Israelite idolatry (Hos 8:4-8:6)

“They made kings,

But not through me.

They set up princes,

But without my knowledge.

With their silver,

With their gold,

They made idols

For their own destruction.

Your calf is rejected!

O Samaria!

My anger burns

Against them.

How long

Will they be incapable

O innocence?

It is from Israel

That an artisan made it.

It is not God.

The calf of Samaria

Shall be broken into pieces.”

Yahweh, via Hosea, was upset about the idolatry in northern Israel, Samaria. They had their own kings, who killed each other to be kings. Thus, these kings did not come from Yahweh. They set up their own officials and princes, without consulting Yahweh. Most important of all, they made idols made of silver and gold that led to their own destruction. The golden calf of Samaria was to be rejected. Yahweh was burning with anger against them, since they were incapable of being innocent. Local Israelite artisans made these idols, not God. Therefore, the Samarian calf would be broken into pieces.

Ezra tells of the disobedience of Israel in the wilderness (Neh 9:16-9:21)

“They and our ancestors acted presumptuously.

They stiffened their necks.

They did not obey your commandments.

They refused to obey.

They were not mindful of the wonders you performed among them.

They stiffened their necks.

They determined to return to their slavery in Egypt.

You are a God ready to forgive.

You are gracious and merciful.

You are slow to anger.

You abound in steadfast love.

You did not forsake them.

Even when they cast an image of a calf for themselves,

They said.

‘This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt.’

They had committed great blasphemies.

You in your great mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness.

The pillar of cloud that led them in the way did not leave them day.

The pillar of fire gave them light on the way by which they should go.

You gave your good Spirit to instruct them.

You did not withhold your manna from their mouths.

You gave them water for their thirst.

Forty years you sustained them in the wilderness.

They lacked nothing.

Their clothes did not wear out.

Their feet did not swell.”

Despite the great love of God, the Israelites would not obey him. They actually wanted to return to Egypt. However, God was forgiving, merciful, gracious, and slow to anger. He was steadfast in his love so that he did not forsake our ancestors. Even though they were blasphemous and created a golden calf, in his mercy he did not forsake our ancestors. He sent a pillar of cloud and fire to guide them. He gave his Spirit to instruct them. He gave them manna and water to sustain them in the wilderness. They lacked nothing as their clothes did not wear out nor their feet swell.


Moses breaks the stone tablets of the law (Ex 32:15-32:24)

“Then Moses turned and went down from the mountain, carrying the two tablets of the covenant in his hands, tablets that were written on both sides, written on the front and the back.  The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved upon the tablets.  When Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, ‘There is a noise of war in the camp.’  But Moses said, ‘It is not the sound made by victors, or the sound made by losers, it is the sound of revelers that I hear.’  As soon as he came near the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses’ anger burned hot.  He threw the tables from his hand and broke them at the foot of the mountain.  He took the calf that they had made, burned it with fire, ground it to powder, scattered it on the water, and made the Israelites drink it.”

Moses descended the mountain, carrying the two stone tablets, written on both sides.  The tablets were the writings of God.  Joshua heard the noise in the camp.  Moses replied that is not the sound of winners or losers, but of revelers.  When Moses saw the calf and the dancing, he got angry and threw the tables on the ground and broke them at the foot of the mountain.  He took the calf and burned it and ground into powder.  He then scattered the powder on the water and made the Israelites drink it.   Just after calming Yahweh, Moses got angry.

“Moses said to Aaron, ‘What did this people do to you that you have brought a great sin upon them?’  Aaron said, ‘Do not let the anger of my lord burn hot.  You know the people.  They are bent on evil.’  They said to me, ‘Make us gods, who shall go before us.  As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’  So I said to them, ‘Whoever has gold take it off.’  So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.’”

Moses was angry with Aaron, since Aaron and his sons were to play such a big role in future worship services.  Aaron blamed the people because they were bent on evil. Then Aaron explained how he made the golden calf.  Moses acted like Yahweh had acted to him and got angry with Aaron.