Exodus 32:1
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New International Version
When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, "Come, 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."

New Living Translation
When the people saw how long it was taking Moses to come back down the mountain, they gathered around Aaron. "Come on," they said, "make us some gods who can lead us. We don't know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt."

English Standard Version
When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, 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.”

New American Standard Bible
Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron and said to him, "Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him."

King James Bible
And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
When the people saw that Moses delayed in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said to him, "Come, make us a god who will go before us because this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt--we don't know what has happened to him!"

International Standard Version
When the people saw that Moses took a long time to come down the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and told him, "Come here and make us a god who will go before us, because, as for this fellow Moses who led us out of the land of Egypt, we don't know what has become of him."

NET Bible
When the people saw that Moses delayed in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said to him, "Get up, make us gods that will go before us. As for this fellow Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him!"

New Heart English Bible
When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron, and said to him, "Come, make us gods, which shall go before us; for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him."

GOD'S WORD® Translation
When the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron. They said to him, "We don't know what has happened to this Moses, who led us out of Egypt. Make gods who will lead us."

JPS Tanakh 1917
And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him: 'Up, make us a god who shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is become of him.'

New American Standard 1977
Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”

Jubilee Bible 2000
And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron and said unto him, Rise up, make us gods which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is become of him.

King James 2000 Bible
And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, who shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what has become of him.

American King James Version
And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron, and said to him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is become of him.

American Standard Version
And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is become of him.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And the people seeing that Moses delayed to come down from the mount, gathering together against Aaron, said: Arise, make us gods, that may go before us: for as to this Moses, the man that brought us out of the land of Egypt, we know not what has befallen him.

Darby Bible Translation
And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people collected together to Aaron, and said to him, Up, make us a god, who will go before us; for this Moses, the man that has brought us up out of the land of Egypt, -- we do not know what is become of him!

English Revised Version
And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is become of him.

Webster's Bible Translation
And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mount, the people assembled themselves to Aaron, and said to him, Arise, make us gods which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is become of him.

World English Bible
When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron, and said to him, "Come, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we don't know what has become of him."

Young's Literal Translation
And the people see that Moses is delaying to come down from the mount, and the people assemble against Aaron, and say unto him, 'Rise, make for us gods who go before us, for this Moses -- the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt -- we have not known what hath happened to him.'
Study Bible
The Golden Calf
1Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron and said to him, "Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him." 2Aaron said to them, "Tear off the gold rings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me."…
Cross References
Acts 7:40
They said to Aaron, 'Make us gods who will go before us! As for this Moses who led us out of Egypt, we do not know what has happened to him.'

Exodus 14:11
Then they said to Moses, "Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt?

Exodus 20:23
You shall not make other gods besides Me; gods of silver or gods of gold, you shall not make for yourselves.

Exodus 24:18
Moses entered the midst of the cloud as he went up to the mountain; and Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

Exodus 32:23
"For they said to me, 'Make a 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.'

Numbers 14:22
"Surely all the men who have seen My glory and My signs which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice,

Deuteronomy 9:11
"It came about at the end of forty days and nights that the LORD gave me the two tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant.

Deuteronomy 9:12
"Then the LORD said to me, 'Arise, go down from here quickly, for your people whom you brought out of Egypt have acted corruptly. They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them; they have made a molten image for themselves.'

Ezekiel 20:8
"But they rebelled against Me and were not willing to listen to Me; they did not cast away the detestable things of their eyes, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt. Then I resolved to pour out My wrath on them, to accomplish My anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt.
Treasury of Scripture

And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron, and said to him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is become of him.

A.M.

Exodus 24:18 And Moses went into the middle of the cloud, and got him up into …

Deuteronomy 9:9 When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, …

Matthew 24:43 But know this, that if the manager of the house had known in what …

2 Peter 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers …

up

Genesis 19:14 And Lot went out, and spoke to his sons in law, which married his …

Genesis 44:4 And when they were gone out of the city, and not yet far off, Joseph …

Joshua 7:13 Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to …

make

Exodus 20:3-5 You shall have no other gods before me…

Deuteronomy 4:14-18 And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments…

Acts 7:40 Saying to Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for as for this Moses, …

Acts 17:29 For as much then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to …

Acts 19:26 Moreover you see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost …

which shall

Exodus 13:21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead …

Exodus 33:3,14,15 To a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the …

the man

Exodus 32:7,11 And the LORD said to Moses, Go, get you down; for your people, which …

Exodus 14:11 And they said to Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, have …

Exodus 16:3 And the children of Israel said to them, Would to God we had died …

Hosea 12:13 And by a prophet the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet …

Micah 6:4 For I brought you up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out …

we wot

Genesis 21:26 And Abimelech said, I know not who has done this thing; neither did …

Genesis 39:8 But he refused, and said to his master's wife, Behold, my master …

Genesis 44:15 And Joseph said to them, What deed is this that you have done? know …

Matthew 24:48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delays his coming;

2 Peter 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers …

XXXII.

