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Exodus 32:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from 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 is become of him.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— 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.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron and said to him, “Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mount, the people assembled themselves to Aaron, and said to him, Arise, make us gods which shall go before us: for [as for] this Moses, the man that brought us out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is become of him.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people collected together to Aaron, and said to him, Up, make us a god, who will go before us; for this Moses, the man that has brought us up out of the land of Egypt,—we do not know what is become of him!
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— 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 for us gods, who shall go before us, for, as for this Moses—the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what hath befallen him.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— And the people see that Moses is delaying to come down from the mount, and the people assemble against Aaron, and say unto him, 'Rise, make for us gods who go before us, for this Moses—the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt—we have not known what hath happened to him.'
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— And the people seeing that Moses delayed to come down from the mount, gathering together against Aaron, said: Arise, make us gods, that may go before us: For as to this Moses, the man that brought us out of the land of Egypt, we know not what has befallen him.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come downe out of the mount, the people gathered themselues together vnto Aaron, and said vnto him, Up, make vs gods which shall goe before vs: for as for this Moses, the man that brought vs vp out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— And when the people saw that Mosheh{gr.Moses} delayed to come down from the mountain, the people combined against Aaron, and said to him, Arise and make us gods who shall go before us; for this Mosheh{gr.Moses}, the man who brought us forth out of the land of Mizraim{gr.Egypt}-- we do not know what is become of him.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— And when the people saw that Mosheh delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aharon, and said unto him, Up, make us elohim, which shall go before us; for [as for] this Mosheh, the man that brought us up out of the land of Mitzrayim, we wot not what is become of him.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
And when the people 5971
{5971} Prime
עַם
`am
{am}
From H6004; a people (as a congregated unit); specifically a tribe (as those of Israel); hence (collectively) troops or attendants; figuratively a flock.
saw 7200
{7200} Prime
רָאָה
ra'ah
{raw-aw'}
A primitive root; to see, literally or figuratively (in numerous applications, direct and implied, transitively, intransitively and causatively).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
that x3588
(3588) Complement
כִּי
kiy
{kee}
A primitive particle (the full form of the prepositional prefix) indicating causal relations of all kinds, antecedent or consequent; (by implication) very widely used as a relative conjugation or adverb; often largely modified by other particles annexed.
M מֹשֶׁה 4872
{4872} Prime
מֹשֶׁה
Mosheh
{mo-sheh'}
From H4871; drawing out (of the water), that is, rescued; Mosheh, the Israelitish lawgiver.
delayed 954
{0954} Prime
בּושׁ
buwsh
{boosh}
A primitive root; properly to pale, that is, by implication to be ashamed; also (by implication) to be disappointed, or delayed.
z8765
<8765> Grammar
Stem - Piel (See H8840)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 2121
to come down 3381
{3381} Prime
יָרַד
yarad
{yaw-rad'}
A primitive root; to descend (literally to go downwards; or conventionally to a lower region, as the shore, a boundary, the enemy, etc.; or figuratively to fall); causatively to bring down (in all the above applications).
z8800
<8800> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 4888
out of x4480
(4480) Complement
מִן
min
{min}
For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses.
the mount, 2022
{2022} Prime
הַר
har
{har}
A shortened form of H2042; a mountain or range of hills (sometimes used figuratively).
the people 5971
{5971} Prime
עַם
`am
{am}
From H6004; a people (as a congregated unit); specifically a tribe (as those of Israel); hence (collectively) troops or attendants; figuratively a flock.
gathered themselves together 6950
{6950} Prime
קָהַל
qahal
{'kaw-hal'}
A primitive root; to convoke.
z8735
<8735> Grammar
Stem - Niphal (See H8833)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 1602
unto x5921
(5921) Complement
עַל
`al
{al}
Properly the same as H5920 used as a preposition (in the singular or plural, often with prefix, or as conjugation with a particle following); above, over, upon, or against (yet always in this last relation with a downward aspect) in a great variety of applications.
