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Exodus 32-34 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

32 When the people saw that Moshe was taking a long time to come down from the mountain, they gathered around Aharon and said to him, “Get busy; and make us gods to go ahead of us; because this Moshe, the man that brought us up from the land of Egypt — we don’t know what has become of him.” Aharon said to them, “Have your wives, sons and daughters strip off their gold earrings; and bring them to me.” The people stripped off their gold earrings and brought them to Aharon. He received what they gave him, melted it down, and made it into the shape of a calf. They said, “Isra’el! Here is your god, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!” On seeing this, Aharon built an altar in front of it and proclaimed, “Tomorrow is to be a feast for Adonai.” Early the next morning they got up and offered burnt offerings and presented peace offerings. Afterwards, the people sat down to eat and drink; then they got up to indulge in revelry.

Adonai said to Moshe, “Go down! Hurry! Your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have become corrupt! So quickly they have turned aside from the way I ordered them to follow! They have cast a metal statue of a calf, worshipped it, sacrificed to it and said, ‘Isra’el! Here is your god, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!’” Adonai continued speaking to Moshe: “I have been watching these people; and you can see how stiffnecked they are. 10 Now leave me alone, so that my anger can blaze against them, and I can put an end to them! I will make a great nation out of you instead.”

11 Moshe pleaded with Adonai his God. He said, “Adonai, why must your anger blaze against your own people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and a strong hand? 12 Why let the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intentions that he led them out, to slaughter them in the hills and wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger! Relent! Don’t bring such disaster on your people! 13 Remember Avraham, Yitz’chak and Isra’el, your servants, to whom you swore by your very self. You promised them, ‘I will make your descendants as many as the stars in the sky; and I will give all this land I have spoken about to your descendants; and they will possess it forever.’” 14 Adonai then changed his mind about the disaster he had planned for his people.

15 Moshe turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, tablets inscribed on both sides, on the front and on the back. 16 The tablets were the work of God; and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets. 17 When Y’hoshua heard the noise of the people shouting he said to Moshe, “It sounds like war in the camp!” 18 He answered, “That is neither the clamor of victory nor the wailings of defeat; what I hear is the sound of people singing.”

19 But the moment Moshe got near the camp, when he saw the calf and the dancing, his own anger blazed up. He threw down the tablets he had been holding and shattered them at the base of the mountain. 20 Seizing the calf they had made, he melted it in the fire and ground it to powder, which he scattered on the water. Then he made the people of Isra’el drink it.

21 Moshe said to Aharon, “What did these people do to you to make you lead them into such a terrible sin?” 22 Aharon replied, “My lord shouldn’t be so angry. You know what these people are like, that they are determined to do evil. 23 So they said to me, ‘Make us gods to go ahead of us; because this Moshe, the man that brought us up from the land of Egypt — we don’t know what has become of him.’ 24 I answered them, ‘Anyone with gold, strip it off!’ So they gave it to me. I threw it in the fire, and out came this calf!”

25 When Moshe saw that the people had gotten out of control — because Aharon had allowed them to get out of control, to the derision of their enemies — 26 Moshe stood at the entrance to the camp and shouted, “Whoever is for Adonai, come to me!” All the descendants of Levi rallied around him. 27 He told them, “Here is what Adonai, the God of Isra’el, says: ‘Each of you, put his sword on his side; and go up and down the camp, from gate to gate; and every man is to kill his own kinsman, his own friend and his own neighbor!” 28 The sons of Levi did what Moshe said, and that day three thousand of the people died. 29 Moshe said, “You have consecrated yourselves today to Adonai, because every one of you has been against his own son and against his own kinsman, in order to bring a blessing on yourselves today.”

