32:4calf. The bull as a symbol of deity was common in the ancient world. Perhaps a symbol of Apis, the Egyptian fertility bull-god, was meant. Aaron himself may have presented the calf as a symbol of the true God, and he apparently attempted to blunt the apostasy by building an altar and announcing a festival to the Lord (v. 5). Noting that the Hebrew term translated “gods” in vv. 1 and 4 (’elohim) can be rendered as singular or plural, some have argued that the people were worshiping the calf as a symbol of the Lord (they would still have been guilty of idolatry, 20:4 note). But the shout of the people is reported here using the plural verb (“brought . . . out”) with ’elohim. The singular form is always used with this noun when it refers to the true God. The people were turning to the bull-god to lead them, in gross violation of 20:2 (cf. Acts 7:39–41).
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
Try Bible Gateway Plus, a brand-new service that lets you experience Bible Gateway free of banner ads! It also gives you instant access to over 40 Bible study and inspirational devotional books, including the NIV Study Bible. With Bible Gateway Plus, you can experience and understand God's Word in life-changing new ways, without the distraction of ads. Try it free for 30 days—you can cancel at any time. Following your 30-day free trial, Bible Gateway Plus is only $3.99/month.