1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down
from the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said
unto him: 'Up, make us a god who shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the
man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is become of
2 And Aaron said unto them: 'Break off the golden rings,
which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and
bring them unto me.'
3 And all the people broke off the golden rings which were in
their ears, and brought them unto Aaron.
4 And he received it at their hand, and fashioned it with a
graving tool, and made it a molten calf; and they said: 'This is thy god, O
Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.'
5 And when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and
Aaron made proclamation, and said: 'To-morrow shall be a feast to HaShem.'
6 And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered
burnt-offerings, and brought peace-offerings; and the people sat down to eat and
to drink, and rose up to make merry.
7 And HaShem spoke unto Moses: 'Go, get thee
down; for thy people, that thou broughtest up out of the land of Egypt, have
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 unto it, and said: This is thy god, O Israel, which brought thee
up out of the land of Egypt.'
9 And HaShem said unto Moses: 'I have seen this people, and,
behold, it is a stiffnecked people.
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
11 And Moses besought HaShem his G-d, and said: 'HaShem, why
doth Thy wrath wax hot against Thy people, that Thou hast brought forth out of
the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?
12 Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, saying: For evil did
He bring them forth, 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
13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Thy servants, to whom
Thou didst swear 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.'
14 And HaShem repented of the evil which He said He would do
unto His people.
15 And Moses turned, and went down from the
mount, with the two tables of the testimony in his hand; tables that were
written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written.
16 And the tables were the work of G-d, and the writing was
the writing of G-d, graven upon the tables.
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.'
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.'
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' anger waxed hot, and he
cast the tables out of his hands, and broke them beneath the mount.
20 And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it
with fire, and ground it to powder, and strewed it upon the water, and made the
children of Israel drink of it.
21 And Moses said unto Aaron: 'What did this people unto
thee, that thou hast brought a great sin upon them?'
22 And Aaron said: 'Let not the anger of my lord wax hot;
thou knowest the people, that they are set on evil.
23 So they said unto me: Make us a god, which shall go before
us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt,
we know not what is become of him.
24 And I said unto them: Whosoever hath any gold, let them
break it off; so they gave it me; and I cast it into the fire, and there came
out this calf.'
25 And when Moses saw that the people were broken loose--for
Aaron had let them loose for a derision among their enemies--
26 then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said: 'Whoso
is on HaShem'S side, let him come unto me.' And all the sons of Levi gathered
themselves together unto him.
27 And he said unto them: 'Thus saith HaShem, the G-d of
Israel: Put ye every man his sword upon his thigh, and go to and fro from gate
to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his
companion, and every man his neighbour.'
28 And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses;
and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.
29 And Moses said: 'Consecrate yourselves to-day to HaShem,
for every man hath been against his son and against his brother; that He may
also bestow upon you a blessing this day.'
30 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto
the people: 'Ye have sinned a great sin; and now I will go up unto HaShem,
peradventure I shall make atonement for your sin.'
31 And Moses returned unto HaShem, and said: 'Oh, this people
have sinned a great sin, and have made them a god of gold.
32 Yet now, if Thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not,
blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy book which Thou hast written.'
33 And HaShem said unto Moses: 'Whosoever hath sinned against
Me, him will I blot out of My book.
34 And 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.'
35 And HaShem smote the people, because they made the calf,
which Aaron made.
Sources: Portions copyright © 1997 by Benyamin Pilant, All Rights Reserved
JPS Electronic Edition Copyright © 1998 by Larry Nelson, All Rights Reserved