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Exodus 32

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 1 Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down out of the mountain, they gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, "Come, make us a god to 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.”

 2 And Aaron said to them, "Take off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, and your sons and daughters, and bring them to me."

 3 So all the people took off the golden earrings that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron.

 4 And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with an engraving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, "This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt."

 5 And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and made a proclamation, and said, "Tomorrow is a feast to the LORD."

 6 And they rose up early on the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. [Adults play with singing, dancing, and drinking, with strong sexual overtones at least. Today we would call this partying.]

 7 And the LORD said to Moses, "Go down! For your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves;

 8 They have quickly turned aside out of the way that I commanded them. They have made themselves a molten calf and have worshipped it and sacrificed to it, and said, 'This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.'"

 9 And the LORD said to Moses, "I have seen this people, and, behold, they are a stiff necked people;

 10 Now therefore leave me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and that I may consume them; but I will make a great nation of you."

 11 But Moses pleaded with the LORD his God, and said, "LORD, why does your wrath burn hot against your people whom you have brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?

 12 Why should the Egyptians say, 'He brought them out with evil intent, to slay them in the mountains and to consume them from the face of the earth?' Turn from your fierce wrath and relent from this harm against your people.

 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self and said to them, 'I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land that I have spoken of I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.'"

 14 So the LORD relented of the harm that he thought to do to his people.

 15 Then Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hand, the tablets were written on both their sides.

 16 The tablets were the work of God; and the writing was the writing of God engraved upon the tablets.

 17 Now when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, "There is a noise of war in the camp."

 18 And Moses replied, "It is not the sound of victory, neither is it the sound of the cry of defeat, but the sound of singing that I hear."

 19 And it came to pass, as soon as he came near to the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing. And Moses' anger burned hot and he cast the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain.

 20 And he took the calf that they had made and burned it in the fire, and ground it to powder and scattered it upon the water and made the children of Israel drink it.

 21 And Moses said to Aaron, "What did these people do to you, that you have brought so great a sin upon them?"

 22 And Aaron said, "Let not the anger of my lord turn hot; you know the people, that they are set on evil.

 23 For they said to me, 'Make us a god, which 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.'

 24 And I said to them, 'Whoever has any gold, let them take it off.' So they gave it to me; then I cast it [to form into a particular shape, by pouring liquid metal into a mold] in the fire, and this calf came out ."

 25 And when Moses saw that the people were unrestrained (for Aaron had let them get get out of control, to their shame among their enemies),

 26 Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, "Whoever is on the LORD's side, let him come to me." And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him.

 27 And he said to them, "Thus says the LORD God of Israel, 'Every man strap his sword on his side and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.'"

 28 And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses; and about three thousand men of the people fell that day.

 29 Then Moses said, "Today you have consecrated yourselves to the LORD, for every man was against his own son and his own brother, and the Lord has bestowed a blessing upon you this day."

 30 And it came to pass on the next day, that Moses said to the people, "You have sinned a great sin. And now I will go up to the LORD; perhaps I can make an atonement for your sin."

 31 So Moses returned to the LORD, and said, "Oh, these people have sinned a great sin and have made themselves a god of gold.

 32 Yet now, if you will, forgive their sin-- but if not, I pray you, blot me out of your book that you have written."

 33 But the LORD said to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot him out of my book.

 34 Therefore go now, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you. Behold, my Angel shall go before you. Nevertheless when the time of my visitation for punishment comes, I will punish them for their sin."

 35 The LORD struck the people with a plague because of what they had done with the calf that Aaron had formed for them.

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