The Golden Calf1When the people saw that Moses adelayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, b“Up, make us gods who shall cgo before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” 2So Aaron said to them, “Take off the drings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. 4 eAnd he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden ▼
▼Hebrew cast metal; also verse 8calf. And they said, g“These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” 5When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron hmade a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord.” 6And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And ithe people sat down to eat and drink and rose up jto play.
7And the Lord said to Moses, k“Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have lcorrupted themselves. 8They have turned aside quickly out of the way that mI commanded them. They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’” 9And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, nit is a stiff-necked people. 10Now therefore olet me alone, that pmy wrath may burn hot against them and qI may consume them, in order that rI may make a great nation of you.”
11But sMoses implored the Lord his God and said, “O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12 tWhy should the Egyptians say, ‘With evil intent did he bring them out, to kill them in the mountains and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your burning anger and urelent from this disaster against your people. 13Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you vswore by your own self, and said to them, w‘I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your offspring, and they shall inherit it forever.’” 14And the Lord xrelented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people.
15Then yMoses turned and went down from the mountain with the ztwo tablets of the testimony in his hand, tablets that were written on both sides; on the front and on the back they were written. 16 aaThe tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets. 17When abJoshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, “There is a noise of war in the camp.” 18But he said, “It is not the sound of acshouting for victory, or the sound of the cry of defeat, but the sound of singing that I hear.” 19And as soon as he came near the camp and adsaw the calf and the dancing, Moses’ anger burned hot, and he threw the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain. 20He took the calf that they had made and burned it with fire and ground it to powder and scattered it on the water and made the people of Israel drink it.
21And Moses said to Aaron, ae“What did this people do to you that you have brought such a great sin upon them?” 22And Aaron said, “Let not the anger of my lord burn hot. afYou know the people, that they are set on evil. 23For agthey said to me, ‘Make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ 24So ahI said to them, ‘Let any who have gold take it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.”
25And when Moses saw that the people had broken loose (for Aaron had let them break loose, aito the derision of their enemies), 26then 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. 27And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘Put your sword on your side each of you, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and each of you ajkill his brother and his companion and his neighbor.’” 28And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And that day about three thousand men of the people fell. 29And Moses said, “Today you have been akordained for the service of the Lord, each one at the cost of his son and of his brother, so that he might bestow a blessing upon you this day.”
30The next day Moses said to the people, al“You have sinned a great sin. And now I will go up to the Lord; amperhaps I can make atonement for your sin.” 31So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Alas, anthis people has sinned a great sin. They have aomade for themselves gods of gold. 32But now, if apyou will forgive their sin—but if not, please aqblot me out of aryour book that you have written.” 33But the Lord said to Moses, as“Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book. 34 atBut now go, lead the people to the place about which I have spoken to you; aubehold, my angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them.”
35Then the Lord sent a plague on the people, because they made the calf, the one that Aaron made.
Copyright information for ESV