Ahrn אַהֲרֹן, 175
{0175} Prime
אַהֲרֹן
'Aharown
{a-har-one'}
Of uncertain derivation; Aharon, the brother of Moses.
and said 559
{0559} Prime
אָמַר
'amar
{aw-mar'}
A primitive root; to say (used with great latitude).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
unto x413
(0413) Complement
אֵל
'el
{ale}
(Used only in the shortened constructive form (the second form)); a primitive particle, properly denoting motion towards, but occasionally used of a quiescent position, that is, near, with or among; often in general, to.
him, Up, 6965
{6965} Prime
קוּם
quwm
{koom}
A primitive root; to rise (in various applications, literally, figuratively, intensively and causatively).
z8798
<8798> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperative (See H8810)
Count - 2847
make 6213
{6213} Prime
עָשָׂה
`asah
{aw-saw'}
A primitive root; to do or make, in the broadest sense and widest application.
z8798
<8798> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperative (See H8810)
Count - 2847
us lhm אֱלֹהִים, 430
{0430} Prime
אֱלֹהִים
'elohiym
{el-o-heem'}
Plural of H0433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative.
which x834
(0834) Complement
אֲשֶׁר
'asher
{ash-er'}
A primitive relative pronoun (of every gender and number); who, which, what, that; also (as adverb and conjunction) when, where, how, because, in order that, etc.
shall go y3212
[3212] Standard
יָלַך
yalak
{yaw-lak'}
A primitive root (compare H1980); to walk (literally or figuratively); causatively to carry (in various senses).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
x1980
(1980) Complement
הָלַךְ
halak
{haw-lak'}
Akin to H3212; a primitive root; to walk (in a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively).
before 6440
{6440} Prime
פָּנִים
paniym
{paw-neem'}
Plural (but always used as a singular) of an unused noun (פָּנֶה paneh, {paw-neh'}; from H6437); the face (as the part that turns); used in a great variety of applications (literally and figuratively); also (with prepositional prefix) as a preposition (before, etc.).
us; for x3588
(3588) Complement
כִּי
kiy
{kee}
A primitive particle (the full form of the prepositional prefix) indicating causal relations of all kinds, antecedent or consequent; (by implication) very widely used as a relative conjugation or adverb; often largely modified by other particles annexed.
[as for] this x2088
(2088) Complement
זֶה
zeh
{zeh}
A primitive word; the masculine demonstrative pronoun, this or that.
M מֹשֶׁה, 4872
{4872} Prime
מֹשֶׁה
Mosheh
{mo-sheh'}
From H4871; drawing out (of the water), that is, rescued; Mosheh, the Israelitish lawgiver.
the man 376
{0376} Prime
אִישׁ
'iysh
{eesh}
Contracted for H0582 (or perhaps rather from an unused root meaning to be extant); a man as an individual or a male person; often used as an adjunct to a more definite term (and in such cases frequently not expressed in translation.).
that x834
(0834) Complement
אֲשֶׁר
'asher
{ash-er'}
A primitive relative pronoun (of every gender and number); who, which, what, that; also (as adverb and conjunction) when, where, how, because, in order that, etc.
brought y5927
[5927] Standard
עָלָה
`alah
{aw-law'}
A primitive root; to ascend, intransitively (be high) or active (mount); used in a great variety of senses, primary and secondary, literally and figuratively.
z8689
<8689> Grammar
Stem - Hiphil (See H8818)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 2675
us up x5927
(5927) Complement
עָלָה
`alah
{aw-law'}
A primitive root; to ascend, intransitively (be high) or active (mount); used in a great variety of senses, primary and secondary, literally and figuratively.
out of the land 776
{0776} Prime
אֶרֶץ
'erets
{eh'-rets}
From an unused root probably meaning to be firm; the earth (at large, or partitively a land).
x4480
(4480) Complement
מִן
min
{min}
For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses.
of Mixrayim מִצרַיִם, 4714
{4714} Prime
מִצְרַיִם
Mitsrayim
{mits-rah'-yim}
Dual of H4693; Mitsrajim, that is, Upper and Lower Egypt.
we wot 3045
{3045} Prime
ידע
yada`
{yaw-dah'}
A primitive root; to know (properly to ascertain by seeing); used in a great variety of senses, figuratively, literally, euphemistically and inferentially (including observation, care, recognition; and causatively instruction, designation, punishment, etc.).
z8804
<8804> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 12562
not x3808
(3808) Complement
לֹא
lo'
{lo}
lo; a primitive particle; not (the simple or abstract negation); by implication no; often used with other particles.
what x4100
(4100) Complement
מָּה
mah
{maw}
A primitive particle; properly interrogitive what? (including how?, why? and when?); but also exclamations like what! (including how!), or indefinitely what (including whatever, and even relatively that which); often used with prefixes in various adverbial or conjugational senses.
is become x1961
(1961) Complement
הָיָה
hayah
{haw-yaw'}
A primitive root (compare H1933); to exist, that is, be or become, come to pass (always emphatic, and not a mere copula or auxiliary).
of him.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Exodus 32:1