30 The next day Moshe said to the people, “You have committed a terrible sin. Now I will go up to Adonai ; maybe I will be able to atone for your sin.” 31 Moshe went back to Adonai and said, “Please! These people have committed a terrible sin: they have made themselves a god out of gold. 32 Now, if you will just forgive their sin! But if you won’t, then, I beg you, blot me out of your book which you have written!” 33 Adonai answered Moshe, “Those who have sinned against me are the ones I will blot out of my book. 34 Now go and lead the people to the place I told you about; my angel will go ahead of you. Nevertheless, the time for punishment will come; and then I will punish them for their sin.” 35 Adonai struck the people with a plague because they had made the calf, the one Aharon made.

33 Adonai said to Moshe, “Leave, you and the people you brought up from the land of Egypt; and move on from here toward the land of which I swore to Avraham, Yitz’chak and Ya‘akov, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I will send an angel ahead of you; and I will drive out the Kena‘ani, Emori, Hitti, P’rizi, Hivi and Y’vusi. You will go to a land flowing with milk and honey; but I myself will not go with you, because you are such a stiffnecked people that I might destroy you on the way.” When the people heard this bad news, they went into mourning; and no one wore his ornaments. Adonai said to Moshe, “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘You are a stiffnecked people! If I were to go up with you for even one moment, I would exterminate you! Now, keep your ornaments off; then I will decide what to do to you.’” So from Mount Horev onward, the people of Isra’el stripped themselves of their ornaments.

Moshe would take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far away from the camp. He called it the tent of meeting. Everyone who wanted to consult Adonai would go out to the tent of meeting, outside the camp. Whenever Moshe went out to the tent, all the people would get up and stand, each man at his tent door, and look at Moshe until he had gone into the tent. Whenever Moshe entered the tent, the column of cloud would descend and station itself at the entrance to the tent; and Adonai would speak with Moshe. 10 When all the people saw the column of cloud stationed at the entrance to the tent, they would get up and prostrate themselves, each man at his tent door. 11 Adonai would speak to Moshe face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. Then he would return to the camp; but the young man who was his assistant, Y’hoshua the son of Nun, never left the inside of the tent.

(iii) 12 Moshe said to Adonai, “Look, you say to me, ‘Make these people move on!’ But you haven’t let me know whom you will be sending with me. Nevertheless you have said, ‘I know you by name,’ and also, ‘You have found favor in my sight.’ 13 Now, please, if it is really the case that I have found favor in your sight, show me your ways; so that I will understand you and continue finding favor in your sight. Moreover, keep on seeing this nation as your people.” 14 He answered, “Set your mind at rest — my presence will go with you, after all.” 15 Moshe replied, “If your presence doesn’t go with us, don’t make us go on from here. 16 For how else is it to be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people, other than by your going with us? That is what distinguishes us, me and your people, from all the other peoples on earth.”

(iv) 17 Adonai said to Moshe, “I will also do what you have asked me to do, because you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” 18 But Moshe said, “I beg you to show me your glory!” 19 He replied, “I will cause all my goodness to pass before you, and in your presence I will pronounce the name of Adonai. Moreover, I show favor to whomever I will, and I display mercy to whomever I will. 20 But my face,” he continued, “you cannot see, because a human being cannot look at me and remain alive. 21 Here,” he said, “is a place near me; stand on the rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you inside a crevice in the rock and cover you with my hand, until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand, and you will see my back, but my face is not to be seen.”

34 (v) Adonai said to Moshe, “Cut yourself two tablets of stone like the first ones; and I will inscribe on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. Be ready by morning; in the morning you are to ascend Mount Sinai and present yourself to me on the top of the mountain. No one is to come up with you, and no one is to be seen anywhere on the mountain; don’t even let the flocks or herds feed in front of this mountain.” Moshe cut two stone tablets like the first. Then he got up early in the morning and, with the two stone tablets in his hands, ascended Mount Sinai, as Adonai had ordered him to do.

