1 Now when the people saw that Moses adelayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron and said to him, “Come, bmake us 1a god who will go before us; as for cthis Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” 2 Aaron said to them, “aTear off the gold rings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3 Then all the people tore off the gold rings which were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. 4 He took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a amolten calf; and they said, “1This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” 5 Now when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord.” 6 So the next day they rose early and aoffered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and bthe people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up cto play.
7 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Go 1down at once, for your people, whom ayou brought up from the land of Egypt, have bcorrupted themselves. 8 They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them. aThey have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and bhave sacrificed to it and said, ‘1cThis is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!’ ” 9 aThe Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, they are 1ban obstinate people. 10 Now then alet Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and bI will make of you a great nation.”
11 Then aMoses entreated the Lord his God, and said, “O Lord, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12 Why should athe Egyptians speak, saying, ‘With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You aswore by Yourself, and said to them, ‘I will bmultiply your 1descendants as the stars of the heavens, and call this land of which I have spoken I will give to your 1descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’ ” 14 aSo the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people.
15 aThen Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, btablets which were written on both 1sides; they were written on one side and the other. 16 The tablets were God’s work, and the writing was God’s writing engraved on the tablets. 17 Now when Joshua heard the sound of the people 1as they shouted, he said to Moses, “There is a sound of war in the camp.” 18 But he said,
“It is not the sound of the cry of triumph,
Nor is it the sound of the cry of defeat;
But the sound of singing I hear.”
19 It came about, as soon as 1Moses came near the camp, that ahe saw the calf and the dancing; and Moses’ anger burned, and bhe threw the tablets from his hands and shattered them 2at the foot of the mountain. 20 aHe took the calf which they had made and burned it with fire, and ground it to powder, and scattered it over the surface of the water and made the sons of Israel drink it.
21 Then Moses said to Aaron, “What did this people do to you, that you have brought such great sin upon them?” 22 Aaron said, “Do not let the anger of my lord burn; you know the people yourself, athat they are 1prone to evil. 23 For athey said to me, ‘Make 1a god for us who will go before us; for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ 24 I said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them tear it off.’ So they gave it to me, and aI threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.”
25 Now when Moses saw that the people were 1out of control—for Aaron had alet them 2get out of control to be a derision among 3their enemies— 26 then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered together to him. 27 He said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Every man of you put his sword upon his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate in the camp, and kill every man his brother, and every man his friend, and every man his 1neighbor.’ ” 28 So athe sons of Levi did 1as Moses instructed, and about three thousand men of the people fell that day. 29 Then Moses said, “1Dedicate yourselves today to the Lord—for every man has been against his son and against his brother—in order that He may bestow a blessing upon you today.”
30 On the next day Moses said to the people, “aYou yourselves have 1committed a great sin; and now I am going up to the Lord, perhaps I can bmake atonement for your sin.” 31 Then Moses returned to the Lord, and said, “Alas, this people has 1committed a great sin, and they have made 2a agod of gold for themselves. 32 But now, if You will, forgive their sin—and if not, please blot me out from Your abook which You have written!” 33 The Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, aI will blot him out of My book. 34 But go now, lead the people awhere I told you. Behold, bMy angel shall go before you; nevertheless cin the day when I 1punish, dI will 2punish them for their sin.” 35 aThen the Lord smote the people, because of bwhat they did with the calf which Aaron had made.
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