THE IDOLATRY OF THE GOLDEN CALF.

(1) When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down.--After seven chapters of directions, which belong to the Mosaic or Levitical Law, the writer here resumes his historical narrative. Leaving Moses still in the mount, he returns to the plain at its base in order to relate the events which had there occurred during Moses' absence. It has been suggested that Exodus 31 was originally followed by Exodus 35, and that Exodus 32-34 form a "distinct composition," which was subsequently inserted at this point (Cook). But this supposition is improbable. Exodus 35 does not cohere with Exodus 31. Passing from one to other, we should be sensible of a gap which required filling up. Neither does Exodus 32 commence like an independent narrative. It rests on the fact of the long delay of Moses in Sinai, which requires Exodus 25-31 to explain it; and its mention of "the people," and "the mount," without further designation, implies reference to something that has gone before. Exodus 32-34 occur really in their natural, their proper, and, no doubt, in their original place.

The people gathered themselves together unto Aaron.--Moses, before his departure, had left directions that the people should in any difficulty take the advice of Aaron and Hur (Exodus 24:14). It is not surprising, however, that, when the difficulty arose, Aaron alone was consulted. Aaron had been jointleader with Moses from the first (see Exodus 4:29-30; Exodus 5:1; Exodus 5:4; Exodus 5:20, &c.); Hur had only very recently been advanced into a position of authority (Exodus 17:10; Exodus 24:14). He was, at the most, the Lepidus of the Triumvirate.

Up, make us gods.--Rather, make us a god. The religious condition of the Israelites during the sojourn in Egypt has been so entirely passed over in the previous narrative, that this request comes upon us as a surprise and a shock. True, there have been warnings against idolatry, reiterated warnings (Exodus 20:4-5; Exodus 20:23; Exodus 23:32-33), but no tendency towards it has manifested itself, no hint has been given that it was an immediate and pressing danger. When, however, we carefully scrutinise the rest of Scripture, we find reason to believe that a leaning towards idolatry had, in point of fact, shown itself among the people while they were in Egypt, and had even attained some considerable development. (See Leviticus 17:7; Joshua 24:14; Ezekiel 20:8; Ezekiel 23:3.) This tendency had been checked by the series of extraordinary manifestations which had accompanied the exodus. Now, however, in the absence of Moses, in the uncertainty which prevailed as to whether he still lived or not, and in the withdrawal from the camp of that Divine Presence which had hitherto gone before them, the idolatrous instinct once more came to the front. The cry was raised, "make us a god"--make us something to take the place of the pillar of the cloud, something visible, tangible, on which we can believe the Divine Presence to rest, and which may "go before us" and conduct us.

This Moses, the man that brought us up . . . --Contemptuous words, showing how short-lived is human gratitude, and even human respect. An absence of less than six weeks, and a belief that he was no more, had sufficed to change the great deliverer into "this Moses, the man who brought us up."

