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Teks -- Exodus 32:1-35 (NET)

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Konteks
The Sin of the Golden Calf
32:1 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!” 32:2 So Aaron said to them, “Break off the gold earrings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 32:3 So all the people broke off the gold earrings that were on their ears and brought them to Aaron. 32:4 He accepted the gold from them, fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molten calf. Then they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” 32:5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it, and Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow will be a feast to the Lord.” 32:6 So they got up early on the next day and offered up burnt offerings and brought peace offerings, and the people sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up to play. 32:7 The Lord spoke to Moses: “Go quickly, descend, because your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have acted corruptly. 32:8 They have quickly turned aside from the way that I commanded them– they have made for themselves a molten calf and have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt.’” 32:9 Then the Lord said to Moses: “I have seen this people. Look what a stiff-necked people they are! 32:10 So now, leave me alone so that my anger can burn against them and I can destroy them, and I will make from you a great nation.” 32:11 But Moses sought the favor of 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? 32:12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘For evil he led them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your burning anger, and relent of this evil against your people. 32:13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel your servants, to whom you swore by yourself and told them, ‘I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken about I will give to your descendants, and they will inherit it forever.’” 32:14 Then the Lord relented over the evil that he had said he would do to his people. 32:15 Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hands. The tablets were written on both sides– they were written on the front and on the back. 32:16 Now the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets. 32:17 When Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, “It is the sound of war in the camp!” 32:18 Moses said, “It is not the sound of those who shout for victory, nor is it the sound of those who cry because they are overcome, but the sound of singing I hear.” 32:19 When he approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses became extremely angry. He threw the tablets from his hands and broke them to pieces at the bottom of the mountain. 32:20 He took the calf they had made and burned it in the fire, ground it to powder, poured it out on the water, and made the Israelites drink it. 32:21 Moses said to Aaron, “What did this people do to you, that you have brought on them so great a sin?” 32:22 Aaron said, “Do not let your anger burn hot, my lord; you know these people, that they tend to evil. 32:23 They said to me, ‘Make us gods that will go before us, for as for this fellow Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has happened to him.’ 32:24 So I said to them, ‘Whoever has gold, break it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and this calf came out.” 32:25 Moses saw that the people were running wild, for Aaron had let them get completely out of control, causing derision from their enemies. 32:26 So Moses stood at the entrance of the camp and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” All the Levites gathered around him, 32:27 and he said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Each man fasten his sword on his side, and go back and forth from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and each one kill his brother, his friend, and his neighbor.’” 32:28 The Levites did what Moses ordered, and that day about three thousand men of the people died. 32:29 Moses said, “You have been consecrated today for the Lord, for each of you was against his son or against his brother, so he has given a blessing to you today.” 32:30 The next day Moses said to the people, “You have committed a very serious sin, but now I will go up to the Lord– perhaps I can make atonement on behalf of your sin.” 32:31 So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Alas, this people has committed a very serious sin, and they have made for themselves gods of gold. 32:32 But now, if you will forgive their sin…, but if not, wipe me out from your book that you have written.” 32:33 The Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me– that person I will wipe out of my book. 32:34 So now go, lead the people to the place I have spoken to you about. See, my angel will go before you. But on the day that I punish, I will indeed punish them for their sin.” 32:35 And the Lord sent a plague on the people because they had made the calf– the one Aaron made.
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Nama Orang, Nama Tempat, Topik/Tema Kamus

Nama Orang dan Nama Tempat:
 · Aaron a son of Amram; brother of Moses,son of Amram (Kohath Levi); patriarch of Israel's priests,the clan or priestly line founded by Aaron
 · Abraham a son of Terah; the father of Isaac; ancestor of the Jewish nation.,the son of Terah of Shem
 · Egypt descendants of Mizraim
 · Egyptians descendants of Mizraim
 · Israel a citizen of Israel.,a member of the nation of Israel
 · Joshua a son of Eliezer; the father of Er; an ancestor of Jesus,the son of Nun and successor of Moses,son of Nun of Ephraim; successor to Moses,a man: owner of the field where the ark stopped,governor of Jerusalem under King Josiah,son of Jehozadak; high priest in the time of Zerubbabel
 · Levi members of the tribe of Levi
 · Moses a son of Amram; the Levite who led Israel out of Egypt and gave them The Law of Moses,a Levite who led Israel out of Egypt and gave them the law


Topik/Tema Kamus: Aaron | Calf | LEVITICUS, 2 | Tabernacle | EXODUS, THE BOOK OF, 1 | COVENANT, BOOK OF THE | ISRAEL, RELIGION OF, 1 | ASIA MINOR, ARCHAEOLOGY OF | EZEKIEL, 2 | CALF, GOLDEN | SACRIFICE, IN THE OLD TESTAMENT, 2 | EXODUS, THE BOOK OF, 2 | Levite | Revelation | Israel | Backsliders | Apostasy | Intercession | Lies and Deceits | Prayer | selebihnya
Daftar Isi

Catatan Kata/Frasa
Wesley , JFB , Clarke , Calvin , Defender , TSK

Catatan Kata/Frasa
Poole , Haydock , Gill

Catatan Ayat / Catatan Kaki
NET Notes , Geneva Bible

Catatan Rentang Ayat
Maclaren , MHCC , Matthew Henry , Keil-Delitzsch , Constable , Guzik

Lainnya
Evidence

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Tafsiran/Catatan -- Catatan Kata/Frasa (per frasa)

Wesley: Exo 32:1 - -- Up, make us gods which shall go before us. They were weary of waiting for the promised land. They thought themselves detained too long at mount Sinai....

Up, make us gods which shall go before us. They were weary of waiting for the promised land. They thought themselves detained too long at mount Sinai. They had a God that stayed with them, but they must have a God to go before them to the land flowing with milk and honey. They were weary of waiting for the return of Moses: As for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of Egypt, we know not what is become of him - Observe how slightly they speak of his person, this Moses: And how suspiciously of his delay, we know not what is become of him. And they were weary of waiting for a divine institution of religious worship among them, so they would have a worship of their own invention, probably such as they had seen among the Egyptians. They say, make us gods which shall go before us. Gods! How many would they have? Is not one sufficient? And what good would gods of their own making do them? They must have such Gods to go before them as could not go themselves farther than they were carried!

Wesley: Exo 32:2 - And Aaron said break off the golden ear rings - We do not find that he said one word to discountenance their proposal. Some suppose, that when Aaron bid them break off their ear - rings, he ...

rings - We do not find that he said one word to discountenance their proposal. Some suppose, that when Aaron bid them break off their ear - rings, he did it with design to crush the proposal, believing that, though their covetousness would have let them do it, yet their pride would not have suffered them to part with them.

Wesley: Exo 32:3 - And all the people brake off their ear rings - Which Aaron melted down, and, having a mold prepared, poured the melted gold into it, and then produced it in the shape of an ox or calf, givi...

rings - Which Aaron melted down, and, having a mold prepared, poured the melted gold into it, and then produced it in the shape of an ox or calf, giving it some finishing strokes with a graving tool.

Wesley: Exo 32:5 - And Aaron built an altar before it, and proclaimed a feast A feast of dedication; yet he calls it a feast to Jehovah; for, as brutish as they were, they did not design to terminate their adoration in the image...

A feast of dedication; yet he calls it a feast to Jehovah; for, as brutish as they were, they did not design to terminate their adoration in the image; but they made it for a representation of the true God, whom they intended to worship in and through this image. And yet this did not excuse them from gross idolatry, no more than it will excuse the Papists, whose plea it is, that they do not worship the image, but God by the image; so making themselves just such idolaters as the worshippers of the golden calf, whose feast was a feast to Jehovah, and proclaimed to be so, that the most ignorant and unthinking might not mistake it.

Wesley: Exo 32:6 - -- And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered sacrifice to this new made deity. And the people sat down to eat and drink of the remainder of what ...

And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered sacrifice to this new made deity. And the people sat down to eat and drink of the remainder of what was sacrificed, and then rose up to play - To play the fool, to play the wanton. It was strange that any of the people, especially so great a number of them, should do such a thing. Had they not, but the other day, 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? - Yet They made a calf in Horeb, the very place where the law was given It was especially strange that Aaron should be so deeply concerned, should make the calf and proclaim the feast! Is this Aaron the saint of the Lord! Is this he that had not only seen, but had been employed in summoning the plagues of Egypt, and the judgments executed upon the gods of the Egyptians? What! And yet himself copying out the abandoned idolatries of Egypt? How true is it, that the law made them priests which had infirmity, and needed first to offer for their own sins?

Wesley: Exo 32:8 - They have turned aside quickly Quickly after the law was given them, and they had promised to obey it; quickly after God had done such great things for them, and declared his kind i...

Quickly after the law was given them, and they had promised to obey it; quickly after God had done such great things for them, and declared his kind intentions to do greater.

Wesley: Exo 32:9 - It is a stiff necked people - Unapt to come under the yoke of the divine law, averse to all good, and prone to evil, obstinate to the methods of cure.

necked people - Unapt to come under the yoke of the divine law, averse to all good, and prone to evil, obstinate to the methods of cure.

Wesley: Exo 32:10 - Let me alone What did Moses, or what could he do, to hinder God from consuming them? When God resolves to abandon a people, and the decree is gone forth, no interc...

What did Moses, or what could he do, to hinder God from consuming them? When God resolves to abandon a people, and the decree is gone forth, no intercession can prevent it. But God would thus express the greatness of his displeasure, after the manner of men, who would have none to interceed for those they resolve to be severe with. Thus also he would put an honour upon prayer, intimating, that nothing but the intercession of Moses could save them from ruin, that he might be a type of Christ, by whose mediation alone God would reconcile the world unto himself.

Wesley: Exo 32:11 - And Moses besought the Lord his God If God would not be called the God of Israel, yet he hoped he might address him as his own God. Now Moses is standing in the gap to turn away the wrat...

If God would not be called the God of Israel, yet he hoped he might address him as his own God. Now Moses is standing in the gap to turn away the wrath of God. Psa 106:23. He took the hint which God gave him when he said, Let me alone, which, though it seemed to forbid his interceding, did really encourage it, by shewing what power the prayer of faith hath with God.

Wesley: Exo 32:12 - Turn from thy fierce wrath Not as if he thought God were not justly angry, but he begs that he would not be so greatly angry as to consume them.

Not as if he thought God were not justly angry, but he begs that he would not be so greatly angry as to consume them.

Wesley: Exo 32:12 - Let mercy rejoice against judgment; repent of this evil Change the sentence of destruction into that of correction, against thy people which thou broughtest up out of Egypt - For whom thou hast done so grea...

Change the sentence of destruction into that of correction, against thy people which thou broughtest up out of Egypt - For whom thou hast done so great things? Wherefore should the Egyptians say, For mischief did he bring them out - Israel is dear to Moses, as his kindred, as his charge; but it is the glory of God that he is most concerned for. If Israel could perish without any reproach to God's name, Moses could persuade himself to sit down contented; but he cannot bear to hear God reflected on; and therefore this he insists upon, Lord, What will the Egyptians say? They will say, God was either weak, and could not, or fickle, and would not compleat the salvation he begun.

Wesley: Exo 32:13 - Remember Abraham Lord, if Israel be cut off, what will become of the promise?

Lord, if Israel be cut off, what will become of the promise?

Wesley: Exo 32:14 - And the Lord repented of the evil he thought to do Though he designed to punish them, yet he would not ruin them. See here, the power of prayer, God suffers himself to be prevailed with by humble belie...

Though he designed to punish them, yet he would not ruin them. See here, the power of prayer, God suffers himself to be prevailed with by humble believing importunity. And see the compassion of God towards poor sinners, and how ready he is to forgive.

Wesley: Exo 32:15 - On both their sides Some on one table and some on the other, so that they were folded together like a book, to be deposited in the ark.

Some on one table and some on the other, so that they were folded together like a book, to be deposited in the ark.

Wesley: Exo 32:16 - The writing of God Very probably the first writing in the world.

Very probably the first writing in the world.

Wesley: Exo 32:19 - He saw the calf, and the dancing, and his anger waxed hot It is no breach of the law of meekness to shew our displeasure at wickedness. Those are angry and sin not, that are angry at sin only. Moses shewed hi...

It is no breach of the law of meekness to shew our displeasure at wickedness. Those are angry and sin not, that are angry at sin only. Moses shewed himself angry, both by breaking the tables, and burning the calf, that he might by these expressions of a strong passion awaken the people to a sense of the greatness of their sin. He broke the tables before their eyes, as it is Deu 9:17, that the sight of it might fill them with confusion when they saw what blessings they had lost. The greatest sign of God's displeasure against any people is his taking his law from them.

Wesley: Exo 32:20 - He burnt the calf Melted it down, and then filed it to dust; and that the powder to which it was reduced might he taken notice of throughout the camp, he strawed it upo...

Melted it down, and then filed it to dust; and that the powder to which it was reduced might he taken notice of throughout the camp, he strawed it upon the water which they all drank of. That it might appear that an idol is nothing in the world, he reduced this to atoms, that it might be as near nothing as could be.

Wesley: Exo 32:21 - What did this people unto thee He takes it for granted that it must needs be something more than ordinary that prevailed with Aaron to do such a thing? Did they overcome thee by imp...

He takes it for granted that it must needs be something more than ordinary that prevailed with Aaron to do such a thing? Did they overcome thee by importunity, and hadst thou so little resolution as to yield to popular clamour! Did they threaten to stone thee, and couldest not thou have opposed God's threatenings to theirs?

Wesley: Exo 32:23 - They said, make us Gods It is natural to us to endeavour thus to transfer our guilt. He likewise extenuates his own share in the sin, as if he had only bid them break off the...

It is natural to us to endeavour thus to transfer our guilt. He likewise extenuates his own share in the sin, as if he had only bid them break off their gold, intending but to make a hasty essay for the present, and childishly insinuates that when he cast the gold into the fire, it came out either by accident, or by the magic art of some of the mixt multitude (as the Jewish writers dream) in this shape. This was all Aaron had to say for himself, and he had better have said nothing, for his defence did but aggravate his offence; and yet as sin did abound, grace did much more abound.

Wesley: Exo 32:25 - The people were naked Stript of their armour, and liable to insults.

Stript of their armour, and liable to insults.

Wesley: Exo 32:26 - Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, the place of judgment; and said, Who is on the Lord's side? The idolaters had set up the golden calf for their standard, and now Moses sets up his in opposition to them.

The idolaters had set up the golden calf for their standard, and now Moses sets up his in opposition to them.

Wesley: Exo 32:27 - Slay every man his brother That is, Slay all those that you know to have been active for the making and worshipping of the golden calf, though they were your nearest relations o...

That is, Slay all those that you know to have been active for the making and worshipping of the golden calf, though they were your nearest relations or dearest friends. Yet it should seem they were to slay those only whom they found abroad in the street of the camp; for it might be hoped that those who were retired into their tents were ashamed of what they had done.

Wesley: Exo 32:28 - And there fell of the people that day about three thousand men Probably these were but few in comparison with the many that were guilty; but these were the men that headed the rebellion, and were therefore picked ...

Probably these were but few in comparison with the many that were guilty; but these were the men that headed the rebellion, and were therefore picked out to be made examples of; for terror to others.

Wesley: Exo 32:31 - Oh, this people have sinned a great sin God had first told him of it, Exo 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 unwort...

God had first told him of it, Exo 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.

Wesley: Exo 32:32 - If not If the decree be gone forth, and there is no remedy but they must be ruined, blot me, I pray thee out of the book which thou hast written - That is, o...

If the decree be gone forth, and there is no remedy but they must be ruined, blot me, I pray thee out of the book which thou hast written - That is, out of the book of life. If all Israel must perish, I am content to perish with them. This expression may be illustrated from Rom 9:3. For I could wish myself to be an anathema from Christ, for my brethren's sake. Does this imply no more than not enjoying Canaan? Not that Moses absolutely desired this, but only comparatively expresses his vehement zeal for God's glory, and love to his people, signifying, that the very thought of their destruction, and the dishonour of God, was so intolerable to him, that he rather wishes, if it were possible, that God would accept of him, as a sacrifice in their stead, and by his utter destruction, prevent so great a mischief.

Wesley: Exo 32:33 - Whosoever hath sinned, him will I blot out of my book The soul that sins shall die, and not the innocent for the guilty.

The soul that sins shall die, and not the innocent for the guilty.

Wesley: Exo 32:34 - My angel shall go before them Some created angel that was employed in the common services of his kingdom, which intimated that they were not to expect any thing for the future to b...

Some created angel that was employed in the common services of his kingdom, which intimated that they were not to expect any thing for the future to be done for them out of the common road of providence.

Wesley: Exo 32:34 - When I visit Hereafter he shall see cause to punish them for other sins, I will visit for this among the rest. From hence the Jews have a saying, that from hence -...

Hereafter he shall see cause to punish them for other sins, I will visit for this among the rest. From hence the Jews have a saying, that from hence - forward no judgment fell upon Israel, but there was in it an ounce of the powder of the golden calf.

Wesley: Exo 32:35 - And the Lord plagued the people Probably by the pestilence, or some other infectious disease. Thus Moses prevailed for a mitigation of the punishment, but could not wholly turn away ...

Probably by the pestilence, or some other infectious disease. Thus Moses prevailed for a mitigation of the punishment, but could not wholly turn away the wrath of God.

JFB: Exo 32:1 - when the people saw that Moses delayed They supposed that he had lost his way in the darkness or perished in the fire.

They supposed that he had lost his way in the darkness or perished in the fire.

JFB: Exo 32:1 - 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 popula...

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.

JFB: Exo 32:1 - 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 Isr...

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.

JFB: Exo 32:2 - Aaron said, . . . Break off . . . earrings It was not an Egyptian custom for young men to wear earrings, and the circumstance, therefore, seems to point out "the mixed rabble," who were chiefly...

It was not an Egyptian custom for young men to wear earrings, and the circumstance, therefore, seems to point out "the mixed rabble," who were chiefly foreign slaves, as the ringleaders in this insurrection. In giving direction to break their earrings, Aaron probably calculated on gaining time; or, perhaps, on their covetousness and love of finery proving stronger than their idolatrous propensity. If such were his expectations, they were doomed to signal disappointment. Better to have calmly and earnestly remonstrated with them, or to have preferred duty to expediency, leaving the issue in the hands of Providence.

JFB: Exo 32:3 - all the people brake off the golden earrings The Egyptian rings, as seen on the monuments, were round massy plates of metal; and as they were rings of this sort the Israelites wore, their size an...

The Egyptian rings, as seen on the monuments, were round massy plates of metal; and as they were rings of this sort the Israelites wore, their size and number must, in the general collection, have produced a large store of the precious metal.

JFB: Exo 32:4 - fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf The words are transposed, and the rendering should be, "he framed with a graving tool the image to be made, and having poured the liquid gold into the...

The words are transposed, and the rendering should be, "he framed with a graving tool the image to be made, and having poured the liquid gold into the mould, he made it a molten calf." It is not said whether it was of life size, whether it was of solid gold or merely a wooden frame covered with plates of gold. This idol seems to have been the god Apis, the chief deity of the Egyptians, worshipped at Memphis under the form of a live ox, three years old. It was distinguished by a triangular white spot on its forehead and other peculiar marks. Images of it in the form of a whole ox, or of a calf's head on the end of a pole, were very common; and it makes a great figure on the monuments where it is represented in the van of all processions, as borne aloft on men's shoulders.

JFB: Exo 32:4 - they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt It is inconceivable that they, who but a few weeks before had witnessed such amazing demonstrations of the true God, could have suddenly sunk to such ...

It is inconceivable that they, who but a few weeks before had witnessed such amazing demonstrations of the true God, could have suddenly sunk to such a pitch of infatuation and brutish stupidity, as to imagine that human art or hands could make a god that should go before them. But it must be borne in mind, that though by election and in name they were the people of God, they were as yet, in feelings and associations, in habits and tastes, little, if at all different, from Egyptians. They meant the calf to be an image, a visible sign or symbol of Jehovah, so that their sin consisted not in a breach of the FIRST [Exo 20:3], but of the SECOND commandment [Exo 20:4-6].

JFB: Exo 32:5-6 - Aaron made proclamation, and said, To-morrow is a feast to the Lord A remarkable circumstance, strongly confirmatory of the view that they had not renounced the worship of Jehovah, but in accordance with Egyptian notio...

A remarkable circumstance, strongly confirmatory of the view that they had not renounced the worship of Jehovah, but in accordance with Egyptian notions, had formed an image with which they had been familiar, to be the visible symbol of the divine presence. But there seems to have been much of the revelry that marked the feasts of the heathen.

JFB: Exo 32:7-14 - the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down Intelligence of the idolatrous scene enacted at the foot of the mount was communicated to Moses in language borrowed from human passions and feelings,...

Intelligence of the idolatrous scene enacted at the foot of the mount was communicated to Moses in language borrowed from human passions and feelings, and the judgment of a justly offended God was pronounced in terms of just indignation against the gross violation of the so recently promulgated laws.

JFB: Exo 32:10 - make of thee a great nation Care must be taken not to suppose this language as betokening any change or vacillation in the divine purpose. The covenant made with the patriarchs h...

Care must be taken not to suppose this language as betokening any change or vacillation in the divine purpose. The covenant made with the patriarchs had been ratified in the most solemn manner; it could not and never was intended that it should be broken. But the manner in which God spoke to Moses served two important purposes--it tended to develop the faith and intercessory patriotism of the Hebrew leader, and to excite the serious alarm of the people, that God would reject them and deprive them of the privileges they had fondly fancied were so secure.

JFB: Exo 32:15-18 - Moses turned, and went down from the mount The plain, Er-Raheh, is not visible from the top of Jebel Musa, nor can the mount be descended on the side towards that valley; hence Moses and his co...

The plain, Er-Raheh, is not visible from the top of Jebel Musa, nor can the mount be descended on the side towards that valley; hence Moses and his companion, who on duty had patiently waited his return in the hollow of the mountain's brow, heard the shouting some time before they actually saw the camp.

JFB: Exo 32:19 - Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands The arrival of the leader, like the appearance of a specter, arrested the revellers in the midst of their carnival, and his act of righteous indignati...

The arrival of the leader, like the appearance of a specter, arrested the revellers in the midst of their carnival, and his act of righteous indignation when he dashed on the ground the tables of the law, in token that as they had so soon departed from their covenant relation, so God could withdraw the peculiar privileges that He had promised them--that act, together with the rigorous measures that followed, forms one of the most striking scenes recorded in sacred history.

JFB: Exo 32:20 - he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, &c. It has been supposed that the gold was dissolved by natron or some chemical substance. But there is no mention of solubility here, or in Deu 9:21; it ...

It has been supposed that the gold was dissolved by natron or some chemical substance. But there is no mention of solubility here, or in Deu 9:21; it was "burned in the fire," to cast it into ingots of suitable size for the operations which follow--"grounded to powder"; the powder of malleable metals can be ground so fine as to resemble dust from the wings of a moth or butterfly; and these dust particles will float in water for hours, and in a running stream for days. These operations of grinding were intended to show contempt for such worthless gods, and the Israelites would be made to remember the humiliating lesson by the state of the water they had drunk for a time [NAPIER]. Others think that as the idolatrous festivals were usually ended with great use of sweet wine, the nauseous draught of the gold dust would be a severe punishment (compare 2Ki 23:6, 2Ki 23:15; 2Ch 15:16; 2Ch 34:7).

JFB: Exo 32:22 - And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot Aaron cuts a poor figure, making a shuffling excuse and betraying more dread of the anger of Moses than of the Lord (compare Deu 9:20).

Aaron cuts a poor figure, making a shuffling excuse and betraying more dread of the anger of Moses than of the Lord (compare Deu 9:20).

JFB: Exo 32:25 - naked Either unarmed and defenseless, or ashamed from a sense of guilt. Some think they were literally naked, as the Egyptians performed some of their rites...

Either unarmed and defenseless, or ashamed from a sense of guilt. Some think they were literally naked, as the Egyptians performed some of their rites in that indecent manner.

JFB: Exo 32:26-28 - Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said The camp is supposed to have been protected by a rampart after the attack of the Amalekites.

The camp is supposed to have been protected by a rampart after the attack of the Amalekites.

JFB: Exo 32:26-28 - Who is on the Lord's side? let him come unto me The zeal and courage of Moses was astonishing, considering he opposed an intoxicated mob. The people were separated into two divisions, and those who ...

The zeal and courage of Moses was astonishing, considering he opposed an intoxicated mob. The people were separated into two divisions, and those who were the boldest and most obstinate in vindicating their idolatry were put to death, while the rest, who withdrew in shame or sorrow, were spared.

JFB: Exo 32:29 - Consecrate yourselves to-day to the Lord Or, "Ye have consecrated yourselves to-day." The Levites, notwithstanding the dejection of Aaron, distinguished themselves by their zeal for the honor...

Or, "Ye have consecrated yourselves to-day." The Levites, notwithstanding the dejection of Aaron, distinguished themselves by their zeal for the honor of God and their conduct in doing the office of executioners on this occasion; and this was one reason that they were appointed to a high and honorable office in the service of the sanctuary.

JFB: Exo 32:30-33 - 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 earnest...

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.

JFB: Exo 32:32 - blot me . . . out of thy book An allusion to the registering of the living, and erasing the names of those who die. What warmth of affection did he evince for his brethren! How ful...

