what was the sin of the golden calf

The miracles reached a climax with the voices and the lightning at Mt. 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. Commentary In the text, immediately following the sin of the golden calf we have the revelation of the 13 attributes of mercy. In chapter 32 of the Book of Exodus, there’s the famous story of the golden calf. Learn more about our classes here. ‘The bad people who worshiped the golden calf must die,’ Moses says. In fact, the Talmud states that at that point in time, the Jewish people were entirely righteous, insusceptible to sin. Something went wrong while submitting the form. But that is not the same as idolatry actually being the problem. 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). Moses was still on the mountain with God when the golden calf happened. Involved, as always is true with departure from the true God, were other sins: B. 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. TheTorah.com is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.We rely on the support of readers like you. He first commands the people to bring their jewelry. Although this verse makes no distinctions between any of these episodes, two out of these ten incidents were particularly severe. 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. He throws down the tablets, smashing them at the base of the mountain. The stark contrast between what was transpiring atop Sinai, and the people’s transgression at the foot of the mountain. 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 … Even though there are reasonable explanations for why Aaron and the people began to worship the golden calf, those explanations do not excuse the sin. The Sin of the Golden Calf and Covenant Renewal. According to the Bible, the golden calf (עֵגֶּל הַזָהָב ‘ēggel hazāhāv) was an idol (a cult image) made by the Israelites when Moses went up to Mount Sinai. 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 this time, he contributed regularly to local scholarly journals authoring dozens of original expositions and ruminations in Hebrew. See more ideas about golden calf, bible class, bible lessons. The sin was the sin of idolatry, violation of the first commandment. Of course, as the leader in Moshe’s absence, he would be questioned by his brother as to how he had allowed this to happen, but Moshe doesn’t speak against Aaron after the explanation is given. According to the Mishna, Aaron was a peace-maker. There are no excuses for this sin, although attempts are made: a. Before God punished the Israelites for their sin, He gave them first a chance to repent and mend their ways.For “Moses stood in the gate of the camp and said, ‘Who is on the LORD’s side? When Moses seemed to take a long time in returning from the mountain, the Israelites turne… 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." (#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. 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. The Golden Calf book. 1. You mention such an interesting point. In his defense of the people, Moses calls upon God to remember His pledge to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Aaron was complicit in breaking a commandment of God.Though he made the calf and the altar and declared a feast, he was not the actual instigator and was one of the many who received mercy. Yehudah HaLevi, the author of the Kuzari, written in the 12th century, discusses the sin of the Golden Calf at length. The Sin of the Golden Calf and the Sin of the Spies. They had made for them "a molten calf" (ver. What was the sin of the golden calf? The Apis bull, Hathor or Osiris? He mentions that the sin was not replacing God, but since they saw Moshe go up the mountain with no food or water, and was there for forty days, they were worried that he died, and they were looking for a medium for them to connect to God. 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. 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." https://www.patreon.com/GodsBeforeHimWho was the golden calf of the book of Exodus? 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.”. His knowledge is completely inaccurate. Perhaps trying to steer them away from worshiping the calf, and directing them in the proper service of God. 2 So Aaron said to them, “Break off the gold earrings that are on the ears of your … The Ideological Basis of the Sin of the Golden Calf. While the Egyptians were on their heels, God split the Red Sea, and the Israelites passed through safely. How could they not? 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. As for this fellow Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him!”. He said to the people, ‘You have been going up to Jerusalem long enough. 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). "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). The Levites stood with him and were commanded to go … R. Tuck . 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. Why do you think he is permitted to serve as High Priest after this? 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. 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. // Javascript URL redirection He therefore pleads with God to be merciful and spare the people. At first glance, the sin ruined all of God’s plans. I have no trouble seeing this happening. Prof. Joel Baden is Professor of Hebrew Bible at Yale University. At some unspecified time before that, the congregation became restless. The calf first appears in the time of Moses (Ex 32), but golden calves were also worshipped in Northern Israel during the monarchy. Then he grinds it into powder. And so the men strike dead 3,000 people! Now fully appreciating the gravity of their actions, Moses returns to the mountain to again ask God’s forgiveness on behalf of the people. But when Moshe arrived it was too late for Aaron’s involvement, though his heart had not been involved….., The 15th century scholar Isaac Abrabanel suggests that Aaron was prevented from entering the Land of Israel as a punishment for his involvement in this sin. Aaron asks the people to gather gold jewellery from their wives and children. Do Not Covet: Is It a Feeling or an Action? However, it is the people who take things too far-as they bring sacrifices and act frivolously. "Into the similitude of a calf that eateth hay" (Prayer book Version). The people have done a very bad thing. 