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Exodus 32: The Golden Calf
Preview Talk: 
$ 5.50
Qorbono Bible Study; Exodus and Numbers 8

Picture God standing next to you while you are carving a golden calf for a worship ceremony you brought with you from Egypt. How many of the 10 commandments you would be violating? All of them.

The Golden Calf incident happens in chapter 32. We study it after the five incidents and before the 10 commandments for two reasons: The Golden Calf incident is one act of rebellion -- the most serious perhaps -- in an important list of events. We saw several in the previous talk and we will see more later in Exodus and then in Numbers. It is important to understand that the Golden Calf is not an isolated incident; it is symptomatic of a people who struggles with the notion of holiness. It would be a mistake, and a grave one at that, to look down on the people of Israel because of their failings to obey the law of holiness. Scripture is written for our instruction, St. Paul reminds us, therefore what we see the Israelites do, we are tempted to do as well.

The second reason why we are studying the event of the Golden Calf at this juncture is to help us focus on the tabernacle, its construction and significance with no interruption. Clearly, the Golden Calf happens while God is giving Moses instructions on the building of the Tabernacle and before the construction began and a common misconception might lead one to equate Exodus with the 10 plagues, the crossing of the sea, the 10 commandments and the Golden Calf. In fact one third of the book is devoted to the tabernacle, highlighting the importance of liturgy in Exodus.

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