In one act, they have undermined the whole of YHWH’s covenantal arrangement with them. The sin was the sin of idolatry, violation of the first commandment. It shows man’s inherent weakness and God’s justice and compassion and also portrays Moses as both slayer and mediator and a means of atonement. The deeper question that I struggle with each year is how the people fell into sin standing next to a mountain covered with smoke and fire while a pillar of fire stood in the midst of the camp. Summarized by David Silverberg God accuses Benei Yisrael of "testing" Him ten times throughout their sojourn in the desert (Bemidbar 14:22). [4] Although it is true that the calves are presented as their own sin (see e.g., 2 Kings 17:16), it would seem that the biblical authors, having decided that the only proper worship of YHWH was that which took place in Jerusalem, polemicized against non-centralized worship by describing it as idolatrous, at least rhetorically. The sin of the Golden Calf was one of the spiritual nadirs of the early history of the Children of Israel, and it was seized upon by Christianity in its attempt to both demonstrate the stiff-necked nature of the Jewish people and rationalize that fulfillment of the Torah's commandments was required only for those who had sinned with the Calf. In Egypt, a bull, Apis, was sacred to the god Ptah and emblematic of him. According to the Sages, the sin offering that Aaron was required to bring during the dedication ceremony of the Tabernacle (Leviticus 9:2) was meant to atone for his part in the sin of the Golden Calf. His knowledge is completely inaccurate. The text twice repeats that the laver served the purpose of preventing death. In R. Binyamin Lau’s 2016 internet essay on Parashat Ki Tissa, he references the classic Midrash analogizing the sin of the Golden Calf, cited by RaShI: Shemot 34:1 “And the LORD Said unto Moshe: Hew thee… The miracles reached a climax with the voices and the lightning at Mt. He uses the gold to form a golden calf, and the Children of Israel proclaim, “This is thy god, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.”. Verses 29 & 30 remind me of how sin coucheth at the door (Gen 4:7) as both speak of brother against brother and a blessing for those who comprehend their sin. 18 And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that … The story of the golden calf, the greatest scandal of the wilderness period, is recalled in Deuteronomy 9:9‑21 (Parashat Eikev), based on the fuller account in Exodus 32 (Parashat Ki Tissa). Golden Calf Idolatry vs. Carved Cherubim on Ark of the Covenant While the Calf was condemned as gross idolatry, the Ark was a permitted non-idolatrous religious image, sanctioned by … Not even knowing exactly what the Israelites have done wrong to earn God’s wrath, Moses defends the people, telling God that if He were to do such a thing, the Egyptians would think He was unable to bring the people to safety. Please support us. Regarding the sin of the golden calf, the psalmist laments, "They forgot God who saved them, who performed great deeds in Egypt" (v.21), while regarding the sin of the spies, he asserts, "They rejected the desirable land" (v.24). And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. I also think his explanation to Moshe of how he’d thrown the gold in the fire and a calf came out is quite plausible. Class 12: Explaining the Inexplicable: The Sin of The Golden Calf, Part 1 – How could they do it? He destroys the golden calf, grinds it to a powder and dissolves it in water, which he forces the people to drink. 10:5; 11:2). How could they not? 6). There are 3 different punishments stated for the sin of the Golden Calf, two of which are ambiguous in nature. I think that he was trying to work out the situation in the best way that he could with the resources he had at hand. If we don’t know the true God, we will make our own deities. From this explanation, we see that the golden calf was not born of a … He wanted to restore peace (shalom) to the people. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard and an M.A. The Sin of the Calf:‎ The Rise of the Bible’s Negative Attitude toward the Golden Calf A gold cultic statue of a young bull, whose worship the biblical authors condemned. The Sin of the Golden Calf and the Sin of the Spies. 32:4; עֶגְלֵי זָהָב I Kings 12:28), the golden image made by Aaron at the behest of the Israelites and venerated near Mount Sinai (Ex. Golden calf, idol worshipped by the Hebrews during the period of the Exodus from Egypt in the 13th century bc and during the age of Jeroboam I, king of Israel, in the 10th century bc. In chapter 32 of the Book of Exodus, there’s the famous story of the golden calf. https://www.patreon.com/GodsBeforeHimWho was the golden calf of the book of Exodus? At first glance, the sin ruined all of God’s plans. Perhaps it was There are no excuses for this sin, although attempts are made: a. They got impatient. Share on. The Ten Commandments happen in Exodus 20. https://www.patreon.com/GodsBeforeHimWho was the golden calf of the book of Exodus? "A Miserable Bride" The Gemara (Gittin 36b) records the words of Ula: "It is a miserable bride who prostitutes herself under the very wedding canopy," commenting on the verse – "While the King was still at His banquet, my nard gave forth its fragrance" (Shir Ha-Shirim 1:12). Mentioned in Exodus 32 and I Kings 12 in the Old Testament, worship of the golden calf is seen as a supreme act of apostasy, the rejection of a faith once confessed. As with any other sin, the punishment is death, and the only proper response is repentance. Moses was still on the mountain with God when the golden calf happened. עֵגֶל מַסֵּכָה, Ex. The golden calf was to act as their conduit and representative, through which they could achieve closeness to God. So Moses tells some of the men to take their swords. God certainly held the people accountable for their corruption (Exodus 32:7–10) and was ready to destroy them for their sin. The difficulties are obvious: What exactly were the people looking for and why did some of them lapse into idolatry after having experienced G-d’s miraculous interventions? At some unspecified time before that, the congregation became restless. 2. 32 When the people saw that Moses delayed in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said to him, “Get up, make us gods that will go before us. While his actions were WRONG, his heart was RIGHT, and God looks on the heart. The Ideological Basis of the Sin of the Golden Calf. Having seen Trump’s reality show, and apparently pining to worship a thing or person more material than God, these Trump worshipers have committed their own sin of the golden calf. In fact, the Talmud states that at that point in time, the Jewish people were entirely righteous, insusceptible to sin. Among his many books are, The Composition of the Pentateuch: Renewing the Documentary Hypothesis, The Promise to the Patriarchs, and Reconceiving Infertility: Biblical Perspectives on Procreation and Childlessness. The story of the golden calf, the greatest scandal of the wilderness period, is recalled in Deuteronomy 9:921 (Parashat Eikev), based on the fuller account in Exodus 32 (Parashat Ki Tissa). 1. Moses indicated that Aaron at least should … After an extended break, the narrative returns to the people, awaiting Moses at the base of the mountain. He confronts his brother for leading the people astray, and calls upon all those who are for God to join him; the Levites join Moses and enact God’s justice among the people. Once we turn and repent TODAY, To-morrow is the new beginning we hope for–Restoration to God and to each other.Where the priest, sinned, the prophetic utterance offered a way out of the mess Israel had just gotten themselves into. Read More, Copyright © 2021 The Israel Bible All Rights Reserved. Many (perhaps all) participated in the sin, but God limited the penalty to those who possibly instigated it. They notice that Moses is late in returning, and they turn to his brother Aaron, asking him to build a new messenger to replace the missing Moses. I have no trouble seeing this happening. Rabbi Knopf offers a fresh take on a story you thought you knew in his Shabbat message for Parashat KI Tisa. In hopeless defence he said that a calf suddenly appeared out of the fire (kind of witchcraft) and last but not least he tried to delay all by promising a festival after building an altar for HaShem next to the golden idol. In other words, prior to the sin of the golden calf the Shechinah was prepared to dwell within every Jew; every Jew would have been his own personal Mishkan. // Javascript URL redirection Building off of the previous entry where we learned that the Golden Calf episode is really a polemic against Jeroboam’s bull altars at Dan and Bethel , and both writers refer to it as “the great sin,” it is only reasonable to see the day of reckoning for this sin as the historical destruction of Israel by the Assyrians in 722 BC. Now fully appreciating the gravity of their actions, Moses returns to the mountain to again ask God’s forgiveness on behalf of the people. There is no apotropaic power contained within the laver. I like Kevin’s thought that perhaps he was trying to do the right thing in his heart by keeping the peace. Upon returning, Moses is very angered by the false idol they have created and destroys both the tablets given to him and their Golden Calf. The reason it happened was because he hadn’t come back and the Israelites were getting worried. St. Stephen speaking about Moses and Israel's sin: This is the man that our ancestors refused to listen to; they pushed him aside, went back to Egypt in their thoughts, and said to Aaron "Make us a god to go at our head; for that Moses, the man who brought us here from Egypt, we do not know what has become of him." Moses’ personal intercession on behalf of his people saved them. Therefore the men who worshiped the calf was very very few. Original Question: When Aaron yielded to the demands of the Israelites to build the golden calf (Exodus 32), God punished the people but was Aaron punished for his compromising sin?. The making of the golden calf, as a violation of the Covenant Collection is, therefore, also a rejection of the entire sequence to that point: the theophany, the experience of hearing the Decalogue, the establishment of Moses as prophet, the thrice-repeated agreement to follow whatever laws Moses might transmit to them from YHWH, the law-giving proper, and the covenant ceremony. However, it is the people who take things too far-as they bring sacrifices and act frivolously. “The Golden Calves of Sinai and Northern Israel in Context,”. He then takes the golden calf and melts it down. [2] See, e.g., William Propp, Exodus 19–40 (Anchor Yale Bible 2A; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 566: “The people immediately violate the Decalogue by making for themselves a metal god in a calf’s likeness.”