February 11 – The Golden Calf, Trial of Jesus, and Hebrew Poetry

February 11
Exodus 32:1-33:23
Matthew 26:69-27:14
Psalm 33:1-11
Proverbs 8:33-36

Exodus 32:1 – We’re just a few days removed from:

  • God prohibiting Moses from making graven images (Exodus 20:4)
  • Moses telling this to Aaron and the people (Exodus 24:3)
  • the people pledging to obey (Exodus 24:3)
  • Moses writing it down (Exodus 24:4)
  • Moses reading it aloud (Exodus 24:7)
  • and the people publicly claiming again to obey (Exodus 24:7)
  • under a blood covenant (Exodus 24:8).
  • Aaron was given the special privilege of being invited (Exodus 24:1)
  • of coming up to the LORD (Exodus 24:9)
  • and seeing the LORD in His glory (Exodus 24:10)
  • and eating with the LORD (Exodus 24:11)
  • and then being delegated responsibility over the elders of Israel (Exodus 24:14)
  • Not only were the people and Aaron aware of the law, and not only was Aaron incredibly privileged by the LORD, but the LORD used Aaron’s name and preserved it in the Bible 40 times in the next 5 chapters. (Exodus 27:21-31:10).

In spite of this close relationship between Aaron and the LORD, Aaron leads the people in breaking the law – specifically the Second Commandment that was still fresh in their hearing – and personally making (32:4) a molten calf, declaring them to be the gods of Israel.

Ten Commandments Dedication – Picture courtesy Fraternal Order of Eagles
Go to 1 minute and 2 seconds

Exodus 32:22-24 – In the 1956 film The Ten Commandments, Aaron is portrayed squeamishly saying “The people made me do it.” (While the movie inspired the Fraternal Order of Eagles to present a monument of the Ten Commandments to the City of Milwaukee that was placed at the Zeidler Municipal Building in 1957, and dedicated with Yul Brynner, who played Ramses in the movie, the movie has several Biblical inaccuracies as well as the fact that ABR identifies the Pharaoh of the Exodus as Amenhotep II, not Ramses. That’s why we should go to our Bibles and not to Hollywood for the truth!)

Exodus 32:28 – A casual reader would wonder why God would be so angry to kill 3,000 people. But having looked at the context we saw earlier, the people had entered a blood covenant with the LORD to obey His command against idolatry.

Exodus 32:32 – compare to Paul in Romans 9:3. Moses and Paul loved their people; they were willing to go to hell for their people.

Matthew 27:1 – We have a formal trial of Jesus (in contrast to the illegal night examination of Jesus) when it was morning. They found Him guilty and delivered Him to Pilate for sentencing (v.2). However, under the Mishna this was illegal – capital cases cannot be done at night, nor finish on the same day for conviction.

Psalm 33 – Notice the use of the synonymous parallelism of Hebrew poetry: in verse 1 the first phrase starts with Rejoice, while the second phrase uses the similar word Praise. The first phrase ends with righteous, the second phrase uses the synonym upright. Throughout this Psalm we see the thought of the first phrase repeated in different words in the second phrase.

Proverbs 8:35, 36 – Unlike the synonymous parallelism of Psalm 33 – we see the use of contrasts. Find Wisdom, Find Life. Hate Wisdom, Love Death.

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