Exodus 32:31
And Moses returned to the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(31) Moses returned unto the Lordi.e., re-ascended Sinai, to the place where he had passed the forty days and nights.

Gods of gold.—Rather, a god of gold. (Comp. Note 3 on Exodus 32:1.) The plural is one of dignity.

Exodus 32:31. O, this people have sinned a great sin — God had first told him of it, (Exodus 32:7,) and now he tells God of it, by way of lamentation. He doth not call them God’s people, he knew they were unworthy to be called so, but, this people. This treacherous, ungrateful people, they have made them gods of gold.32:30-35 Moses calls it a great sin. The work of ministers is to show people the greatness of their sins. The great evil of sin appears in the price of pardon. Moses pleads with God for mercy; he came not to make excuses, but to make atonement. We are not to suppose that Moses means that he would be willing to perish for ever, for the people's sake. We are to love our neighbour as ourselves, and not more than ourselves. But having that mind which was in Christ, he was willing to lay down his life in the most painful manner, if he might thereby preserve the people. Moses could not wholly turn away the wrath of God; which shows that the law of Moses was not able to reconcile men to God, and to perfect our peace with him. In Christ alone, God so pardons sin as to remember it no more. From this history we see, that no unhumbled, carnal heart, can long endure the holy precepts, the humbling truths, and the spiritual worship of God. But a god, a priest, a worship, a doctrine, and a sacrifice, suited to the carnal mind, will ever meet with abundance of worshippers. The very gospel itself may be so perverted as to suit a worldly taste. Well is it for us, that the Prophet like unto Moses, but who is beyond compare more powerful and merciful, has made atonement for our souls, and now intercedes in our behalf. Let us rejoice in his grace.Returned unto the Lord - i. e. again he ascended the mountain.

Gods of gold - a god of gold.

30-33. 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. No text from Poole on this verse. And Moses returned unto the Lord,.... On the mount where he was in the cloud:

and said, oh, this people have sinned a great sin; which to following words explain; he confesses the same to God he had charged the people with in Exodus 32:30,

and have made them gods of gold; the golden calf, which they themselves called "Elohim", gods.

And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
31. returned] viz. to the mountain.

Oh] Heb. ’ânnâ, a particle of entreaty: Genesis 50:17Oh, forgive, we pray’; Isaiah 38:3Oh, Lord’; Nehemiah 1:5 (EVV. ‘I beseech thee’).Verse 31. - Gods of gold. Rather "a god of gold." Moses then turned to the unbridled nation, whom Aaron had set free from all restraint, "for a reproach among their foes," inasmuch as they would necessarily become an object of scorn and derision among the heathen on account of the punishment which their conduct would bring down upon them from God (compare Exodus 32:12 and Deuteronomy 28:37), and sought to restrain their licentiousness and ward off the threatened destruction of the nation through the infliction of a terrible punishment. If the effect of this punishment should show that there were still some remains of obedience and faithfulness towards God left in the nation, Moses might then hope, that in accordance with the pleading of Abraham in Genesis 18:23., he should obtain mercy from God for the whole nation for the sake of those who were righteous. He therefore went into the gate of the camp (the entrance to the camp) and cried out: "Whoever (belongs) to the Lord, (come) to me?" and his hope was not disappointed. "All the Levites gathered together to him." Why the Levites? Certainly not merely, nor chiefly, "because the Levites for the most part had not assented to the people's sin and the worship of the calf, but had been displeased on account of it" (C. a Lapide); but partly because the Levites were more prompt in their determination to confess their crime, and return with penitence, and partly out of regard to Moses, who belonged to their tribe, in connection with which it must be borne in mind that the resolution and example of a few distinguished men was sure to be followed by all the rest of their tribe. The reason why no one came over to the side of Moses from any of the other tribes, must also be attributed, to some extent, to the bond that existed among members of the same tribe, and is not sufficiently explained by Calvin's hypothesis, that "they were held back, not by contempt or obstinacy, so much as by shame, and that they were all so paralyzed by their alarm, that they waited to see what Moses was about to do and to what length he would proceed."
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