lapse into idolatry was always mentioned as an aggravation of their subsequent apostasies.