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Free Bible Version - Exodus

Exodus 32

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1When the people realized how long Moses was taking before he came back down the mountain, they went together to see Aaron. They told him, “Get up! Make some gods for us who can lead us because this man Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt—we don't know what's happened to him!”
2“Bring to me the gold earrings that your wives, sons, and daughters are wearing,” Aaron replied.
3So everyone took off the gold earrings they were wearing and brought them to Aaron.
4He took what they gave him and using a molding tool cast an idol in the shape of a bull calf. They shouted out, “Israel, these are the gods that brought you out of the land of Egypt.”
5When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the golden calf and shouted out, “Tomorrow will be a festival to honor the Lord!”
6Early the next day they sacrificed burnt offerings and presented peace offerings. Then they sat down to celebrate with eating and drinking. Then they got up to dance, and it became like an orgy.
7Then the Lord told Moses, “Get back down, because your people that you brought out of Egypt are acting immorally.
8They have been so quick to abandon the way I ordered them to follow. They have made a metal bull calf idol for themselves, bowing before it in worship and offering sacrifices to it. They're saying, ‘These are the gods that brought you out of the land of Egypt.’”
9“I know what these people are like,” the Lord continued saying to Moses. “They are so rebellious!
10Now leave me! I am angry with them—let me finish them off! I will make you into a great nation.”
11But Moses pleaded with the Lord his God, saying, “Why are you angry with the people you brought out of the land of Egypt with tremendous power and great strength?
12Why should the Egyptians be able to say, ‘He brought them out with the evil purpose of killing them in the mountains, wiping them off the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger. Please change your mind over the threat against your people.
13Remember you swore a promise your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, telling them, ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven, and give you all the land I promised to them, and they shall own it forever.’”
14The Lord changed his mind over the disaster he threatened to cause his people.
15Moses turned and went down the mountain, carrying the two stone tablets of the Law written on both sides.
16God had made the tablets, and God had engraved the writing himself.
17When Joshua heard all the shouting from the camp, he said to Moses, “It sounds like fighting in the camp!”
18But Moses replied, “These are not the shouts of victory or of defeat. What I'm hearing is people partying!”

19As he approached the camp he saw the bull calf idol and the dancing. He got so angry that he threw down the stone tablets and smashed them there at the foot of the mountain.
20He took the bull calf and burned it, and ground it into powder. Then he mixed this with water and made the Israelites drink it.
21Then Moses asked Aaron, “What did these people do to you that you made them sin so badly?”
22“Please don't get angry with me, my lord,” Aaron replied, “You yourself know how liable these people are to do evil.
23They told me, ‘Make some gods for us who can lead us because this man Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt—we don't know what's happened to him!’
24So I said to them, ‘Anybody who has gold jewelry, take it off and give it to me.’ I threw the gold into the furnace and out came this bull calf.”
25Moses saw the people going completely wild because Aaron had let them, and that this had brought ridicule on them from their enemies.
26So he went and stood at the entrance to the camp, and shouted out, “Whoever is on the Lord's side, come and join me!” All the Levites gathered around him.
27Moses told them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel says: Each of you strap on a sword. Then go all through the camp from one end to the other and kill your brothers, friends, and neighbors.”
28The Levites did what Moses had told them, and that day around 3,000 men were killed.
29Moses told the Levites, “Today you have dedicated yourselves to the Lord because you took action against your sons and brothers. Today you have gained a blessing for yourselves.”
30The following day Moses spoke to the people, saying, “You have sinned very badly. But now I will go up to the Lord. Maybe I can get him to forgive your sin.”
31So Moses went back to the Lord. He said, “Please—the people have sinned very badly by making gods of gold for themselves.
32But now, if you will, forgive their sin. Otherwise just blot me out of the scroll in which you keep your records.”
33But the Lord replied to Moses, “It's those who sinned against me who will be blotted out of my scroll.
34Now go and lead the people to the place I told you about. Look, my angel will go before you, but at the time I decide to punish, I will punish them for their sin.”
35The Lord brought a plague on the people because they made Aaron make the bull calf.