An allusion to the registering of the living, and erasing the names of those who die. What warmth of affection did he evince for his brethren! How fully was he animated with the true spirit of a patriot, when he professed his willingness to die for them. But Christ actually died for His people (Rom 5:8).

JFB: Exo 32:35 - the Lord plagued the people, because they made the calf No immediate judgments were inflicted, but this early lapse into idolatry was always mentioned as an aggravation of their subsequent apostasies.

No immediate judgments were inflicted, but this early lapse into idolatry was always mentioned as an aggravation of their subsequent apostasies.

Clarke: Exo 32:1 - When the people saw that Moses delayed When the people saw that Moses delayed - How long this was before the expiration of the forty days, we cannot tell; but it certainly must have been ...

When the people saw that Moses delayed - How long this was before the expiration of the forty days, we cannot tell; but it certainly must have been some considerable time, as the ornaments must be collected, and the calf or ox, after having been founded, must require a considerable time to fashion it with the graving tool; and certainly not more than two or three persons could work on it at once. This work therefore, must have required several days

Clarke: Exo 32:1 - The people gathered themselves together The people gathered themselves together - They came in a tumultuous and seditious manner, insisting on having an object of religious worship made fo...

The people gathered themselves together - They came in a tumultuous and seditious manner, insisting on having an object of religious worship made for them, as they intended under its direction to return to Egypt. See Act 7:39, Act 7:40

Clarke: Exo 32:1 - As for this Moses, the man that brought us up As for this Moses, the man that brought us up - This seems to be the language of great contempt, and by it we may see the truth of the character giv...

As for this Moses, the man that brought us up - This seems to be the language of great contempt, and by it we may see the truth of the character given them by Aaron, Exo 32:22, they were set on mischief. It is likely they might have supposed that Moses had perished in the fire, which they saw had invested the top of the mountain into which he went.

Clarke: Exo 32:2 - Golden ear-rings Golden ear-rings - Both men and women wore these ornaments, and we may suppose that these were a part of the spoils which they brought out of Egypt....

Golden ear-rings - Both men and women wore these ornaments, and we may suppose that these were a part of the spoils which they brought out of Egypt. How strange, that the very things which were granted them by an especial influence and providence of God, should be now abused to the basest idolatrous purposes! But it is frequently the case that the gifts of God become desecrated by being employed in the service of sin; I will curse your blessings, saith the Lord, Mal 2:2.

Clarke: Exo 32:3 - And all the people brake off the golden ear-rings And all the people brake off the golden ear-rings - The human being is naturally fond of dress, though this has been improperly attributed to the fe...

And all the people brake off the golden ear-rings - The human being is naturally fond of dress, though this has been improperly attributed to the female sex alone, and those are most fond of it who have the shallowest capacities; but on this occasion the bent of the people to idolatry was greater than even their love of dress, so that they readily stripped themselves of their ornaments in order to get a molten god. They made some compensation for this afterwards; see Exo 36:22, and See Clarke’ s note on Exo 38:9.

Clarke: Exo 32:4 - Fashioned it with a graving tool Fashioned it with a graving tool - There has been much controversy about the meaning of the word חרט cheret in the text: some make it a mould,...

Fashioned it with a graving tool - There has been much controversy about the meaning of the word חרט cheret in the text: some make it a mould, others a garment, cloth, or apron; some a purse or bag, and others a graver. It is likely that some mould was made on this occasion, that the gold when fused was cast into it, and that afterwards it was brought into form and symmetry by the action of the chisel and graver

Clarke: Exo 32:4 - These be thy gods, O Israel These be thy gods, O Israel - The whole of this is a most strange and unaccountable transaction. Was it possible that the people could have so soon ...

These be thy gods, O Israel - The whole of this is a most strange and unaccountable transaction. Was it possible that the people could have so soon lost sight of the wonderful manifestations of God upon the mount? Was it possible that Aaron could have imagined that he could make any god that could help them? And yet it does not appear that he ever remonstrated with the people! Possibly he only intended to make them some symbolical representation of the Divine power and energy, that might be as evident to them as the pillar of cloud and fire had been, and to which God might attach an always present energy and influence; or in requiring them to sacrifice their ornaments, he might have supposed they would have desisted from urging their request: but all this is mere conjecture, with very little probability to support it. It must however be granted that Aaron does not appear to have even designed a worship that should supersede the worship of The Most High; hence we find him making proclamation, Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord, ( יהוה ); and we find farther that some of the proper rites of the true worship were observed on this occasion, for they brought burnt-offerings and peace-offerings, Exo 32:6, Exo 32:7 : hence it is evident he intended that the true God should be the object of their worship, though he permitted and even encouraged them to offer this worship through an idolatrous medium, the molten calf. It has been supposed that this was an exact resemblance of the famous Egyptian god Apis who was worshipped under the form of an ox, which worship the Israelites no doubt saw often practiced in Egypt. Some however think that this worship of Apis was not then established; but we have already had sufficient proof that different animals were sacred among the Egyptians, nor have we any account of any worship in Egypt earlier than that offered to Apis, under the figure of an Ox.

Clarke: Exo 32:5 - To-morrow is a feast to the Lord To-morrow is a feast to the Lord - In Bengal the officiating Brahmin, or an appointed person proclaims, "To-morrow, or on - day of -, such a ceremon...

To-morrow is a feast to the Lord - In Bengal the officiating Brahmin, or an appointed person proclaims, "To-morrow, or on - day of -, such a ceremony will be performed!"

Clarke: Exo 32:6 - The people sat down to eat and to drink The people sat down to eat and to drink - The burnt-offerings were wholly consumed; the peace-offerings, when the blood bad been poured out, became ...

The people sat down to eat and to drink - The burnt-offerings were wholly consumed; the peace-offerings, when the blood bad been poured out, became the food of the priests, etc. When therefore the strictly religious part of these ceremonies was finished, the people sat down to eat of the peace-offerings, and this they did merely as the idolaters, eating and drinking to excess. And it appears they went much farther, for it is said they rose up to play, לצחק letsachek , a word of ominous import, which seems to imply here fornicating and adulterous intercourse; and in some countries the verb to play is still used precisely in this sense. In this sense the original is evidently used, Gen 39:14.

Clarke: Exo 32:7 - Thy people - have corrupted themselves Thy people - have corrupted themselves - They had not only got into the spirit of idolatry, but they had become abominable in their conduct, so that...

Thy people - have corrupted themselves - They had not only got into the spirit of idolatry, but they had become abominable in their conduct, so that God disowns them to be his: Thy people have broken the covenant, and are no longer entitled to my protection and love

This is one pretense that the Roman Catholics have for the idolatry in their image worship. Their high priest, the pope, collects the ornaments of the people, and makes an image, a crucifix, a madonna, etc. The people worship it; but the pope says it is only to keep God in remembrance. But of the whole God says, Thy people have corrupted themselves; and thus as they continue in their idolatry, they have forfeited the blessings of the Lord’ s covenant. They are not God’ s people, they are the pope’ s people, and he is called "our holy father the pope."

Clarke: Exo 32:9 - A stiff-necked people A stiff-necked people - Probably an allusion to the stiff-necked ox, the object of their worship.

A stiff-necked people - Probably an allusion to the stiff-necked ox, the object of their worship.

Clarke: Exo 32:10 - Now therefore let me alone Now therefore let me alone - Moses had already begun to plead with God in the behalf of this rebellious and ungrateful people; and so powerful was h...

Now therefore let me alone - Moses had already begun to plead with God in the behalf of this rebellious and ungrateful people; and so powerful was his intercession that even the Omnipotent represents himself as incapable of doing any thing in the way of judgment, unless his creature desisted from praying for mercy! See an instance of the prevalence of fervent intercession in the case of Abraham, Gen 18:23-33, from the model of which the intercession of Moses seems to have been formed.

Clarke: Exo 32:14 - And the Lord repented of the evil And the Lord repented of the evil - This is spoken merely after the manner of men who, having formed a purpose, permit themselves to be diverted fro...

And the Lord repented of the evil - This is spoken merely after the manner of men who, having formed a purpose, permit themselves to be diverted from it by strong and forcible reasons, and so change their minds relative to their former intentions.

Clarke: Exo 32:15 - The tables were written on both their sides The tables were written on both their sides - If we take this literally, it was certainly a very unusual thing; for in ancient times the two sides o...

The tables were written on both their sides - If we take this literally, it was certainly a very unusual thing; for in ancient times the two sides of the same substance were never written over. However, some rabbins suppose that by the writing on both sides is meant the letters were cut through the tables, so that they might be read on both sides, though on one side they would appear reversed. Supposing this to be correct, if the letters were the same with those called Hebrew now in common use, the ס samech , which occurs twice, and the final ם mem which occurs twenty-three times in the ten commandments, both of these being close letters, could not be cut through on both sides without falling out, unless, as some of the Jews have imagined, they were held in by miracle; but if this ancient character were the same with the Samaritan, this through cutting might have been quite practicable, as there is not one close letter in the whole Samaritan alphabet. On this transaction there are the three following opinions

1.    We may conceive the tables of stone to have been thin slabs or a kind of slate, and the writing on the back side to have been a continuation of that on the front, the first not being sufficient to contain the whole

2.    Or the writing on the back side was probably the precepts that accompanied the ten commandments; the latter were written by the Lord, the former by Moses; see Clarke’ s note on Exo 34:1. See Clarke’ s note on Exo 34:27

3.    Or the same words were written on both sides, so that when held up, two parties might read at the same time.

Clarke: Exo 32:16 - The tables were the work of God The tables were the work of God - Because such a law could proceed from none but himself; God alone is the fountain and author of Law, of what is ri...

The tables were the work of God - Because such a law could proceed from none but himself; God alone is the fountain and author of Law, of what is right, just, holy, and good. See the meaning of the word Law, Exo 12:49 (note)

Clarke: Exo 32:16 - The writing was the writing of God The writing was the writing of God - For as he is the sole author of law and justice, so he alone can write them on the heart of man. This is agreea...

The writing was the writing of God - For as he is the sole author of law and justice, so he alone can write them on the heart of man. This is agreeable to the spirit of the new covenant which God had promised to make with men in the latter days: I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel - I will Put My Laws In Their Minds, And Write Them In Their Hearts, Jer 31:33; Heb 8:10; 2Co 3:3. That the writing of these tables was the writing of God, see proved at the conclusion of the last chapter.

Clarke: Exo 32:17 - Joshua - said - There is a noise of war in the camp Joshua - said - There is a noise of war in the camp - How natural was this thought to the mind of a military man! Hearing a confused noise he suppos...

Joshua - said - There is a noise of war in the camp - How natural was this thought to the mind of a military man! Hearing a confused noise he supposed that the Israelitish camp had been attacked by some of the neighboring tribes.

Clarke: Exo 32:18 - And he said And he said - That is, Moses returned this answer to the observations of Joshua.

And he said - That is, Moses returned this answer to the observations of Joshua.

Clarke: Exo 32:19 - He saw the calf, and the dancing He saw the calf, and the dancing - Dancing before the idol takes place in almost every Hindoo idolatrous feast - Ward

He saw the calf, and the dancing - Dancing before the idol takes place in almost every Hindoo idolatrous feast - Ward

Clarke: Exo 32:19 - He cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them He cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them - He might have done this through distress and anguish of spirit, on beholding their abominable ...

He cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them - He might have done this through distress and anguish of spirit, on beholding their abominable idolatry and dissolute conduct; or he probably did it emblematically, intimating thereby that, as by this act of his the tables were broken in pieces, on which the law of God was written; so they, by their present conduct, had made a breach in the covenant, and broken the laws of their Maker. But we must not excuse this act; it was rash and irreverent; God’ s writing should not have been treated in this way.

Clarke: Exo 32:20 - He took the calf - and burnt - and ground it to powder, etc. He took the calf - and burnt - and ground it to powder, etc. - How truly contemptible must the object of their idolatry appear when they were oblige...

He took the calf - and burnt - and ground it to powder, etc. - How truly contemptible must the object of their idolatry appear when they were obliged to drink their god, reduced to powder and strewed on the water! "But,"says an objector, "how could gold, the most ductile of all metals, and the most ponderous, be stamped into dust and strewed on water?"In Deu 9:21, this matter is fully explained. I took, says Moses, your sin, the calf which ye had made, and burnt it with fire, that is, melted it down, probably into ingots, or gross plates, and stamped it, that is, beat into thin laminae, something like our gold leaf, and ground it very small, even until it was as small as dust, which might be very easily done by the action of the hands, when beat into thin plates or leaves, as the original words אכת eccoth and דק dak imply. And I cast the dust thereof into the brook, and being thus lighter than the water, it would readily float, so that they could easily see, in this reduced and useless state, the idol to which they had been lately offering Divine honors, and from which they were vainly expecting protection and defense. No mode of argumentation could have served so forcibly to demonstrate the folly of their conduct, as this method pursued by Moses.

Clarke: Exo 32:21 - What did this people unto thee What did this people unto thee - It seems if Aaron had been firm, this evil might have been prevented.

What did this people unto thee - It seems if Aaron had been firm, this evil might have been prevented.

Clarke: Exo 32:22 - Thou knowest the people Thou knowest the people - He excuses himself by the wicked and seditious spirit of the people, intimating that he was obliged to accede to their des...

Thou knowest the people - He excuses himself by the wicked and seditious spirit of the people, intimating that he was obliged to accede to their desires.

Clarke: Exo 32:24 - I cast it into the fire and there came out this calf I cast it into the fire and there came out this calf - What a silly and ridiculous subterfuge! He seems to insinuate that he only threw the metal in...

I cast it into the fire and there came out this calf - What a silly and ridiculous subterfuge! He seems to insinuate that he only threw the metal into the fire, and that the calf came unexpectedly out by mere accident. The Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel makes a similar excuse for him: "And I said unto them, Whosoever hath gold, let him break it off and give it to me; and I cast it into the fire, and Satan entered into it, and it came out in the form of this calf!"Just like the popish legend of the falling of the shrine of our Lady of Loretta out of heaven! These legends come from the same quarter. Satan can provide more when necessary for his purpose.

Clarke: Exo 32:25 - Moses saw that the people were naked Moses saw that the people were naked - They were stripped, says the Targum, of the holy crown that was upon their heads, on which the great and prec...

Moses saw that the people were naked - They were stripped, says the Targum, of the holy crown that was upon their heads, on which the great and precious name Jehovah was engraved. But it is more likely that the word פרע parua implies that they were reduced to the most helpless and wretched state, being abandoned by God in the midst of their enemies. This is exactly similar to that expression, 2Ch 28:19 : For the Lord brought Judah low, because of Ahaz king of Israel: for he made Judah Naked, הפריע hiphria , and transgressed sore against the Lord. Their nakedness, therefore, though in the first sense it may imply that several of them were despoiled of their ornaments, yet it may also express their defenceless and abandoned state, in consequence of their sin. That they could not literally have all been despoiled of their ornaments, appears evident from their offerings. See Exo 36:21, etc.

Clarke: Exo 32:26 - Who is on the Lord’ s side? Who is on the Lord’ s side? - That is, Who among you is free from this transgression? And all the sons of Levi, etc. - It seems they had no par...

Who is on the Lord’ s side? - That is, Who among you is free from this transgression? And all the sons of Levi, etc. - It seems they had no part in this idolatrous business.

Clarke: Exo 32:27 - From gate to gate From gate to gate - It is probable that there was an enclosed or entrenched camp, in which the chief rulers and heads of the people were, and that t...

From gate to gate - It is probable that there was an enclosed or entrenched camp, in which the chief rulers and heads of the people were, and that this camp had two gates or outlets; and the Levites were commanded to pass from one to the other, slaying as many of the transgressors as they could find.

Clarke: Exo 32:28 - There fell about three thousand men There fell about three thousand men - These were no doubt the chief transgressors; having broken the covenant by having other gods besides Jehovah, ...

There fell about three thousand men - These were no doubt the chief transgressors; having broken the covenant by having other gods besides Jehovah, they lost the Divine protection, and then the justice of God laid hold on and slew them. Moses doubtless had positive orders from God for this act of justice, (see Exo 32:27); for though, through his intercession, the people were spared so as not to be exterminated as a nation, yet the principal transgressors, those who were set on mischief, Exo 32:22, were to be put to death.

Clarke: Exo 32:29 - For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves - Fill your hands to the Lord. See the reason of this form of speech in the note on Exo 29:19 (note).

For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves - Fill your hands to the Lord. See the reason of this form of speech in the note on Exo 29:19 (note).

Clarke: Exo 32:31 - Moses returned unto the Lord Moses returned unto the Lord - Before he went down from the mountain God had acquainted him with the general defection of the people, whereupon he i...

Moses returned unto the Lord - Before he went down from the mountain God had acquainted him with the general defection of the people, whereupon he immediately, without knowing the extent of their crime, began to make intercession for them; and God, having given him a general assurance that they should not be cut off, hastened him to go down, and bring them off from their idolatry. Having descended, he finds matters much worse than he expected, and ordered three thousand of the principal delinquents to be slain; but knowing that an evil so extensive must be highly provoking in the sight of the just and holy God, he finds it highly expedient that an atonement be made for the sin: for although he had the promise of God that as a nation they should not be exterminated, yet he had reason to believe that Divine justice must continue to contend with them, and prevent them from ever entering the promised land. That he was apprehensive that this would be the case, we may see plainly from the following verse.

Clarke: Exo 32:32 - Forgive their sin - ; and if not, blot me - out of thy book Forgive their sin - ; and if not, blot me - out of thy book - It is probable that one part of Moses’ work during the forty days of his residen...

Forgive their sin - ; and if not, blot me - out of thy book - It is probable that one part of Moses’ work during the forty days of his residence on the mount with God, was his regulating the muster-roll of all the tribes and families of Israel, in reference to the parts they were respectively to act in the different transactions in the wilderness, promised land, etc.; and this, being done under the immediate direction of God, is termed God’ s book which he had written, (such muster-rolls, or registers, called also genealogies, the Jews have had from the remotest period of their history); and it is probable that God had told him, that those who should break the covenant which he had then made with them should be blotted out of that list, and never enter into the promised land. All this Moses appears to have particularly in view, and, without entering into any detail, immediately comes to the point which he knew was fixed when this list or muster-roll was made, namely, that those who should break the covenant should be blotted out, and never have any inheritance in the promised land: therefore he says, This people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold; thus they had broken the covenant, (see the first and second commandments), and by this had forfeited their right to Canaan. Yet now, he adds, if thou wilt forgive their sin, that they may yet attain the promised inheritance - ; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written - if thou wilt blot out their names from this register, and never suffer them to enter Canaan, blot me out also; for I cannot bear the thought of enjoying that blessedness, while my people and their posterity shall be for ever excluded. And God, in kindness to Moses, spared him the mortification of going into Canaan without taking the people with him. They had forfeited their lives, and were sentenced to die in the wilderness; and Moses’ prayer was answered in mercy to him, while the people suffered under the hand of justice. But the promise of God did not fail; for, although those who sinned were blotted out of the book, yet their posterity enjoyed the inheritance

This seems to be the simple and pure light in which this place should be viewed; and in this sense St. Paul is to be understood, Rom 9:3, where he says: For I could wish that myself were Accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh; who are Israelites, to whom pertaineth the Adoption, and the Glory, and the Covenants. Moses could not survive the destruction of his people by the neighboring nations, nor their exclusion from the promised land; and St. Paul, seeing the Jews about to be cut off by the Roman sword for their rejection of the Gospel, was willing to be deprived of every earthly blessing, and even to become a sacrifice for them, if this might contribute to the preservation and salvation of the Jewish state. Both those eminent men, engaged in the same work, influenced by a spirit of unparalleled patriotism, were willing to forfeit every blessing of a secular kind, even die for the welfare of the people. But certainly, neither of them could wish to go to eternal perdition, to save their countrymen from being cut off, the one by the sword of the Philistines, the other by that of the Romans. Even the supposition is monstrous

On this mode of interpretation we may at once see what is implied in the book of life, and being written in or blotted out of such a book. In the public registers, all that were born of a particular tribe were entered in the list of their respective families under that tribe. This was the book of life; but when any of those died, his name might be considered as blotted out from this list. Our baptismal registers, which record the births of all the inhabitants of a particular parish or district, and which are properly our books of life; and our bills of mortality, which are properly our books of death, or the lists of those who are thus blotted out from our baptismal registers or books of life; are very significant and illustrative remains of the ancient registers, or books of life and death among the Jews, the Greeks, the Romans, and most ancient nations. It is worthy of remark, that in China the names of the persons who have been tried on criminal processes are written in two distinct books, which are called the book of life and the book of death: those who have been acquitted, or who have not been capitally convicted, are written in the former; those who have been found guilty, in the latter. These two books are presented to the emperor by his ministers, who, as sovereign, has a right to erase any name from either: to place the living among the dead, that he may die; or the dead, that is, the person condemned to death, among the living, that he may be preserved. Thus he blots out of the book of life or the book of death according to his sovereign pleasure, on the representation of his ministers, or the intercession of friends, etc. An ancient and extremely rich picture, in my own possession, representing this circumstance, painted in China, was thus interpreted to me by a native Chinese.

Clarke: Exo 32:33 - Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out - As if the Divine Being had said: "All my conduct is regulated by infinite justice and righte...

Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out - As if the Divine Being had said: "All my conduct is regulated by infinite justice and righteousness: in no case shall the innocent ever suffer for the guilty. That no man may transgress through ignorance, I have given you my law, and thus published my covenant; the people themselves have acknowledged its justice and equity, and have voluntarily ratified it. He then that sins against me, (for sin is the transgression of the law, 1Jo 3:4, and the law must be published and known that it may be binding), him will I blot out of my book."And is it not remarkable that to these conditions of the covenant God strictly adhered, so that not one soul of these transgressors ever entered into the promised rest! Here was justice. And yet, though they deserved death, they were spared! Here was mercy. Thus, as far as justice would permit, mercy extended; and as far as mercy would permit, justice proceeded. Behold, O reader, the Goodness and Severity of God! Mercy saves all that Justice can spare; and Justice destroys all that Mercy should not save.

Clarke: Exo 32:34 - Lead the people unto the place Lead the people unto the place - The word place is not in the text, and is with great propriety omitted. For Moses never led this people into that p...

Lead the people unto the place - The word place is not in the text, and is with great propriety omitted. For Moses never led this people into that place, they all died in the wilderness except Joshua and Caleb; but Moses led them towards the place, and thus the particle אל el here should be understood, unless we suppose that God designed to lead them to the borders of the land, but not to take them into it

Clarke: Exo 32:34 - I will visit their sin I will visit their sin - I will not destroy them, but they shall not enter into the promised land. They shall wander in the wilderness till the pres...

I will visit their sin - I will not destroy them, but they shall not enter into the promised land. They shall wander in the wilderness till the present generation become extinct.

Clarke: Exo 32:35 - The Lord plagued the people The Lord plagued the people - Every time they transgressed afterwards Divine justice seems to have remembered this transgression against them. The J...

The Lord plagued the people - Every time they transgressed afterwards Divine justice seems to have remembered this transgression against them. The Jews have a metaphorical saying, apparently founded on this text: "No affliction has ever happened to Israel in which there was not some particle of the dust of the golden calf.

1. The attentive reader has seen enough in this chapter to induce him to exclaim, How soon a clear sky may be overcast! How soon may the brightest prospects be obscured! Israel had just ratified its covenant with Jehovah, and had received the most encouraging and unequivocal pledges of his protection and love. But they sinned, and provoked the Lord to depart from them, and to destroy the work of his hands. A little more faith, patience, and perseverance, and they should have been safely brought into the promised land. For want of a little more dependence upon God, how often does an excellent beginning come to an unhappy conclusion! Many who were just on the borders of the promised land, and about to cross Jordan, have, through an act of unfaithfulness, been turned back to wander many a dreary year in the wilderness. Reader, be on thy guard. Trust in Christ, and watch unto prayer

2. Many people have been greatly distressed on losing their baptismal register, and have been reduced in consequence to great political inconvenience. But still they had their lives, and should a living man complain? But a man may so sin as to provoke God to cut him off; or, like a fruitless tree, be cut down, because he encumbers the ground. Or he may have sinned a sin unto death, 1Jo 5:16, 1Jo 5:17, that is, a sin which God will punish with temporal death, while he extends mercy to the soul

3. With respect to the blotting out of God’ s book, on which there has been so much controversy, Is it not evident that a soul could not be blotted out of a book in which it had never been written? And is it not farther evident from Exo 32:32, Exo 32:33, that, although a man be written in God’ s book, if he sins he may be blotted out? Let him that readeth understand; and let him that standeth take heed lest he fall. Reader, be not high-minded, but fear. See Clarke’ s note on Exo 32:32, and See Clarke’ s note on Exo 32:33.

Calvin: Exo 32:1 - And when the people saw that Moses 1.And when the people saw that Moses. In this narrative we perceive the detestable impiety of the people, their worse than base ingratitude, and thei...