Verses 1-6. - THE IDOLATRY OF THE GOLDEN CALF. During the absence of Moses in Mount Sinai, an absence of nearly six weeks, the Israelites grew impatient, and regarding their leader as lost to them, and the Divine Presence which they had hitherto enjoyed as lost with him, insisted on having a symbol of that presence made for them, which should henceforth go in front of the host and so lead them on in their journeyings. It would seem that the pillar of the cloud, which had gone before them from Succoth to Sinai, was now removed from the camp, and resting upon the "mount" where Moses was (Exodus 24:15). Under these circumstances they wanted a visible tangible something, in which they could regard the Divine Presence as resting, and whereto they might offer worship and sacrifice (ver. 8). They therefore went to Aaron, whom Moses had bid them consult in any difficulty (Exodus 24:14), and requested him to "make them a god." Aaron had not the courage to meet this request with a plain negative. As Augustine and Theodoret conjecture with much probability, he sought to turn them from their purpose by asking them to give up those possessions which he conceived that they most valued - viz, the personal ornaments of their wives and children. But he had miscalculated the strength of their fanaticism. The people immediately complied - the ornaments were brought in - and Aaron was compelled, either to fly from his word, or to lend himself to the people's wishes. He did the latter. Either looking to Egypt for a pattern, or falling back on some old form of Syrian or Chaldaean idolatry (see the comment on ver. 4), he melted down the gold and cast it into the form of a calf. The "god" being thus made, an altar was built to it (ver. 5) and sacrifice offered (ver 6). Such was the condition of affairs when Moses, having just received the two tables of stone, was warned by God of what had occurred, and bidden to descend from Sinai. Verse 1. - The people saw that Moses delayed to come down. He had been absent, probably, above a month. It was the first day of their worship when he descended; and a week would suffice for the collection of the ornaments, the formation of the mould, and the casting of the idol. Unto Aaron. It is not clear why no mention is made of Hur, who had been made co-regent with Aaron (Exodus 24:14); but perhaps Aaron was known to be the weaker of the two. Up, make us gods. Most moderns translate" a god." But the word is vague, and the speakers did not themselves perhaps care whether one idol was made or more. Which shall go before us. The Israelites were apparently tired of their long delay at Sinai, and were anxious to proceed upon their journey. They wanted a visible god at their head, to give them confidence and courage. Compare 1 Samuel 4:3-8. We wot not what is become of him. He might, they thought, be dead - he might have returned to Egypt - he might be going to stay always with God in the mount which they did not dare to approach. At any rate, he was lost to them, and they might never see him again. And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount,.... The time, according to the Targum of Jonathan, being elapsed, which he had fixed for his descent, and through a misreckoning, as Jarchi suggests; they taking the day of his going up to be one of the forty days, at the end of which he was to return, whereas he meant forty complete days; but it is not probable that Moses knew himself how long he should stay, and much less that he acquainted them before hand of it; but he staying longer than they supposed he would, they grew uneasy and impatient, and wanted to set out in their journey to Canaan, and to have some symbol and representation of deity to go before them:

the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron; who with Hur was left to judge them in the absence of Moses: it was very likely that they had had conferences with him before upon this head, but now they got together in a tumultuous manner, and determined to carry their point against all that he should say to the contrary:

and said unto him, up; put us off no longer, make no more delay, but arise at once, and set about what has been once and again advised to and importuned:

make us gods which shall go before us; not that they were so very stupid to think, that anything that could be made with hands was really God, or even could have life and breath, and the power of self-motion, or of walking before them; but that something should be made as a symbol and representation of the divine Being, carried before them; for as for the cloud which had hitherto gone before them, from their coming out of Egypt, that had not moved from its place for forty days or more, and seemed to them to be fixed on the mount, and would not depart from it; and therefore they wanted something in the room of it as a token of the divine Presence with them:

for as for this Moses; of whom they speak with great contempt, though he had been the deliverer of them, and had wrought so many miracles in their favour, and had been the instrument of so much good unto them:

the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt; this they own, but do not seem to be very thankful for it:

we wot not what is become of him; they could scarcely believe that he was alive, that it was possible to live so long a time without eating and drinking; or they supposed he was burnt on the mount of flaming fire from before the Lord, as the Targum of Jonathan expresses it. CHAPTER 32

Ex 32:1-35. The Golden Calf.

1. 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.32:1-6 While Moses was in the mount, receiving the law from God, the people made a tumultuous address to Aaron. This giddy multitude were weary of waiting for the return of Moses. Weariness in waiting betrays to many temptations. The Lord must be waited for till he comes, and waited for though he tarry. Let their readiness to part with their ear-rings to make an idol, shame our niggardliness in the service of the true God. They did not draw back on account of the cost of their idolatry; and shall we grudge the expenses of religion? Aaron produced the shape of an ox or calf, giving it some finish with a graving tool. They offered sacrifice to this idol. Having set up an image before them, and so changed the truth of God into a lie, their sacrifices were abomination. Had they not, only a few days before, in this very place, heard the voice of the Lord God speaking to them out of the midst of the fire, Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image? Had they not themselves solemnly entered into covenant with God, that they would do all he had said to them, and would be obedient? ch. 24:7. Yet before they stirred from the place where this covenant had been solemnly made, they brake an express command, in defiance of an express threatening. It plainly shows, that the law was no more able to make holy, than it was to justify; by it is the knowledge of sin, but not the cure of sin. Aaron was set apart by the Divine appointment to the office of the priesthood; but he, who had once shamed himself so far as to build an altar to a golden calf, must own himself unworthy of the honour of attending at the altar of God, and indebted to free grace alone for it. Thus pride and boasting were silenced.
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