This story is an interesting account about how Aaron created the golden calf idol while Moses was with God up on Mount Sinai. God had called Moses to be with Him on Sinai for a duration of 40 days and 40 nights. During that time, the children of Israel became impatient and thought Moses had abandoned them. (Exodus 32:1)
(Exo 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.
In this verse, it shows that the people were beginning to wonder what happened to Moses: if Moses was still alive or if he had abandoned them. Out of desperation, some of the children of Israel began to revert to Pagan idol worship they had learned while enslaved in Egypt: make a deity of Gold to be able to worship and give offerings to it. It was the children of Israel’s doubt and lack of faith which lead them to pressure Aaron into making the golden calf.
Also, another thing to make note of: since God freed His people from the Pharaoh, in Exodus 14, the children of Israel always questioned and doubted God’s ability to protect and provide for them even though they had witnessed God’s power:
- the plagues happen (Exodus chapter 7 to 11)
- Seeing how God led them through the desert by pillars of clouds by day and by pillars of fire by night (Exodus 13:21 & 22)
- The miracle where God divided the waters of the Red Sea for them to cross to escape (Exodus 14)
- God having bread fall from the sky for them to eat (Exodus 16)
- God gave water from them to drink by having it come from a rock (Exodus 17:1-7)
Now the Bible does not say how long it took for the people to become impatient nor how long it took Aaron to give in and make the deity. In Exodus 32:21 – 24 (KJV), gives a clue to showing that the people did do or said something to make Aaron compromise:
- (Exo 32:21) And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them?
- (Exo 32:22) And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief.
- (Exo 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.
- (Exo 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.
We see in verse 21, Moses asks Aaron what has the people done to you to make you bring a great sin upon them? And in verse 22 though Aaron did not directly answer Moses’s question, it does indicate by Aaron words that the people either put great pressure on Aaron or threatened to something to him or possibly his family.
But it clearly shows Aaron did it out of fear. This is why he collected the gold from everyone (Exodus 32:2 to 4, and 24), put the Gold into the fire to melt it (Exodus 32:24), and took the graving tools and fashioned it to give the calf’s shape and form (Exodus 32:4).
Bible verses below for reference in Exodus 32:2-4 (KJV)
- (Exo 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.
- (Exo 32:3) And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron.
- (Exo 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.
- (Exo 32:5) And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, Tomorrow is a feast to the LORD.
Exodus 32:24 KJV
(Exo 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.
Now the bible never gave any indication as to how big the golden calf was.
So thinking realistically the Golden Calf had to have been a small Statue
The First reason is due to time, remember the calf was built while Moses was in mount Sinai.
Though we know that it was the peoples decisions to worship and giving offerings to it.
That lead to God informing Moses of the peoples actions which made Moses descend from the mountain in Exodus 32:9-15 (KJV).
But we don’t know when the people began to become impatient and made Aaron compromise. However, it is safe to say that it had to have been at the end of the 40 days and not the beginning
The second reason is the alter Aaron built for the golden calf to sit on.
So it would make sense for the calf to by a small one because it takes a lot less time to make an alter for a small statue then a big one.
And the last reason is Aaron’s mindset, many times when a person is under a serious amount of pressure or being rushed to complete a task, especially one they are being forced to do. A lot of times they are not going to put forth their best effort possible and it makes sense for Aaron to make a small statue to get the task done as fast as possible.
Also to add people told never Aaron to make a big idol for them they just said make one for them in Exodus 32:1 (KJV).
- (Exo 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.
So in Conclusion it is easy to see that satan had his hand in the tempting the Children of Israel. And, it was because of their decision to act upon that temptation which lead to many of the Children of Israel being killed by the sons of Levi in Exodus 32:27 & 28 (KJV).
And to clarify after Moses drew that line in the sand asking for all those who will stand with the Lord to gather onto him, only the people who chose to not stand on the Lords side were killed that day. Here are the verses below for your reference:
Exodus 32:26-28 (KJV)
- (Exo 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.
- (Exo 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.
- (Exo 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.
This is an example to help us today understand that all of our actions has consequences good or bad. In case the case for those children of Israel who did not gather onto Moses they all died instantly on the spot for the decision they’ve made to worship the golden calf. And, don’t think Aaron and those people who chose to stand by Moses that had participated in the festivity was not punished either for their actions. In their case they was not blessed in being able to see the Land Flowing with Milk and Honey that land was now to be giving to their Kindred after them.
This is similar to today where those who do not wish to serve and follow Gods commandments will also miss out on being able to be in Gods Kingdom in the coming future or being bless by being part of the first resurrection during Christ second coming.
That blessing will only be reserve for only those who both Keep Gods word and due Gods work and live their life here on the first earth modestly and humbly as they can
For the Bible says the following in Romans 6:23 (KJV)
(Rom 6:23) “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”