Golden calf

Pissing Powdered Golden Calf (Exodus 32:20)

We know the outline of the story: YHWH brought the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt, across the Red(Reed) Sea, away from Pharaoh and toward the Promised Land. Moses goes up the mountain to receive the Torah from YHWH, but the people freak out, think he might be dead, and convince Aaron to make them the golden calf.

YHWH tells Moses that the people are acting the fool. Moses travels back down the mountain, freaks out, breaks the Ten Commandments, and begins his punishment of the people, which ends in the death of those who ultimately say, "screw YHWH, we want our calf back!" (And good riddance to them, am I right? *cough*)

But there is one scene in the story that often is missed, at least we didn't notice it for a long time.

"When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. And he took the calf the people had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it." (Exodus 32:19-20)

He made them drink the golden calf.

How pissed off is Moses right now? And how clever? Think about it, Moses said, in essence:

"You want to want a bull to worship? A being created like we are? A copy of an animal we slaughter and eat? Really? That's what you want? That's how you roll? Fine. Then let's treat this like a real bovine: we're going to cook it and you're going to consume it!"

Lesson: Moses has the type of creativity you don't want to get on the wrong side of.

But what do we know: we made this successfully funded game (THANKS!) and you probably think we're going to Hell.

The Adoration of the Golden Calf - Nicolas Poussin

The Adoration of the Golden Calf - Nicolas Poussin


*Note: Know that we are aware of the scholarship questioning why Moses was upset with the Hebrews over the golden calf in the first place: the discussions of Canaanite (El) and Egyptian use of the bull as divinity, the bovine as YHWH's footstool, Aaron seeming to identify the golden calf with YHWH (Ex 32:4-5) [etc.], but that is a Card Talk for another time.