The Problem with the Golden Calf Story



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Real Story of The Calf

87. They said: “We broke not the promise to you, of our own will, but we were made to carry the weight of the ornaments of the [Fir’aun’s (Pharaoh)] people, then we cast them (into the fire), and that was what As-Samiri suggested.”

88. Then he took out (of the fire) for them a statue of a calf which seemed to low. They said: “This is your ilah (god), and the ilah (god) of Musa (Moses), but [Musa (Moses)] has forgotten (his god).'”

89. Did they not see that it could not return them a word (for answer), and that it had no power either to harm them or to do them good?

90. And Harun (Aaron) indeed had said to them beforehand: “O my people! You are being tried in this, and verily, your Lord is (Allah) the Most Beneficent, so follow me and obey my order.”

91. They said: “We will not stop worshipping it (i.e. the calf), until Musa (Moses) returns to us.”

92. [Musa (Moses)] said: “O Harun (Aaron)! What stopped you when you saw them going astray;

93. “That you followed me not (according to my advice to you)? Have you then disobeyed my order?”

94. He [Harun (Aaron)] said: “O son of my mother! Seize (me) not by my beard, nor by my head! Verily, I feared lest you should say: ‘You have caused a division among the Children of Israel, and you have not respected my word!’ “

95. [Musa (Moses)] said: “And what is the matter with you. O Samiri? (i.e. why did you do so?)”

96. (Samiri) said: “I saw what they saw not, so I took a handful (of dust) from the hoof print of the messenger [Jibrael’s (Gabriel) horse] and threw it [into the fire in which were put the ornaments of the Fir’aun’s (Pharaoh) people, or into the calf]. Thus my inner-self suggested to me.”

97. Musa (Moses) said: “Then go away! And verily, your (punishment) in this life will be that you will say: “Touch me not ( will live alone exiled away from mankind); and verily (for a future torment), you have a promise that will not fail. And look at your ilah (god), to which you have been devoted. We will certainly burn it, and scatter its particles in the sea.”

98. Your Ilah (God) is only Allah, the One (La ilaha illa Huwa) (none has the right to be worshipped but He). He has full knowledge of all things.

99. Thus We relate to you (O Muhammad ) some information of what happened before. And indeed We have given you from Us a Reminder (this Qur’an).
Ayahs: 87-99

Farakh Jamil 184 days ago

Re-Read Ex. 19-24

I was recently reading through this passage, had some questions of my own, and came upon this thread. As it has been mentioned, the people heard the commandments in chapter 20. In chapter 19, God says He will have a cloud so the people can hear and required them all to consecrate themselves prior to. Even if they didn't hear God's voice, in chapter 24, Moses tells them all the commandments, and the Israelites agree to them as well as some other rules listed in the chapters in between. They agree to enter a covenent with God keeping these rules. Moses writes it down and is then called back up the mountain to receive the actual tablets. I don't know that what Moses did was wrong considering he saved them all. God was ready to wipe them out and start over with Moses. To say that they would be breaking the commandment of killing isn't quite a sound argument, because there were many laws given that will result in death as a means of justice which is what this was.

What you said in the last two paragraphs has been something, I've been thinking on a lot. Who is God? I'm not sure we will ever, like you said, be able to explain Him definitely.

I didn't I know this thread is old but thought I would add this info here for anyone else that might stumble upon it.

Briana Bean more than 1 year ago

Not true - the people knew

No excuses - they heard the commandments. Moses was not on the mountain in Exodus 20 until the end of the chapter. He was down with the people when God spoke the Ten Commandments. Everyone heard and they were afraid, they told Moses about their fear and that is when Moses went up the mountain.

Lee more than 3 years ago

Out of Egypt and Finding What is Right

The Golden Calf represented both the Good Life (sirloin, rib eye) and the gods worshiped in Egypt. So they know better than to worship it before the Ten Commandments. They had just come from Egypt and it was full of idols of every sort. They knew from Abraham there was only one God and not to worship idols.

We need to be careful not to compare God's righteous judgment with that of terrorists. Those worshiping the pagan idol and those living out immorality of all manner received their just reward from God. We cannot tell God what is just, for He knows. It is we that need to take our sense of justice and morality from God. When we play by God's rules we bring honor to Him and He will reward His faithful servants. God's grace was shown by those who were guilty, but spared when Moses call them to turn from their sin, including his brother Aaron.

Skipper Anding more than 5 years ago

Herein lies...

Herein lies the Gordian Knot of Bilblical interpretation; is God's authority invested in his Word or in my interpretation of it?

Charles Whatley more than 5 years ago

God's righteous judgement

Well said, Skipper Anding. God made man in HIS image. We do not make God in OUR image.

Wanda Scofield more than 4 years ago

Divinity is foolishness

Pagan means "non Christian", and they weren't even Jews then, were they?
We're they Jews, Israelites, Hebrews or Jewish people at this point?

Tyrion more than 1 year ago