"Great Catch of Fish," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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Exodus 32:1-14 Commentary
by Dennis Olson
In the prelude to the story of the Golden Calf, Moses has led the Israelites out of their slavery in Egypt through the wilderness to Mount Sinai, "the mountain of God" (Exodus 24:13).
There the LORD made a covenant of promises and obligations, including the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17).
The first and most important commands prohibited the worship of others gods and the making of idols of any kind (20:1-5; see also 20:23; 23:13). The Israelites agreed three times to obey these commands (19:8; 24:3, 7). The LORD then gave detailed instructions for building the tabernacle or tent in which God's presence will dwell with the Israelites as they travel on to the promised land of Canaan (25:1-31:17). As readers, we expect that the next step for the Israelites is to begin building the tabernacle which will be the mobile home of God's glorious presence among them (29:46).
Make Gods for Us!
Suddenly and unexpectedly, these positive expectations of obedience and tabernacle-building are shattered. The Israelites make a golden calf at the foot of Mount Sinai and bow down and worship the idol. They break the most important covenant obligation commandment against worshipping ...
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Summer 2020 Readings
2020-21 Readings (Year 3)
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
Narrative Lectionary 048: Golden Calf
October 07, 2012
Join Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Kathryn Schifferdecker, and Craig Koester for "I Love to Tell the Story," a weekly conversation on the narrative lectionary. This week's reading is on the Golden Calf, Exodus 32:1-14.