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Golden Calf

by Micha F. Lindemans
The worship of a golden calf was an ancient Egyptian custom which persisted in Jewish habits. According to the biblical account in Exodus, it was an idol cast at the foot of Mount Sinai from the jewellery of the Israelites by Aaron, brother of Moses, while Moses was on the mount. Later, when Moses accused him of sinning, Aaron explained that he had made the calf to satisfy the people's desire for visible objects to worship (Exodus 32:21-24). In fury, Moses ordered the idol to be destroyed, burnt and ground into powder. The powder was scattered into water which the Israelites were compelled to drink.

Jeroboam I later set up similar objects of worship at the ancient towns of Bethel and Dan, according to 1 Kings 12:28-29.


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