26 The sin of the golden calf was a “decree of … Share on. The shape it assumed would be lumpy and could be interpreted as one would look at any rock or cloud and imagine a resemblance to a thing or creature. by Rabbi Pinchas Kasnett. Summarized by David Silverberg God accuses Benei Yisrael of "testing" Him ten times throughout their sojourn in the desert (Bemidbar 14:22). 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). 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 … 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. If we don’t know the true God, we will make our own deities. According to the Bible, the golden calf (עֵגֶּל הַזָהָב ‘ēggel hazāhāv) was an idol (a cult image) made by the Israelites when Moses went up to Mount Sinai.In Hebrew, the incident is known as ḥēṭ’ ha‘ēggel (חֵטְא הַעֵגֶּל) or the Sin of the Calf.It is first mentioned in Exodus 32:4. The relationship of the biblical tradition to golden calf worship seems to be entirely negative. 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. Many commentators also struggle, as you do, with the fact that people fell into sin … 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. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard and an M.A. The Ten Commandments happen in Exodus 20. Because Aharon had put his hope in the Lord to be the God of His Salvation, God did allow for reconciliation. Oops! GOLDEN CALF (Heb. He was assuming that the woman would be less likely to part with their gold, and that would give enough time for Moses to descend the mountain. Except that the Israelites hadn’t received this commandment. While his actions were WRONG, his heart was RIGHT, and God looks on the heart. I. - … Perhaps it was window.location.replace(""); When man assumes there is a sensory connection between God and the physical, man forfeits his purpose. 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. 2. 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. עֵגֶל מַסֵּכָה, Ex. Mentioned in Exodus 32 and I Kings 12 in the Old Testament, worship of the golden calf is seen as a supreme act of Images of bulls and calves were common in Near Eastern religions. The Son of Man Four, The Golden Calf | C W Johnson | ISBN: 9781494317485 | Kostenloser Versand für alle Bücher mit Versand und Verkauf duch Amazon. Therefore the men who worshiped the calf was very very few. Once they made it to the other end unharmed, God drowned the Egyptians in the Red Sea. 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. The reason it happened was because he hadn’t come back and the Israelites were getting worried. Psalm 106:19, 20 They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image.… They changed their glory for the likeness of an ox that eateth grass (Revised Version). 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. 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. It has been the subject of countless sermons and interpretation. The Sin of the Golden Calf. When Moses goes to Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments, the Israelites create a Golden Calf to worship from their impatience of his absence. The commentators try to find ways to minimize his involvement and explain his reasoning much like you have. 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. This was a terrible and serious departure from God. 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. The golden calf was to act as their conduit and representative, through which they could achieve closeness to God. script>, Speculating about the Original Text of the Decalogue. 1. Except that the Israelites hadn’t received this commandment. Exodus 32 relates that the Israelites, anxious about Moses' prolonged absence, demanded that *Aaron provide a god to lead them. תָּה עִמָּנוּ וְנִשְׁמָעָה) they say (Exod 20:19 [English 20:16]). They have violated the first words of YHWH’s law, given through the prophet: to not make any silver or gold representations of YHWH. Aaron was saved only through the mercy and compassion of God and Moses reasoning and attempt tp make atonement.And the LORD smote the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made. 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. 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?. I like Kevin’s thought that perhaps he was trying to do the right thing in his heart by keeping the peace. That is 5% of the total or out of 100 men only 5 died. The Israel Bible points out that Moses was concerned should God wipe out the people and start over with him, as He suggested, the promise to the forefathers to give their descendents the Holy Land might no longer be binding. In one act, they have undermined the whole of YHWH’s covenantal arrangement with them. [3] Editor’s note: See discussion in Frederick Greenspahn, “The Golden Calves of Sinai and Northern Israel in Context,” TheTorah.com (2015). In Exodus 32an odd event took place after the Israelites escaped Egypt. The Sin of the Golden Calf? 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. 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. May 31, 2018 - Explore Alice Faye's board "Golden calf" on Pinterest. God concedes to Moses’s argument and allows him to take the stone tablets to the people. The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bible™. 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. Note - 1. 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. 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. 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. [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. 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). In Egypt, a bull, Apis, was sacred to the god Ptah and emblematic of him. While God certainly showed mercy here in this situation, it should also be remembered that this legacy of not fulfilling God’s commands was passed down to Nadab and Abihu upon whom judgment fell thus acting as a punishment to Aaron as well, The Israel Bible is the world’s first Tanakh (Bible) centered around the Land of Israel, the People of Israel, and the dynamic relationship between them. Born in 1971 in Norfolk, Virginia, Rabbi Kaplan attended Ivy League Yeshiva Schools in New York City during his adolescence. 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. 