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The Return Of The Golden Calves

It's one of the most well-known incidents of Bible History - while Moses (see also The Education Of Moses) was up on Mount Sinai with the LORD, the Israelites made themselves a golden calf idol:

"32:2 And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. 32:3 And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. 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 be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." (Exodus 32:2-4 KJV)

"These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt"

It seems bizarre that the Israelites, who had directly witnessed their own deliverance out of Egypt by the LORD, and then His powerful shaking of Mount Sinai as He was delivering the Ten Commandments, would make for themselves a lifeless idol and proclaim "these be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." But they did it. And, many years later, after the division of Israel because of Solomon's idolatry, the Israelites not only again made for themselves golden calf idols, but actually repeated the very same words that their ancestors did long before at Mount Sinai: "behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt" (1 Kings 12:28 KJV).

The Golden Calf Jeroboam (see Kings of Israel and Judah) was the first king of The Northern Kingdom of Israel after The Division Of Israel into "Israel" and "Judah." The northern kingdom almost immediately became grossly idolatrous. Jeroboam's supposed justification was to provide a religion for the northern ten tribes to keep them from looking to Jerusalem, and the Temple of the LORD, which was in the southern kingdom of Judah.

"12:25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel.

12:26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: 12:27 If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.

12:28 Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 12:29 And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. 12:30 And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.

12:31 And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi [see Levites]. 12:32 And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. 12:33 So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense." (1 Kings 12:25-33 KJV)

Fact Finder: What happened to the northern kingdom because of their idolatry? How did they become "the lost ten tribes"?
See The Galilee Captivity

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