_ _ Exodus 32:1-35. The Golden Calf.

_ _ when the people saw that Moses delayed — They supposed that he had lost his way in the darkness or perished in the fire.

_ _ the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron — rather, “against” Aaron in a tumultuous manner, to compel him to do what they wished. The incidents related in this chapter disclose a state of popular sentiment and feeling among the Israelites that stands in singular contrast to the tone of profound and humble reverence they displayed at the giving of the law. Within a space of little more than thirty days, their impressions were dissipated. Although they were still encamped upon ground which they had every reason to regard as holy; although the cloud of glory that capped the summit of Sinai was still before their eyes, affording a visible demonstration of their being in close contact, or rather in the immediate presence, of God, they acted as if they had entirely forgotten the impressive scenes of which they had been so recently the witnesses.

_ _ said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us — The Hebrew word rendered “gods” is simply the name of God in its plural form. The image made was single, and therefore it would be imputing to the Israelites a greater sin than they were guilty of, to charge them with renouncing the worship of the true God for idols. The fact is, that they required, like children, to have something to strike their senses, and as the Shekinah, “the glory of God,” of which they had hitherto enjoyed the sight, was now veiled, they wished for some visible material object as the symbol of the divine presence, which should go before them as the pillar of fire had done.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Exodus 32:1-6

_ _ While Moses was in the mount, receiving the law from God, the people had time to meditate upon what had been delivered, and prepare themselves for what was further to be revealed, and forty days was little enough for that work; but, instead of that, there were those among them that were contriving how to break the laws they had already received, and to anticipate those which they were in expectation of. On the thirty-ninth day of the forty, the plot broke out of rebellion against the Lord. Here is,

_ _ I. A tumultuous address which the people made to Aaron, who was entrusted with the government in the absence of Moses: Up, make us gods, which shall go before us, Exodus 32:1.

_ _ 1. See the ill effect of Moses's absence from them; if he had not had God's call both to go and stay, he would not have been altogether free from blame. Those that have the charge of others, as magistrates, ministers, and masters of families, ought not, without just cause, to absent themselves from their charge, lest Satan get advantage thereby.

_ _ 2. See the fury and violence of a multitude when they are influenced and corrupted by such as lie in wait to deceive. Some few, it is likely, were at first possessed with this humour, while many, who would never have thought of it if they had not put it into their hearts, were brought to follow their pernicious ways; and presently such a multitude were carried down the stream that the few who abhorred the proposal durst not so much as enter their protestation against it. Behold how great a matter a little fire kindles! Now what was the matter with this giddy multitude?

_ _ (1.) They were weary of waiting for the promised land. They thought themselves detained too long at mount Sinai; though there they lay very safe and very easy, well fed and well taught, yet they were impatient to be going forward. They had a God that staid with them, and manifested his presence with them by the cloud; but this would not serve. They must have a god to go before them; they are for hastening to the land flowing with milk and honey, and cannot stay to take their religion along with them. Note, Those that would anticipate God's counsels are commonly precipitate in their own. We must first wait for God's law before we catch at his promises. He that believeth doth not make haste, not more haste than good speed.

