Exodus 32

When the people saw that Musa delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Harun, and said to him, Come, make us gods that will go before us, for as for this Musa, who led us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.[1]

2Harun 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 Harun. 4He received what they handed him, and fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made it a cast metal calf; and they said, These are your gods, Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt.

5When Harun saw this, he built an altar before it; and Harun made a proclamation, and said, Tomorrow shall be a feast to Allah.

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.[2]

7Allah spoke to Musa, Go, get down; for your people, who 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 cast metal 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.‘”

9Allah said to Musa, 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.

11Musa begged Allah his God, and said, Allah, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, that you have brought forth 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 relent from this harm against your people. 13Remember Ibrahim, Ishaq, 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.‘”

14Allah relented from the harm which he said he would do to his people.

15Musa 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 Yusha heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Musa, There is the noise of war in the camp.

18He said, It is not 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 Musa’s 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 burned it with fire, ground it to powder, and scattered it on the water, and made Bani-Israel drink of it.

21Musa said to Harun, What did these people do to you, that you have brought a great sin on them?

22Harun said, Do not 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 that will go before us, for as for this Musa, who led us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ 24I said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them take it off:’ so they gave it me; and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.

25When Musa saw that the people had broken loose, (for Harun had let them loose for a derision among their enemies,) 26then Musa stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Whoever is on Allah’s side, come to me!

All the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him. 27He said to them, Thus says Allah, 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 Musa: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men. 29Musa said, Consecrate yourselves today to Allah, yes, every man against his son, and against his brother; that he may bestow on you a blessing this day.

30It happened on the next day, that Musa said to the people, You have sinned a great sin. Now I will go up to Allah. Perhaps I shall make atonement for your sin.

31Musa returned to Allah, 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.

33Allah said to Musa, 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. 35Allah struck the people, because they made the calf, which Harun made.


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[1] 32:1 Quoted in the Injil, Acts 7:40.

[2] 32:6 Quoted in the Injil, 1 Corinthians 10:7.