1. Then the people, seeing that Moses made a delay in descending from the mountain, gathered together against Aaron, and said: “Rise up, make us gods, who may go before us. But as for this man Moses, who led us away from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has befallen him.”
2. And Aaron said to them, “Take the golden earrings from the ears of your wives, and your sons and daughters, and bring them to me.”
3. And the people did what he had commanded, carrying the earrings to Aaron.
4. And when he had received them, he formed these by the work of a casting furnace, and he made from these a molten calf. And they said: “These are your gods, O Israel, who led you away from the land of Egypt.”
5. And when Aaron had seen it, he built an altar before it, and he cried out with a voice of proclamation, saying, “Tomorrow is the solemnity of the Lord.”
6. And rising up in the morning, they offered holocausts, and peace victims, and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and they rose up to play.
7. Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Go, descend. Your people, whom you led away from the land of Egypt, have sinned.
8. They have quickly withdrawn from the way which you revealed to them. And they have made for themselves a molten calf, and they have worshiped it. And immolating victims to it, they have said: ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who led you away from the land of Egypt.’ ”
9. And again, the Lord said to Moses: “I discern that this people is stiff-necked.
10. Release me, so that my fury may be enraged against them, and I may destroy them, and then I will make of you a great nation.”
11. Then Moses prayed to the Lord his God, saying: “Why, O Lord, is your fury enraged against your people, whom you led away from the land of Egypt, with great strength and with a mighty hand?
12. I beg you, let not the Egyptians say, ‘He cleverly led them away, so that he could put them to death in the mountains and destroy them from the earth.’ Let your anger be quieted and appeased concerning the wickedness of your people.
13. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your very self, saying: ‘I will multiply your offspring like the stars of heaven. And this entire land, about which I have spoken, I will give to your offspring. And you shall possess it forever.’ ”
14. And the Lord was appeased from doing the evil which he had spoken against his people.
15. And Moses returned from the mountain, carrying the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, written on both sides,
16. and accomplished by the work of God. Also, the writing of God was engraved on the tablets.
17. Then Joshua, hearing the tumult of the people shouting, said to Moses: “The outcry of battle is heard in the camp.”
18. But he responded: “It is not the clamor of men being exhorted to battle, nor the shout of men being compelled to flee. But I hear the voice of singing.”
19. And when he had approached to the camp, he saw the calf and the dances. And being very angry, he threw down the tablets from his hand, and he broke them at the base of the mountain.
20. And seizing the calf, which they had made, he burnt it and crushed it, even to dust, which he scattered into water. And he gave from it to the sons of Israel to drink.
21. And he said to Aaron, “What has this people done to you, so that you would bring upon them the greatest sin?”
22. And he answered him: “Let not my lord be indignant. For you know this people, that they are prone to evil.
23. They said to me: ‘Make gods for us, who may go before us. For this Moses, who led us away from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has befallen him.’
24. And I said to them, ‘Which of you has gold?’ And they took it and gave it to me. And I threw it into the fire, and this calf came out.”
25. Therefore, Moses, seeing that the people were naked (for Aaron had stripped them because of the disgrace of their sordidness, and he had set them naked among their enemies),
26. and standing at the gate of the camp, said: “If anyone is for the Lord, let him join with me.” And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him.
27. And he said to them: “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: Let a man place his sword at his thigh. Go forth, and then return, from gate to gate, through the midst of the camp, and let each one kill his brother, and friend, and neighbor.”
28. And the sons of Levi did according to the words of Moses, and there fell on that day about twenty-three thousand men.
29. And Moses said: “On this day, you have consecrated your hands to the Lord, each one in his son and in his brother, so that a blessing may be given to you.”
30. Then, when the next day arrived, Moses spoke to the people: “You have sinned the greatest sin. I will ascend to the Lord. Perhaps, in some way, I might be able to entreat him for your wickedness.”
31. And returning to the Lord, he said: “I beg you, this people has sinned the greatest sin, and they have made for themselves gods of gold. Either release them from this offense,
32. or, if you do not, then delete me from the book that you have written.”
33. And the Lord answered him: “Whoever has sinned against me, him I will delete from my book.
34. But as for you, go and lead this people where I have told you. My angel will go before you. Then, on the day of retribution, I will also visit this sin of theirs.”
35. Therefore, the Lord struck the people for the guilt of the calf, which Aaron had made.