_ _ (2.) They were weary of waiting for the return of Moses. When he went up into the mount, he had not told them (for God had not told him) how long he must stay; and therefore, when he had outstayed their time, though they were every way well provided for in his absence, some bad people advanced I know not what surmises concerning his delay: As for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of Egypt, we wot not what has become of him. Observe, [1.] How slightly they speak of his person — this Moses. Thus ungrateful are they to Moses, who had shown such a tender concern for them, and thus do they walk contrary to God. While God delights to put honour upon him, they delight to put contempt upon him, and this to the face of Aaron his brother, and now his viceroy. Note, The greatest merits cannot secure men from the greatest indignities and affronts in this ungrateful world. [2.] How suspiciously they speak of his delay: We wot not what has become of him. They thought he was either consumed by the devouring fire or starved for want to food, as if that God who kept and fed them, who were so unworthy, would not take care for the protection and supply of Moses his favourite. Some of them, who were willing to think well of Moses, perhaps suggested that he was translated to heaven like Enoch; while others that cared not how ill they thought of him insinuated that he had deserted his undertaking, as unable to go on with it, and had returned to his father-in-law to keep his flock. All these suggestions were perfectly groundless and absurd, nothing could be more so; it was easy to tell what had become of him: he was seen to go into the cloud, and the cloud he went into was still seen by all Israel upon the top of the mount; they had all the reason in the world to conclude that he was safe there; if the Lord had been pleased to kill him, he would not have shown him such favours as these. If he tarried long, it was because God had a great deal to say to him, for their good; he resided upon the mount as the ambassador, and he would certainly return as soon as he had finished the business he went upon; and yet they make this the colour for their wicked proposal: We wot not what has become of him. Note, First, Those that are resolved to think ill, when they have ever so much reason to think well, commonly pretend that they know not what to think. Secondly, Misinterpretations of our Redeemer's delays are the occasion of a great deal of wickedness. Our Lord Jesus has gone up into the mount of glory, where he is appearing in the presence of Gold for us, but out of our sight; the heavens must contain him, must conceal him, that we may live by faith. There he has been long; there he is yet. Hence unbelievers suggest that they know not what has become of him; and ask, Where is the promise of his coming? (2 Peter 3:4), as if, because he has not come yet, he would never come. The wicked servant emboldens himself in his impieties with this consideration, My Lord delays his coming. Thirdly, Weariness in waiting betrays us to a great many temptations. This began Saul's ruin; he staid for Samuel to the last hour of the time appointed, but had not patience to stay that hour (1 Samuel 13:8, etc.); so Israel here, if they could but have staid one day longer, would have seen what had become of Moses. The Lord is a God of judgment, and must be waited for till he comes waited for though he tarry; and then we shall not lose our labour, for he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.

_ _ (3.) They were weary of waiting for a divine institution of religious worship among them for that was the thing they were now in expectation of. They were told that they must serve God in this mountain, and fond enough they would be of the pomp and ceremony of it; but, because that was not appointed them so soon as they wished, they would set their own wits on work to devise signs of God's presence with them, and would glory in them, and have a worship of their own invention, probably such as they had seen among the Egyptians; for Stephen says that when they said unto Aaron, Make us gods, they did, in heart, turn back into Egypt, Acts 7:39, Acts 7:40. This was a very strange motion, Up, make us gods. If they knew not what had become of Moses, and thought him lost, it would have been decent for them to have appointed a solemn mourning for him for certain days; but see how soon so great a benefactor is forgotten. If they had said, “Moses is lost, make us a governor,” there would have been some sense in it, though a great deal of ingratitude to the memory of Moses, and contempt of Aaron and Hur who were left lords-justices in his absence; but to say, Moses is lost, make us a god, was the greatest absurdity imaginable. Was Moses their god? Had he ever pretended to be so? Whatever had become of Moses, was it not evident, beyond contradiction that God was still with them? And had they any room to question his leading their camp who victualled it so well every day? Could they have any other god that would provide so well for them as he had done, nay as he now did? And yet, Make us gods, which shall go before us! Gods! How many would they have? Is not one sufficient? Make us gods! and what good would gods of their own making do them? They must have such gods to go before them as could not go themselves further than they were carried. So wretchedly besotted and intoxicated are idolaters: they are mad upon their idols, Jeremiah 50:38.

_ _ II. Here is the demand which Aaron makes of their jewels thereupon: Bring me your golden ear-rings, Exodus 32:2. We do not find that he said one word to discountenance their proposal; he did not reprove their insolence, did not reason with them to convince them of the sin and folly of it, but seemed to approve the motion, and showed himself not unwilling to humour them in it. One would hope he designed, at first, only to make a jest of it, and, by setting up a ridiculous image among them, to expose the motion, and show them the folly of it. But, if so, it proved ill jesting with sin: it is of dangerous consequence for the unwary fly to play about the candle. Some charitably suppose that when Aaron told them to break off their ear-rings, and bring them to him, he did it with design to crush the proposal, believing that though their covetousness would have let them lavish gold out of the bag to make an idol of (Isaiah 46:6), yet their pride would not have suffered them to part with the golden ear-rings. But it is not safe to try how far men's sinful lusts will carry them in a sinful way, and what expense they will be at; it proved here a dangerous experiment.

