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The People Make an Idol To Worship

32 After the people saw that Moses had been on the mountain for a long time, they went to Aaron and said, “Make us an image of a god who will lead and protect us. Moses brought us out of Egypt, but nobody knows what has happened to him.”

Aaron told them, “Bring me the gold earrings that your wives and sons and daughters are wearing.” Everybody took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron, then he melted them and made an idol in the shape of a young bull.

All the people said to one another, “This is the god who brought us out of Egypt!”

When Aaron saw what was happening, he built an altar in front of the idol and said, “Tomorrow we will celebrate in honor of the Lord.” The people got up early the next morning and killed some animals to be used for sacrifices and others to be eaten. Then everyone ate and drank so much that they began to carry on like wild people.

The Lord said to Moses:

Hurry back down! Those people you led out of Egypt are acting like fools. They have already stopped obeying me and have made themselves an idol in the shape of a young bull. They have bowed down to it, offered sacrifices, and said that it is the god who brought them out of Egypt. Moses, I have seen how stubborn these people are, 10 and I’m angry enough to destroy them, so don’t try to stop me. But I will make your descendants into a great nation.

11 Moses tried to get the Lord God to change his mind:

Our Lord, you used your mighty power to bring these people out of Egypt. Now don’t become angry and destroy them. 12 If you do, the Egyptians will say that you brought your people out here into the mountains just to get rid of them. Please don’t be angry with your people. Don’t destroy them!

13 Remember the solemn promise you made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. You promised that someday they would have as many descendants as there are stars in the sky and that you would give them land.

14 So even though the Lord had threatened to destroy the people, he changed his mind and let them live.

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