1.And when the people saw that Moses. In this narrative we perceive the detestable impiety of the people, their worse than base ingratitude, and their monstrous madness, mixed with stupidity. For their sakes Moses had been carried up above the state of terrestrial life, that he might receive the injunctions of his mission, and that his authority might be beyond the reach of controversy. They perversely declare that they know not what has become of him, nay, they speak contemptuously of him as of a person unknown to them. It is for this that Stephen severely blames them, 324 This is that Moses (he says) whom your fathers rejected, though he was the minister of their salvation. (Act 7:35.) They confess that he had been their deliverer, yet they cannot tolerate his absence for a little time, nor are they affected with any reverence towards him, unless they have him before their eyes. Moreover, 325 although God offered Himself as if present with them by day and by night in the pillar of fire, and in the cloud, they still despised so illustrious and lively an image of His glory and power, and desire to have Him represented to them in the shape of a dead idol. For what could they mean by saying, “make us gods which shall go before us?” Could they not see the pillar of fire and the cloud? Was not God’s paternal solicitude abundantly conspicuous every day in the manna? Was he not near them in ways innumerable

Yet, accounting as nothing all these true, and sure, and manifest tokens of God’s presence, they desire to have a figure which may satisfy their vanity. And this was the original source of idolatry, that men supposed that they could not otherwise possess God, unless by subjecting Him to their own imagination. Nothing, however, can be more preposterous; for since the minds of men and all their senses sink far below the loftiness of God, when they try to bring Him down to the measure of their own weak capacity, they travesty Him. In a word, whatever man’s reason conceives of Him is mere falsehood; and nevertheless, this depraved longing can hardly be repressed, so fiercely does it burst out. They are also influenced by pride and presumption, when they do not hesitate to drag down His glory as it were from heaven, and to subject it to earthly elements. We now understand what motive chiefly impelled the Israelites to this madness in demanding that a figure of God should be set before them, viz., because they measured Him by their own senses. Wonderful indeed was their stupidity, to desire that a God should be made by mortal men, as if he could be a god, or could deserve to be accounted such who obtains his divinity at the caprice of men. Still, it is not probable that they were so absurd as to desire a new god to be created for them; but they call “gods” by metonymy those outward images, by looking at which the superstitious imagine that God is near them. And this is evident from the fact, that not only the noun but the verb also is in the plural number; for although they were satisfied with one God, still they in a manner cut Him to pieces by their various representations of Him. Nevertheless, however they may deceive themselves under this or that pretext, they still desire to be creators of God.

Those who suppose that confusion is implied by the word “delayed,” are, in my opinion, mistaken; for, although the word בשש , boshesh, with its third radical doubled, is derived from בוש , bush, which means to be ashamed, still it is clear from Jud 5:28, that it is used simply for to delay, where it is said, in the address of the mother of Sisera, “Why 326 does his chariot delay (or defer) to come?”

Hence we may understand that hypocrites so fear God as that religion vanishes from their hearts, unless there be some task-master ( exactor) standing by them to keep them in the path of duty. They duly obeyed Moses and reverenced his person; but, because they were only influenced by his presence, as soon as they were deprived of it they ceased to fear God. Thus, whilst Joshua was alive, and the other holy Judges, they seemed to be faithful in the exercise of piety, but when they were dead, they straightway relapsed into disobedience.

Calvin: Exo 32:2 - And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden ear-rings 2.And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden ear-rings. I doubt not but that Aaron, being overcome by the importunate clamor of the people, endea...

2.And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden ear-rings. I doubt not but that Aaron, being overcome by the importunate clamor of the people, endeavored to escape by means of a subterfuge; still, this is no valid excuse for him, since he ought to have heartily opposed them in a direct reply, and sharply to have inveighed against their wicked renunciation of God. By commanding them to give him gold, he might have quieted their intemperate demands through dread of the expense; but it was a remedy more likely to be successful, to snatch from them those ornaments and trinkets of which women do not willingly allow themselves to be deprived. He therefore purposely requires of them a hateful, or at any rate a by no means pleasant thing, that he might thus impede their sinful design; but without success, for the power of superstition to carry people away is not less than that of lust. Perhaps also he had the tabernacle in view, lest they should sacrilegiously proceed to lay hands on the sacred vessels; and there was a probability that, if it remained uninjured, the sight of it might at length recall them to a better mind. Besides, the recollection of their recent profuse liberality might have extinguished or cooled their ardor, from the fear of being utterly drained. He says emphatically, “Break 327 off the ear-rings from your wives and children,” that they may desist from the purpose out of dread of giving offense, since women are slow to part with such objects of gratification. But it is added immediately afterwards, that they were so blinded by the fervor of their foolish zeal, that they undervalued everything in comparison with their perverse desire, and thus the ornaments were taken from their ears. The readiness with which this was done was wonderful; and not by one person, or by a few, but by the whole people, as if in rivalry of each other. Even in these days ear-rings are worn by the 328 Orientals, though it is not so common among us. Now, if unbelievers are so prodigal in their absurdities as to throw away thus carelessly and rashly whatever is precious to them, how shall their tenacity be excusable who are so niggardly in providing for the service of God? Hence let us learn to beware of foolishly squandering our possessions in unnecessary expenditure, and to be liberal where we ought; especially to be ready to spend ourselves, and what we have, when we know that our offerings are pleasing and acceptable to God.

Calvin: Exo 32:4 - And he received them at their hand 4.And he received them at their hand. He briefly narrates this base and shameful deed; yet sufficiently shows, that whilst Aaron yielded to their mad...

4.And he received them at their hand. He briefly narrates this base and shameful deed; yet sufficiently shows, that whilst Aaron yielded to their madness, he still desired to cure it, though, at the same time, he was weak and frightened, so as to pretend to give his assent, because he feared the consequences of the tumult as regarded himself. For why does he not command the ear-rings to be thrown into some chest, lest he should pollute himself by the contagion of the sacrilege? Since, therefore, he received them into his own hands, it was a sign of a servile and effeminate mind; and thus he is said to have been the founder, or sculptor of the calf, when it is nevertheless probable that workmen were employed upon it. But the infamy of the crime is justly brought upon him, inasmuch as he was its main author, and by his guilt betrayed the religion and honor of God.

The Hebrew word 329 חרט , cheret, some translate a stylus or graving-tool, some a mould; the former think that the rough mass was formed by sculpture into the shape of a calf; the latter, that the calf was cast or founded; as we say, jetter en mousle, to cast in a mould. Ridiculous, however, is the fable, that when the gold was thrown into a furnace, it came forth like a calf without human workmanship; but thus licentiously do the Jews trifle with their fond inventions. The more probable conjecture is, that Aaron designedly sought a remedy for the people’s folly.

It was a disgraceful thing to prostrate themselves before a calf, in which there was no connection or affinity with the glory of God; and with this the Prophet expressly reproaches them, that “they changed their glory ( i. e. , God, in whom alone they should have gloried) into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass.” (Psa 106:20.) For, if it be insulting to God to force Him into the likeness of men, with how much greater and more inexcusable ignominy is His majesty defiled, when He is compared to brute animals? Still it had no effect towards bringing them to repentance; and this is expressed with much force immediately afterwards, when they said to each other, “These be thy gods, O Israel.” Surely the hideousness of the spectacle should have struck them with horror, so as to induce them voluntarily to condemn their own madness; but, on the contrary, they mutually exhort one another to obstinacy; for there is no doubt but that Moses indicates that they were like fans to each other, and thus that their frenzy was reciprocally excited. For, as Isaiah and Micah exhort believers, that each of them should stretch out his hand to his brother, and that they should say to each other,

“Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord;” (Isa 2:3; Mic 4:2;)

thus does perverse rivalry provoke unbelievers mutually to excite each other to progress in sin. Still they neither speak ironically nor in mockery of God, nor have any intention of falling away from Him; but they cover their sin against Him under a deceitful pretext, as if they denied that by their new and unwonted mode of worship, they desired to detract from the honor of their Redeemer; but rather that it was thus magnified because they worshipped Himself under a visible image. Thus now-a-days do the Papists boldly obtrude their fictitious rites upon God; and boast that they do more for Him by their additions and inventions than as if they merely continued within the bounds prescribed by Himself. But let us learn from this passage, that whatever colouring superstition may give to its idols, and by whatever titles it may dignify them, they remain idols still; for, however those who corrupt the pure worship of God by their inventions, may pride themselves on their good intentions, they still deny the true God, and substitute devils in His place.

Their conjecture is probable who suppose that, Aaron devised the calf in accordance with Egyptian superstition; for it is well known with what senseless worship that nation honored its god 330 Anubis. It is true that they kept 331 a live bull to be consulted as the supreme god; but, inasmuch as the people were accustomed to this fictitious deity, Aaron seems in obedience to their madness to have followed that old custom, from whence they had contracted the error, which was so deeply rooted in their hearts. Thus from bad examples does contagion easily creep into the hearts of those who were else untainted; nor is it without good reason that David protests that idols should be held in such abomination by him, that he would not even “take up their names into his lips,” (Psa 16:4;) for, unless we seriously abhor the ungodly, and withdraw ourselves as far as possible from their superstitions, they straightway infect us by their pestilential influence.

Calvin: Exo 32:5 - And, when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it 5.And, when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. When he sees the people so infuriated, that he despairs of being able to resist their conspira...

5.And, when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. When he sees the people so infuriated, that he despairs of being able to resist their conspiracy, in perfidious cowardice he gives way to compliance. And this end awaits all those who do not dare ingenuously and firmly to maintain what is right, but who bargain, as it were, and descend to compromises; for, after they have vacillated for a while, 332 they at length succumb altogether, so as to shrink from nothing, however unworthy and disgraceful. He seems, indeed, by his proclamation to uplift their minds to the worship of the true God; but, when he is violating the law just given, it is a wretched quibble to shield their offensive and degenerate worship under God’s sacred name.

Calvin: Exo 32:6 - And they rose up early on the morrow 6.And they rose up early on the morrow. The earnestness of the people in the prosecution of their error is again set forth; for there is no doubt but...

6.And they rose up early on the morrow. The earnestness of the people in the prosecution of their error is again set forth; for there is no doubt but that it was at their demand that Aaron proclaimed the solemn sacrifice; and now it is not only added that they were ready for it in time, but their extraordinary diligence is declared in that they appeared at the very dawn of day. Now, if, at the instigation of the devil, unbelievers are thus driven headlong to their destruction, alas for our inertness, if at least an equal alacrity does not manifest itself in our zeal! Thus it is said in the Psalm, (Psa 110:3,)

“Thy 333 people (shall come) with voluntary offerings in the day
(of the assembling) of thy army.”

What follows as to the people sitting down “to eat and to drink,” many 334 ignorantly wrest to mean intemperance; as also they wrongly expound their “rising up to play,” as meaning lasciviousness; whereas thus Moses rather designates the sacred banquet and sports engaged in, in honor of the idols; for, as we have seen elsewhere, the faithful feasted before God at their sacrifices, and so also heathen nations celebrated sacred feasts, whilst they worshipped their idols in games. Of this point Paul is the surest interpreter, who quotes this passage in condemnation of the idolatry of the ancient people, and ably accommodates it to the purpose he had in hand; for the Corinthians had not gone to such an excess as to bow their knees to idols, but were boon-companions of unbelievers in their polluted sacrifices. (1Co 10:20.)

Calvin: Exo 32:7 - And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down 7.And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down. This was a violent temptation to shake the faith of Moses. He thought that his own and the people...

7.And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down. This was a violent temptation to shake the faith of Moses. He thought that his own and the people’s happiness was absolutely complete, when God’s covenant was engraven on the tables to secure its perpetuity; whereas now he hears that this covenant was violated, and almost annihilated by the perfidy and rebellion of the people, whilst its abolition involved the loss of salvation and all other blessings. Moreover, that God might more sorely wound the mind of the holy man, He addresses him exactly as if part of the ignominy fell upon himself; for there is an indirect reproach implied in the words, “thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt.” Yet Moses had only taken this charge upon him by God’s command, and, indeed, unwillingly; how, then, is this deliverance thrown in his teeth, wherein he had only obeyed God? and why is his devotedness spoken of in mockery, as if he had bestowed his labor amiss, when no part of the blame attaches to him? I have already said that God sometimes thus pierces the hearts of the godly to the quick, in order to prove their patience, as if their well-directed zeal had been the cause of the evils which occur. Some 335 give too subtle an exposition to this, viz., that they are called the people of Moses, because they had ceased to be the people of God; and suppose that there is an antithesis here, as if it were said, — your people, and not mine; but I fear this is not well founded; for, since they had broken the covenant, they were not more alienated from God than from Moses the minister of the Law. I do not deny that it is an implied renunciation of them; but we must bear in mind that design of God, to which I have already adverted, that Moses was in a manner implicated in their crime, in order that his patience might be tried, and also that he might be more grieved at its enormity. Meanwhile, it is obvious that God refers to His recent grace, because it was a monstrous and incredible thing that those who had been lately delivered by this amazing power, and with whom He had just renewed His covenant, should be so suddenly drawn away into rebellion. He adds also, in aggravation of their crime, that they had immediately turned aside from the way which was pointed out to them. Forty days had not yet elapsed since Moses left them, when they were impelled by their depravity to such madness as this. A little time ago they had manifested a wonderful zeal for God’s service, by abundantly contributing what was required; the glory of the tabernacle was presented to their eyes to restrain them; and yet they burst through all these barriers, and rush impetuously after their own lust, when scarcely six months had passed since the promulgation of the Law. The verb שחת shicheth, being in the Pihel conjugation, is active; and yet is employed without being intensive; I have, therefore, rendered it, corrupted themselves, though it might be appropriately taken passively, viz., that the people had been corrupted.

Calvin: Exo 32:8 - They have turned aside quickly out of the way 8.They have turned aside quickly out of the way. So speedy a transgression, as I have said, aggravates their crime. God then states the nature of the...

8.They have turned aside quickly out of the way. So speedy a transgression, as I have said, aggravates their crime. God then states the nature of their corruption, that they have worshipped a molten calf, that is to say, the work of their own hands. But it is to be observed, that what they had put forward as a colouring for their ungodliness is alleged last, as the climax of their sin; for, when they said that these were their gods which had brought them up, their object was to advance a legitimate excuse, as if they were not falling away from the worship of the true God, and their Deliverer, but that rather it was an evidence of their more fervent zeal, that they should fall down as worshippers before the calf in honor of Him. But God retorts this upon them, and complains of the gross indignity which was put upon Him, when the dead image of a calf was substituted in the place of His glory.

Calvin: Exo 32:9 - I have seen this people, and behold 9.I have seen this people, and behold. This was, indeed, the sharpest and sorest trial of the faith of Moses; when God seemed to contradict Himself a...

9.I have seen this people, and behold. This was, indeed, the sharpest and sorest trial of the faith of Moses; when God seemed to contradict Himself and to depart from His covenant. If ever, after having been long oppressed by excessive calamities, we are not only wearied by the delay, but also agitated with various doubts, which at length tempt us to despair, as if God had disappointed us by deceptive promises, the contest is severe and terrible; but when God seems at first sight to throw discredit upon His own words, we have need of unusual fortitude and firmness to sustain this assault. For, since faith is founded on the Word, when that Word appears to be at issue with itself, how in such conflicting circumstances could pious minds be sustained unless they were supported by the incomparable power of the Spirit? Still in the mind of Abraham there was such strength of faith, that he came forth as a conqueror from this kind of temptation. He had heard from God’s own mouth, “In Isaac shall thy seed be called;” he is afterwards commanded to slay him, and reduce his body to ashes; yet, because he is persuaded that God was able to raise him up seed even from the dead, he obeys the command. (Heb 11:17.) The same thing is here recorded of Moses, before whom God sets a kind of contradiction in His Word, when He declares that He has the intention of destroying that people, to which He had promised the land of Canaan. Nevertheless, we see how successfully he strove, since, trusting in the eternal and inviolable covenant of God, he did not cease to cherish a good hope. If any still should ask whether it was right for him to despise or count for nothing what was said to him in the second place as to the utter destruction of the people, I reply, that the victory of his faith did not consist in subtle disquisitions, but that having embraced God’s covenant with both arms, as they say, he was so fortified by his confidence that he had room for no objections; and, in point, of fact, pious minds which rest on firm assurance, although unable to free themselves from every perplexity which occurs, still do not waver, but keep a tight grasp on what the Spirit of God has once sealed to them; and, if sometimes it happens that they begin to doubt or vacillate, nevertheless they come back to their foundation and break through every obstacle, so as never to desist from calling upon God. Meanwhile, it is certain that, whilst God is trying the faith of Moses, He quickens his mind to be more earnest in prayer, even as Moses himself was led in that direction by the secret influence of the Spirit. Nor is there any reason why slanderous tongues should here impugn God, as if He pretended before men what He had not decreed in Himself; for it is no proof that He is variable or deceitful if, when speaking of men’s sins, and pointing out what they deserve, He does not lay open His incomprehensible counsel. He here presents Himself in the character of Judge; He pronounces sentence of condemnation against the criminals; he postpones their pardon to a fitting season. Hence we gather that his secret judgments are a great deep; whilst, at the same time, His will is declared to us in His word as far as suffices for our edification in faith and piety. And this is more clearly expressed by the context; for He asks of Moses to let Him alone. Now, what does this mean? Is it not that, unless he should obtain a truce from a human being, He will not be able freely to execute His vengeance? — adopting, that is to say, by this mode of expression, the character of another, He declares his high estimation of His servant, to whose prayers He pays such deference as to say that they are a hinderance to him. Thus it is said in Psa 106:23, that Moses “stood in the breach, to turn away the wrath” of God. Hence do we plainly perceive the wonderful goodness of God, who not only hears the prayers of His people when they humbly call upon Him, but suffers them to be in a manner intercessors with Him.

He assigns as the reason why He should be implacable, that He well knew the desperate and incurable wickedness of the people; for by “stiff-necked,” indomitable obstinacy is metaphorically expressed; and the similitude is taken from stubborn oxen who cannot be brought to submit to the yoke. Now, where such hardness and obstinacy exists, there is no room for pardon. It is indeed an expression which must not be taken literally, that God had learnt by experience that they were a stiff-necked people; but we know that God often assumes human feelings; for unless He should thus come down to us, our minds could never attain to His loftiness. The sum is, that the character of the people was desperate, inasmuch as they had already manifested their inflexible perverseness by many proofs. Still, lest Moses should grieve at the loss of his noble chieftainship, a compensation is promised him; by which trial it appeared that he did not regard his own private interests or advantages.

Calvin: Exo 32:11 - And Moses besought the Lord his God 11.And Moses besought the Lord his God It is clear that this prayer sprang from faith, though in it he seems to fight against the very word of God; f...

11.And Moses besought the Lord his God It is clear that this prayer sprang from faith, though in it he seems to fight against the very word of God; for God had said, Get thee down to thy people; but his answer is, Nay, it is thine. But, as I have lately stated, inasmuch as he firmly grasped the principle, that it was impossible for God’s covenant to be made ineffective, he breaks through or surmounts all obstacles with closed eyes as it were. He proves them to be God’s people by the benefit they had so recently received; yet he mainly relies on the covenant; nay, he mentions their deliverance as a result of it; for he proceeds afterwards to say, “Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel.” We see, therefore, that the first ground of his confidence is the promise, although Moses refers first of all to the fact that the people had been delivered by the hand of God. He so expressly particularizes His “mighty hand,” and “great power,” to signify that the more conspicuous God’s miracles had been, the more was His glory exposed to the calumnies of the ungodly; and this he immediately afterwards explains, “Wherefore should the Egyptians speak,” etc.

The particle, ברעה , beragnah, which the old interpreter 336 renders craftily, and others maliciously, I prefer simply to translate unto evil, (ad malum,) as denoting an unprosperous and unhappy issue. The exposition which others give, “under an unlucky star,” seems to me to be too far-fetched. 337 I have no doubt, therefore, but that Moses signifies that this would be a consolation to the Egyptians in their misfortunes if the people should be destroyed, as if God had thus avenged them against their enemies; besides, by this misapprehension, the memory of God’s grace, as well as of His judgment, would have been destroyed; for the Egyptians would have hardened themselves, and would have been untouched by any sense of guilt, deeming that God would shew no mercy to His elect people.

What follows, “repent of this evil,” is spoken in accordance with common parlance, for the saints often stammer in their prayers, and, whilst unburdening their cares into the bosom of God, address him in their infirmity as by no means befits His nature; as, for instance, when they ask Him, How long wilt thou sleep? or be forgetful? or shut thine eyes? or hide thy face? But with God repentance is nothing but a change of dealing, wherein He seems to retrace His course, as if He had conceived some fresh design. When, therefore, it is said a little further on that “the Lord repented of the evil,” it is tantamount to saying, that He was appeased; not because He retracts in Himself what He has once decreed, but because He does not execute the sentence He had pronounced. If my readers 338 desire more on this point, let them consult my Comments on Genesis and the Prophets.

Calvin: Exo 32:13 - Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants 13.Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants He does not bring thern forward as patrons, by the assistance of whose voice he might obtain wha...

13.Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants He does not bring thern forward as patrons, by the assistance of whose voice he might obtain what He seeks; but because the promise was lodged with them, which they transmitted as an inheritance to their descendants. We must observe, then, the quality or character with which God had invested the Patriarchs. For which reason it is said in Psa 132:1, “Lord, remember David, and all his afflictions.” And hence the ignorance and folly of the Papists are easily refuted, who imagine from these testimonies that the dead are ordained to be intercessors.

He also purposely refers to God’s oath, whereby He had more solemnly bound Himself, so that His promise might be more sure and authoritative. The Apostle, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, 6:13, tells us why God swears by Himself; viz., “because he could swear by no greater;” though sometimes to the same effect He swears by His throne in heaven, or His sanctuary.

In fine, it is uncertain whether there is a ὕστερον πρότερον or not in this prayer, for we shall see as we proceed that when Moses returned a second time, he prayed for the preservation of the people, and was heard. Nor was this done in a moment; but he again occupied forty days in reconciling the people with God. To myself it seems probable that Moses, amazed at the horrible denunciation, immediately offered his prwer; and without receiving a reply promising pardon, came down in suspense to apply a remedy to the evil; for it was by no means likely that, after having heard so severe and weighty a threat, he would have interposed no supplications, when he was so deeply anxious for the safety of the people.

Calvin: Exo 32:15 - And Moses turned, and went down, from the mount 15.And Moses turned, and went down, from the mount Moses comes down by God’s command to be a spectator of this wicked revolt, that the enormity of ...

15.And Moses turned, and went down, from the mount Moses comes down by God’s command to be a spectator of this wicked revolt, that the enormity of the act might the more arouse him both to disgust and detestation of the crime, and to the endeavor to find a remedy for it. Although, however, God had pronounced sentence of rejection against the people, He still leaves the tables that testified of the covenant untouched in the hands of Moses, not that He wished them to remain whole, as we shall soon see, but that first the sight of them, and then the breaking of them, might inspire the apostates with greater horror, whose madness had otherwise stupified them.

Why the Law was divided into two tables has been elsewhere seen, viz., because it first sets forth piety and the worship of God; and, secondly, prescribes the rule of righteous living between man and man, and instructs us in the mutual offices of charity. It was doubtless in testimony of the perfection of their doctrine that they were written on both sides. A fuller revelation was indeed afterwards added; but God would have it clearly understood that He had thus embraced all in ten commandments, so that it was not lawful to add anything; and, 339 therefore, lest men should annex anything of their own inventions, God filled both sides, so that nothing remained unwritten upon. Moreover, the tables are called “the work of God,” because he had prepared them for the purpose of being written on. Thus they are distinguished from those that came afterwards, on which, although God inscribed His Law, yet He willed that the stones should be chiselled and fashioned by the hand and workmanship of men. The sum is, that not only were the ten commandments written by God on the first tables, but there was nothing human in the fashioning of the stones; and if it be inquired how the stones were engraved and the letters formed upon them, Moses indeed replies by a similitude, that it was done by the finger of God, meaning thereby His secret power; for He who created the world out of nothing by his more volition (nutu,) can by the same word convert all creatures to His own use in whatever way He pleases.

Calvin: Exo 32:17 - And when Joshua heard the noise of the people 17.And when Joshua heard the noise of the people This is introduced to inform us how intemperately the people raged in their insane worship of the ca...

17.And when Joshua heard the noise of the people This is introduced to inform us how intemperately the people raged in their insane worship of the calf, since their shouting was heard from afar. It is thus that the devil bewitches poor miserable men, so that dissolute licentiousness with them is pious ardor. So there is nothing too disgraceful or abominable to please the Gentiles, in order that they may prove that they omit nothing which may appease their false gods. Nor can it be doubted but that, under the pretense of holy zeal, superstitious men give way to the indulgences of the flesh; and Satan baits his fictitious modes of worship with such attractions, that they are willingly and eagerly caught hold of and obstinately retained. It arises from Joshua’s solicitude for the people that he deems it to be the cry of battle; whilst Moses, 340 having been informed by God, conjectures that it is not the voice of men fighting, since they utter no cry to correspond with the exhortations of the conquerors, nor is there any sound like the wailing of the conquered.

Calvin: Exo 32:19 - And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp 19.And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp He who had before humbly pleaded for the safety of the people, now, when he sees the ca...

19.And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp He who had before humbly pleaded for the safety of the people, now, when he sees the calf, bursts forth into rage, and the hideousness of the crime awakens him to different feelings. Now, since anger is here mentioned with praise, the stoics must abandon their paradox, that all the passions (motus animi) are vicious. I allow, indeed, that whilst men are led by nature, they are never angry without vice; because they always exceed due bounds, and often also do not aim at a proper object. But it must be observed that this occurs from the corruption of nature; and, consequently, anger is not in itself or absolutely to be condemned. For the principle which the Stoics assume, that all the passions are perturbations and like diseases, is false, and has its origin in ignorance; for either to grieve, or to fear, or to rejoice, or to hope, is by no means repugnant to reason, nor does it interfere with tranquillity and moderation of mind; it is only excess or intemperance which corrupts what would else be pure. And surely grief, anger, desire, hope, fear, are affections of our unfallen 341 (integrce) nature, implanted in us by God, and such as we may not find fault with, without insulting God Himself. Moreover, the anger which is here ascribed to Moses is, in Deu 9:0, attributed to the person of God Himself. Whence we infer, that, since it emanated from the impulse of the Spirit, it was a virtue worthy of praise.