_ _ III. Here is the making of the golden calf, Exodus 32:3, Exodus 32:4. 1. The people brought in their ear-rings to Aaron, whose demand of them, instead of discouraging the motion, perhaps did rather gratify their superstition, and beget in them a fancy that the gold taken from their ears would be the most acceptable, and would make the most valuable god. Let their readiness to part with their rings to make an idol of shame us out of our niggardliness in the service of the true God. Did they not draw back from the charge of their idolatry? And shall we grudge the expenses of our religion, or starve so good a cause? 2. Aaron melted down their rings, and, having a mould prepared for the purpose, poured the melted gold into it, and then produced it in the shape of an ox or calf, giving it some finishing strokes with a graving tool. Some think that Aaron chose this figure, for a sign or token of the divine presence, because he thought the head and horns of an ox a proper emblem of the divine power, and yet, being so plain and common a thing, he hoped the people would not be so sottish as to worship it. But it is probable that they had learnt of the Egyptians thus to represent the Deity, for it is said (Ezekiel 20:8), They did not forsake the idols of Egypt, and (Exodus 23:8), Neither left she her whoredoms brought from Egypt. Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox (Psalms 106:20), and proclaimed their own folly, beyond that of other idolaters, who worshipped the host of heaven.

_ _ IV. Having made the calf in Horeb, they worshipped the graven image, Psalms 106:19. Aaron, seeing the people fond of their calf, was willing yet further to humour them, and he built an altar before it, and proclaimed a feast to the honour of it (Exodus 32:5), a feast of dedication. Yet he calls it a feast to Jehovah; for, brutish as they were, they did not imagine that this image was itself a god, nor did they design to terminate their adoration in the image, but they made it for a representation of the true God, whom they intended to worship in and through this image; and yet this did not excuse them from gross idolatry, any more than it will excuse the papists, whose plea it is that they do not worship the image, but God by the image, so making themselves just such idolaters as the worshippers of the golden calf, whose feast was a feast to Jehovah, and proclaimed to be so, that the most ignorant and unthinking might not mistake it. The people are forward enough to celebrate this feast (Exodus 32:6): They rose up early on the morrow, to show how well pleased they were with the solemnity, and, according to the ancient rites of worship, they offered sacrifice to this new-made deity, and then feasted upon the sacrifice; thus having, at the expense of their ear-rings, made their god, they endeavour, at the expense of their beasts, to make this god propitious. Had they offered these sacrifices immediately to Jehovah, without the intervention of an image, they might (for aught I know) have been accepted (Exodus 20:24); but having set up an image before them as a symbol of God's presence, and so changed the truth of God into a lie, these sacrifices were an abomination, nothing could be more so. When the idolatry of theirs is spoken of in the New Testament the account of their feast upon the sacrifice is quoted and referred to (1 Corinthians 10:7): They sat down to eat and drink of the remainder of what was sacrificed, and then rose up to play, to play the fool, to play the wanton. Like god, like worship. They would not have made a calf their god if they had not first made their belly their god; but, when the god was a jest, no marvel that the service was sport. Being vain in their imaginations, they became vain in their worship, so great was this vanity. Now, 1. It was strange that any of the people, especially so great a number of them, should do such a thing. Had they not, but the other day, in this very place, heard the voice of the Lord God speaking to them out of the midst of the fire, Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image? Had they not heard the thunder, seen the lightnings, and felt the earthquake, with the dreadful pomp of which this law was given? Had they not been particularly cautioned not to make gods of gold? Exodus 20:23. Nay, had they not themselves solemnly entered into covenant with God, and promised that all that which he had said unto them they would do, and would be obedient? Exodus 24:7. And yet, before they stirred from the place where this covenant had been solemnly ratified, and before the cloud was removed from the top of mount Sinai, thus to break an express command, in defiance of an express threatening that this iniquity should be visited upon them and their children — what shall be think of it? It is a plain indication that the law was no more able to sanctify than it was to justify; by it is the knowledge of sin, but not the cure of it. This is intimated in the emphasis laid upon the place where this sin was committed (Psalms 106:19). They made a calf in Horeb, the very place where the law was given. It was otherwise with those that received the gospel; they immediately turned from idols; 1 Thessalonians 1:9. 2. It was especially strange that Aaron should be so deeply implicated in this sin, that he should make the calf, and proclaim the feast! Is this Aaron, the saint of the Lord, the brother of Moses his prophet, that could speak so well. (Exodus 4:14), and yet speaks not one word against this idolatry? Is this he that had not only seen, but had been employed in summoning, the plagues of Egypt, and the judgments, executed upon the gods of the Egyptians? What! and yet himself copying out the abandoned idolatries of Egypt? With what face could they say, These are thy gods that brought thee out of Egypt, when they thus bring the idolatry of Egypt (the worst thing there) along with them? Is this Aaron, who had been with Moses in the mount (Exodus 19:24; Exodus 24:9), and knew that there was no manner of similitude seen there, by which they might make an image? Is this Aaron who was entrusted with the care of the people in the absence of Moses? Is he aiding and abetting in this rebellion against the Lord? How was it possible that he should ever do so sinful a thing? Either he was strangely surprised into it, and did it when he was half asleep, or he was frightened into it by the outrages of the rabble. The Jews have a tradition that his colleague Hur opposing it the people fell upon him and stoned him (and therefore we never read of him after) and that this frightened Aaron into a compliance. And God left him to himself, [1.] To teach us what the best of men are when they are so left, that we may cease from man, and that he who thinks he stands may take heed lest he fall. [2.] Aaron was, at this time, destined by the divine appointment to the great office of the priesthood; though he knew it not, Moses in the mount did. Now, lest he should be lifted up, above measure, with the honours that were to be put upon him, a messenger of Satan was suffered to prevail over him, that the remembrance thereof might keep him humble all his days. He who had once shamed himself so far as to build an altar to a golden calf must own himself altogether unworthy of the honour of attending at the altar of God, and purely indebted to free grace for it. Thus pride and boasting were for ever silenced, and a good effect brought out of a bad cause. By this likewise it was shown that the law made those priests who had infirmity, and needed first to offer for their own sins.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Exodus 32:1

