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32 When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain,s they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us godsa who will go beforet us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”u
2 Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earringsv that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. 4 He took what they handed him and made it into an idolw cast in the shape of a calf,x fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods,b y Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”z
5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festivala to the Lord.” 6 So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings.b Afterward they sat down to eat and drinkc and got up to indulge in revelry.d
7 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt,e have become corrupt.f 8 They have been quick to turn awayg from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idolh cast in the shape of a calf.i They have bowed down to it and sacrificedj to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’k
9 “I have seen these people,” the Lord said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-neckedl people. 10 Now leave me alonem so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroyn them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”o
11 But Moses sought the favorp of the Lord his God. “Lord,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand?q 12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’?r Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disasters on your people. 13 Remembert your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self:u ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the starsv in the sky and I will give your descendants all this landw I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’ ” 14 Then the Lord relentedx and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.
15 Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant lawy in his hands.z They were inscribeda on both sides, front and back. 16 The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.b
17 When Joshuac heard the noise of the people shouting, he said to Moses, “There is the sound of war in the camp.”
“It is not the sound of victory,
it is not the sound of defeat;
it is the sound of singing that I hear.”
19 When Moses approached the camp and saw the calfd and the dancing,e his anger burnedf and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to piecesg at the foot of the mountain. 20 And he took the calf the people had made and burnedh it in the fire; then he ground it to powder,i scattered it on the waterj and made the Israelites drink it.
22 “Do not be angry,k my lord,” Aaron answered. “You know how prone these people are to evil.l 23 They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’m 24 So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!”n
25 Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstocko to their enemies. 26 So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” And all the Levites rallied to him.
27 Then he said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.’ ”p 28 The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died. 29 Then Moses said, “You have been set apart to the Lord today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day.”
31 So Moses went back to the Lord and said, “Oh, what a great sin these people have committed!s They have made themselves gods of gold.t 32 But now, please forgive their sinu—but if not, then blot mev out of the bookw you have written.”
33 The Lord replied to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot outx of my book. 34 Now go, leady the people to the placez I spoke of, and my angela will go before you. However, when the time comes for me to punish,b I will punish them for their sin.”
35 And the Lord struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calfc Aaron had made.
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