In breaking the tables, however, he seems to have forgotten himself; for what sort of vengeance was this, to deface the work of God? Howsoever detestable the crime of the people was, still the holy covenant of God ought to have been spared. Therefore certain Rabbins, 342 to excuse him, invent one of their customary fables, that, when the tables were brought into the polluted place, the writing became effaced. Others think that he was carried away by his wrath, and did not sufficiently consider what he was about, as he would have done had his mind been composed. I have no doubt, however, but that he broke the tables in reference to his office, as if to annul the covenant of God for a time; for we know that God commits both charges to the ministers of His word, to be the proclaimers of His vengeance, as well as the witnesses of His grace. Thus, whatever they bind on earth is bound also in heaven, and they retain sins unto condemnation, and are armed with vengeance against the unbelieving and rebellious. (Mat 16:19; Joh 20:23; 2Co 13:10. 343) Therefore God rejected the people by the hand of Moses, renouncing the covenant which He had recently established in a solemn ceremony; and this severity was more useful as an example than as if He had sent Moses back empty-handed; for else it would never have suggested itself to the Israelites of how incomparable a treasure they had been deprived. It was then necessary that the tables should be produced, as if God so presented Himself to their sight and shewed His paternal countenance; but when, on the other hand, the monstrous abomination of the calf was encountered, it behoved that these same tables should be broken, as if God turned His back upon them and retired. Meanwhile, it must be borne in mind, that the covenant of God was not altogether annulled, but only as it were interrupted, until the people had heartily repented. Still this temporary rupture, if I may so call it, did not prevent the covenant itself from remaining inviolable. In the same manner also afterwards God put away His people, as if He had utterly renounced. them, yet His grace and truth never failed; so that He at least had some hidden roots from whence the Church sprang up anew; as it is said in Psa 102:18, “The people which shall be created shall praise the Lord.”

Calvin: Exo 32:20 - And he took the calf which they had made 20.And he took the calf which they had made It might seem to be a cruel and inhuman punishment that Moses should in a manner infect the bowels of the...

20.And he took the calf which they had made It might seem to be a cruel and inhuman punishment that Moses should in a manner infect the bowels of the people with the corruption of the crime. They had already polluted both their bodies and souls more than enough, without the contagion entering any deeper. Besides, he was thus likely to drive them to despair, when they bore within them the ground of their condemnation, as a woman nourishes her offspring in the womb. Nevertheless, such was the remedy to be applied to their senselessness; for, however they might have been terrified for a moment, the recollection of their crime and their fear of punishment would have immediately vanished had not this brand of their defilement been thoroughly impressed upon them. This, then, was a kind of tautcry, whereby they might feel that the disgrace of such foul idolatry not only cleaved to their skin, but was fixed deep in their very bowels. For thus also was their shame enforced upon them when they admitted the substance of their god into their belly, to be soon afterwards ejected with their excrements. Therefore were they compelled to drink and to void a part of their god, in order that their superstition might be the more offensive to them. Besides, if the ashes had been scattered on the ground, there was danger lest some of the more obstinate might collect the relics; and this evil was prevented when the gold, of which the false god was molten, was mixed with ordure. Finally, Moses is said to have made them drink of the accursed water, not because he himself held out the cup to each of them, but because the dust was cast into the stream of which they all drank; as is stated in Deu 9:21

Calvin: Exo 32:21 - What did this people unto thee? 21.What did this people unto thee? He casts the blame on Aaron, inasmuch as he, who is possessed of power, seems to permit the evil which he does not...

21.What did this people unto thee? He casts the blame on Aaron, inasmuch as he, who is possessed of power, seems to permit the evil which he does not prevent. We have previously seen that when Moses went up into the mount he resigned his charge to Aaron; it was therefore his duty so to preside over them as, in right of his power, to restrain the people, however perverse they might be. Consequently he is deservedly reproved with this severity, as if he had been the author of the sin which he had suffered to be committed. Hence we gather how weighty a burden is borne by all 344 who are appointed to be governors; for if any sin is committed through their negligence, or timidity, or indolence, they must themselves give account for it, as if they had given the signal for licentiousness. The reproof here is very emphatic, viz., that he was as bitter an enemy to the public welfare as if he had desired to avenge himself on his mortal enemies. Not that vengeance would be lawful, although he might have had any colorable ground for it, but Moses means that if Aaron had desired to ruin any persons, and had therefore purposely endeavored to do the worst thing he could against them, he could not have injured them more. Hence He deserves the greater reprehension for having taken such bad care of this poor people, the charge of whom he had undertaken; nay, for having, as far as in him lay, brought final destruction upon them. This, too, is worthy of observation, that when God’s service is in question, Moses no more spares his own and his only brother than he would an utter stranger. If he had consulted flesh and blood, it would have been easy to invent some pretext for being more lenient towards his brother, since he had been compelled by necessity and violence to make the calf; but, inasmuch as he knew how strenuously we should contend for God’s glory, he assails his brother as if he were entirely unconnected with him. This is a rare virtue; but, unless we strive to attain it, we shall often betray God’s cause by our treacherous indulgence towards our relatives.

Calvin: Exo 32:22 - And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my Lord wax hot 22.And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my Lord wax hot Aaron extenuates his crime as much as He can. The sum, however is, that the people, whom Mose...

22.And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my Lord wax hot Aaron extenuates his crime as much as He can. The sum, however is, that the people, whom Moses himself knew to be depraved and perverse, had tumultuously assailed him, and compelled him against his will. Now, although the commencement of his address has an appearance of modesty, still the excuse is frivolous. Rightly, indeed, does Aaron, though the elder, submit himself with reverence to his brother; since he acknowledges him as God’s minister, and trembles at his reproof; but it would have been better ingenuously to confess his guilt, than to escape the ignominy of condemnation by subterfuge; for it was the business of the chief to guide the whole body, and to quiet the tumult by authority and firmness; and, if their extravagance had even advanced to madness, rather to die ten times over than to yield such base and servile compliance. But from the close it appears that, whilst in our anxiety for our reputation, we take pains to conceal or excuse our faults, our hypocrisy will at length appear ridiculous. It is obvious that when Aaron says he cast the gold into the fire, and the calf came out, he endeavors, at any rate, to cover the fault, which he cannot altogether efface, by this poor and flimsy tale; but by this childish trifling he only betrays his impudence, so that such stupid confidence does but complete his condemnation. This is the just reward of our ambition, when we take refuge in disguises, and set our hypocrisy against God’s judgment.

Calvin: Exo 32:25 - And when Moses saw that the people were naked 25.And when Moses saw that the people were naked The vengeance is here recorded which Moses employed to expiate the sin; not that this punishment was...

25.And when Moses saw that the people were naked The vengeance is here recorded which Moses employed to expiate the sin; not that this punishment was satisfactory, as they call it, before God; but because it was useful to efface the memory of their guilt; or at any rate was profitable, as an example. For by the slaughter of three thousand of them, they were reminded that they all had deserved the same. Nor can it be doubted but that he cleansed the camp of the chief authors of the evil, in order that God might be more inclined to pardon. First, therefore, the cause is set forth, whereby he was inflamed to such severity, viz., because he saw the people in such a state of nakedness, as to be even exposed as a laughing-stock to their enemies. The exposition 345 which some give of their nakedness, i.e., that they were stripped of their ornaments, is by no means consistent; for it is immediately added, that it was “to their shame among their enemies;” and it will be seen in the next chapter that they were still splendidly ornamented; nay, that they wore the outward tokens of profane rejoicing. There is no doubt, then, but that he signifies that they were rejected of God, who was to them, as it were, their sole ornamental garment, and under whose protection they were secure. The enormity of the evil is, therefore, set forth in these words, because they were not only deprived of God’s assistance, who is culled “the dwelling-place” of his people, (Psa 90:1,) but also abandoned to ignominy, whilst they were surrounded on all sides by enemies. Hence the holy indignation of Moses, in inflicting punishment on the leaders of the rebellion. And again, it is to be noted, that Aaron is charged with the chief part of the crime, because he had not resisted the people’s folly with sufficient firmness.

Herein the astonishing power of God was manifested, that when Moses had summoned the Levites, and had commanded them openly in the gate to gird themselves with their swords, the other tribes did not all of them mutiny; for it was probable that they were thus to be armed, in order to execute punishment on the criminals. How, then, came it to pass that those, who were conscious of guilt, were quiet, except because the power of God’s Spirit restrained their courage and fury?

The form of the command is also worthy of observation, “Whoso is the Lord’s, let him betake himself to me:” from whence we learn, that if we love religion as it deserves, we must not halt between two sides; but that an ingenuous confession is required of us, so as to range ourselves every one under the banner of God; for, by calling all God’s servants to him, he condemns the cowardice, nay, the treachery, of all who shall stand in indecision.

The question, however, arises, whether the Levites were not implicated in the crime, since they step forward at once to execute his command, like sincere upholders of God’s glory. I answer, that though they were not free from guilt, yet, inasmuch as they yielded to the people under the influence of fear, their sin was lighter than as if they had approved by their consent of the detestable idolatry. But here we perceive the wonderful indulgence of God, who not only pardoned them, but deigned to assert His glory by their instrumentality, and appointed them his ministers for the punishment of a crime, in the toleration of which they had been guilty of base effeminacy and cowardice. Again, it may be asked, how it occurred that of the rest of the multitude not one stirred a foot at the command of Moses? My opinion is, that they were kept back not by contempt or obstinacy, but only by shame; and that they were all inspired with so much alarm, that they waited in astonishment to see what Moseswas about, and how far he would proceed. It is, however, probable that the Levites were called out by name, and this we gather from the result; because they all immediately came forwards, and not one of any other tribe.

Calvin: Exo 32:27 - Thus saith the Lord God of Israel 27.Thus saith the Lord God of Israel He commands the Levites to gird themselves with their swords, to commit slaughter throughout the whole camp; and...

27.Thus saith the Lord God of Israel He commands the Levites to gird themselves with their swords, to commit slaughter throughout the whole camp; and this may at first sight seem to be cruel and inhuman, when they are forbidden to spare their brothers, their friends, and neighbors; but it was by no means excessive, if we reflect how much more grievous it is to profane the sacred worship of God, than to inflict injury on man. Nor does he desire that all should be slain promiscuously; but only bids the Levites proceed courageously; so that, if they should chance to meet with any one worthy of death, neither relationship, nor friendship, nor familiarity, should hinder or delay the just course of severity. Nay, since it soon after follows that the Levites did as they were commanded, we gather that he was content with a moderation more akin to leniency than to rigor. If any sedition has arisen in an army, which has proceeded to violence and slaughter, the general is wont, as an ordinary rule, to decimate the offenders; how much milder here is the rate of punishment, when only three thousand perish out of six hundred millions! Although he may have, therefore, dealt harshly with a few, yet the chastisement must appear lenient which permits so many to escape, though guilty of the same crime. It is, however, asked, whether they made any, and what distinction? for it would have been an act of blind and headlong impetuosity to kill every one they might happen to meet. In order to evade this absurdity, some of the 346 Jews take refuge, as usual, in a silly fable, that the bellies of those who were polluted by the sin, swelled after drinking the water. If this is accepted, the swelling must have affected them all. But, rejecting all such inventions, it is probable that the Levites were by no means ignorant who were the chief leaders of the evil counsel, by whose instigation the rest were drawn into rebellion. 347 Judicially, therefore, and discriminately they executed vengeance on three thousand; and hence it came to pass that the severity was endurable, and that the whole people quietly submitted, when they saw that their own welfare was consulted by the removal from amongst them of these pestilent persons. But, although Mosesrestrains himself, it must be remarked that he requires of the Levites inflexible firmness, lest any regard to intimacy should soften their hearts, because there is nothing more opposed to a sound judgment than προσωποληψία (respect of persons.) Now, it is not without reason that the Levites are praised for obeying his command; for it demanded no common magnanimity to attack the whole twelve tribes, to whom they were not equal even by a twelfth part. We gellerally see that when many persons are concerned in a crime, the judges are alarmed by a fear of sedition, and in the end have not the courage to perform their duty. 348 It was, then, all extraordinary instance of zeal in the Levites, that setting aside all consideration of danger, they dared intrepidly to provoke so great a multitude against them. And this holy indignation was the fruit of their repentance, since they did not hesitate to attack with drawn swords those whose threatening countenances they had previously quailed at. Surely it would have been a lighter cause of offense to have prevented the idolatry of the people by bold rebuke, than to execute capital punishment on the transgressors. Their piety and fear of God, therefore, aroused their hearts to new vigor when they dreaded no peril of death.

Calvin: Exo 32:29 - For Moses had said, consecrate yourselves today 29.For Moses had said, consecrate yourselves today It is obvious that this verse was added exegetically, to give the reason why this unintimidated ar...

29.For Moses had said, consecrate yourselves today It is obvious that this verse was added exegetically, to give the reason why this unintimidated ardor impelled the Levites manfully to fulfill their charge, viz., because the exhortation of Moses carried them over every obstacle. The verb, “had said,” must be therefore construed in the pluperfect tense. The translation of some, 349 “ye have consecrated your hands,” in the perfect tense, is very unsuitable, since the promise is immediately added as a means of stimulating them to greater alacrity; whence it appears that the command of Moses, which has been mentioned, is now repeated in different words. They are, however, increased in forcibleness, since he declares that it will be a sacrifice sweet and acceptable to God, if, in forgetfulness of flesh and blood, they avenge the polluted worship of God. The causal particle, 350 ci, is introduced, which I have rendered nempe, (namely,) as being here an intensitive, as if he had said, such submission to God must here be shewn, that they should not even restrain their hand if necessary from their very sons and brothers. What, therefore, was lately spoken as to their relatives generally, and here of their sons, must be taken as if in the potential mood; for, if all the Levites had joined themselves with Moses, what need was there of bidding them execute punishment on their brothers or sons? So that Moses only wished to condemn that absurd regard to humanity whereby judges are often blinded, and, to the detriment of religion, are cruelly merciful in tolerating and encouraging impiety. First, therefore, let us learn from this passage, that when judges overlook crimes, their hands are defiled by their very remissness, because impunity increases licentiousness in sin. Thus Solomon teaches that,

“He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are an abomination to the Lord.”
(Pro 17:15.)

Let us also learn that nothing is less consistent than to punish heavily the crimes whereby mortals are injured, whilst we connive at the impious errors or sacrilegious 351 modes of worship whereby the majesty of God is violated.

Calvin: Exo 32:30 - And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said 30.And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said Inasmuch as this judgment of God was terrible, lest the Israelites should altogether fall into ...

30.And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said Inasmuch as this judgment of God was terrible, lest the Israelites should altogether fall into despair, Moses addresses a consolation to them to calm their sorrow, promising that he will make entreaty to God in their behalf. Meanwhile, in order that they might betake themselves as humble suppliants to God’s mercy, he reminds them of the enormity of their sin. The Hebrew words literally mean, 352 ye have sinned a great sin; there is, however, no ambiguity in the sense; for he would humble them by setting the greatness of their crime before them, in order that they may earnestly give themselves to repentance. To the same effect is 353 the particle אולי , auli, which is often used to express uncertainty, but here, as in many other places, only denotes difficulty; lest, as is frequently the case, they should think of asking pardon unconcernedly and carelessly, and not with anxious earnestness. Thus, when Peter addresses Simon Magus, he bids him pray, “if perhaps” his iniquity may be forgiven him, ( Act 8:22;) not that he should vacillate or waver in his mind like those who are in suspense or doubt, but that terrified by the fear of God’s wrath, he should anxiously seek after the remedy.

Calvin: Exo 32:31 - And Moses returned unto the Lord 31.And Moses returned unto the Lord This relation does not stand in its proper place, since, as we have already said, Moses does not exactly preserve...

31.And Moses returned unto the Lord This relation does not stand in its proper place, since, as we have already said, Moses does not exactly preserve the order of time. For we shall see in the next chapter that God refuses with respect to His angel what he here accords; since it is 354 a mere quibble to say that a mere ordinary angel is here promised, in whom God will not so manifest His presence as He has done before. Therefore now Moses briefly records what he will afterwards more fully set forth, i.e., how God was appeased and received the people back into favor, which was not the case until he was commanded to hew out or polish the new tables. And we know that it was a figure of speech in common use with the Hebrews to touch upon the chief points of a matter, and then to fill up, in the progress of the history, what had been omitted.

His prayer commences with confession; for in such a case of wicked ingratitude nothing remained but freely to acknowledge their guilt, so as to look nowhere else for safety in their state of ruin and despair but to the mercy of God; for hypocrites only inflame His wrath the more by extenuating their offenses. The particle אנא , ana, which we have followed others in translating “I beseech,” (obsecro,) is sometimes expressive of exhortation, and used like Agedum, (come on;) here it only signifies what the Latins express by amabo 355 After having anticipated God’s judgment by the confession of their guilt, he nevertheless implores for pardon; and this with extreme earnestness, which is the reason why his address is suddenly broken off, for the sentence is imperfect, as is often the case in pathetic appeals, “if thou wilt forgive their sin.” I have no objection to make if any should construe the particle 356 אם , im, “I would,” (utinam,) still in the vehemence of his feelings he seems to burst forth into an exclamation, “Oh, if thou wilt forgive;” though it may be but a modest petition, “Wilt thou forgive?” for, though the prayers of the saints flow from their confidence, still they have to struggle with doubts and questionings within themselves, whether God is willing to listen to them. Hence it arises that their prayers begin hesitatingly, until faith prevails.

What follows may in many respects appear to be absurd; for Moses both imperiously lays down the law to God, and in his eager impetuosity seeks to overthrow, as far as he can, His eternal counsel, and inconsiderately robs him of His justice. Surely all must condemn the pride of this address, Unless thou sparest the offenders, count me not as one of thy servants; nor can there seem to be less of folly in his attempt to bring to nought God’s eternal predestination. Besides, when he desires that he himself should be involved in the same punishment, what is this but to destroy all distinction, that God should rashly condemn the innocent with the transgressors? Nor would I indeed deny that Moses was carried away by such vehemence, that he speaks like one possessed. Still it must be observed, that when believers unburden their cares into God’s bosom, they do not always deal discreetly, nor with well-ordered language, but sometimes stammer, sometimes pour forth “groans which cannot be uttered,” sometimes pass by everything else, and lay hold of and press some particular petition. Assuredly there was nothing less present to the mind of Moses than to dictate to God; nor, if he had been asked, would he have said that what God had decreed respecting His elect before the creation of the world could be overthrown. Again, he knew that nothing was more foreign to the Judge of all the world than to destroy the innocent together with the reprobate. But since his care for the people, whose welfare he knew to be consigned to him by God, had absorbed, as it were, all his senses, nothing else occupies his mind but that they may be saved, whilst he does not entertain a single thought which interferes with this his great solicitude. Hence it is, that arrogating far too much to himself, he throws himself forward as the people’s surety, and forgets that he is predestined to salvation by God’s immutable counsel; and, finally, does not sufficiently consider what would be becoming in God. Nor is Moses the only one who has been thus carried away; but Paul has gone even further, expressing himself thus in writing after full premeditation, “I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren.” (Rom 9:3.) The fact is, that intent on the welfare of the elect people, they neither of them examine critically into particulars, and therefore devote themselves in behalf of the whole Church; inasmuch as this general principle was deeply rooted in their minds, that if the welfare of the whole body were secured, it would be well with the individual members. Hence 357 the question arises whether it is a pious feeling to prefer the salvation of others to our own? Some being afraid lest the example of Moses and Paul should be prejudicial, have said that they were only influenced by their zeal for God’s glory, when they devoted themselves to eternal destruction; and that they did not prefer the people’s salvation to their own. Even, however, though this should be accepted, still their words would have been hyperbolical; for, although God’s glory may well be preferred to a hundred worlds, yet He so far accommodates Himself to our ignorance, that He will not have the eternal salvation of believers brought into opposition with His glory; but has rather bound them inseparably together, as cause and effect. Moreover, it is abundantly clear that Moses and Paul did devote themselves to destruction out of regard to the general salvation. Let, therefore, that solution which I have advanced hold good, that their petition was so confused, that in the vehemence of their ardor they did not see the contradiction, like men beside themselves. Nor is it matter of surprise that they should have been in such perplexity, since they supposed that by the destruction of the elect people God’s faithfulness was abandoned, and He Himself in a manner brought to nought, if the eternal adoption wherewith He had honored the children of Abraham should fail.

By “the book,” in which God is said to have written His elect, must be understood, metaphorically, His decree. But the expression which Moses uses, asking to be blotted out of the number of the pious, is an incorrect one, since it cannot be that one who has been once elected should be ever reprobated; and those lunatics who, on this ground, overturn, as far as they can, that prime article of our faiith concerning God’s eternal predestination, thereby demonstrate their malice no less than their ignorance. David uses two expressions in the same sense, “blotted out,” and “not written:”

“Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.” (Psa 69:28.)

We cannot hence infer any change in the counsel of God; but this phrase is merely equivalent to saying, that God will at length make it manifest that the reprobate, who for a season are counted amongst the number of the elect, in no respect belong to the body of the Church. Thus the secret catalogue, in which the elect are written, is contrasted by Eze 13:9 with that external profession, which is often deceitful. Justly, therefore, does Christ bid His disciples rejoice, “because their names are written in heaven,” (Luk 10:20;) for, albeit the counsel of God, whereby we are predestinated to salvation, is incomprehensible to us,

“nevertheless (as Paul testifies) this seal standeth sure, The Lord knoweth them that are his.” (2Ti 2:19.)

Calvin: Exo 32:33 - Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out 33.Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out In these words God adapts Himself to the comprehension of the human mind, when He says, “h...

33.Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out In these words God adapts Himself to the comprehension of the human mind, when He says, “him will I blot out;” for hypocrites make such false profession of His name, that they are not accounted aliens, until God openly renounces them: and hence their manifest rejection is called erasure. Moreover, God reproves the preposterous request of Moses, inasmuch as it does not consist with His justice to reject the innocent; whence it follows, that Moses had prayed inconsiderately. The sum is, that God, whenever He punishes the ungodly and iniquitous, pays them the wages which they have earned; whereas He never punishes the just. Yet it is to be observed, that when God declares that he will be the avenger of sins, His mercy is not excluded, whereby He buries the transgressions of His people, so that they come not into mind. Thus, when Paul says, “Neither fornicators, nor adulterers, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor murderers, nor revilers, shall possess the kingdom of God,” 358 (1Co 6:9;) it would be incorrect to conclude that they were all shut out from the hope of salvation; since he only speaks of the reprobate, who never repent, so that being converted they may obtain grace.

Calvin: Exo 32:34 - Therefore now go, lead the people 34.Therefore now go, lead the people In these words God shews that He is appeased, for it was a sure sign of His reconciliation that His angel is app...

34.Therefore now go, lead the people In these words God shews that He is appeased, for it was a sure sign of His reconciliation that His angel is appointed to guide them during the rest of their way. The exposition which some give, that an angel is now promised to take care of them, such as Daniel testifies to have been sometimes assigned even to heathen nations, and an instance of which we shall see in the next chapter, is but a poor conjecture; besides, God declares that though the people have departed from the faith, still He stood firm to His agreement as to their enjoyment of the promised inheritance.

His postponement of their punishment is an indirect reproof of the people’s wickedness, as though He had said that they were of so perverse a nature that they would hereafter give many fresh occasions for it. If any object that, whenever God afterwards punished other sins, He did not then take into account this act of idolatry, I reply that it is no new thing with God, when men contract again fresh guilt, to accumulate their punishments, and also to call to judgment many sins together under one general punishment. Besides, we know that God casts the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation. Lastly, there is nothing to prevent Him from visiting at another time with temporal punishments the iniquity which He has once pardoned; for wherefore did He then forgive them? Was it not lest the truth of His covenant, should perish? Those, then, whom He thus was unwilling to destroy, He might at His own time call up again for punishment, provided the chastisement were but moderate. Hence let us learn not to flatter ourselves, if ever God suspends His judgment, 359 nor to abuse His long-suffering, as if we had escaped with impunity.

Calvin: Exo 32:35 - And the Lord plagued the people 35.And the Lord plagued the people Moses here briefly attributes to God what he had before related as to the slaughter of the three thousand, lest an...

35.And the Lord plagued the people Moses here briefly attributes to God what he had before related as to the slaughter of the three thousand, lest any should think that he had smitten them with immoderate severity Therefore Paul bids us consider in this history, as in a mirror, how greatly displeasing to God idolatry is; lest we should imitate those who were smitten by His hand. (1Co 10:7.) The indignation of Moses is consequently connected with the command of God. Meanwhile he commends the mercy of God in having spared Aaron, whilst he speaks of the calf as his work, as well as of the whole of the people; in a different way indeed, for Aaron formed the calf at their request; still the criminality was common to them.

Defender: Exo 32:4 - molten calf The "calf" was a common pagan symbol of fertility. The people were undoubtedly very familiar with Apis, the sacred bull of Egypt. Its worship was acco...

The "calf" was a common pagan symbol of fertility. The people were undoubtedly very familiar with Apis, the sacred bull of Egypt. Its worship was accompanied by promiscuous sexual activities, the meaning of "play" in Exo 32:6, Exo 32:25."

