Chapter 17

  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 know not what has become of him. 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. And all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with an engraving tool after he had made it a molten calf. And they said, These are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt. And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made proclamation and said, Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord. And they rose up early on the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.
  2. And the Lord said unto Moses, Go; go down, for your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed unto it, and said, These are your gods, O Israel, which have brought you up out of the land of Egypt. And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiffnecked people. Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them and that I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.
  3. And Moses implored the Lord his God and said, Lord, why does your wrath wax hot against your people whom you have brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why 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 your fierce wrath and your people will repent of this evil; therefore, come not out against them. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants to whom you swear by your own self, and said 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. And the Lord said unto Moses, if they will repent of the evil which they have done, I will spare them and turn away my fierce wrath. But behold, you shall execute judgment upon all that will not repent of this evil this day. Therefore, see you do this thing that I have commanded you, or I will execute all that which I had thought to do unto my people.
  4. And Moses turned and went down from the mount, and the two tablets of the testimony were in his hand. The tablets were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written. And the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved upon the tablets. 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. 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.
  5. And it came to pass as soon as he came near unto the camp that he saw the calf and the dancing. And Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tablets out of his hands and broke them beneath the mount. And he took the calf which they had made and burned it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strewed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.
  6. And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people do unto you that you have brought so great a sin upon them? And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot. You know the people, that they are set on mischief. 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 know not what has become of him. And I said unto them, Whoever has 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.
  7. And when Moses saw that the people were naked — for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies — 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. And he said unto them, Thus says 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. And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses, and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men. For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves today to the Lord, even every man upon his son and upon his brother, that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day.
  8. And it came to pass on the next day that Moses said unto the people, You have sinned a great sin. And now I will go up unto the Lord; perhaps I shall make an atonement for your sin.
  9. And Moses returned unto the Lord and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if you will, forgive their sin; and if not, blot me, I pray you, out of your book which you have written. And the Lord said unto Moses, Whoever has sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto you. Behold, my angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them. And the Lord plagued the people because they worshipped the calf which Aaron made.
  10. And the Lord said unto Moses, Depart and go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto a land flowing with milk and honey, the land which I swore unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto your seed will I give it. And I will send an angel before you. And I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite; for I will not go up in your midst, for you are a stiffnecked people, lest I consume you in the way. And when the people heard these evil tidings, they mourned. And no man did put on himself his ornaments, for the Lord had said unto Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, You are a stiffnecked people. I will come up into your midst in a moment and consume you; therefore, now put off your ornaments from you, that I may know what to do unto you. And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by the mount Horeb.