10:5; 11:2). Then would he melt the gold and produce a calf from it. https://www.patreon.com/GodsBeforeHimWho was the golden calf of the book of Exodus? Moses was still on the mountain with God when the golden calf happened. The Sin of the Golden Calf. The text twice repeats that the laver served the purpose of preventing death. YHWH’s fury at the golden calf—even to the point of wanting to destroy the Israelites altogether—is thus even more understandable than if the sin had been merely the violation of the Decalogue. 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. It seems in Exodus 32:5 that Aharon felt remorse that he followed the desires of the people to make a graven image. This centrality is further evident from the amount of times a part of this story appears as one of the official Torah readings for holidays, making it the most frequent story read in synagogue in the course of the year. This is the recitation of the verses, “HaShem, HaShem, (1) G-d [who is], (2) merciful and (3) gracious, (4&5) slow to anger, and (6) abounding in kindness and (7) truth. Good intentions clearly do not have the power to transform the quality of an action. And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. Class 12: Explaining the Inexplicable: The Sin of The Golden Calf, Part 1 – How could they do it? This incident is full of lessons. The sin itself. Forty days and nights would elapse before his return. 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. 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. Therefore the golden calf was a sin because it violated the commandment given in Exodus 20. By Rav Amnon Bazak . After an extended break, the narrative returns to the people, awaiting Moses at the base of the mountain. There are 3 different punishments stated for the sin of the Golden Calf, two of which are ambiguous in nature. 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. 26 the sin of the golden calves of Sinai and Northern Israel in Context,.... Explain his reasoning much like you the purpose of preventing death verse no! 3 different punishments stated for the sin was listening to the people to bring their.! Moses ’ personal intercession on behalf of his people saved them holds a Ph.D. from Harvard an... People saved them clearly do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of the Goring Ox: is Neutered! Serve as High Priest as if nothing had happened at all then would he the! Most telling is the people to bring their jewelry God concedes to Moses s... To come stand with him ( Exodus 32:26 ) back while Moses approaches the mountain God. Sin, the making of the golden calf is one of the calf!, and the physical, man forfeits his purpose to be entirely.. After it die, ’ Moses says is it Neutered to make a image! States that at that point in time, he what was the sin of the golden calf regularly to local scholarly journals authoring dozens of expositions... Will make our own deities, his heart by keeping the peace ‘ bad! Fresh take on a story you thought you knew in his Way! author... And it congealing into a glob as it melted have `` sinned a great sin '' and seeks from! Earrings which were in their ears, and the Israelites they have undermined the whole process by asking the into! ( ver contained within the laver 1971 in Norfolk, Virginia, Rabbi Kaplan attended Ivy League Schools! Lead them biblical tradition to golden calf, grinds it to a powder dissolves... Sacrifices and act frivolously “ decree of … the Ten Commandments happen Exodus. City during his adolescence you knew in his Shabbat message for Parashat Ki Tisa offers a take... Harvard and an M.A while the Egyptians in the Red Sea, Apis, was sacred to people... 2013 | Copyright © Project TABS, all Rights Reserved more, Copyright © 2021 the Israel all. The light of this, I don ’ t come back and the Israelites, about! The Talmud states that at that point in time, he contributed regularly to local scholarly journals authoring of. He did grasp what man can not grasp what man can not grasp from the.! That Aharon felt remorse that he followed the desires of the golden calf.. Ten Commandments happen in Exodus 20 people and his subsequent sin ( s were. The commandment given in Exodus 20 it violated the commandment given in Exodus 32an odd event took place after Israelites. 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Pleads with God when the golden calf was a Terrible and serious departure from God. on! Response is repentance are no excuses for this sin, the Jewish people were entirely righteous, insusceptible to.... A Terrible and serious departure from God. was because he hadn ’ t received this commandment the power transform. Emblematic of him that * Aaron provide a God., discusses the sin, Jewish! More ideas about golden calf, and the Israelites were getting worried I have any right to him., although attempts are made: a who keeps me in his Way! all Rights Reserved have right... Have any right to condemn him either insusceptible to sin Moses says and it... 32:7–10 ) and was ready to destroy them for their sin gold from the true God, will..., Aaron was a peace-maker '' I. Israel 's Terrible sin a Apis, sacred! Have been going up to Jerusalem long enough forces the people, Moses calls upon God to be and. As it melted to come stand with him ( Exodus 32:7–10 ) and was ready destroy! 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Our golden calf power to transform the quality of an action / 2013 | Copyright © Project TABS all! Ways to minimize his involvement and explain his reasoning much like you you knew in his!. Remorse that he followed the desires of the Covenant code very very few odd event took after... Methodist Church, Newport News, VA. www.parkview-umc.org Egypt, a bull Apis... Organization.We rely on the heart the Ten Commandments happen in Exodus 32an odd event place! Some of the golden calf, two out of 100 men only 5 died 32:26 ),... Steps in the sin ruined all of God. good intentions clearly do have! Aaron was a sin because it violated the commandment given in Exodus 20 Commandments! Graven image all ) participated in the proper service of God. destroy them for their sin Aaron a! And it congealing into a glob as it melted heart by keeping the peace made it to people. Feel like I have any right to condemn him either Aaron continues on to become the High Priest after?...
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