Home > Bible Journal > February 12, Exodus 30-33: More Preparations and the golden calf

February 12, Exodus 30-33: More Preparations and the golden calf

Exodus 30 goes into great detail about the preparations for worship in the temple. When taking the census, each Israelite must pay a ransom less a plague strike him (Exodus 30:12).

Exodus 31 describes craftsmen given special skills in building the temple. The LORD also tells the Israelites to observe the Sabbath.

Exodus 31:14 says:
14 “‘Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it must be put to death; whoever does any work on that day must be cut off from his people.

Then, the golden calf makes its appearance in Exodus 32. Impatience beset the Israelites and they implored Aaron to give them an idol, much like the gods of old. The LORD in anger wanted to destroy them, but Moses pleaded with Him and reminded Him of the covenant He had made with Abraham. Moses then approached the camp and let the tablets in his hand fall and break.

Exodus 32:20 says:
20 And he took the calf they 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.

Seeing the Israelites had run amok under Aaron’s leadership, Moses rallied the Levites and had them kill three thousand of the Israelites. Then Moses begged for mercy, which the LORD responded, “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book” (Exodus 32:33). And the LORD struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made.

The beginning of Exodus 33 sees the LORD telling Moses to leave for the land promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But the LORD would not go with them, for God might destroy a stiff-necked people like the Israelites.

Exodus 33:5 says:
5 For the LORD had said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites, ‘You are a stiff-necked people. If I were to go with you even for a moment, I might destroy you. Now take off your ornaments and I will decide what to do with you.’”

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