Exodus 32 New Century Version (NCV)
The People Make a Gold Calf
32 The people saw that a long time had passed and Moses had not come down from the mountain. So they gathered around Aaron and said, “Moses led us out of Egypt, but we don’t know what has happened to him. Make us gods who will lead us.”
2 Aaron said to the people, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, sons, and daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took their gold earrings and brought them to Aaron. 4 He took the gold from the people and formed it with a tool and made a statue of a calf. Then the people said, “Israel, these are your gods who brought you out of the land of Egypt!”
5 When Aaron saw all this, he built an altar before the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a special feast to honor the Lord.” 6 The people got up early the next morning and offered whole burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. They sat down to eat and drink, and then they got up and sinned sexually.
7 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down from this mountain, because your people, the people you brought out of the land of Egypt, have ruined themselves. 8 They have quickly turned away from the things I commanded them to do. They have made for themselves a calf covered with gold, and they have worshiped it and offered sacrifices to it. They have said, ‘Israel, these are your gods who brought you out of Egypt.’”
9 The Lord said to Moses, “I have seen these people, and I know that they are very stubborn. 10 So now do not stop me. I am so angry with them that I am going to destroy them. Then I will make you and your descendants a great nation.”
11 But Moses begged the Lord his God and said, “Lord, don’t let your anger destroy your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with your great power and strength. 12 Don’t let the people of Egypt say, ‘The Lord brought the Israelites out of Egypt for an evil purpose. He planned to kill them in the mountains and destroy them from the earth.’ So stop being angry, and don’t destroy your people. 13 Remember the men who served you—Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. You promised with an oath to them and said, ‘I will make your descendants as many as the stars in the sky. I will give your descendants all this land that I have promised them, and it will be theirs forever.’” 14 So the Lord changed his mind and did not destroy the people as he had said he might.
15 Then Moses went down the mountain, and in his hands he had the two stone tablets with the Agreement on them. The commands were written on both sides of each stone, front and back. 16 God himself had made the tablets, and God himself had written the commands on the tablets.
17 When Joshua heard the sound of the people shouting, he said to Moses, “It sounds like war down in the camp.”
18 Moses answered:
“It is not a shout of victory;
19 When Moses came close to the camp, he saw the gold calf and the dancing, and he became very angry. He threw down the stone tablets that he was carrying and broke them at the bottom of the mountain. 20 Then he took the calf that the people had made and melted it in the fire. He ground it into powder. Then he threw the powder into the water and forced the Israelites to drink it.
21 Moses said to Aaron, “What did these people do to you? Why did you cause them to do such a terrible sin?”
22 Aaron answered, “Don’t be angry, master. You know that these people are always ready to do wrong. 23 The people said to me, ‘Moses led us out of Egypt, but we don’t know what has happened to him. Make us gods who will lead us.’ 24 So I told the people, ‘Take off your gold jewelry.’ When they gave me the gold, I threw it into the fire and out came this calf!”
25 Moses saw that the people were acting wildly. Aaron had let them get out of control and become fools in front of their enemies. 26 So Moses stood at the entrance to the camp and said, “Let anyone who wants to follow the Lord come to me.” And all the people from the family of Levi gathered around Moses.
27 Then Moses said to them, “The Lord, the God of Israel, says this: ‘Every man must put on his sword and go through the camp from one end to the other. Each man must kill his brother, his friend, and his neighbor.’” 28 The people from the family of Levi obeyed Moses, and that day about three thousand of the Israelites died. 29 Then Moses said, “Today you have been given for service to the Lord. You were willing to kill your own sons and brothers, and God has blessed you for this.”
30 The next day Moses told the people, “You have done a terrible sin. But now I will go up to the Lord. Maybe I can do something so your sins will be removed.” 31 So Moses went back to the Lord and said, “How terribly these people have sinned! They have made for themselves gods from gold. 32 Now, please forgive them of this sin. If you will not, then erase my name from the book in which you have written the names of your people.”
33 But the Lord told Moses, “I will erase from my book the names of the people who sin against me. 34 So now, go. Lead the people where I have told you, and my angel will lead you. When the time comes to punish, I will punish them for their sin.”
35 So the Lord caused terrible things to happen to the people because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made.
Exodus 32 New International Version (NIV)
The Golden Calf
32 When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods[a] who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”
2 Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. 4 He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods,[b] Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”
5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord.” 6 So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.
7 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. 8 They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’
9 “I have seen these people,” the Lord said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. 10 Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”
11 But Moses sought the favor of the Lord his God. “Lord,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. 13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’” 14 Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.
15 Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands. They were inscribed on both sides, front and back. 16 The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.
17 When Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting, he said to Moses, “There is the sound of war in the camp.”
18 Moses replied:
“It is not the sound of victory,
19 When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. 20 And he took the calf the people had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it.
21 He said to Aaron, “What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?”
22 “Do not be angry, my lord,” Aaron answered. “You know how prone these people are to evil. 23 They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ 24 So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!”
25 Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies. 26 So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” And all the Levites rallied to him.
27 Then he said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.’” 28 The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died. 29 Then Moses said, “You have been set apart to the Lord today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day.”
30 The next day Moses said to the people, “You have committed a great sin. But now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.”
31 So Moses went back to the Lord and said, “Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold. 32 But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.”
33 The Lord replied to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book. 34 Now go, lead the people to the place I spoke of, and my angel will go before you. However, when the time comes for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin.”
35 And the Lord struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made.