Defender: Exo 32:33 - blot out Other references that relate to this phrase include Rev 3:5; Rev 20:12; Rev 22:19."

Other references that relate to this phrase include Rev 3:5; Rev 20:12; Rev 22:19."

TSK: Exo 32:1 - delayed // Up // make // which shall // the man // we wot am 2513, bc 1491, An, Ex, Is 1, Ab delayed : Exo 24:18; Deu 9:9; Mat 24:43; 2Pe 3:4 Up : Gen 19:14, Gen 44:4; Jos 7:13 make : Exo 20:3-5; Deu 4:15-18;...

TSK: Exo 32:2 - -- Exo 12:35, Exo 12:36; Gen 24:22, Gen 24:47; Jdg 8:24-27; Eze 16:11, Eze 16:12, Eze 16:17; Hos 2:8

TSK: Exo 32:3 - -- Jdg 17:3, Jdg 17:4; Isa 40:19, Isa 40:20, Isa 46:6; Jer 10:9

TSK: Exo 32:4 - fashioned // a graving // calf // These // which brought fashioned : Exo 20:23; Deu 9:16; Psa 106:19-21; Isa 44:9, Isa 44:10, Isa 46:6; Act 7:41, Act 17:29 a graving : Exo 28:9, Exo 28:11 calf : 1Ki 12:28, 1...

TSK: Exo 32:5 - Aaron // made proclamation // a feast Aaron : 1Sa 14:35; 2Ki 16:11; Hos 8:11, Hos 8:14 made proclamation : Lev 23:2, Lev 23:4, Lev 23:21, Lev 23:37; 1Ki 21:9; 2Ki 10:20; 2Ch 30:5 a feast :...

TSK: Exo 32:6 - offered // sat down offered : Exo 24:4, Exo 24:5 sat down : No doubt at this feast they sacrificed after the manner of the Egyptians. Num 25:2; Jdg 16:23-25; Amo 2:8, Amo...

offered : Exo 24:4, Exo 24:5

sat down : No doubt at this feast they sacrificed after the manner of the Egyptians. Num 25:2; Jdg 16:23-25; Amo 2:8, Amo 8:10; Act 7:41, Act 7:42; 1Co 10:7; Rev 11:10

TSK: Exo 32:7 - Go // thy people // corrupted Go : Exo 19:24, Exo 33:1; Deu 9:12; Dan 9:24 thy people : Exo 32:1, Exo 32:11 corrupted : Gen 6:11, Gen 6:12; Deu 4:16, Deu 32:5; Jdg 2:19; Hos 9:9

TSK: Exo 32:8 - have turned // which I // These be have turned : Deu 9:16; Jdg 2:17 which I : Exo 20:3, Exo 20:4, Exo 20:23 These be : Exo 32:4; 1Ki 12:28

have turned : Deu 9:16; Jdg 2:17

which I : Exo 20:3, Exo 20:4, Exo 20:23

These be : Exo 32:4; 1Ki 12:28

TSK: Exo 32:9 - I have seen // a stiffnecked I have seen : Deu 9:13; Jer 13:27; Hos 6:10 a stiffnecked : Exo 33:3, Exo 33:5, Exo 34:9; Deu 9:6, Deu 9:13, Deu 10:16, Deu 31:27; 2Ch 30:8; Neh 9:17;...

TSK: Exo 32:10 - let me alone // my wrath // and I will let me alone : Gen 18:32, Gen 18:33, Gen 32:26-28; Num 14:19, Num 14:20, Num 16:22, Num 16:45-48; Deu 9:14, Deu 9:19; Jer 14:11, Jer 15:1; Jam 5:16 my...

TSK: Exo 32:11 - besought // the Lord his God // why doth // which thou besought : Deu 9:18-20, Deu 9:26-29; Psa 106:23 the Lord his God : Heb. the face of the Lord why doth : Num 11:11, Num 16:22; Deu 9:18-20; Psa 74:1, P...

besought : Deu 9:18-20, Deu 9:26-29; Psa 106:23

the Lord his God : Heb. the face of the Lord

why doth : Num 11:11, Num 16:22; Deu 9:18-20; Psa 74:1, Psa 74:2; Isa 63:17; Jer 12:1, Jer 12:2

which thou : Exo 32:7

TSK: Exo 32:12 - should // Turn from // repent should : Num 14:13-16; Deu 9:28, Deu 32:26, Deu 32:27; Jos 7:9; Psa 74:18, Psa 79:9, Psa 79:10; Eze 20:9, Eze 20:14, Eze 20:22 Turn from : Deu 13:17; ...

TSK: Exo 32:13 - Remember // to whom // I will multiply Remember : Lev 26:42; Deu 7:8, Deu 9:27; Luk 1:54, Luk 1:55 to whom : Gen 22:16, Gen 26:3, Gen 26:4; Heb 6:13 I will multiply : Gen 12:2, Gen 12:7, Ge...

TSK: Exo 32:14 - -- Deu 32:26; 2Sa 24:16; 1Ch 21:15; Psa 106:45; Jer 18:8, Jer 26:13, Jer 26:19; Joe 2:13; Jon 3:10, Jon 4:2

TSK: Exo 32:15 - turned // the testimony // written turned : Exo 24:18; Deu 9:15 the testimony : Exo 16:34, Exo 40:20; Deu 5:22; Psa 19:7 written : Rev 5:1

turned : Exo 24:18; Deu 9:15

the testimony : Exo 16:34, Exo 40:20; Deu 5:22; Psa 19:7

written : Rev 5:1

TSK: Exo 32:16 - -- Exo 31:18, Exo 34:1, Exo 34:4; Deu 9:9-11, Deu 9:15, Deu 10:1; 2Co 3:3, 2Co 3:7; Heb 8:10

TSK: Exo 32:17 - Joshua // they shouted // There is a noise Joshua had waited patiently during all the forty days, in the place where Moses had left him - below the summit of the mount, at a distance from the...

Joshua had waited patiently during all the forty days, in the place where Moses had left him - below the summit of the mount, at a distance from the people, and out of the way of temptation.

Joshua : Exo 17:9, Exo 24:13

they shouted : Exo 32:18; Ezr 3:11-13; Psa 47:1

There is a noise : Jos 6:5, Jos 6:10, Jos 6:16, Jos 6:20; Jdg 15:14; 1Sa 4:5, 1Sa 4:6, 1Sa 17:20, 1Sa 17:52; Job 39:25; Jer 51:14; Amo 1:14, Amo 2:2

TSK: Exo 32:18 - being overcome // but the being overcome : Heb. weakness but the : Exod. 15:1-18; Dan 5:4, Dan 5:23

being overcome : Heb. weakness

but the : Exod. 15:1-18; Dan 5:4, Dan 5:23

TSK: Exo 32:19 - he saw // the dancing // anger // brake them he saw : Exo 32:4-6; Deu 9:16, Deu 9:17 the dancing : Exo 15:20; 2Sa 6:14; Lam 5:15 anger : Exo 32:11; Num 12:3; Mat 5:22; Mar 3:5, Mar 10:14; Eph 4:2...

TSK: Exo 32:20 - took the calf // made the took the calf : How truly contemptible must the object of their idolatry appear, when they were obliged to drink their god, reduced to powder, and str...

took the calf : How truly contemptible must the object of their idolatry appear, when they were obliged to drink their god, reduced to powder, and strewed on the water! Some have asked, how gold, the most ductile and ponderous of all metals, could have been stamped into dust, and strewed on the water. In Deu 9:21, this is fully explained. I took, says Moses, your sin, the calf which ye had made, and burnt it with fire; that is, melted it down, probably into ingots or gross plates, and stamped it, beat it into thin lamine, something like our gold leaf, and ground it very small, even until it was as small as dust, which might be very easily done by the action of the hands, when beat into thin plates or leaves as the original words ekkoth , and dak , imply. Deu 7:5, Deu 7:25, Deu 9:21; 2Ki 23:6, 2Ki 23:15

made the : Pro 1:31, Pro 14:14

TSK: Exo 32:21 - -- Gen 20:9, Gen 26:10; Deu 13:6-8; 1Sa 26:19; Jos 7:19-26; 1Ki 14:16, 1Ki 21:22; 2Ki 21:9-11

TSK: Exo 32:22 - knowest // that they are knowest : Exo 14:11, Exo 15:24, Exo 16:2-4, Exo 16:20, Exo 16:28, Exo 17:2-4; Deu 9:7, Deu 9:24 that they are : Deu 31:27; 1Sa 15:24; Psa 36:4; Pro 4:...

TSK: Exo 32:23 - -- Exo 32:1-4, Exo 32:8

TSK: Exo 32:24 - So they So they : Exo 32:4; Gen 3:12, Gen 3:13; Luk 10:29; Rom 3:10

TSK: Exo 32:25 - naked // Aaron // shame // their enemies naked : The term naked may mean either that they were unarmed and defenceless, or ashamed from the consciousness of guilt. Exo 33:4-6; Gen 3:10; Isa 4...

naked : The term naked may mean either that they were unarmed and defenceless, or ashamed from the consciousness of guilt. Exo 33:4-6; Gen 3:10; Isa 47:3; Hos 2:3; Mic 1:11; Rev 3:17, Rev 3:18, Rev 16:15

Aaron : Deu 9:20; 2Ch 28:19

shame : Eze 16:63; Dan 12:2; Rom 6:21

their enemies : Heb. those that rose up against them

TSK: Exo 32:26 - Who is on Who is on : Jos 5:13; 2Sa 20:11; 2Ki 9:32; Mat 12:30

TSK: Exo 32:27 - slay every man slay every man : Exo 32:26, Exo 32:29; Num 25:5, Num 25:7-12; Deu 33:8, Deu 33:9; Luk 14:26; 2Co 5:16

TSK: Exo 32:28 - children // there fell children : Deu 33:9; Mal 2:4-6 there fell : Num 16:32-35, Num 16:41; 1Co 10:8; Heb 2:2, Heb 2:3

TSK: Exo 32:29 - Moses // Consecrate Or, another reading of this verse is, and Moses said, Consecrate yourselves to-day to the Lord; because every man hath been against his son and agains...

Or, another reading of this verse is, and Moses said, Consecrate yourselves to-day to the Lord; because every man hath been against his son and against his brother, etc.

Moses : Num 25:11-13; Deu 13:6-11, Deu 33:9, Deu 33:10; 1Sa 15:18-22; Pro 21:3; Joe 2:12-14; Zec 13:3; Mat 10:37

Consecrate : Heb. fill your hands

TSK: Exo 32:30 - Ye have // peradventure // an atonement Ye have : Exo 32:31; 1Sa 2:17, 1Sa 12:20, 1Sa 12:23; 2Sa 12:9; 2Ki 17:21; Luk 7:47, Luk 15:18 peradventure : 2Sa 16:12; Amo 5:15; Jon 3:9; 2Ti 2:25 an...

TSK: Exo 32:31 - returned // sinned // made returned : Exo 34:28; Deu 9:18, Deu 9:19 sinned : Exo 32:30; Ezr 9:6, Ezr 9:7, Ezr 9:15; Neh 9:33; Dan 9:5, Dan 9:8, Dan 9:11 made : Exo 20:4, Exo 20:...

TSK: Exo 32:32 - if thou // blot me if thou : Num 14:19; Dan 9:18, Dan 9:19; Amo 7:2; Luk 23:34 blot me : Allusion may be made to the registry of births, in which those born of a particu...

if thou : Num 14:19; Dan 9:18, Dan 9:19; Amo 7:2; Luk 23:34

blot me : Allusion may be made to the registry of births, in which those born of a particular tribe were entered in the list of their respective families under that tribe. This was the book of life; and when any died, his name might be considered as blotted out of this list. But as Moses addressed the Lord, he undoubtedly referred, by faith, to the book of God’ s remembrance. Exo 32:10; Deu 9:14, Deu 25:19, Deu 29:20; Psa 56:8, Psa 69:28, Psa 139:16; Eze 13:9; Dan 12:1; Rom 9:3; Phi 4:3; Rev 3:5, Rev 17:8, Rev 21:27, Rev 22:19

TSK: Exo 32:33 - sinned // my book sinned : Lev 23:30; Psa 69:28; Eze 18:4 my book : Psa 109:13, Psa 109:14; Phi 4:3; Rev 13:8, Rev 20:12

TSK: Exo 32:34 - mine Angel // the day mine Angel : Exo 23:20, Exo 33:2, Exo 33:14, Exo 33:15; Num 20:16; Isa 63:9 the day : Exo 20:5; Num 14:27-30; Deu 32:35; Jer 5:9, Jer 5:29; Amo 3:14; ...

TSK: Exo 32:35 - -- Exo 32:25; 2Sa 12:9, 2Sa 12:10; Mat 27:3-7; Act 1:18, Act 7:41

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Poole: Exo 32:1 - The people // Unto Aaron // Make us gods // Which shall go before us // This Moses // What is become of him The people , i.e. most or some of the people, as it is expressed 1Co 10:7 . Unto Aaron , as the chief person in Moses’ s absence. Make us gods ...

The people , i.e. most or some of the people, as it is expressed 1Co 10:7 .

Unto Aaron , as the chief person in Moses’ s absence.

Make us gods , i.e. images or representations of God, whom, after the manner of idolaters, they call by God’ s name. For it is ridiculous to think that the body of the Israelites, who were now lately instructed by the mouth, and words, and miraculous works of the eternal God, should be so senseless as to think that was the true God which themselves made, and that out of their own earrings; much more, that that was the God that brought them out of Egypt, as they say, Exo 32:4 .

Which shall go before us , to guide us through this vast wilderness to the Land of Promise, where they longed to be; for as for the cloud, which hitherto had guided them, that seemed now to be fixed upon the mount; and they thought both that Joshua and Moses had deserted them. The Jewish doctors note, that he doth not say, Make us gods whom we may worship, but which shall go before us , which, as they truly say, shows that they wanted not a God, whom they knew by infallible evidences they had, but a visible guide, who might supply the want of Moses, as the next words show.

This Moses ; an expression of contempt towards their great deliverer.

What is become of him , whether he be not consumed by the fire in the cloud, or taken up to heaven, or conveyed away by God to some other place.

Poole: Exo 32:2 - The golden earrings // In the ears of your wives The golden earrings were of good value and common use among the eastern people, who seem to have used them superstitiously, Gen 35:4 Jud 8:24 ; and t...

The golden earrings were of good value and common use among the eastern people, who seem to have used them superstitiously, Gen 35:4 Jud 8:24 ; and therefore Aaron demands these, partly that he might take away one vice, or occasion of vice, whilst the people were intent upon another; and partly that the proposed loss of their precious earrings might cool their idolatrous desires.

In the ears of your wives , whom he thought most fond of their jewels, and most unlikely to part with them.

Poole: Exo 32:3 - In their ears Whereby they show both their madness upon their idols, and their base ingratitude to their God, who had transferred these jewels from the Egyptians ...

Whereby they show both their madness upon their idols, and their base ingratitude to their God, who had transferred these jewels from the Egyptians to them, Exo 12:35,36 , which therefore God upbraids them with, Eze 16:11 , &c.

In their ears , i.e. the men’ s ears, for the affix is of the masculine gender; whereby it seems the men were more set upon idolatry than the women, parting with their earrings for it, which the women would not do.

Poole: Exo 32:4 - A molten calf // calf // These be thy gods A molten calf : the meaning of this translation is, that Aaron, to wit, by artificers, did first melt the god into one mass, and then by the graving-t...

A molten calf : the meaning of this translation is, that Aaron, to wit, by artificers, did first melt the god into one mass, and then by the graving-tool form it into the shape of a calf, and polish it; or as others render the words, he

formed it in a type or mould , made in the shape of a calf , into which he cast the molten gold, and so made it a molten calf . But the words may be translated thus, He put it , or them, into a purse ; for so the Hebrew verb and noun are both used, 2Ki 5:23 ; and in like manner Gideon disposed the earrings given him for the like use, Jud 8:24 ; and afterwards he made of them a molten calf . Now the people desired, and Aaron in compliance with them made this in the form of a

calf , or an ox , (for the word signifies both,) in imitation of the Egyptians, as Philo the Jew expressly affirms, and the learned generally agree; and it may thus appear:

1. The great idols of the Egyptians, Apis, Seraphis, and Isis, were oxen and cows, as is confessed.

2. The Egyptians, besides the creatures which they adored as gods, did also make, and keep, and worship their images, as even the heathen writers, Mela and Strabo, affirm.

3. The Israelites, whilst they were in Egypt, were many of them infected with the Egyptian idolatry, as it appears from Jos 24:14 Eze 20:7,8 23:3 Act 7:39 . And it is not unlikely divers of them hankered no less after the idols, than after the garlic and onions of Egypt. And being now, as they thought, forsaken by Moses, they might think of returning to Egypt, as afterwards they did, and therefore chose a god of the Egyptian mode, that they might more willingly receive them again.

These be thy gods , i.e. this is thy god, the plural number being put for the singular, as it is usual in this case. The meaning is, This is the sign, or symbol, or image of thy god; for such expressions are very frequent: thus this image of a calf is called a calf frequently, and the images of the temple of Diana are called shrines or little temples , Ac 19 . So they intended to worship the true God by this image, as afterwards Jeroboam did by the same image, as we shall plainly see when we come to that place of Scripture. And it is absolutely incredible that the generality of the Israelites should be so void of all sense and reason, as to think that this new-made calf did bring them out Egypt before its own creation, and that this was the same Jehovah who had even now spoken to them from heaven with an audible voice, saying, I am the Lord thy God who brought thee out of the land of Egypt .

Poole: Exo 32:5 - When Aaron saw // To the Lord When Aaron saw , i.e. observed with what applause they received it, and with what fury and resolution they prosecuted their former desire, he was born...

When Aaron saw , i.e. observed with what applause they received it, and with what fury and resolution they prosecuted their former desire, he was borne down with the stream, and, as it is probable, by the people’ s instigation, built an altar to it.

To the Lord , Heb. to Jehovah ; which title being peculiar to the true God, and being here given by Aaron to the calf, with the approbation of the people, makes it more than probable that the people designed to worship the true God in this calf, which they made only as a visible token of God’ s presence with them, and an image by which they might convey their worship to God.

Poole: Exo 32:6 - Brought peace-offerings // The people sat down to eat and to drink // Rose up to play Brought peace-offerings , but no sin-offerings , which they most needed. The people sat down to eat and to drink ; for the sacrifices were accompani...

Brought peace-offerings , but no sin-offerings , which they most needed.

The people sat down to eat and to drink ; for the sacrifices were accompanied with feasting, both among the worshippers of the true God, and among idolaters. See Exo 18:12 24:11 .

Rose up to play , by shouting, and singing, and dancing, as it appears from Exo 32:17-19

Poole: Exo 32:7 - -- No longer my people , as God had called them hitherto, Exo 3:7 5:1 , &c.; they have forsaken me, and I do hereby renounce them.

No longer my people , as God had called them hitherto, Exo 3:7 5:1 , &c.; they have forsaken me, and I do hereby renounce them.

Poole: Exo 32:9 - -- Untractable, wilful, and stubborn, incorrigible by my judgments, ungovernable by mine or by any laws. A metaphor from those beasts that will not ben...

Untractable, wilful, and stubborn, incorrigible by my judgments, ungovernable by mine or by any laws. A metaphor from those beasts that will not bend their necks to receive the yoke or bridle.

Poole: Exo 32:10 - I will make of thee Do not hinder me by thy prayers, which I see thou art now about to make on their behalf. I will make of thee ; to come out of thy loins.

Do not hinder me by thy prayers, which I see thou art now about to make on their behalf.

I will make of thee ; to come out of thy loins.

Poole: Exo 32:11 - The Lord his God // Why doth thy wrath wax hot // Against thy people The Lord his God ; emphatically so called: q.d. Moses had not lost his interest in God, though Israel had. Why doth thy wrath wax hot , so hot as to ...

The Lord his God ; emphatically so called: q.d. Moses had not lost his interest in God, though Israel had.

Why doth thy wrath wax hot , so hot as to consume them utterly? For though he saw reason enough why God should be angry with them, yet he humbly expostulates with God whether it would be for his honour utterly to destroy them. Or this is a petition delivered in form of an interrogation or expostulation, as Mat 8:29 , compared with Luk 8:28 .

Against thy people , an ingenious retortion: q.d. They are not my people, as thou calledst them, Exo 32:7 , but thy people , which he proves in the following words.

Poole: Exo 32:12 - In the mountains In the mountains , i.e. in or at Mount Sinai, the plural number for the singular; or, in this mountainous desert.

In the mountains , i.e. in or at Mount Sinai, the plural number for the singular; or, in this mountainous desert.

Poole: Exo 32:14 - -- i.e. Changed his sentence. See on Gen 6:6 .

i.e. Changed his sentence. See on Gen 6:6 .

Poole: Exo 32:15 - -- Not on the inside and outside, which is unusual and unnecessary, but on the inside only, some of the ten commands being written on the right hand, a...

Not on the inside and outside, which is unusual and unnecessary, but on the inside only, some of the ten commands being written on the right hand, and others on the left, not for any mystery, but only for conveniency of writing.

Poole: Exo 32:17 - Joshua Joshua had waited all this while upon the middle of the hill for Moses’ s return; and so neither knew what the people had done, nor heard what G...

Joshua had waited all this while upon the middle of the hill for Moses’ s return; and so neither knew what the people had done, nor heard what God had said to Moses.

Poole: Exo 32:18 - The voice of them that shout for mastery // The voice of them that cry for being overcome The voice of them that shout for mastery , Heb. of a cry of strength , i.e. of strong men, or of the stronger and victorious party, who use to expres...

The voice of them that shout for mastery , Heb. of a cry of strength , i.e. of strong men, or of the stronger and victorious party, who use to express themselves with triumphant shouts.

The voice of them that cry for being overcome , Heb. of a cry of weakness, i.e. of weak, and wounded, and vanquished men, who use to break forth into doleful cries.

Poole: Exo 32:19 - -- Not through rash anger, but by Divine instinct, partly to punish their idolatry with so great a loss, and partly to show that the covenant made betw...

Not through rash anger, but by Divine instinct, partly to punish their idolatry with so great a loss, and partly to show that the covenant made between God and them, so much to their advantage, which was contained in those tables, was by their sin broken, and now of none effect, and not to be renewed but by bitter repentance.

Poole: Exo 32:20 - Ground it to powder // Strawed it upon the water // The children of Israel // To drink of it Ground it to powder ; melted it either into one great mass, or rather into divers little fragments, which afterwards by a the or other instruments he,...

Ground it to powder ; melted it either into one great mass, or rather into divers little fragments, which afterwards by a the or other instruments he, by the help of many others, might soon grind to powder, or dust of gold.

Strawed it upon the water ; upon the brook which came out of the rock Horeb, Exo 17:6 .

The children of Israel ; not all, which would require a long time, but some in the name of the rest; and most probably either the chief promoters of this idolatrous design, or the chief rulers of the people, who should by their power and authority have restrained the people from this wickedness.

To drink of it ; of the water into which that dust was cast; partly to make them ashamed of their madness in worshipping a god which now must be drunk, and cast out into the draught; and partly to fill them with terror and dreadful expectation of some ill effect or curse of God to come upon them, either by this draught, or by other means.

Poole: Exo 32:21 - -- What injury or mischief had they done to thee, which thou didst so severely revenge? The sin of the people is charged upon Aaron, both because he di...

What injury or mischief had they done to thee, which thou didst so severely revenge? The sin of the people is charged upon Aaron, both because he did not resist and suppress their wicked suggestion, Exo 32:1 , by his counsel, and by the authority which Moses had left in his hand, which he should have done even with the hazard of his life, as the rabbins say that Hur did, whom they report to have been slain by the people whilst he dissuaded them from their attempt, and because he did not promote, and direct, and manage their enterprise, Exo 32:4,5 .

Poole: Exo 32:22 - -- Heb. are in evil , i.e. are altogether wicked, addicted to, or bent upon wickedness, so that it was impossible for me to stop or divert their cours...

Heb. are in evil , i.e. are altogether wicked, addicted to, or bent upon wickedness, so that it was impossible for me to stop or divert their course.

Poole: Exo 32:24 - -- Not that he meant or thought to persuade Moses that the melted gold came out of the fire in the form of a calf by accident, without any art or indus...

Not that he meant or thought to persuade Moses that the melted gold came out of the fire in the form of a calf by accident, without any art or industry of his, which was a ridiculous conceit, and easily confuted; but only he conceals his own sin in the forming and graving of it, and lays the whole blame upon the people.

Poole: Exo 32:25 - Aaron had made them naked // Quest // Answ i.e. That they were stripped both of their ornament, which was not so much the jewels of their ears, as the innocency of their minds and lives; and o...

i.e. That they were stripped both of their ornament, which was not so much the jewels of their ears, as the innocency of their minds and lives; and of their defence, to wit, of the favour and protection of God, by which alone they were secured from the Egyptians, and were to be defended against those many and mighty enemies towards whom they were about to march; and that being thus disarmed and helpless, they would be a prey to every enemy: when Moses considered this, he took the following course to cover their nakedness, to expiate their sins, to regain the favour of God, and by punishing the most eminent and incorrigible offenders, to bring the rest to repentance.

Aaron had made them naked , as Ahaz is said to have made Judah naked , 2Ch 28:19 .

