16 “But they, our fathers, acted arrogantly; They stiffened their necks and would not heed Your commandments. 17 “They refused to listen and obey, And did not remember Your wondrous acts which You had performed among them; So they stiffened their necks and [in their rebellion] appointed a leader in order to return them to slavery in Egypt. But You are a God of forgiveness, Gracious and merciful and compassionate, [a]Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness; And You did not abandon them. 18 “Even when they had made for themselves A [b]calf of cast metal And said, ‘This is your god Who brought you up from Egypt,’ And committed great [and contemptible] blasphemies,
Nehemiah 9:18The selection of a calf-god was probably inspired by the Egyptian bull-god Apis (Hapis), believed to be a living manifestation of the Egyptian god, Ptah. In ancient Egypt, a bull-calf with specific markings was chosen from the herd and worshiped as Apis. The Apis was the most important of the sacred animals of Egypt. At the age of twenty-eight the Apis bull was sacrificed and buried in a highly structured ritual and a new bull-calf was selected to take his place. Numerous elaborate burial sites containing the Apis bulls have been discovered in Egypt. Both the Greeks and Romans adopted the cultic worship of Apis and it continued until about a.d. 400.
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