Up, make us gods which shall go before us. They were weary of waiting for the promised land. They thought themselves detained too long at mount Sinai. They had a God that stayed with them, but they must have a God to go before them to the land flowing with milk and honey. They were weary of waiting for the return of Moses: As for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of Egypt, we know not what is become of him — Observe how slightly they speak of his person, this Moses: And how suspiciously of his delay, we know not what is become of him. And they were weary of waiting for a divine institution of religious worship among them, so they would have a worship of their own invention, probably such as they had seen among the Egyptians. They say, make us gods which shall go before us. Gods! How many would they have? Is not one sufficient? And what good would gods of their own making do them? They must have such Gods to go before them as could not go themselves farther than they were carried!

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Exodus 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, (a) 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.

(a) The root of Idolatry is when men think that God is not present, unless they see him physically.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
am 2513, bc 1491, An, Ex, Is 1, Ab

delayed:

Exodus 24:18 And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.
Deuteronomy 9:9 When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, [even] the tables of the covenant which the LORD made with you, then I abode in the mount forty days and forty nights, I neither did eat bread nor drink water:
Matthew 24:43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
2 Peter 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as [they were] from the beginning of the creation.

Up:

Genesis 19:14 And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.
Genesis 44:4 [And] when they were gone out of the city, [and] not [yet] far off, Joseph said unto his steward, Up, follow after the men; and when thou dost overtake them, say unto them, Wherefore have ye rewarded evil for good?
Joshua 7:13 Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, [There is] an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.

make:

Exodus 20:3-5 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. ... Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God [am] a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation] of them that hate me;
Deuteronomy 4:15-18 Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day [that] the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: ... The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that [is] in the waters beneath the earth:
Acts 7:40 Saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for [as for] this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
Acts 17:29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.
Acts 19:26 Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands:

which shall:

Exodus 13:21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:
Exodus 33:3 Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou [art] a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way.
Exodus 33:14-15 And he said, My presence shall go [with thee], and I will give thee rest. ... And he said unto him, If thy presence go not [with me], carry us not up hence.

the man:

Exodus 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]:
Exodus 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?
Exodus 14:11 And they said unto Moses, Because [there were] no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?
Exodus 16:3 And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, [and] when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.
Hosea 12:13 And by a prophet the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved.
Micah 6:4 For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.

we wot:

Genesis 21:26 And Abimelech said, I wot not who hath done this thing: neither didst thou tell me, neither yet heard I [of it], but to day.
Genesis 39:8 But he refused, and said unto his master's wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what [is] with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand;
Genesis 44:15 And Joseph said unto them, What deed [is] this that ye have done? wot ye not that such a man as I can certainly divine?
Matthew 24:48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
2 Peter 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as [they were] from the beginning of the creation.
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Chain-Reference Bible Search

Gn 19:14; 21:26; 39:8; 44:4, 15. Ex 13:21; 14:11; 16:3; 20:3; 24:18; 32:7, 11; 33:3, 14. Dt 4:15; 9:9. Jsh 7:13. Ho 12:13. Mi 6:4. Mt 24:43, 48. Ac 7:40; 17:29; 19:26. 2P 3:4.

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