Quest . How were they made naked or ashamed amongst their enemies, when at this time they were in their own camp, remote from all their enemies?

Answ . He speaks not only of their present shame, but of their everlasting reproach, especially among their and God’ s enemies, who, being constant to their idols, would justly scorn the Israelites for their levity in forsaking their God so quickly and easily. See Jer 2:11 . But the Hebrew word may be, and is by some, translated thus, amongst those that do or shall rise up or be born of them i.e. that shall succeed them; for so the word rising is used Exo 1:8 Mat 11:11 . And so the Chaldee here renders it, amongst their generations ; and the other Chaldee interpreter, and the Syriac, in their latter days , or in aftertimes . So the sense is, that Aaron had put a note of perpetual infamy upon them, even to all after-ages.

Poole: Exo 32:26 - Who is on the Lord’ s side // All the sons of Levi He chose the gate of the camp , 1. As the usual place of judicature. 2. That he might withdraw himself from the company of idolaters as far as he ...

He chose the gate of the camp ,

1. As the usual place of judicature.

2. That he might withdraw himself from the company of idolaters as far as he might.

3. As a fit place of concourse and resort for those that were on God’ s side.

4. To prevent the escape of the greatest delinquents, the rest of the camp being probably surrounded with some trench, or such like thing, else gates had been superfluous and unprofitable.

Who is on the Lord’ s side ? who will take God’ s part, and plead his cause against idolatry and idolaters?

All the sons of Levi , i.e. the most of that tribe, as that universal particle is oft understood; for some of them were destroyed as guilty.

Poole: Exo 32:27 - -- The meaning is, slay every principal offender whom you meet with, without any indulgence or exception, though brother , or companion , or neighbo...

The meaning is, slay every principal offender whom you meet with, without any indulgence or exception, though brother , or companion , or neighbour . There was no fear of killing the innocent in this case, because,

1. The people were generally guilty.

2. Moses had called to himself all that were on God’ s side, who thereby where separated from the guilty.

3. The innocent might easily be discerned from the transgressors, either by the personal knowledge which the Levites or others had of the most forward idolaters, or by their abiding in their tents as ashamed and grieving for their sin, whilst the transgressors were impudently walking about in the camp, as trusting to their numbers; or by the direction of God’ s providence, if not by some visible token.

Poole: Exo 32:28 - -- And no more, for it is probable they slew only those whom they knew to have been the ringleaders to others in this mischief.

And no more, for it is probable they slew only those whom they knew to have been the ringleaders to others in this mischief.

Poole: Exo 32:29 - Consecrate yourselves Offer up yourselves to the honour and service of the Lord in this work, which because it was joined with the hazard of their lives, he calls it a co...

Offer up yourselves to the honour and service of the Lord in this work, which because it was joined with the hazard of their lives, he calls it a consecration or oblation of themselves, as Abraham for the like reason is said to have offered up Isaac.

Consecrate yourselves , Heb. fill your hands, & c., i.e. offer a sacrifice, for so the phrase is oft used, as Exo 28:41 Jud 17:5,12 . That work of justice which they were going to execute might seem an inhuman and barbarous act, but he tells them it was an acceptable sacrifice to God, as the destruction of God’ s enemies is called a sacrifice, Isa 34:6 Eze 39:17 . Or he hereby intimates that this tribe was designed by God for his immediate service, and therefore recommends this work to them as an excellent initiation into their office, and as a demonstration that they were in some sort worthy of that great trust.

Poole: Exo 32:30 - -- He speaks doubtfully, partly because he was uncertain how far God would pardon them, and partly to quicken them to the more serious practice of repe...

He speaks doubtfully, partly because he was uncertain how far God would pardon them, and partly to quicken them to the more serious practice of repentance.

Poole: Exo 32:32 - If thou wilt forgive their sin // Out of thy book If thou wilt forgive their sin ; understand here, forgive it , or, or it is well , or, I and others shall praise thy name . His great passion for h...

If thou wilt forgive their sin ; understand here,

forgive it , or, or it is well , or, I and others shall praise thy name . His great passion for his people stops his words, and makes his speech imperfect.

Out of thy book , i.e. out of the book of life, as appears by comparing this with other places, as Psa 69:28 Dan 12:1 Luk 10:20 Phi 4:3 Rev 3:5 13:8 20:12 ; or, out of the catalogue or number of those that shall be saved. I suppose Moses doth not in this case wish his eternal damnation, because that state implies both wickedness in himself, and the dishonour of God, but his annihilation, or the utter loss of this life, and of that to come, and of all the happiness of both of them. Nor doth Moses simply desire this, but only comparatively expresseth his singular zeal for God’ s glory, and charity to his people; signifying, that the very thoughts of the destruction of God’ s people, and of the reproach and blasphemy which would be cast upon God by means thereof, were so grievous and intolerable to him, that he rather wisheth, if it were possible, that God would accept of him as a sacrifice in their stead, and by his utter destruction prevent so great a mischief. And it is to be considered that Moses speaks this, as also many other things, as the mediator between God and Israel, and as the type of the true Mediator, Jesus Christ, who was in effect to suffer this which Moses was content to suffer.

Poole: Exo 32:33 - Whosoever hath sinned Whosoever hath sinned , or, doth sin , to wit, presumptuously, obstinately, and impenitently, him will I cut off out of the land of the living, and e...

Whosoever hath sinned , or, doth sin , to wit, presumptuously, obstinately, and impenitently, him will I cut off out of the land of the living, and eternally deprive of my favour and glory, and not thee who art innocent and righteous.

Poole: Exo 32:34 - Behold, mine angel Behold, mine angel ; not Christ, the Angel of the covenant, who had hitherto gone before them; but a created angel, as appears by comparing this with ...

Behold, mine angel ; not Christ, the Angel of the covenant, who had hitherto gone before them; but a created angel, as appears by comparing this with Exo 33:2,3,12 ; though Moses obtained the revocation of this threatening, Exo 33:14,17 . I will visit their sin upon them; when I shall punish them for their other sins, which I foresee they will commit, I will remember and punish this also.

Poole: Exo 32:35 - Because they made the calf // Aaron // they worshipped or sacrificed to the calf which Aaron made This relates either to the destruction of three thousand of them by the Levites, or rather to the future plagues, in which God also reckoned with th...

This relates either to the destruction of three thousand of them by the Levites, or rather to the future plagues, in which God also reckoned with them for this sin.

Because they made the calf ; they made it because they urged

Aaron to make it, as Judas is said to purchase the field, Act 1:18 , which was purchased by his money; and Aaron made it, by giving command to make it. The Chaldee, Syriac, Arabic, and Samaritan render the words thus,

they worshipped or sacrificed to the calf which Aaron made . And the word which signifies to make, is oft used for worshipping or sacrificing, as Exo 10:25 Jud 13:15 1Ki 18:26 .

Haydock: Exo 32:1 - Cry // Singers Cry, &c. Hebrew, "the cry answering strength....or....weakness," which the Vulgate elucidates. --- Singers. Septuagint, "I hear the cry of those ...

Cry, &c. Hebrew, "the cry answering strength....or....weakness," which the Vulgate elucidates. ---

Singers. Septuagint, "I hear the cry of those who contend for pre-eminence in wine," or over their cups. (Haydock)

Haydock: Exo 32:1 - Delayed // Gods Delayed. They waited perhaps about a month, with some patience; and then, becoming seditious, assembled against Aaron, and extorted from him a com...

Delayed. They waited perhaps about a month, with some patience; and then, becoming seditious, assembled against Aaron, and extorted from him a compliance with their impious request. He was thus guilty of a grievous crime, though the violence might extenuate it in some degree. (Salien.) ---

He was not yet ordained high priest, chap. xl. 12. (Haydock) ---

Gods. Aaron gratified their request by the golden calf. They had the pillar to conduct them, but they wanted something new. The speak with contempt of Moses. (Menochius)

Haydock: Exo 32:2 - And your sons And your sons. The Septuagint omit this. But in the East, it was fashionable for men also to wear ear-rings. (Pliny, [Natural History?] xi. 37; Ju...

And your sons. The Septuagint omit this. But in the East, it was fashionable for men also to wear ear-rings. (Pliny, [Natural History?] xi. 37; Judges viii. 24; Ezechiel vii. 20. Aaron hoped the people would relent at this proposal. (St. Augustine, q. 141.)

Haydock: Exo 32:4 - Received them // Thy gods // And they changed their glory // They forgot God Received them, "in a purse, (as Gideon did afterwards, Judges viii. 25,) he made a molten calf." (Jonathan) --- Perhaps he engraved on it the pecul...

Received them, "in a purse, (as Gideon did afterwards, Judges viii. 25,) he made a molten calf." (Jonathan) ---

Perhaps he engraved on it the peculiar marks of the Egyptian idol, Apis; a square white spot on the forehead, and a crescent upon the side. For it is generally believed, that this calf was designed to imitate that object of worship, to which the Hebrews had been too much accustomed. (Acts vii. 39, 41.; St. Jerome in Osee iv.) The Egyptians adored not only the living ox, but also its image, which they kept in their temple. (Porphyrius, Abst. ii. Mela. i. 8.) Some of the fathers think, that the head of a calf only appeared. (St. Ambrose; Lactantius, &c.) The rest of the figure was perhaps human, as Osiris was represented with the head of an ox, as well as Astarte and Serapis. Monceau pretends that Aaron represented the true God, under the form of a cherub, in which he falsely asserts he had appeared on Mount Sinai, and that his fault consisted only in giving occasion of superstition to the people. But his opinion (though adopted by many Protestants, who excuse all from the guilt of idolatry, but papists; Haydock) has been condemned at Rome, and refuted by Visorius, &c. ---

Thy gods, &c. Thus spoke the infatuated ringleaders. (Calmet) ---

And they changed their glory, the true God, into the likeness of a calf that eateth grass, Psalm cv. 19. ---

They forgot God, who saved them, (Psalm cv. 21,) and forsook Him, (Deuteronomy xxxii. 18,) to adore the calf. (Worthington)

Haydock: Exo 32:5 - The Lord // To-morrow The Lord. The most sacred name of God is prostituted, (Judges xvii. and xviii.; Wisdom xiv. 21,) and an altar is erected to this idol; though some p...

The Lord. The most sacred name of God is prostituted, (Judges xvii. and xviii.; Wisdom xiv. 21,) and an altar is erected to this idol; though some pretend, that Aaron meant God to be adored under this similitude. His weakness was unaccountable, and God would have slain him, had not Moses interceded, Deuteronomy ix. 20. Those who undertake to justify him, enter not into the sentiments of God; and the offender himself pleads no excuse, but the violence of the people, ver. 23. (Salien.) ---

To-morrow, when the 40 days expired, and Moses returned arrayed in terrors. (Haydock)

Haydock: Exo 32:6 - They offered // To eat // To play They offered, by the hands of Aaron, to whom the Septuagint refer all this. "He offered," &c., appearing at the head of the idolaters. Cornelius a ...

They offered, by the hands of Aaron, to whom the Septuagint refer all this. "He offered," &c., appearing at the head of the idolaters. Cornelius a Lapide insinuates, that he wished to supplant his brother in the supreme command; and after a faint resistance, became the promoter of idolatry, to ingratiate himself with the people. The Scripture lays not this, however, to his charge. (Calmet) ---

To eat of the victims. ---

To play, dancing and singing in honour of their idol, probably with many indecent gestures, as was customary on such occasions among the nations of Chanaan. (Haydock) ---

Tertullian (de jejunio) understands impure play. The word means also to dance, and to play on instruments of music. Ludere quæ vellem calamo permisit agresti. (Virgil, Eclogues i) (Calmet) ---

Sulpitius says, the people abandoned themselves to drunkenness and gluttony, or debauchery, vinoque se & ventri dedisset. (Haydock) ---

They might get wine from Madian. (Salien.) ---

Foolish mirth is the daughter of gluttony, and the mother of idolatry. (St. Gregory, Mor. xxxi. 31.) (Worthington)

Haydock: Exo 32:7 - Thy people Thy people. They are not worthy to be styled my people; and thou didst ratify the covenant with me, in their name, and as their interpreter. They h...

Thy people. They are not worthy to be styled my people; and thou didst ratify the covenant with me, in their name, and as their interpreter. They have sinned, giving way to idolatry in thought, word, and deed.

Haydock: Exo 32:9 - And again // I see And again. The Septuagint omit this verse. Moses, at the first intimation of the people's sin, fell prostrate before the Lord, to sue for pardon, a...

And again. The Septuagint omit this verse. Moses, at the first intimation of the people's sin, fell prostrate before the Lord, to sue for pardon, and pleaded the natural weakness of an ungovernable multitude, in order to extenuate their fault. This God admits. ---

I see, &c. But while he seems bent on punishing them, to try his servant, he encourages him inwardly to pray with fervour. (Salien.)

Haydock: Exo 32:10 - Alone // Nation Alone. One fully determined on revenge will bear with no expostulation; whence St. Gregory (Mor. ix. 11,) and Theodoret (q. 67,) look upon this as a...

Alone. One fully determined on revenge will bear with no expostulation; whence St. Gregory (Mor. ix. 11,) and Theodoret (q. 67,) look upon this as an incitement to pray more earnestly, seeing God's servants have such influence over Him. The mercy of God struggled with his justice, and stopped its effects. ---

Nation, as I promised to Abraham; or I will make thee ruler over a nation greater than this, as Moses explains it, (Deuteronomy ix. 14,) and as the like offer is made, Numbers xiv. 12. The Samaritan subjoins here, "And God was likewise much irritated against Aaron, and would have destroyed him; but Moses prayed for him:" which we are assured was the case, Deuteronomy ix. 20. (Calmet)

Haydock: Exo 32:11 - Why Why, &c. Calvin here accuses Moses of arrogance, in prescribing laws to God's justice. But St. Jerome (ep. ad Gaud.) commends his charity and "pray...

Why, &c. Calvin here accuses Moses of arrogance, in prescribing laws to God's justice. But St. Jerome (ep. ad Gaud.) commends his charity and "prayer, which hindered God's power." (Worthington)

Haydock: Exo 32:12 - Craftily Craftily. Hebrew, "with a malicious design." Moses insinuates, that the glory of God is interested not to punish the Hebrews, lest the Gentiles sho...

Craftily. Hebrew, "with a malicious design." Moses insinuates, that the glory of God is interested not to punish the Hebrews, lest the Gentiles should blaspheme, particularly as the land of Chanaan seemed to be promised unconditionally to the posterity of Abraham, who were now, all but one, to be exterminated. (Haydock)

Haydock: Exo 32:13 - Thy servants Thy servants. Thus God honours his friends, and rewards their merits, which are the effects of his grace. (Worthington)

Thy servants. Thus God honours his friends, and rewards their merits, which are the effects of his grace. (Worthington)

Haydock: Exo 32:14 - Appeased Appeased. Yet of this Moses was not fully assured, and in effect only those who were less guilty, were reprieved to be punished afterwards, ver. 30,...

Appeased. Yet of this Moses was not fully assured, and in effect only those who were less guilty, were reprieved to be punished afterwards, ver. 30, 35. (Haydock)

Haydock: Exo 32:15 - Both sides Both sides. The ten commandments were written twice over, or on both sides, that all who stood round Moses, might be able to read them. (Menochius)...

Both sides. The ten commandments were written twice over, or on both sides, that all who stood round Moses, might be able to read them. (Menochius) ---

On one side, appeared the laws regarding God; on the other, those which relate to man. (Haydock) ---

They were like two originals. The common way of writing was only on one side. (Calmet)

Haydock: Exo 32:17 - Josue Josue, who was waiting for Moses lower down on the mountain, chap. xxiv. 13.

Josue, who was waiting for Moses lower down on the mountain, chap. xxiv. 13.

Haydock: Exo 32:19 - Mount Mount. "Finding the people abandoned to luxury and sacrilege, he broke the tables, deeming it a nation unworthy to be entrusted with the law of God....

Mount. "Finding the people abandoned to luxury and sacrilege, he broke the tables, deeming it a nation unworthy to be entrusted with the law of God." (Sulpitius i. 33.) By this action, Moses foreshewed the dissolution of the covenant with the Jews, that the new covenant might take place. (St. Augustine, q. 144.) The Jews kept the 17th of the fourth month as a fast, in memory of this event. (St. Jerome in Zac. viii.)

Haydock: Exo 32:20 - Calf Calf. Having manifested his disapprobation of the people's conduct, in the most signal manner, by breaking the two tables; Moses proceeds to convinc...

Calf. Having manifested his disapprobation of the people's conduct, in the most signal manner, by breaking the two tables; Moses proceeds to convince them of their stupidity, in adoring what he, in a few minutes, reduces to powder. (Haydock) ---

He breaks the calf in pieces, after burning it, and then grinds it to dust in a mill, with files; as the Hebrew, Chaldean, and Septuagint intimate. He throws it, with contempt, into the torrent, which supplied the camp with water, and thus caused the idolaters to swallow their god. (Tirinus) -- Sa assures us, that he saw an alchymist pulverize gold, which Abenezra says is done by means of some herbs, which turn the gold quite black, when it is melted. (Calmet) ---

Some use aquafortis for this purpose. (Tirinus) ---

But from the account of Moses, (Deuteronomy ix. 21,) it seems fire, and the mille, or file, reduced the gold into the smallest particles, so as to be even potable. Josephus ([Antiquities?] viii. 2,) mentions the gold dust used by the courtiers of Solomon. (Calmet)

Haydock: Exo 32:22 - Evil Evil. Aaron answers his younger brother with humility, being now touched with repentance; on which account, God still grants him the high priesthood...

Evil. Aaron answers his younger brother with humility, being now touched with repentance; on which account, God still grants him the high priesthood. (Haydock)

Haydock: Exo 32:24 - Came out Came out. The Rabbins pretend alive, and able to walk. Hence they say Aaron was filled with astonishment, and induced to erect the altar in its hon...

Came out. The Rabbins pretend alive, and able to walk. Hence they say Aaron was filled with astonishment, and induced to erect the altar in its honour. (R. Salomo and Burgens.) But these are Jewish fables, injurious to God, and invented to hide, in some degree, the shame of their ancestors. For the same reason, Josephus passes over the whole in silence, and Philo throws the blame on a few Egyptian converts. They might very probably be the ringleaders, as Numbers xi. 4. But the Hebrews in general readily gave in to the delusion, 1 Corinthians x. 7. (Haydock)

Haydock: Exo 32:25 - Naked // The shame of the filth // Of the filth Naked. Having lost not only their gold, and their honour, but what was worst of all, being stripped also of the grace of God, and having lost him. -...

Naked. Having lost not only their gold, and their honour, but what was worst of all, being stripped also of the grace of God, and having lost him. ---

The shame of the filth. That is, of the idol, which they had taken for their god. It is the usual phrase of the Scripture to call idols filth, and abominations. (Challoner) ---

Of the filth, is not in Hebrew. But it serves to explain how the Hebrews came to be so unprotected and disconcerted. See 2 Paralipomenon xxviii. 29.

Haydock: Exo 32:26 - All the sons All the sons; that is, the great majority of them; for some were probably slain, ver. 29.

All the sons; that is, the great majority of them; for some were probably slain, ver. 29.

Haydock: Exo 32:28 - About About, &c. The Hebrew letter c means about, and stands also for twenty. All the versions, and some copies of the Vulgate, retain the first sign...

About, &c. The Hebrew letter c means about, and stands also for twenty. All the versions, and some copies of the Vulgate, retain the first signification; but our edition gives also the second. Sixtus V. and the Louvain Bible have about 33,000. (Haydock) ---

St. Paul (1 Corinthians x. 7, 8,) mentions, that three and twenty thousand perished, in punishment of their fornication (with the Moabites), which some explain of the adoration of the calf, and say that Moses only specifies those slain by the Levites; while St. Paul gives the number of all those who perished by the hand of God on this occasion, ver. 35. (Calmet) ---

St. Cyril, Alex. glap. 2, Sulpitius, and many other fathers, agree with the Vulgate. The fornication with the Moabites, was followed by the death of 24,000, Numbers xxv. 9. So that St. Paul cannot refer to it, unless he only mention those who perished in one day; and Moses expresses the total amount of the slain during the whole affair. (Haydock)

Haydock: Exo 32:29 - To you To you. Thus they merited the priesthood, and a blessing; (Deuteronomy xxxiii. 9.; Menochius) having been the ministers of God's just indignation, w...

To you. Thus they merited the priesthood, and a blessing; (Deuteronomy xxxiii. 9.; Menochius) having been the ministers of God's just indignation, without sparing any of the most guilty. With these they could not be unacquainted. No external signs on their bodies were requisite to make the delinquents known. They had appeared to publicly. (Haydock) ---

The Levites acted with due authority and order, which their father, Levi, had neglected, Genesis xxxiv. (Worthington)

Haydock: Exo 32:30 - You You. Many who had not been slain, had followed the bad example, and Aaron, in particular, had brought upon them a most heinous sin, ver. 21. Yet ...

You. Many who had not been slain, had followed the bad example, and Aaron, in particular, had brought upon them a most heinous sin, ver. 21. Yet on account of their repentance, they were not subjected to immediate punishment; but they were visited afterwards, ver. 34. Though God was appeased, (ver. 14,) so as not to destroy the whole multitude, Moses thought it a very arduous task to obtain a full reconciliation, notwithstanding the exemplary vengeance he had taken of the ringleaders. Hence he addresses himself to God with the greatest humility, and with such earnestness as scarcely seems justifiable, if we understand that he put his own eternal salvation at stake. But he makes an impossible supposition, or proposal, which he knew God would not admit, to extort as it were the requested favour. As he is willing to die for his people, God pardons them for his sake. (St. Augustine, q. 147, &c.) (Haydock)

Haydock: Exo 32:32 - The book The book of predestinate. St. Paul uses a similar expression, Romans ix. 3. Neither could he really desire or consent to be accursed, even for a ti...

The book of predestinate. St. Paul uses a similar expression, Romans ix. 3. Neither could he really desire or consent to be accursed, even for a time. Hence their words can be understood only as an hyperbole, to denote the excess of their love for their brethren, as if a child should say to his father, pardon my brother, or kill me. (Tirinus) ---

Some explain this book, of the law or covenant, by which Moses was appointed the prince of the Hebrews, which title he is willing to forego, with pleasure, to obtain their pardon. (Calmet) ---

Others understand the book, or register of the living. He is willing to die for his people. See Numbers xi. 15; St. Gregory, Mor. x. 7; St. Jerome, ad Algas. ---

This sense is very good, and sufficiently expresses the fervour of Moses. Greater live than this no man hath, John xv. 13.

Haydock: Exo 32:33 - Book Book: him will I slay; and, if he die impenitent, I will punish him for ever. (Haydock)

Book: him will I slay; and, if he die impenitent, I will punish him for ever. (Haydock)

Haydock: Exo 32:35 - Struck Struck, with some judgment, not specified; (Lyranus) or perhaps, the various punishments which were inflicted on the Hebrews in the wilderness, were ...

Struck, with some judgment, not specified; (Lyranus) or perhaps, the various punishments which were inflicted on the Hebrews in the wilderness, were all partly designed to chastise this first act of idolatry. Calmet explains this of the devastation caused by the Levites, as he supposes the narration of Moses does not deserve the order of time. He thinks Moses expostulated with the people, and was then sent by God to punish them; and while they were unarmed, (chap. xxxiii. 5,) the Levites fell upon them. Then Moses removed the tabernacle out of the camp, and obtained of God that he would go before them, and not an angel only, ver. 34. and chap. xxxiii. 17. Moses continued full forty days, standing or lying prostrate on the mount, before the Lord, to obtain the pardon of his people, Deuteronomy ix. 25. and x. 10. At the expiration of which term he returned, with an order to prepare two other tables of stone, on which, after a supplication of the same length of time, he obtained the law to be again engraven, chap. xxxiv. 28. The favour cost him therefore 120 days' earnest prayer; and yet how little are we touched with God's mercy, in giving us his law! (Haydock)

Gill: Exo 32:1 - 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 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 h...

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.

Gill: Exo 32:2 - And Aaron said unto them // break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters // and bring them unto me And Aaron said unto them,.... Perceiving that they were not to be dissuaded from their evil counsel, and diverted from their purpose, but were determi...

And Aaron said unto them,.... Perceiving that they were not to be dissuaded from their evil counsel, and diverted from their purpose, but were determined at all events to have an image made to represent God unto them in a visible manner:

break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters; these were some of the jewels in gold they had borrowed of the Egyptians; and it seems that, in those times and countries, men, as well as women, used to wear earrings, and so Pliny w says, in the eastern countries men used to wear gold in their ears; and this may be confirmed from the instance of the Ishmaelites and Midianites, Jdg 8:24. Aaron did not ask the men for theirs, but for those of their wives and children; it may be, because he might suppose they were more fond of them, and would not so easily part with them, hoping by this means to have put them off of their design:

and bring them unto me; to make a god of, as they desired, that is, the representation of one.

Gill: Exo 32:3 - And all the people brake off the golden earrings, which were in their ears // and brought them unto Aaron And all the people brake off the golden earrings, which were in their ears,.... The men took off their earrings, and persuaded their wives and childre...

