1Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron and said to him, “Come, make a god that will go before us, for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”
2Aaron said to them, “Break off the golden rings that are in the ears of your wives, of your sons and of your daughters, and bring them to me.”
3All the people broke off the golden rings that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron.
4He received what they handed him and fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made it into a cast metal calf. And they said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you up out of the land of Egypt.”
5When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it, and Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow will be a feast to Yahweh.”
6They rose up early on the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.
7And Yahweh spoke to Moses, “Go, get down! For your people who you brought up out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves!
8They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them. They have made for themselves a cast metal calf and have bowed down to ita and have sacrificed to it, and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, that brought you up out of the land of Egypt.’”
9Yahweh said to Moses, “I have seen these people, and behold, they are a stiff-necked people.
10Now therefore leave me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and that I may consume them, and I will make of you a great nation.”
11Moses soothed the face of Yahweh his God and said, “O Yahweh, why does your wrath burn hot against your people that you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?
12Why should the Egyptians say, yes, say, ‘He brought them out for evil, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the surface of the earth?’ Turn from your fierce wrath and change your mind about this evil against your people.
13Remember Abraham, Isaac and Israel, your servants to whom you swore by your own self and said to them, ‘I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of I will give to your seed, and they will inherit it forever.’”
14So Yahweh changed his mind about the evil that he said he would do to his people.
15Then Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, tablets that were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other they were written.
16The tablets were made by God and the writing was God’s writing, engraved on the tablets.
19And when he drew near to the camp, he saw the calf and the dancing, and Moses’ anger burned, and he threw the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain.
20He took the calf that they had made and burned it with fire, ground it to powder and scattered it on the surface of the water, and made the children of Israel drink it.
22Aaron said, “Do not let the anger of my lord grow hot. You yourself know the people, that they are set on evil.
23For they said to me, ‘Make us a god who will go before us, for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’
24So I said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them break it off,’ so they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.”
25When Moses saw that the people had broken loose, (for Aaron had let them loose to be whispered about among their enemies),
26then Moses stood at the entrance of the camp and said, “Whoever is on Yahweh’s side, come to me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered to him.
27He said to them, “This is what Yahweh, the God of Israel, says: ‘Every man put his sword on his thigh, and go back and forth from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and every man kill his brother, and every man his friend, and every man his neighbor.’”
28The sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses, and there fell of the people that day about 3,000 men.
29Moses said, “Today you have been dedicated to Yahweh, for every man was against his son and against his brother, and he has bestowed on you a blessing this day.”
31So Moses returned to Yahweh and said, “Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made for themselves a god of gold.
32Yet now, if you would only forgive their sin…! But if not, please blot me out of your book that you have written.”
33Yahweh said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.
34Now go, lead the people to the place I spoke to you about. Behold, my angel will go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them.”
35And Yahweh struck the people with a plague because they made the calf, the one that Aaron made.