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Monday, October 14 2013

Exodus 32: The Mount Sinai Riot

"The LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made"

A "riot" may be defined as "a wild gathering involving excessive drinking and promiscuity." Amazingly, the Israelites had such a liberal party fiasco (see Exodus 13: Liberation, Not Liberal-ation) at the foot of Mount Sinai, after having just before witnessed the LORD's miraculous Presence and Power, first at the Exodus (see Exodus 9: The Plagues Upon Crops And Livestock, Exodus 10: Locusts and Darkness, Exodus 12: The First Passover and Exodus 14: Crossing The Sea) and then His coming down upon Mount Sinai (see Exodus 19: Arrival At Mount Sinai, Exodus 20: The Ten Commandments and The Mount Sinai Prophecy). The "delay" that they complained about was the very brief time that Moses had gone up onto the Mountain to receive the Law of God.

The Golden Calf

"32:1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him." (Exodus 32:1 KJV)

Aaron did not have the strength of character of his brother Moses. Rather than stopping their heathen foolishness, he facilitated and participated in it.

"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.

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. 32:6 And they rose up 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." (Exodus 32:2-6 KJV)

Moses was not yet able to see or hear the commotion below, but the LORD did: "I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people." Israel came very close to being obliterated that day: "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."

"32:7 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: 32:8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

32:9 And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: 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." (Exodus 32:7-10 KJV)

Moses pleaded for the Israelites, to which the LORD (Who was and is Jesus Christ; see Genesis 1: In The Beginning Was The Word and The Kingdom Of The LORD God) relented from His Anger.

"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 out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? 32:12 Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief 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. 32:13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever. 32:14 And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.

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. 32:16 And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables." (Exodus 32:11-16 KJV)

Joshua had accompanied Moses part-way up the mountain. He saw and heard the chaos below before Moses. When Moses finally saw the spectacle, he became angry as the LORD had been (some may wonder if Moses would have pleaded for Israel if he had been able to witness it when the LORD did).

Sinai Shepherds

"32:17 And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp.

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. 32:19 And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount. 32:20 And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it." (Exodus 32:17-20 KJV)

Aaron's excuse was weak and absurd:

"32:21 And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them?

32:22 And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief. 32:23 For they said unto me, Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. 32:24 And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf." (Exodus 32:21-24 KJV)

Fortunately, the wrath of Moses was not as severe as the Wrath of the LORD would have been, but Moses nevertheless restored order by force. He called for his fellow Levites to stop the riot, "And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men."

"32:25 And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:) 32:26 Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD'S side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. 32:27 And he said unto 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 neighbour. 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. 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." (Exodus 32:25-29 KJV)

The next day, Moses returned to the LORD with the promise "I will go up unto the LORD; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin." The innocent and the repentant were spared, but of the others, "the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made."

"32:30 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the LORD; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin.

32:31 And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. 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.

32:33 And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. 32:34 Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them.

32:35 And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made." (Exodus 32:30-35 KJV)

Fact Finder: As stated in the verses above, "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." What does the Bible tell use about the Tables of Stone? How big were they? Who wrote on both sides of them? Why was a second set made?
See Turning The Tables


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This Day In History, October 14

222: Pope Callixtus I was killed by a mob in Rome (see also The Struggle For The Papacy).

1066: The Battle of Hastings was fought on Senlac Hill, about seven miles from Hastings, England. The invading Norman forces of William the Conqueror defeated those of King Harold II of England.

William the Conqueror 1322: Robert the Bruce of Scotland defeated King Edward II of England at Byland, north of York. The independence of Scotland followed.

1586: The trial of Mary Queen of Scots began for her attempts to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I.

1644: William Penn was born. The city of Philadelphia was planned, built and named by Penn while he was working as a land developer sent by King James. Ironically, Pennsylvania itself was named after Penn - a life-long loyal servant of the king (Penn was born and died in England) who was not involved in the rebellion of the colonies that Britain established in the wilderness.

1656: Massachusetts enacted the first punitive legislation against the Religious Society of Friends (the "Quakers") and declared their beliefs to be "apostate and politically subversive."

1705: The English navy captured Barcelona during the War of the Spanish Succession.

1806: Napoleon defeated the Prussians (not to be confused with Russia; Prussia is in Germany) and Saxons (Saxony is also in Germany; the Anglos were a tribe of the Saxons) at the Battles of Jena and Auerstadt in Saxony. He completed his conquest of Prussia within 6 weeks.

1809: The Treaty of Vienna was signed. Austria ceded Trieste and Illyria to France, Galicia to Poland and Russia, and Inndistrict to Bavaria.

1848: Habsburg imperial forces led by Windischgratz retook Vienna from rebellious citizens who had caused the royal Habsburg family of Franz Joseph to flee the city; 2,000 of the rebels were killed.

1911: The revolution in China began which resulted in the abdication of the last emperor, 6 year old Henry Pu-Yi.

1912: Theodore Roosevelt became one of numerous U.S. Presidents who were shot by their fellow citizens when he was hit by a would-be assassin in Milwaukee. The bullet was stopped by Roosevelt's thick coat and a bundle of manuscript paper in his pocket.

1913: Britain's worst mining disaster occurred when an explosion in the Universal Colliery in Glamorgan, Wales, killed 439 coal miners.

1917: Mata Hari was executed as a spy.

1933: Germany announced that it would withdraw from the League of Nations and take no further part in the Geneva Disarmament Conference (see also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).

1939: At the beginning of the Second World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), the Royal Navy battleship Royal Oak was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine in Scapa Flow Bay in northern Scotland; over 800 British sailors were killed.

1944: Nazi field marshal Erwin Rommel (the victorious "Desert Fox" of north Africa before being defeated by British and Canadian forces) committed suicide at age 53 after it was discovered that he had been involved in an attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler. He had been given the choice of execution or suicide after his "trial."

1944: British and Greek troops liberated Athens which had been in German possession since 1941.

1957: Queen Elizabeth II became the first Canadian Monarch to personally open a session of the Canadian Parliament, presenting her Speech from the Throne in Ottawa.

1964: Leonid Brezhnev became the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

1979: The first "Gay Rights" march was held, by 200,000 U.S. "lesbian and gay people" in Washington, D.C.

1981: Egyptian Vice President Hosni Mubarak was elected President of Egypt, a week after the assassination of the President Anwar Sadat.

1994: Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, and Palestinian terrorist leader Yasser Arafat were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.


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