And all the people brake off the golden earrings, which were in their ears,.... The men took off their earrings, and persuaded their wives and children, or obliged them to part with theirs; though the Targum of Jonathan says the women refused to give their ornaments to their husbands, therefore all the people immediately broke off all the golden ornaments which were in their ears x, so intent were they upon idolatry. This is to be understood not of every individual, but of the greatest part of the people; so apostle explains it of some of them, 1Co 10:7. Idolaters spare no cost nor pains to support their worship, and will strip themselves, their wives, and children, of their ornaments, to deck their idols; which may shame the worshippers of the true God, who are oftentimes too backward to contribute towards the maintenance of his worship and service:

and brought them unto Aaron: presently, the selfsame day; they soon forgot the commands enjoined them to have no other gods, save one, and to make no graven image to bow down to it, and their own words, Exo 24:7.

Gill: Exo 32:4 - And he received them at their hand // and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf // and made it a molten calf // and they said, these be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt And he received them at their hand,.... For the use they delivered them to him: and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molte...

And he received them at their hand,.... For the use they delivered them to him:

and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf; that is, after he had melted the gold, and cast it into a mould, which gave it the figure of a calf, and with his tool wrought it into a more agreeable form, he took off the roughness of it, and polished it; or if it was in imitation of the Egyptian Apis or Osiris, he might with his graving tool engrave such marks and figures as were upon that; to cause the greater resemblance, so Selden y thinks; see Gill on Jer 46:20 or else the sense may be, that he drew the figure of a calf with his tool, or made it in "a mould" z, into which he poured in the melted gold:

and made it a molten calf; the Targum of Jonathan gives another sense of the former clause, "he bound it up in a napkin"; in a linen cloth or bag, i.e. the gold of the ear rings, and then put it into the melting pot, and so cast it into a mould, and made a calf of it. Jarchi takes notice of this sense, and it is espoused by Bochart a, who produces two passages of Scripture for the confirmation of it, Jdg 8:24 and illustrates it by Isa 46:6. What inclined Aaron to make it in the form of a calf, is not easy to say; whether in imitation of the cherubim, one of the faces of which was that of an ox, as Moncaeus thought; or whether in imitation of the Osiris of the Egyptians, who was worshipped in a living ox, and sometimes in the image of one, even a golden one. Plutarch is express for it, and says b, that the ox was an image of Osiris, and that it was a golden one; and so says Philo the Jew c, the Israelites, emulous of Egyptian figments, made a golden ox; or whether he did this to make them ashamed of their idolatry, thinking they would never be guilty of worshipping the form of an ox eating grass, or because an ox was an emblem of power and majesty:

and they said, these be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt; they own they were, brought up out of that land by the divine Being; and they could not be so stupid as to believe, that this calf, which was only a mass of gold, figured and decorated, was inanimate, had no life nor breath, and was just made, after their coming out of Egypt, was what brought them from hence; but that this was a representation of God, who had done this for them; yet some Jewish writers are so foolish as to suppose, that through art it had the breath of life in it, and came out of the mould a living calf, Satan, or Samael, entering into it, and lowed in it d.

Gill: Exo 32:5 - And when Aaron saw it // he built an altar before it // and Aaron made proclamation, and said, tomorrow is a feast to the Lord And when Aaron saw it,.... In what form it was, and what a figure it made, and how acceptable it was to the Israelites. The Targums of Jonathan and Je...

And when Aaron saw it,.... In what form it was, and what a figure it made, and how acceptable it was to the Israelites. The Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem paraphrase it,"and Aaron saw Hur slain before him;''for reproving them for their idolatry, as the Midrash e, quoted by Jarchi, says: and Aaron fearing they would take away his life if he opposed them:

he built an altar before it; that sacrifice might be offered on it to it:

and Aaron made proclamation, and said, tomorrow is a feast to the Lord; that is, he gave orders to have it published throughout the camp, there would be solemn sacrifices offered up to the Lord, as represented by this calf, and a feast thereon, which was a public invitation of them to the solemnity: though some think this was a protracting time, and putting the people off till the morrow, who would have been for offering sacrifice immediately, hoping that Moses would come down from the mount before that time, and prevent their idolatry.

Gill: Exo 32:6 - And they rose up early in the morning // and offered burnt offerings // and brought peace offerings // and the people sat down to eat and to drink // and rose up to play And they rose up early in the morning,.... Being eager of, and intent upon their idol worship: and offered burnt offerings; upon the altar Aaron ha...

And they rose up early in the morning,.... Being eager of, and intent upon their idol worship:

and offered burnt offerings; upon the altar Aaron had made, where they were wholly consumed:

and brought peace offerings: which were to make a feast to the Lord, and of which they partook:

and the people sat down to eat and to drink; as at a feast:

and rose up to play; to dance and sing, as was wont to be done by the Egyptians in the worship of their Apis or Ox; and Philo the Jew says f, of the Israelites, that having made a golden ox, in imitation of the Egyptian Typho, he should have said Osiris, for Typho was hated by the Egyptians, being the enemy of Osiris; they sung and danced: the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem interpret it of idolatry; some understand this of their lewdness and uncleanness, committing fornication as in the worship of Peor, taking the word in the same sense as used by Potiphar's wife, Gen 39:14.

Gill: Exo 32:7 - And the Lord said unto Moses, go, get thee down // for thy people which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves And the Lord said unto Moses, go, get thee down,.... In Deu 9:12 it is added, "quickly", and so the Septuagint version here: this was said after the L...

And the Lord said unto Moses, go, get thee down,.... In Deu 9:12 it is added, "quickly", and so the Septuagint version here: this was said after the Lord had finished his discourse with him, and had given him the two tables of stone, and he was about to depart, but the above affair happening he hastens his departure; indeed the idolatry began the day before, and he could have acquainted him with it, if it had been his pleasure, but he suffered the people to go the greatest length before a stop was put to their impiety:

for thy people which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves; their works, as the Targum of Jonathan supplies it, their ways and their manners; their minds, the imaginations of their hearts, were first corrupted, and this led on to a corruption of actions, by which they corrupted and defiled themselves yet more and more, and made themselves abominable in the sight of God, as corrupt persons and things must needs be; and what can be a greater corruption and abomination than idolatry? the Lord calls these people not his people, being displeased with them, though they had been, and were, and still continued; for, notwithstanding this idolatry, he did not cast them off from being his people, or write a "Loammi" on them; but he calls them Moses's people, as having broken the law delivered to them by him, they had promised to obey, and so were liable to the condemnation and curse of it; and because they had been committed to his care and charge, and he had been the instrument of their deliverance, and therefore it was great ingratitude to him to act the part they had done, as well as impiety to God; wherefore, though it was the Lord that brought them out of Egypt, it is ascribed to Moses as the instrument, to make the evil appear the greater. Jarchi very wrongly makes these people to be the mixed multitude he supposes Moses had proselyted, and therefore called his people.

Gill: Exo 32:8 - They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them // they have made them a molten calf // and have worshipped it // and have sacrificed thereunto // and said, these be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them,.... The Targum of Jonathan adds, by way of explanation,"on Sinai, saying, ye sha...

They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them,.... The Targum of Jonathan adds, by way of explanation,"on Sinai, saying, ye shall not make to yourselves an image, or figure, or any similitude.''This was the command God had given to them; this the way he had directed them to walk in; from this they turned aside, by making the golden calf as an image or representation of God; and this they had done very quickly, since it was but about six weeks ago that this command was given; wherefore if Moses had delayed coming down from the mount, they had made haste to commit iniquity; and, perhaps, this observation is made of their quick defection, in opposition to their complaint of Moses's long absence:

they have made them a molten calf; for though it was made by Aaron, or by his direction to the founder or goldsmith, yet it was at their request and earnest solicitation; they would not be easy without it:

and have worshipped it; by bowing the knee to it, kissing it or their hands at the approach of it, see Hos 13:2.

and have sacrificed thereunto burnt offerings and peace offerings:

and said, these be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt; the very words they used, Exo 32:4 and which were taken particular notice of by the Lord with resentment.

Gill: Exo 32:9 - And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people // and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people,.... He had observed their ways and works, their carriage and behaviour; he had seen them before...

And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people,.... He had observed their ways and works, their carriage and behaviour; he had seen them before this time; he knew from all eternity what they would be, that their neck would be as an iron sinew, and their brow brass; but now he saw that in fact which he before saw as future, and they proved to be the people he knew they would be; besides, this is said to give Moses the true character of them, which might be depended upon, since it was founded upon divine knowledge and observation:

and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people; obstinate and self-willed, resolute in their own ways, and will not be reclaimed, inflexible and not subjected to the yoke of the divine law; a metaphor taken from such creatures as will not submit their necks or suffer the yoke or bridle to be put upon them, but draw back and slip away; or, as Aben Ezra thinks, to a man that goes on his way upon a run, and will not turn his neck to him that calls him, so disobedient and irreclaimable were these people.

Gill: Exo 32:10 - Now, therefore, let me alone // that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them // and I will make of thee a great nation Now, therefore, let me alone,.... And not solicit him with prayers and supplications in favour of these people, but leave him to take his own way with...

Now, therefore, let me alone,.... And not solicit him with prayers and supplications in favour of these people, but leave him to take his own way with them, without troubling him with any suit on their behalf; and so the Targum of Jonathan,"and now leave off thy prayer, and do not cry for them before me;''as the Prophet Jeremiah was often bid not to pray for this people in his time, which was a token of God's great displeasure with them, as well as shows the prevalence of prayer with him; that he knows not how, as it were, humanly speaking, to deny the requests of his children; and even though made not on their own account, but on the account of a sinful and disobedient people:

that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: which suggests that they were deserving of the wrath of God to the uttermost, and to be destroyed from off the face of the earth, and even to be punished with an everlasting destruction:

and I will make of thee a great nation; increase his family to such a degree, as to make them as great a nation or greater than the people of Israel were, see Deu 9:14 or the meaning is, he would set him over a great nation, make him king over a people as large or larger than they, which is a sense mentioned by Fagius and Vatablus; and, indeed, as Bishop Patrick observes, if this people had been destroyed, there would have been no danger of the promise not being made good, which was made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, concerning the multiplication of their seed, urged by Moses, Exo 32:13 seeing that would have stood firm, if a large nation was made out of the family of Moses, who descended from them: this was a very great temptation to Moses, and had he been a selfish man, and sought the advancement of his own family, and careless of, and indifferent to the people of Israel, he would have accepted of it; it is a noble testimony in his favour, and proves him not to be the designing man he is represented by the deists.

Gill: Exo 32:11 - And Moses besought the Lord his God // and said, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people // which thou hast brought out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand And Moses besought the Lord his God,.... As the Lord was the God of Moses, his covenant God, and he had an interest in him, he made use of it in favou...

And Moses besought the Lord his God,.... As the Lord was the God of Moses, his covenant God, and he had an interest in him, he made use of it in favour of the people of Israel:

and said, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people? so as to think or speak of consuming them utterly; otherwise he knew there was reason for his being angry and wroth with them; but though they were deserving of his hot wrath and displeasure, and even to be dealt with in the manner proposed, yet he entreats he would consider they were his people; his special people, whom he had chose above all people, and had redeemed them from the house of bondage, had given them laws, and made a covenant with them, and many promises unto them, and therefore hoped he would not consume them in his hot displeasure; God had called them the people of Moses, and Moses retorts it, and calls them the people of God, and makes use of their relation to him as an argument with him in their favour; and which also shows that Moses did not understand that the Lord by calling them his people disowned them as his:

which thou hast brought out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? this the Lord had ascribed to Moses, and observes it is an aggravation of their ingratitude to Moses, and here Moses retorts, and ascribes it to God, and to his mighty power; as for himself he was only a weak feeble instrument, the Lord was the efficient cause of their deliverance, in which he had shown the exceeding greatness of his power; and he argues from hence, that seeing he had exerted his mighty arm in bringing them from thence, that he would not now lift it up against them and destroy them.

Gill: Exo 32:12 - Wherefore should the Egyptians speak and say // for mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth // turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people Wherefore should the Egyptians speak and say,.... Those that remained, as the Targum of Jonathan, who were not drowned in the Red sea: a good man will...

Wherefore should the Egyptians speak and say,.... Those that remained, as the Targum of Jonathan, who were not drowned in the Red sea: a good man will be concerned for the honour and glory of God among the enemies of his people, that their mouths may not be opened to blaspheme the Lord and speak ill of his ways, see Jos 7:9 and this is sometimes an argument with God himself, not to do that to his people they deserve, lest it should give occasion to the enemy to speak reproachfully, insult, and triumph, Deu 32:26.

for mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth; that he brought them out of Egypt, not with a good but ill design; not to bring them into the land of Canaan, as they promised themselves, but to destroy them in the mountains; not to erect them into a great kingdom and nation, which should make a considerable figure in the world, but to cut them off from being a people at all: the mountains where they now were, were Sinai and Horeb, and there might be others thereabout, among which they were encamped: the Targum of Jonathan is,"among the mountains of Tabor, and Hermon, and Sirion, and Sinai:"

turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people; not that there is any turning or shadow of turning with God, or any change of his mind, or any such passions and affections in him as here expressed; but this is said after the manner of men concerning him, when he alters the course of his dealings with men according to his unalterable will, and does not do the evil threatened by him, and which the sins of men deserve.

Gill: Exo 32:13 - Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants // to whom thou swarest by thine own self // and saidst unto them // I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven // and all this land that I have spoken of // will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants,.... The covenant he made with them, the promise he had made unto them, with an oath annexed to it: ...

Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants,.... The covenant he made with them, the promise he had made unto them, with an oath annexed to it:

to whom thou swarest by thine own self; which he did, because he could swear by no greater; and for the confirmation of his covenant and promise, see Gen 22:16.

and saidst unto them; for what was said to Abraham was repeated and confirmed to Isaac and Jacob:

I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven; multitudes of which are out of sight, and cannot be seen with the naked eye, nor numbered:

and all this land that I have spoken of; the land of Canaan, then inhabited by several nations:

will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever; as long as they are a people, a body politic, and especially while obedient to the divine will; but should they be now cut off, this promise would become of no effect: this is the great argument Moses makes use of, and the most forcible one.

Gill: Exo 32:14 - And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people. And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people. He did not do what he threatened to do, and seemed to have in his thoughts a...

And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people. He did not do what he threatened to do, and seemed to have in his thoughts and designs, but did what Moses desired he would, Exo 32:12 not that any of God's thoughts or the determinations of his mind are alterable; for the thoughts of his heart are to all generations; but he changes the outward dispensations of his providence, or his methods of acting with men, which he has been taking or threatened to take; and this being similar to what they do when they repent of anything, who alter their course, hence repentance is ascribed to God, though, properly speaking, it does not belong to him, see Jer 18:8. Aben Ezra thinks that the above prayer of Moses, which was so prevalent with God, does not stand in its proper place, but should come after Exo 32:31 for, to what purpose, says he, should Moses say to the Israelites, Exo 32:30 "peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin": if he was appeased by his prayer before?

Gill: Exo 32:15 - And Moses turned, and went down from the mount // and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand // the letters were written on both their sides, on the one side and on the other were they written And Moses turned, and went down from the mount,.... He turned himself from God, with whom he had been conversing forty days; his back was to the ascen...

And Moses turned, and went down from the mount,.... He turned himself from God, with whom he had been conversing forty days; his back was to the ascent of the mount, and he turned himself in order to go down; or "he looked" g, as a man considers what is to be done, as Aben Ezra observes, and he saw that he was obliged to go down in haste:

and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand; or hands, as in Exo 32:19 for they were, perhaps, as much as he could carry in both hands, being of stone, as in Exo 31:18 on which was written the law, the "testimony" of the will of God with respect to what was to be done or not done:

the letters were written on both their sides, on the one side and on the other were they written; some think that the engraving of the letters was such, that it went through the stones, and in a miraculous manner the letters and lines were in a regular order, and might be read on the other sides; to which Jarchi seems to incline, saying, the letters might be read, and it was a work of wonders; others think that the letters were written both within and without, like Ezekiel's book of woes; that the same that was within side was written without, that so, when held up, they might be read by those that stood before and those that stood behind; but rather so it was that the whole was written within, some of the commands on the right, and some on the left, and so the tables might be clapped together as a book is folded.

Gill: Exo 32:16 - And the tables were the work of God // and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables And the tables were the work of God,.... And not of angels or men; the stones were made and formed by God into the shape they were: and the writing...

And the tables were the work of God,.... And not of angels or men; the stones were made and formed by God into the shape they were:

and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables; the letters in which the law was written were of his framing, devising, and engraving; and this was to show that this law was his own, and contained his mind and will; and to give the greater dignity and authority to it, and to deter men from breaking it.

Gill: Exo 32:17 - And when Joshua heard the noise of the people, as they shouted // he said unto Moses, there is a noise of war in the camp And when Joshua heard the noise of the people, as they shouted,.... Dancing about the calf: when Moses went up into the mount, Joshua went with him, a...

And when Joshua heard the noise of the people, as they shouted,.... Dancing about the calf: when Moses went up into the mount, Joshua went with him, and tarried in a lower part of the mount all the forty days until he returned, see Exo 24:13 though not so low as the bottom of the mount where the people were, nor so near it as to know what they did there, for of their affairs he seems to be entirely ignorant; nor so high as where Moses was, or, however, not in the cloud where he conversed with God, for of what passed between them he had no knowledge, until declared by Moses:

he said unto Moses, there is a noise of war in the camp; such a noise as soldiers make in an onset for battle; he supposed that some enemy was come upon and had attacked the people, and that this noise was the noise of the enemy, or of the Israelites, or both, just beginning the battle; or on the finishing of it on the account of victory on one side or the other; and as he was the general of the army, it must give him a concern that he should be absent at such a time.

Gill: Exo 32:18 - And he said // it is not the voice of them that shout for mastery // neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome // but the noise of them that sing do I hear And he said,.... Not Joshua, as Saadiah Gaon thinks, but Moses, in answer to what Joshua had said: it is not the voice of them that shout for mas...

And he said,.... Not Joshua, as Saadiah Gaon thinks, but Moses, in answer to what Joshua had said:

it is not the voice of them that shout for mastery; that have got the better of it, and have obtained the victory, and shout on that account; or, "not the voice of a cry of strength", or "of a strong cry" h; that is, of men who have got the victory, and are in high spirits, and shout with a strong voice; and so the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan,"not the voice of strong men that overcome in battle:"

neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome; which is not a voice of shouting, but of howling; or, "not the voice of the cry of weakness", or "of a weak cry" i; who being unable to stand their ground are conquered, and make a bitter outcry on falling into the enemy's hands, or being wounded shriek terribly, and so the above Targums,"not the voice of the weak who are overcome by the enemy in battle:"

but the noise of them that sing do I hear; as at a merry entertainment, either on a civil or religious account: Moses, who knew what the children of Israel had done, and what they were about, could better judge of the nature of the sound he heard than Joshua could, who knew nothing of what was transacting,

Gill: Exo 32:19 - And it came to pass, as soon, as he came nigh unto the camp // that he saw the calf, and the dancing // and Moses's anger waxed hot // and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount And it came to pass, as soon, as he came nigh unto the camp,.... To the bottom of the mountain, and pretty near where the people were encamped: tha...

And it came to pass, as soon, as he came nigh unto the camp,.... To the bottom of the mountain, and pretty near where the people were encamped:

that he saw the calf, and the dancing; the golden image of the calf, and the people dancing about it, in honour of it, and as glad they had got a symbol and representation of God to go before them; and so the Egyptians did before the golden ox; as Philo says, before observed:

and Moses's anger waxed hot: he fell into a passion of indignation at the sight of such execrable idolatry, though he was so meek a man, and though he had himself expostulated with the Lord why his wrath should wax hot against this people; but, when he saw it with his own eyes he could not contain himself, but his spirit was raised to a very great pitch of anger, and could not forbear showing it in some way or another, and particularly in the following manner:

and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount; of Sinai; at the foot of it: he brought the tables, though he knew what they had done, and no doubt showed them to them, told them what they were, and enlarged on the wonderful condescension and goodness of God in giving them such laws, and writing them with his own hand, engraving them himself on such tables of stone; and then broke them to pieces, to denote that they had broken these laws, and deserved to be broke in pieces and destroyed themselves; and this he did before their eyes, that they might be the more affected with it, and be the more sensible of their loss; and this was not the mere effect of passion, at least a sinful one, but was under the influence and direction of God himself; since we never read he was blamed for this action, though afterwards ordered to make two tables like them: the Jews say k, this was done on the seventeenth day of Tammuz, which answers to part of June and part of July, and is observed by them as a fast on account of it.

Gill: Exo 32:20 - And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire // and ground it to powder // and strawed it upon the water // and made the children of Israel drink of it And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire,.... Melted it down into a mass of gold, whereby it lost its form, and had no more ...

And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire,.... Melted it down into a mass of gold, whereby it lost its form, and had no more the appearance of a calf:

and ground it to powder; but how this was done is not easy to say, whether by beating the mass of gold into thin plates, and then filing them small; for this art has remained unknown; the chemists have boasted of it as only possessed of it; but it seems Moses, learned in all the learning of the Egyptians, had it: however, it is now certain by various experiments, that gold, though a very thick and heavy body, consists of parts which are separable from one another, and to be divided into infinite subtler parts: the famous Dr. Halley has shown that one grain of gold may be divided into 10,000 parts, and yet visible; and Dr. Keil has demonstrated that a cubic thumb's breadth of gold is divisible into 47,619,047 parts, which do not escape the sight: according to the computation of the said Dr. Halley, leaf gold, with which silver threads are gilded, is not thicker than the 124,500 part of a thumb's breadth; so that a cube of the hundredth part of a thumb's breadth of the said subtle parts may contain 243,000,000 l:

and strawed it upon the water; of the brook that descended out of the mount, Deu 9:21 now called the fountain of St. Catharine; which Dr. Shaw m says, after it has supplied the demands of the convent (now built on this mount) is received without into a large basin, which running over, forms a little rill: and another traveller n speaks of a fountain about the middle of Mount Sinai, which, though small, was found in it running water very wholesome and refreshing: but if this was a brook of running water, it seems more likely that water was taken out of it and put into a proper vessel or vessels, on which the powder of the golden calf was strewed; or otherwise it would have been carried away with the stream, and could not have been taken up and given to the people to drink, as is next said; and this shows that it must be reduced to a very small light powder indeed, to float upon the top of the water and not sink to the bottom, as mere filings of gold would necessarily do:

and made the children of Israel drink of it; not the whole body of them, or every individual, but the more principal persons, and such who had been the most active in encouraging the making of the calf, and the worshipping of it: this was done not only that they might entirely lose their gold and have no manner of profit by it, but that the idol, which is nothing in the world, might be brought to nothing indeed, and that there might be no remains of it to be abused to superstitious uses, as well as to show them their folly in worshipping that which could not save itself; and by drinking it, whereby it passed through them and became an excrement, to express the utmost abhorrence and detestation of it; as also to show that they deserved the curse of God to enter into them, as oil into their bowels, as that water did, and be utterly destroyed: the Jewish writers, as Jarchi and Aben Ezra, suppose this water, with the powder of the golden calf in it, had the same effect and was for the same use as the water of jealousy, that it made the bellies of those that drank it to swell: and the Targum of Jonathan observes, that whoever gave any golden vessel towards the making of the calf, there was a sign appeared in his countenance: and Aben Ezra suggests the same, but neither of them say what it was: but an ancient Latin poet, quoted by Selden o, reports from the Hebrew writers, that whoever were guilty of this idolatry, as soon as they drank of the water their beards became yellow as gold, whereby the Levites knew who were guilty, and slew them; but as this is quite fabulous, so I have not met with it in any Jewish writer, only an author of theirs, of great antiquity and credit with them, says p, that whoever kissed the calf with his whole heart, his lips became golden.

Gill: Exo 32:21 - And Moses said unto Aaron // what did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them And Moses said unto Aaron,.... Having destroyed the calf, and thereby expressed his abhorrence of their idolatry, he examines the principal persons co...

And Moses said unto Aaron,.... Having destroyed the calf, and thereby expressed his abhorrence of their idolatry, he examines the principal persons concerned, and inquires into the cause and reason of it, how it came about; and begins with Aaron, though his own brother, with whom along with Hur he had committed the government of the people during his absence; and therefore was justly accountable for such a transaction, which could not have been without his knowledge and consent: no mention is made of Hur, whether he was dead or no is not certain; the Jewish writers say he was, and that he was killed for reproving the Israelites for their wickedness; and it looks as if he was dead, since he was not in the examination, and we hear of him no more afterwards:

what did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them? as idolatry is, than which no sin can be greater, it being not only a breach of the first table of the law, but directly against God, against the very being of God, and his honour and glory; it is a denial of him, and setting up an idol in his room, and giving to that the glory that is only due to his name; and Aaron being the chief magistrate, whose business it was to see that the laws of God were observed, and to restrain the people from sin, and to have been a terror to evil doers; yet falling in with them, and conniving at them, he is charged with bringing sin upon them, or them into that; and is asked what the people had done to him, that he should do this to them, what offence they had given him, what injury they had done him, that he bore them a grudge for it, and took this method to be revenged? for it is suggested, had they used him ever so ill, he could not have requited it in a stronger manner than by leading them into such a sin, the consequence of which must be ruin and destruction, see Gen 20:9 or else Moses inquires of Aaron what methods the people had made use of to prevail upon him to suffer them to do such a piece of wickedness; whether it was by persuasion and artful insinuations, or by threatening to take away his life if he did not comply, or in what manner they had wrought upon his weak side, to induce him to take such a step.

Gill: Exo 32:22 - And Aaron said, let not the anger of my lord wax hot // thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief And Aaron said, let not the anger of my lord wax hot,.... He addresses him in a very respectful manner, though his younger brother, being in a superio...

