The people, in the absence of Moses, cause Aaron to make a calf.
Exodus 32:1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mount, the people assembled themselves to Aaron, and said to him, Arise, make us gods which shall go before us: for [as for] this Moses, the man that brought us out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is become of him. Exodus 32:2 And Aaron said to them, Break off the golden ear-rings which [are] in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring [them] to me. Exodus 32:3 And all the people broke off the golden ear-rings which [were] in their ears, and brought [them] to Aaron. Exodus 32:4 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 are thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt. Exodus 32:5 And when Aaron saw [it], he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To-morrow [is] a feast to the LORD. Exodus 32:6 And they rose early on the morrow, and offered burnt-offerings, and brought peace-offerings: and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.
God is angered thereby.
Exodus 32:7 And the LORD said to Moses, Go, go down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted [themselves]: Exodus 32:8 They have turned aside quickly from the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshiped it, and have sacrificed to it, and said, These are thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt. Exodus 32:9 And the LORD said to Moses, I have seen this people, and behold it [is] a stiff-necked people: Exodus 32:10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.
At the intreaty of Moses he is appeased.
Exodus 32:11 And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth from the land of Egypt, with great power, and with a mighty hand? Exodus 32:12 Why should the Egyptians speak and say, For evil did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. Exodus 32:13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel thy servants, to whom thou sworest by thine own self, and saidst to them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give to your seed, and they shall inherit [it] for ever. Exodus 32:14 And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do to his people.
Exodus 32:15 And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony [were] in his hand: the tables [were] written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other [were] they written. Exodus 32:16 And the tables [were] the work of God, and the writing [was] the writing of God, graven upon the tables. Exodus 32:17 And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, [There is] a noise of war in the camp. Exodus 32:18 And he said, [It is] not the voice of [them that] shout for mastery, neither [is it] the voice of [them that] cry for being overcome: [but] the noise of [them that] sing do I hear.
He breaketh them.
Exodus 32:19 And it came to pass as soon as he came nigh to the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses's anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables from his hands, and broke them beneath the mount.
He destroyeth the calf.
Exodus 32:20 And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt [it] in the fire, and ground [it] to powder, and strewed [it] upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink [of it]. Exodus 32:21 And Moses said to Aaron, What did this people to thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them?
Aaron's excuse for himself.
Exodus 32:22 And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people that they [are set] on mischief. Exodus 32:23 For they said to me, Make us gods which shall go before us: for [as for] this Moses, the man that brought us out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is become of him. Exodus 32:24 And I said to them, Whoever hath any gold, let them break [it] off: So they gave [it] to me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.
Moses causeth the idolaters to be slain.
Exodus 32:25 And when Moses saw that the people [were] naked (for Aaron had made them naked to [their] shame, among their enemies:) Exodus 32:26 Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who [is] on the LORD'S side? [let him come] to me. And all the sons of Levi assembled themselves to him. Exodus 32:27 And he said to them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, [and] go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor. Exodus 32:28 And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men. Exodus 32:29 For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves to-day to the LORD, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day.
He prayeth for the people.
Exodus 32:30 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said to the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up to the LORD; it may be I shall make an atonement for your sin. Exodus 32:31 And Moses returned to the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Exodus 32:32 Yet now, if thou wilt, forgive their sin: and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. Exodus 32:33 And the LORD said to Moses, Whoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. Exodus 32:34 Therefore now go, lead the people to [the place] of which I have spoken to thee: Behold, my angel shall go before thee: Nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them. Exodus 32:35 And the LORD afflicted the people, because they made the calf which Aaron made.