15 Then Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, tablets which were written on both [a]sides; they were written on one side and the other.16 The tablets were God’s work, and the writing was God’s writing engraved on the tablets.17 Now when Joshua heard the sound of the people [b]as they shouted, he said to Moses, “There is a sound of war in the camp.”18 But he said,
“It is not the sound of the cry of triumph, Nor is it the sound of the cry of defeat; But the sound of singing I hear.”
19 It came about, as soon as [c]Moses came near the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing; and Moses’ anger burned, and he threw the tablets from his hands and shattered them [d]at the foot of the mountain.20 He took the calf which they had made and burned it with fire, and ground it to powder, and scattered it over the surface of the water and made the sons of Israel drink it.
21 Then Moses said to Aaron, “What did this people do to you, that you have brought such great sin upon them?”22 Aaron said, “Do not let the anger of my lord burn; you know the people yourself, that they are [e]prone to evil.23 For they said to me, ‘Make [f]a god for us who will go before us; for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’24 I said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them tear it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.”
25 Now when Moses saw that the people were [g]out of control—for Aaron had let them [h]get out of control to be a derision among [i]their enemies—26 then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered together to him.27 He said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Every man of you put his sword upon his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate in the camp, and kill every man his brother, and every man his friend, and every man his [j]neighbor.’”28 So the sons of Levi did [k]as Moses instructed, and about three thousand men of the people fell that day.
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