. In Egypt, a bull, Apis, was sacred to the god Ptah and emblematic of him. The sin of the Golden Calf divides Parashat Ki Tisa into two parts – before the sin and after it.. At first glance, the sin ruined all of God’s plans. The sages discuss Aaron’s role in the sin at great length. script type="text/javascript"> The Sin of the Golden Calf. Aaron’s actions seem indefensible, yet he continues to serve as High Priest even after the incident of the golden calf (indeed, he doesn’t even start to serve until after). “What is our Golden Calf?” Exodus 32:1-17. Each year, as I consider this matter of the golden calf and Aaron’s explanation to Moshe as to how it happened, I find it curious that Aaron is never directly condemned by Elohim for his part in this. The commentators try to find ways to minimize his involvement and explain his reasoning much like you have. But that is not the same as idolatry actually being the problem. The sin of the Golden Calf divides Parashat Ki Tisa into two parts – before the sin and after it. [1] Editor’s note: for a different approach to this problem, see Deena Grant, “What Was the Golden Calf?” TheTorah.com (2013). Yet the Israelites’ preeminent sin, the making of the golden calf, is fundamentally a lack of obedience to this law code. R. Tuck . The Sin of the Golden Calf? It always makes me wonder what hope I have of maintaining my faith when I have only HIS Word to cling to in this day. Kenneth Emerson Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA. www.parkview-umc.org. It seems in Exodus 32:5 that Aharon felt remorse that he followed the desires of the people to make a graven image. Everything was going so well: The Exodus from Egypt, the Splitting of the Red Sea, the pillar of fire, the cloud, water from the rock. Forty days and nights would elapse before his return. Except that the Israelites hadn’t received this commandment. Born in 1971 in Norfolk, Virginia, Rabbi Kaplan attended Ivy League Yeshiva Schools in New York City during his adolescence. 32). Meanwhile, God accuses the people of being “stiff-necked”, and threatens to wipe them out, starting over with Moses. Having seen Trump’s reality show, and apparently pining to worship a thing or person more material than God, these Trump worshipers have committed their own sin … Because Aharon had put his hope in the Lord to be the God of His Salvation, God did allow for reconciliation. Golden calf, idol worshipped by the Hebrews during the period of the Exodus from Egypt in the 13th century bc and during the age of Jeroboam I, king of Israel, in the 10th century bc. However, the sin of the golden calf is one such motif for its role in Israel’s apostasy at Sinai (Exod 32), the “sin of Jeroboam” in making golden calves at Dan and Bethel (1 Kgs 12), and Hosea’s condemnation of the “calf of Samaria” (Hos 8:6; cf. When Moses seemed to take a long time in returning from the mountain, the Israelites turne… In addition to the Shabbat in the respective parashiot Ki Tisa and Ekev, sections of it are read on the four “minor” fast days both in … Then he grinds it into powder. Good intentions clearly do not have the power to transform the quality of an action. This was a terrible and serious departure from God. Commentary In the text, immediately following the sin of the golden calf we have the revelation of the 13 attributes of mercy. Medically, it is well known that people who have sexual encounters with dozens of male and female strangers over short time periods will have compromised immune systems. Why do you think Aaron did what he did? The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bible™. In Exodus 32an odd event took place after the Israelites escaped Egypt. What the calf represented is debated by scholars. The Sin of the Golden Calf. (1) They approached Aaron with a demand to make them "a god." Involved, as always is true with departure from the true God, were other sins: B. According to the Mishna, Aaron was a peace-maker. I can see him throwing the gold into the fire and it congealing into a glob as it melted. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." As well, as Diana mentioned, when he sees the calf, and the reaction of the people, he declares the next day as a holiday for God. Then in the desert, as Moses was on Mount Sinai retrieving the 10 Commandments, the Israelites did what we often see in the Old Testament. THE PEOPLE'S SIN. Learn more about our classes here. Do Not Covet: Is It a Feeling or an Action? This incident is full of lessons. (#8) "THE SIN OF THE GOLDEN CALF" I. Israel's Terrible Sin A. Upon returning, Moses is very angered by the false idol they have created and destroys both the tablets given to him and their Golden Calf. What the calf represented is debated by scholars. 32 When the people saw that Moses delayed in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said to him, “Get up, make us gods that will go before us. Therefore the golden calf was a sin because it violated the commandment given in Exodus 20. Yehudah HaLevi, the author of the Kuzari, written in the 12th century, discusses the sin of the Golden Calf at length. Also, the people were not substituting the golden calf for the worship of the one true God, but using artificial means of man’s design and making to worship Him. By Ahuva Balofsky (Moderator), This section begins with God giving Moses the two tablets of stone upon which He has written with His own hand. The people have done a very bad thing. For example, when the people come to Aaron and ask for another representative, since they don’t know what happened to Moses the man, the sages interpret Aaron’s actions as a stalling tactic. SueJean, you’re right that it is hard to condemn Aaron when God himself doesn’t and he is allowed to continue in his role as High Priest. The Talmud Yerushalmi (Ta’anit4:5) states: Similarly, the Talmud Bavli (Sanhedrin102a) States: These statements point to the centrality of this story in Jewish cultural memory. The Sin of the Golden Calf. Rashi explains that the sin of the Golden Calf originated in a misunderstanding. Once they made it to the other end unharmed, God drowned the Egyptians in the Red Sea. So many miracles! The narrative of the Golden Calf, found in Ki Tisa, raises a wealth of questions about the nature of the sin, the motivations and emotions that precipitated it, and its far-reaching repercussions. Then would he melt the gold and produce a calf from it. Oops! Mentioned in Exodus 32 and I Kings 12 in the Old Testament, worship of the golden calf is seen as a supreme act of Praise HIM Who keeps me in HIS Way!! See more ideas about golden calf, bible class, bible lessons. For this author—known as the Elohist—the Covenant Collection is not one part of the law, or one law collection among others, but is the law collection, the only laws that YHWH ever gave to Israel. The narrative of the Golden Calf, found in Ki Tisa, raises a wealth of questions about the nature of the sin, the motivations and emotions that precipitated it, and its far-reaching repercussions. Images of bulls and calves were common in Near Eastern religions. The Golden Calf book. Thinking that Moses was dead, the people panicked as they were now alone in the wilderness with no leader and no intermediary between themselves and God (see Aliza’s comment above). He first commands the people to bring their jewelry. And so the people stand back while Moses approaches the mountain to receive the laws—the laws of the Covenant Code. His existence is worthless, as all he knows or learned in his life, to him, stems from an imagined physical god, not the true metaphysical God. It is apparent that despite all the good intentions, the sin of the Golden Calf is still characterized as the sin of idolatry, the greatest sin in the Torah, a violation of the second of the Ten Commandments. Moses called for those who were on the Lord’s side to come stand with him ( Exodus 32:26 ). The Apis bull, Hathor or Osiris? The biggest problem with their sin, according to HaLevi, is that they decided through their own design how to best serve God, when serving God is about obedience, and serving Him through methods He has commanded. Except that the Israelites hadn’t received this commandment. At this time, he contributed regularly to local scholarly journals authoring dozens of original expositions and ruminations in Hebrew. window.location.replace(""); תָּה עִמָּנוּ וְנִשְׁמָעָה) they say (Exod 20:19 [English 20:16]). In the light of this, I don’t feel like I have any right to condemn him either. TheTorah.com is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.We rely on the support of readers like you. script>, Speculating about the Original Text of the Decalogue. The Law of the Goring Ox: Is It Neutered? Sometimes, we just have to do the best we can in difficult situations. [3] Editor’s note: See discussion in Frederick Greenspahn, “The Golden Calves of Sinai and Northern Israel in Context,” TheTorah.com (2015). Glance, the punishment is death, and threatens to wipe them out starting. Them out, starting over with Moses 32 relates that the Israelites they have undermined the of! Rights Reserved Harvard and an M.A prof. Joel Baden is Professor of Hebrew bible at Yale University emblematic of.... To steer them away from worshiping the calf, is fundamentally a lack of obedience this. Departure from the women was man ’ s covenantal arrangement with them delay the whole YHWH... 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