Exodus 32:25-33:6

God punishes the people

25 Moses saw that the people were running about everywhere. Aaron had not been able to control them. If their enemies could see them, they would see how foolish they were. 26 So Moses stood at the edge of the camp. He said, ‘Everyone who decides to serve the Lord must come here to me.’ Then all the Levites went to stand near Moses.

27 Then Moses said to the Levites, ‘The Lord, Israel's God, says this: Each one of you must take his sword in his hand. You must go everywhere in the camp, from this side to the other side. You must kill everyone, even your brothers, your friends and your neighbours.’ 28 The Levites obeyed Moses' command. About 3,000 Israelites died on that day.

29 Then Moses said to the Levites, ‘You have shown today that you want to serve the Lord. You have become his special servants because you have obeyed him. You have agreed to kill even your own sons and brothers. God has blessed you because of this.’

30 On the next day, Moses said to the people, ‘You have done a great sin. But now I will go back up the mountain. I will speak to the Lord. Perhaps I can do something so that the Lord will forgive your sin.’

31 So Moses returned to the Lord. He said to the Lord, ‘Please listen to me. These people have done a very great sin. They have made a gold idol to worship as their god. 32 But now I ask you to forgive them for their sin. But if you will not do that, then please remove my name from your book.’

32:32This was a book where God had written the names of his people.

33 The Lord answered Moses, ‘I will only remove the names of the people who have turned against me. 34 Now go! Lead the Israelites to the place that I have told you about. My angel will go in front of you. But on the day for punishment, I will certainly punish them for their sin.’

35 The Lord did send a bad illness to punish the people. He punished them because they had caused Aaron to make an image of a calf.

Exodus 33

1 Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘You must now leave here with the people that you brought out of Egypt. You must take them to the land that I promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I made a serious promise to them that I would give the land to their descendants. 2 I will send an angel to lead you. I will chase the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites out of the land. 3 You will go to that land where there is plenty of food and drink, enough for everyone. But I will not travel with you. You are proud people who refuse to obey me. If I go with you, I might destroy you as you travel.’

4 The Israelites heard God's strong words. His message made them very upset. They stopped wearing their jewels, to show that they were sad. 5 The Lord had said to Moses, ‘Tell the Israelites, “You are proud people who refuse to obey me. If I go with you, even for a moment, I might destroy you. Now remove your jewels. Then I will decide what I should do with you.” ’

6 So the Israelites no longer wore their jewels after they left Sinai mountain.