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CHAPTER 32 Feb.20 
The Israelites Make a Golden Calf
When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron, and said to him, Come, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we don’t know what has become of him. 2Aaron said to them, Take off the golden rings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them to me. 3All the people took off the golden rings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. 4He received what they handed him, and fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made it a molten calf; and they said, These are your gods, Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt. 5When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation, and said, Tomorrow shall be a feast to Yahweh. 6They 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. 7Yahweh spoke to Moses, Go, get down; for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves! 8They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it, and have sacrificed to it, and said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt’. 
Moses Persuades God Not to Destroy Israel
9Yahweh said to Moses, I have seen these people, and behold, they are a stiff-necked people. 10Now therefore leave Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them, and that I may consume them; and I will make of you a great nation. 11Moses begged Yahweh his God, and said, Yahweh, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, that you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, ‘He brought them forth for evil, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the surface of the earth?’ Turn from Your fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against Your people. 13Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your seed as the stars of the sky, and all this land that I have spoken of I will give to your seed, and they shall inherit it forever’. 14Yahweh changed His mind of the evil which He said He would do to His people. 15Moses turned, and went down from the mountain, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand; tablets that were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other they were written. 16The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tables. 17When Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, There is the noise of war in the camp.
Moses Descends from the Mountain and Judges Israel
18He said, It isn’t the voice of those who shout for victory, neither is it the voice of those who cry for being overcome; but the noise of those who sing that I hear. 19It happened, as soon as he came near to the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing; and Moses’ anger grew hot, and he threw the tablets out of his hands, and broke them beneath the mountain. 20He took the calf which they had made, and burnt it with fire, ground it to powder, and scattered it on the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it. 21Moses said to Aaron, What did these people do to you, that you have brought a great sin on them? 22Aaron said, Don’t let the anger of my lord grow hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil. 23For they said to me, ‘Make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we don’t know what has become of him’. 24I said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them take it off;’ so they gave it to me; and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf. 25When Moses saw that the people were naked, (for Aaron had made them naked, for a shame among their enemies), 26then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Whoever is on Yahweh’s side, come to me! All the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him. 27He said to them, Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, ‘Every man put his sword on his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate throughout the camp, and every man kill his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour’. 28The sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men. 29Moses said, Consecrate yourselves today to Yahweh, yes, every man against his son, and against his brother; that He may bestow on you a blessing this day. 
Moses Intercedes with God
30It happened on the next day, that Moses said to the people, You have sinned a great sin. Now I will go up to Yahweh. Perhaps I shall make atonement for your sin. 31Moses returned to Yahweh, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made themselves gods of gold. 32Yet now, if You will, forgive their sin—and if not, please blot me out of Your book which You have written. 33Yahweh said to Moses, Whoever has sinned against Me, him will I blot out of My book. 34Now go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you. Behold, My angel shall go before you. Nevertheless in the day when I punish, I will punish them for their sin. 35Yahweh struck the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.


32:32 Moses loved the people so intensely, despite their rebellion. He was prepared to give his place in the Kingdom so that they might enter; he prayed God for 40 days to accept his offer. He knew that atonement could only be by sacrifice of blood (Lev. 17:11; Heb. 9:22; cp. Num. 25:8,13); and yet he climbed the Mount with the intent of making atonement himself for Israel's sin (:30); he intended to give his life for them. And he didn't make such a promise in hot blood, as some men might. He made the statement, and then made the long climb to the top of the mount. And during that climb, it seems he came to an even higher spiritual level; he was prepared not only to offer his physical life, but also his place in the Kingdom; God’s “book” is His book of life, of those who will ultimately be saved (Ex. 32:32 cp. Ez. 13:9; Dan. 12:2; Lk. 10:20; Phil. 4:3; Rev. 3:5; 20:12). The love of Moses for Israel typifies the love of Christ towards us.  At the end of his life he recounts how God had threatened to destroy the people (Dt. 9:15), but he doesn’t record his 40 days of pleading with the Father, and how he turned down the offer of having himself made into a great nation. In this we see his humility.  Note how Moses argues with God against God’s stated intention, and persuades God otherwise. He is open to dialogue with us His people; hence the intensity we can experience in prayer, and the element of wrestling there is in it. To be blotted out of the book may have been understood by Moses as asking for him to be excluded from an inheritance in the promised land; for later, a ‘book’ was written describing the various portions (Josh. 18:9). The connection is made explicit in Ez. 13:9- to be blotted out of the book meant to not enter the land. God had just spoken of ‘blotting out’ Israel from before Him (Dt. 9:14), and making a nation of Moses; but now Moses is asking to share in their condemnation rather than experience salvation without them. This was the extent of his devotion. In Dt. 9:18 he says that his prayer of Ex. 32:32 was heard- in that he was not going to enter the land, but they would. Hence his urging of them to go ahead and enter the land- to experience what his self-sacrifice had enabled. In this we see the economy of God, and how He works even through sin. On account of Moses’ temporary rashness of speech, he was excluded; Moses didn't enter the land. And yet by this, his prayer was heard. But ultimately he did what he intended- he gave his place in the Kingdom / land so that they might enter [although of course he will be in the future Kingdom]. This is why Moses stresses at the end of his life that he wouldn’t enter the land for Israel’s sake (Dt. 1:37; 3:26; 4:21; Ps. 106:32). He saw that his sin had been worked through, and the essential reason for him not entering was because of the offer he had made. In all this, Moses was typifying the death of Jesus. Is. 53:8 describes His cross as being “cut off [Heb. ‘excluded’] from the land of the living” (s.w. ‘the congregation’- of Israel), for the transgression of His people. The Lord died the death of a sinner, He chose like Moses to suffer affliction with us, that we might be saved. 
32:33 God didn’t accept Moses’ offer to die as a substitute for Israel, for each must be judged for their own sins. But He did accept Moses as a representative of Israel and accepted his mediation for their salvation on this basis; just as He accepted the work of Christ on the same basis. Paul learnt the lesson when he says that he could wish himself condemned and Israel saved (Rom. 9:1-3); but he recognized God didn’t accept Moses’ offer of dying for them as a substitute.