Adonai descended in the cloud, stood with him there and pronounced the name of Adonai. Adonai passed before him and proclaimed: “YUD-HEH-VAV-HEH!!! Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh [Adonai] is God, merciful and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in grace and truth; showing grace to the thousandth generation, forgiving offenses, crimes and sins; yet not exonerating the guilty, but causing the negative effects of the parents’ offenses to be experienced by their children and grandchildren, and even by the third and fourth generations.” At once Moshe bowed his head to the ground, prostrated himself and said, “If I have now found favor in your view, Adonai, then please let Adonai go with us, even though they are a stiffnecked people; and pardon our offenses and our sin; and take us as your possession.”

(vi) 10 He said, “Here, I am making a covenant; in front of all your people I will do wonders such as have not been created anywhere on earth or in any nation. All the people around you will see the work of Adonai. What I am going to do through you will be awesome! 11 Observe what I am ordering you to do today. Here! I am driving out ahead of you the Emori, Kena‘ani, Hitti, P’rizi, Hivi and Y’vusi. 12 Be careful not to make a covenant with the people living in the land where you are going, so that they won’t become a snare within your own borders. 13 Rather, you are to demolish their altars, smash their standing-stones and cut down their sacred poles; 14 because you are not to bow down to any other god; since Adonai — whose very name is Jealous — is a jealous God. 15 Do not make a covenant with the people living in the land. It will cause you to go astray after their gods and sacrifice to their gods. Then they will invite you to join them in eating their sacrifices, 16 and you will take their daughters as wives for your sons. Their daughters will prostitute themselves to their own gods and make your sons do the same!

17 “Do not cast metal gods for yourselves.

18 “Keep the festival of matzah by eating matzah, as I ordered you, for seven days during the month of Aviv; for it was in the month of Aviv that you came out from Egypt.

19 “Everything that is first from the womb is mine. Of all your livestock, you are to set aside for me the males, the firstborn of cattle and flock. 20 The firstborn of a donkey you must redeem with a lamb; if you won’t redeem it, break its neck. All the firstborn of your sons you are to redeem, and no one is to appear before me empty-handed.

21 “Six days you will work, but on the seventh day you are to rest — even in plowing time and harvest season you are to rest.

22 “Observe the festival of Shavu‘ot with the first-gathered produce of the wheat harvest, and the festival of ingathering at the turn of the year. 23 Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Lord, Adonai, the God of Isra’el. 24 For I am going to expel nations ahead of you and expand your territory, and no one will even covet your land when you go up to appear before Adonai your God three times a year. 25 You are not to offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread, and the sacrifice of the feast of Pesach is not to be left until morning. 26 You are to bring the best firstfruits of your land into the house of Adonai your God.

“You are not to boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.”

(vii) 27 Adonai said to Moshe, “Write these words down, because they are the terms of the covenant I have made with you and with Isra’el.” 28 Moshe was there with Adonai forty days and forty nights, during which time he neither ate food nor drank water. [Adonai] wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Words.

29 When Moshe came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, he didn’t realize that the skin of his face was sending out rays of light as a result of his talking with [Adonai]. 30 When Aharon and the people of Isra’el saw Moshe, the skin of his face was shining; and they were afraid to approach him. 31 But Moshe called to them; then Aharon and all the community leaders came back to him, and Moshe spoke to them. 32 Afterwards, all the people of Isra’el came near; and he passed on to them all the orders that Adonai had told him on Mount Sinai.

(Maftir) 33 Once Moshe had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face. 34 But when he went in before Adonai for him to speak, he would take the veil off until he came out; then, when he came out, he would tell the people of Isra’el what he had been ordered. 35 But when the people of Isra’el saw Moshe’s face, that the skin of Moshe’s face shone, he would put the veil back over his face until he went in again to speak with [Adonai].

Haftarah Ki Tissa: M’lakhim Alef (1 Kings) 18:1–39 (A); 18:20–39 (S)

B’rit Hadashah suggested reading for Parashah Ki Tissa: Luke 11:14 –20; Acts 7:35–8:1; 1 Corinthians 10:1–13; 2 Corinthians 3:1–18

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

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