And Aaron said, let not the anger of my lord wax hot,.... He addresses him in a very respectful manner, though his younger brother, being in a superior office, the chief ruler of the people, king in Jeshurun; and he perceived a violent emotion rising in him, great indignation in his countenance, and an high resentment of what was done, and therefore he entreats his patience to hear him, in a few words, what he had to say, and he begins with the well known character of the people:

thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief; or are "in wickedness" q; wholly in it, and under the power and influence of it, given up to it, and bent upon it; and there was no restraining them from it; and he appeals to the knowledge of Moses himself for the truth of this, of which their several murmurings against him, since they came out of Egypt, were a proof; see 1Jo 5:19.

Gill: Exo 32:23 - For they said unto me, 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 For they said unto me, make us gods, which shall go before us,.... Which was true, Exo 32:1 but then he should have told them, that gods were not to b...

For they said unto me, make us gods, which shall go before us,.... Which was true, Exo 32:1 but then he should have told them, that gods were not to be made; that what were made with hands were no gods, and could not go before them; that the making of any image, similitude, or representation of God, was forbidden by him, as they had lately heard from his own mouth; he should have dissuaded from such idolatry, by showing them the evil nature of the sin, and the ruin they exposed themselves to by it:

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; their words he truly recites, and perhaps might choose the rather to mention them, because they carried in them some reflection on Moses for staying so long in the mount; and as if that contributed much to this affair, and which put the people on forming such a scheme, they concluding he must be dead through famine; or, as the Targum of Jonathan, be burnt with flaming fire from the Lord.

Gill: Exo 32:24 - And I said unto them, whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off // so they gave it me // then I cast it into the fire // and there came out this calf And I said unto them, whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off,.... That is, any ear rings of gold, let them loose or take them off their ears: ...

And I said unto them, whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off,.... That is, any ear rings of gold, let them loose or take them off their ears:

so they gave it me; of their own accord, as if unasked by him, though he had bid them bring it to him, Exo 32:2,

then I cast it into the fire; to melt it, but says nothing of the mould the melted gold was poured into:

and there came out this calf; he speaks of it as if the gold became in the form of a calf without any design, or without using any methods to put it in this form; but that it was a matter of chance, or rather something preternatural and miraculous; he speaks of it as if it was alive, and came out of itself: and indeed the Jews represent it as done by magic art, and by the operation of Satan, and speak of it as coming out alive, bellowing and dancing; and the Targum of Jonathan is,"and I cast it into the fire, and Satan entered into the midst of it, and out of it came the likeness of this calf.''Aaron says not a word of his fashioning it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf; but Moses learned this elsewhere, and has recorded it. What Moses thought of this apology is not said; it could not be satisfactory to him: and it is certain the conduct of Aaron in this affair was displeasing to God; and it seemed as if he would have destroyed him, had not Moses prayed for him, Deu 9:20.

Gill: Exo 32:25 - And when Moses saw that the people were naked // for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame amongst their enemies And when Moses saw that the people were naked,.... Not in their bodies, being stripped of their ear rings; for parting with them was not sufficient t...

And when Moses saw that the people were naked,.... Not in their bodies, being stripped of their ear rings; for parting with them was not sufficient to denominate them naked in a corporeal sense; nor as being without their armour, which was laid aside while they were eating, and drinking, and dancing about the calf, and so might be thought a proper opportunity for the Levites to fall upon them, by the order of Moses, and slay them: but it can hardly be thought that all the people bore arms, and that Moses took the advantage of their being without them: but rather they were naked in their souls, through their sin, and the shame of their nakedness appeared; their sin was made manifest, and they were discovered to be what they were; and they were now deprived of the divine protection; the cloud was departing from them, the symbol of the divine Presence, God being provoked by their sins; unless it is to be understood of their ceasing from work, and keeping holy day in honour of the calf, and so were loitering about, and not attending to the business of their callings, in which sense the word sometimes seems to be used, see Exo 5:4.

for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame amongst their enemies; to part with their ear rings, or lay aside their armour while feasting, could not be so much to their shame among their enemies; but to sin against God, in the manner they did, was to their shame, which Aaron was a means of by not doing all he could to hinder it, and by doing what he did to encourage it; and now he made them naked to their shame by exposing it, saying they were a people set on mischief, and given up to sin and wickedness; and what they had now done served to expose them to shame even among their enemies, both now and hereafter; when they should hear of their shameful revolt from God, after so many great and good things done for them, and of the change of their gods, and of their fickleness about them, which was not usual with the Gentiles: though the last word may be rendered, "among those that rise up from you"; that should spring from them, come up in their room, and succeed them, their posterity, as in Num 32:14 and so Onkelos renders it, "to your generations", and is so to be understood, as Abendana observes; and then the sense is, that this sin of making and worshipping the golden calf, and keeping a holy day, would be to their shame and disgrace, among their posterity, in all succeeding ages. (If is quite possible the people were physically naked, having taken off all their clothes to indulge in the idolatrous worship of the calf and sexual immorality that usually is associated with such wicked practices. Editor.)

Gill: Exo 32:26 - Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp // and said, who is on the Lord's side? let him come unto me // and all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp,.... In one of the gates of it; for it doubtless had more than one to go in and out of, as is clear from Exo ...

Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp,.... In one of the gates of it; for it doubtless had more than one to go in and out of, as is clear from Exo 32:27 it being probably entrenched all around; here Moses set himself, it being the usual place, as in cities, where the people were summoned together on important occasions, and justice and judgment were administered:

and said, who is on the Lord's side? let him come unto me; who is for the worship of the true God, and him only, and against the worship of a gold calf, or any other idol, and is zealous for the glory of God, and the honour of his name:

and all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him; that is, all those that had not given in to the idolatry of the calf; all is put for many. Jarchi infers from hence, that this tribe was wholly free from that sin; but the contrary is most evident, for it appears from the context that many of them were slain for it; yea, as, on the one hand, they were only of the tribe of Levi, who joined themselves to Moses, though there was no doubt many in all the tribes that were not in the idolatry; so, on the other hand, there were none slain, or very few, but of the tribe of Levi, as will appear in the exposition of the following verses, the being principally concerned with Aaron in making the calf; and therefore those of the same tribe that joined them not were the more zealous and studious to purge themselves from the imputation of the crime, by going over to Moses at once, and showing themselves to be on the Lord's side.

Gill: Exo 32:27 - And he said unto them, thus saith the Lord God of Israel // put every man his sword by 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 neighbour And he said unto them, thus saith the Lord God of Israel,.... The following orders are given by Moses, not of himself the chief magistrate, and as the...

And he said unto them, thus saith the Lord God of Israel,.... The following orders are given by Moses, not of himself the chief magistrate, and as the effect of heat and passion, but there were from the Lord, who was Israel's God and King; he had them expressly from him, or by an impulse on his spirit, or in such a way and manner that he knew it was of God, and this was his will:

put every man his sword by his side; girt there, ready to be drawn upon order:

and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp; not into the tents, where good men might be bemoaning the sin committed, but throughout the streets, where many were loitering, it being a holy day with the idolaters:

and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour; who were idolaters; none were to be spared on account of relation, friendship, and acquaintance.

Gill: Exo 32:28 - And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses // and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses,.... They girded their swords by their sides, went through the camp, and slew their brethr...

And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses,.... They girded their swords by their sides, went through the camp, and slew their brethren, companions and neighbours, who were keeping holy day in honour of the idol:

and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men; the Vulgate Latin version reads 23,000, very wrongly; now these being chiefly, if not altogether, of the tribe of Levi, the brethren, companions, and neighbours of the Levites, that were the slayers, together with the after plagues that came upon them, Exo 32:35 account for the deficiency of males in this tribe, some few months after, when it was numbered; and the number of them from one month old and upwards amounted but to 22,000, which was but a very small one in proportion to the other tribes, who generally, one with another, numbered 40,000 each, and none so few as 30,000 r; of this tribe Aaron was, and therefore used with severity, because of his concern in this sin; and even though it was the tribe of Moses, it was not spared.

Gill: Exo 32:29 - For Moses had said // consecrate yourselves today to the Lord // even every man upon his son, and upon his brother // that he may bestow a blessing upon you this day For Moses had said,.... To the Levites, when he first gave them their orders: consecrate yourselves today to the Lord; devote yourselves to his ser...

For Moses had said,.... To the Levites, when he first gave them their orders:

consecrate yourselves today to the Lord; devote yourselves to his service, by obeying his orders, slaying those, or the heads of them, who have cast so much contempt upon him as to worship the golden calf in his room; and which would be as acceptable to him as the offerings were, by which Aaron and his sons were consecrated to the Lord; and as these Levites were consecrated to his service this day, on this account:

even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; not sparing the nearest relation found in this idolatry, and for which the tribe of Levi is commended and blessed in the blessing of Moses, Deu 33:8 and as it follows:

that he may bestow a blessing upon you this day; which was their being taken into the service of God to minister to the priests in the sanctuary, to bear the vessels of the Lord, and for their maintenance to have the tithes of the people: this day was, according to the Jewish writers s, the seventeenth of Tammuz, or June, on which day the Jews keep a fast upon this account.

Gill: Exo 32:30 - And it came to pass on the morrow // that Moses said unto the people, ye have sinned a great sin // and I will go up unto the Lord // peradventure I shall make atonement for your sin And it came to pass on the morrow,.... The eighteenth day of Tammuz it was, the same writers say, that Moses implored the mercy of God for Israel. Jar...

And it came to pass on the morrow,.... The eighteenth day of Tammuz it was, the same writers say, that Moses implored the mercy of God for Israel. Jarchi on Exo 32:11 says it was on the seventeenth day the tables were broke, on the eighteenth the calf was burnt, and on the nineteenth that Moses went up to intercede for them:

that Moses said unto the people, ye have sinned a great sin; the sin of idolatry, see Exo 32:21 from whence it appears, that all that were guilty of it were not slain, perhaps only some of one tribe; and there was great reason to fear, that as wrath was gone forth it would not stop here, but others would fall a sacrifice to the divine displeasure; wherefore it is proposed by Moses to make application to the Lord on their behalf, that they might obtain mercy:

and I will go up unto the Lord: on the top of Mount Sinai:

peradventure I shall make atonement for your sin; not by any sacrifice offered, but by his prayers prevail with God to forgive their sin, and not punish any more for it: he had by his first prayer obtained of the Lord not to consume them off of the face of the earth, and utterly destroy them as a nation; but that he did not hinder but that resentment might be shown in a lesser degree, or by parts; as not 3000 men had been cut off, chiefly out of one tribe, if not altogether, the rest of the tribes might expect to be visited, according to the number of their delinquents.

Gill: Exo 32:31 - And Moses returned unto the Lord // and said, oh, this people have sinned a great sin // and have made them gods of gold 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...

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 Exo 32:30,

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

Gill: Exo 32:32 - Yet now, if thou will forgive their sin // and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of the book which thou hast written Yet now, if thou will forgive their sin,.... Of thy free grace, good will, and pleasure; it will redound to thy glory, men will praise thy name on acc...

Yet now, if thou will forgive their sin,.... Of thy free grace, good will, and pleasure; it will redound to thy glory, men will praise thy name on account of it; these people will have great reason to be thankful, and will lie under great obligations to thee, to fear, serve, and glorify thee; and in particular it will be regarded by me as the highest favour that can be asked or granted:

and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of the book which thou hast written; not the book of the law, as Jarchi, written with the finger of God, the name of Moses was not written there; nor the book of the just, as the Targum of Jonathan, the list and catalogue of good men, that belonged to the visible church, called in after time "the writing of the house of Israel", Eze 13:9 but rather the book of life, either of this temporal life, and then it means no more than that he wished to die, even immediately by the hand of God, which seems to be countenanced by Num 11:15 or else of eternal life, and is no other than the book of life of the Lamb, or God's predestination or choice of men in Christ to everlasting life, which is particular, personal, sure, and certain; and Moses asks for this, not as a thing either desirable or possible, but to express his great affection for this people, and his great concern for the glory of God; and rather than either should suffer, he chose, if it was possible, to be deprived of that eternal happiness he hoped for, and should enjoy.

Gill: Exo 32:33 - And the Lord said unto Moses // whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book And the Lord said unto Moses,.... In answer to his request: whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book; not that anyone that ...

And the Lord said unto Moses,.... In answer to his request:

whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book; not that anyone that is really in the book of life is ever blotted out, or that anyone predestinated or ordained to eternal life ever perish: but some persons may think themselves, and they may seem to be written in that book, or to be among the number of God's elect, but are not, and turn out obstinate impenitent sinners, and live and die in impenitence and unbelief; when it will appear that their names were never written in it, which, is the same thing as to be blotted out of it, see Psa 69:28. Now by this answer the Lord does not absolutely refuse the request of Moses with respect to the people, though he does with regard to himself, and the blotting his name out of his book; and it is plain, by what follows, he meant to show mercy to the people, since he bids Moses go and lead them on towards Canaan, and promises an angel to go before them; though he reserves to himself a liberty to chastise this people for this sin, as he should have opportunity, along with others.

Gill: Exo 32:34 - Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee // behold, mine angel shall go before thee // nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee,.... That is, to the land of Canaan, which he had promised to their...

Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee,.... That is, to the land of Canaan, which he had promised to their fathers and to them, and had directed Moses to bring them to:

behold, mine angel shall go before thee: and not I, as Jarchi interprets it; not the Angel of the covenant, and of his presence, as in Exo 23:20 but a created angel, which, though a favour, was a lessening of the mercy before promised and granted; and which gave the people a great deal of concern, though Moses by his supplications got the former blessing restored, Exo 33:2,

nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them; that is, when he should visit them in a way of correction for other sins, he would visit them in like manner for this sin, the worship of the golden calf; and so Jarchi well explains it,"when I visit upon them their iniquities, I will visit upon them a little of this iniquity, with the rest of iniquities; and there is no punishment (adds he) comes upon Israel, in which there is not something of the punishment of the sin of the calf;''and the Jews have a saying t, that"there is not a generation in which there is not an ounce of the sin of the calf.''

Gill: Exo 32:35 - And the Lord plagued the people // because they made the calf which Aaron made And the Lord plagued the people,.... That is, continued so to do at certain times, with the pestilence, or other calamities; for this seems not to ref...

And the Lord plagued the people,.... That is, continued so to do at certain times, with the pestilence, or other calamities; for this seems not to refer, as some think, to the slaughter of the 3000 men: the reason follows:

because they made the calf which Aaron made; that is, they provided him with materials to make it; they urged and solicited him to do it, and would not be easy without it, so that the making of it is ascribed to them; or they served it, as Onkelos; or bowed unto it, as Jonathan; with which agree the Syriac, Arabic, and Samaritan versions, which render it, they served, or worshipped, or sacrificed to the calf which Aaron made.

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Tafsiran/Catatan -- Catatan Ayat / Catatan Kaki

NET Notes: Exo 32:1 The interrogative is used in an indirect question (see GKC 443-44 §137.c).

NET Notes: Exo 32:2 B. Jacob (Exodus, 937-38) argues that Aaron simply did not have the resolution that Moses did, and wanting to keep peace he gave in to the crowd. He a...

NET Notes: Exo 32:3 This “all” is a natural hyperbole in the narrative, for it means the large majority of the people.

NET Notes: Exo 32:4 The word could be singular here and earlier; here it would then be “this is your god, O Israel.” However, the use of “these” i...

NET Notes: Exo 32:5 The word is חַג (khag), the pilgrim’s festival. This was the word used by Moses for their pilgrimage into the wilderness. Aaro...

NET Notes: Exo 32:6 The form is לְצַחֵק (lÿtsakheq), a Piel infinitive construct, giving the purpose of their rising up aft...

NET Notes: Exo 32:7 By giving the people to Moses in this way, God is saying that they have no longer any right to claim him as their God, since they have shared his hono...

NET Notes: Exo 32:8 The verb is a perfect tense, reflecting the present perfect nuance: “they have turned aside” and are still disobedient. But the verb is mo...

NET Notes: Exo 32:9 B. Jacob says the image is that of the people walking before God, and when he called to them the directions, they would not bend their neck to listen;...

NET Notes: Exo 32:10 The imperative, from the word “to rest” (נוּחַ, nuakh), has the sense of “leave me alone, let me be.&#...

NET Notes: Exo 32:11 S. R. Driver (Exodus, 351) draws on Arabic to show that the meaning of this verb (חָלָה, khalah) was properly “mak...

NET Notes: Exo 32:12 The verb “repent, relent” when used of God is certainly an anthropomorphism. It expresses the deep pain that one would have over a situati...

NET Notes: Exo 32:13 Heb “seed.”

NET Notes: Exo 32:15 The disjunctive vav (ו) serves here as a circumstantial clause indicator.

NET Notes: Exo 32:17 See F. C. Fensham, “New Light from Ugaritica V on Ex, 32:17 (br’h),” JNSL 2 (1972): 86-7.

NET Notes: Exo 32:18 See A. Newman, “Compositional Analysis and Functional Ambiguity Equivalence: Translating Exodus 32, 17-18,” Babel 21 (1975): 29-35.

NET Notes: Exo 32:19 See N. M. Waldham, “The Breaking of the Tablets,” Judaism 27 (1978): 442-47.

NET Notes: Exo 32:20 Pouring the ashes into the water running from the mountain in the brook (Deut 9:21) and making them drink it was a type of the bitter water test that ...

NET Notes: Exo 32:22 Heb “that on evil it is.”

NET Notes: Exo 32:24 Aaron first tried to blame the people, and then he tried to make it sound like a miracle – was it to sound like one of the plagues where out of ...

NET Notes: Exo 32:25 The last two words of the verse read literally “for a whispering among those who rose up against them.” The foes would have mocked and der...

NET Notes: Exo 32:26 S. R. Driver suggests that the command was tersely put: “Who is for Yahweh? To me!” (Exodus, 354).

NET Notes: Exo 32:27 The phrases have “and kill a man his brother, and a man his companion, and a man his neighbor.” The instructions were probably intended to...

NET Notes: Exo 32:28 Heb “fell.”

NET Notes: Exo 32:29 The text simply has “and to give on you today a blessing.” Gesenius notes that the infinitive construct seems to be attached with a vav (&...

NET Notes: Exo 32:30 The form אֲכַפְּרָה (’akhappÿrah) is a Piel cohortative/imperfect. Here with on...

NET Notes: Exo 32:31 As before, the cognate accusative is used; it would literally be “this people has sinned a great sin.”

NET Notes: Exo 32:32 The book that is referred to here should not be interpreted as the NT “book of life” which is portrayed (figuratively) as a register of al...

NET Notes: Exo 32:34 The Law said that God would not clear the guilty. But here the punishment is postponed to some future date when he would revisit this matter. Others h...

NET Notes: Exo 32:35 Most commentators have difficulty with this verse. W. C. Kaiser says the strict chronology is not always kept, and so the plague here may very well re...

Geneva Bible: Exo 32:1 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, ...

Geneva Bible: Exo 32:2 And Aaron said unto them, ( b ) Break off the golden earrings, which [are] in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring [...

Geneva Bible: Exo 32:3 And all the people brake off the ( c ) golden earrings which [were] in their ears, and brought [them] unto Aaron. ( c ) Such is the rage of idolaters...

Geneva Bible: Exo 32:4 And he received [them] at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a ( d ) molten calf: and they said, These [be] thy go...

Geneva Bible: Exo 32:8 They ( e ) have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrif...

Geneva Bible: Exo 32:10 Now ( f ) therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation. ( f ) ...

Geneva Bible: Exo 32:13 Remember ( g ) Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as th...

Geneva Bible: Exo 32:16 And the tables [were] the work of God, and ( h ) the writing [was] the writing of God, graven upon the tables. ( h ) All these repetitions show how e...

Geneva Bible: Exo 32:20 And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt [it] in the fire, and ground [it] to powder, and strawed [it] upon the water, and made the childre...

Geneva Bible: Exo 32:25 And when Moses saw that the people [were] ( k ) naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto [their] shame among their enemies:) ( k ) Both destitute o...

Geneva Bible: Exo 32:27 And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, [and] go in and out from gate to gate throughout the ca...

Geneva Bible: Exo 32:29 For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves to day to the LORD, even every man upon his ( m ) son, and upon his brother; that he may bestow upon you a b...

Geneva Bible: Exo 32:32 Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, ( n ) out of thy book which thou hast written. ( n ) He esteemed the glo...

Geneva Bible: Exo 32:33 And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my ( o ) book. ( o ) I will make it known that he was never pr...

Geneva Bible: Exo 32:34 ( p ) Therefore now go, lead the people unto [the place] of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in th...

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Maclaren: Exo 32:1-8 - The Golden Calf Exodus 32:1-8; 32:30-35 It was not yet six weeks since the people had sworn, All that the Lord hath spoken will we do, and be obedient.' The blood of ...

Maclaren: Exo 32:15-26 - The Swift Decay Of Love Exodus 32:15-26 Moses and Joshua are on their way down from the mountain, the former carrying the tables in his hands and a heavier burden in his hear...

Maclaren: Exo 32:19-20 - The Swift Decay Of Love II. Mark Moses' Blaze Of Wrath And Courageous, Prompt Action. He dashes the tables on the rock, as if to break the record of the useless laws which t...

MHCC: Exo 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 fo...

MHCC: Exo 32:7-14 - --God says to Moses, that the Israelites had corrupted themselves. Sin is the corruption of the sinner, and it is a self-corruption; every man is tempte...

MHCC: Exo 32:15-20 - --What a change it is, to come down from the mount of communion with God, to converse with a wicked world. In God we see nothing but what is pure and pl...

MHCC: Exo 32:21-29 - --Never did any wise man make a more frivolous and foolish excuse than that of Aaron. We must never be drawn into sin by any thing man can say or do to ...

MHCC: Exo 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....

Matthew Henry: Exo 32:1-6 - -- While Moses was in the mount, receiving the law from God, the people had time to meditate upon what had been delivered, and prepare themselves for w...

Matthew Henry: Exo 32:7-14 - -- Here, I. God acquaints Moses with what was doing in the camp while he was absent, Exo 32:7, Exo 32:8. He could have told him sooner, as soon as the ...

Matthew Henry: Exo 32:15-20 - -- Here is, I. The favour of God to Moses, in trusting him with the two tables of the testimony, which, though of common stone, were far more valuable ...

Matthew Henry: Exo 32:21-29 - -- Moses, having shown his just indignation against the sin of Israel by breaking the tables and burning the calf, now proceeds to reckon with the sinn...

Matthew Henry: Exo 32:30-35 - -- Moses, having executed justice upon the principal offenders, is here dealing both with the people and with God. I. With the people, to bring them to...

Keil-Delitzsch: Exo 32:1-6 - -- The long stay that Moses made upon the mountain rendered the people so impatient, that they desired another leader, and asked Aaron, to whom Moses h...

Keil-Delitzsch: Exo 32:7-14 - -- Before Moses left the mountain, God told him of the apostasy of the people (Exo 32:7, Exo 32:8). " Thy people, which thou hast brought out of Egypt:...

Keil-Delitzsch: Exo 32:15-18 - -- When Moses departed from God with the two tables of the law in his hand (see at Exo 31:18), and came to Joshua on the mountain (see at ch. Jos 24:13...

Keil-Delitzsch: Exo 32:19 - -- But when he came nearer to the camp, and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned, and he threw down the tables of the covenant and broke them...

Keil-Delitzsch: Exo 32:20 - -- He then proceeded to the destruction of the idol. " He burned it in (with) fire, "by which process the wooden centre was calcined, and the golden c...

Keil-Delitzsch: Exo 32:21-24 - -- After the calf had been destroyed, Moses called Aaron to account. "What has this people done to thee(" done"in a bad sense, as in Gen 27:45; Exo 13:...

Keil-Delitzsch: Exo 32:25-26 - -- 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 ne...

Keil-Delitzsch: Exo 32:27-29 - -- The Levites had to allow their obedience to God to be subjected to a severe test. Moses issued this command to them in the name of Jehovah the God o...

Keil-Delitzsch: Exo 32:30-34 - -- After Moses had thus avenged the honour of the Lord upon the sinful nation, he returned the next day to Jehovah as a mediator, who is not a mediator...

Keil-Delitzsch: Exo 32:35 - -- "Thus Jehovah smote the people because they had made the calf." With these words the historian closes the first act of Moses' negotiations with the ...

Constable: Exo 15:22--Lev 1:1 - --II. THE ADOPTION OF ISRAEL 15:22--40:38 The second major section of Exodus records the events associated with Go...

Constable: Exo 24:12--32:1 - --C. Directions regarding God's dwelling among His people 24:12-31:18 Having given directions clarifying I...

Constable: Exo 32:1--34:35 - --D. The breaking and renewal of the covenant chs. 32-34 "If a narrative paradigmatic of what Exodus is re...

Constable: Exo 32:1-35 - --1. The failure of Israel ch. 32 The scene shifts now and we see what was happening in the Israel...

Constable: Exo 32:1-6 - --Israel's apostasy 32:1-6 "Throughout the remainder of the Pentateuch, the incident of th...

Constable: Exo 32:7-14 - --Moses' intercession 32:7-14 God's recounting the news of the golden calf to Moses gives ...

Constable: Exo 32:15-24 - --Aaron's excuse 32:15-24 Moses broke the tablets of the law (v. 19) symbolizing the fact ...