It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. — Abraham Lincoln

Story of the Bible Told for Young and Old - Jesse Hurlbut

How Aaron Made a Golden Calf, and What Became of It

While Moses was in the mountain alone with God, a strange and wicked thing was done in the camp on the plain. At first the people were alarmed when they saw the mountain smoking, and heard the thunder. But soon they grew accustomed to it, and when day after day passed, and Moses did not come down, at last they said to Aaron:

"Come now, make us a god that we may worship, and that we may have to lead us. As for Moses, the man who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him."

Aaron was not a man of strong will, as Moses was. When his brother Moses was not by his side Aaron was weak, and ready to yield to the wishes of the people. Aaron said:

"If you must have a god that you can look at; then break off the gold earrings that are in your ears, and in the ears of your wives and children, and bring them to me."

Then the people brought their gold to Aaron; and Aaron melted the gold rings into one mass, and shaped it with a graving tool into the form of a calf, and this he brought out and stood up before the people. They they all cried out:

"This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt."

And Aaron built an altar before the image, and he said to all the people, "To-morrow shall be a feast to the Lord."

Perhaps Aaron thought that if the people could have before them an image that they could see, they might still be kept to the worship of the Lord God. But in this he was greatly mistaken. The people came to the feast, and offered sacrifices; and then they began to dance around the altar, and to do wicked deeds together, as they had seen the people of Egypt doing before their idols. And all this time the mountain was smoking and flashing with fire, almost over their heads!

And the Lord, up in the mountain, spoke to Moses, and said:

Hasten, and get down to the camp; for your people have done very wickedly. They have made for themselves an idol, and they are worshipping it now. I am angry with them, and am ready to destroy them all, and to make of your children a great nation."

And Moses pleaded with the Lord for Israel, and God did not destroy the people; but he sent Moses down to them, holding in his hands the two stone tables on which God had written the Ten Commandments. As he went down the mountain Joshua joined him, and said to him:

"I can hear noise of war in the camp. It is not the sound of men who are shouting for victory, nor is it the cry of those who are beaten in battle; it is the voice of singing that I hear."

And in a moment more, as they stood where they could look down upon the camp, there was standing the golden calf, and around it were the people making offerings, and feasting, and dancing and singing.

Golden Calf

And Moses was so angry when he saw all the wickedness and shame of his people, that he threw down the two tables out of his hands, and broke them in pieces upon the rocks. What was the use of keeping the tables of stone, he may have thought, while the people were breaking the laws written upon them?

Moses came straight into the midst of the throng, and at once all the dancing and merry-making stopped. He tore down the golden calf, and broke it in pieces, and burned it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and threw it into the water; and he made the people drink the water filled with its dust. He meant to teach the people that they would suffer punishment like bitter water, for their wicked deed.

Then Moses turned to Aaron:

"What led you to such an act as this?" said Moses. "Why did you let the people persuade you to make them an image for worship?"

And Aaron said, "Do not be angry with me; you know how the hearts of this people are set to do evil. They came to me and said, 'make us a god,' and I said to them, 'give me whatever gold you have.' So they gave it to me, and I threw the gold into the fire, and this calf came out!"

Then Moses stood at the entrance to the camp, and called out:

"Whoever is on the Lord's side, let him come and stand by me!" Then one whole tribe out of the twelve tribes of Israel, the tribe of Levi, all sprung from Levi, one of Jacob's sons, came and stood beside Moses. And Moses said to them:

"Draw your swords, and go through the camp, and kill every one whom you find bowing down to the idol. Spare no one. Slay your friends and your neighbors, if they are worshipping the image."

And on that day three thousand of the worshippers of the idol were slain by the sons of Levi.

Then Moses said to the people, "You have sinned a great sin; but I will go to the Lord, and I will make an offering to him, and will ask him to forgive your sin."

And Moses went before the Lord, and prayed for the people, and said:

"Oh Lord, this people have sinned a great sin. Yet, now, forgive their sin, if thou art willing. And if thou wilt not forgive their sin, then let me suffer with them, for they are my people."

And the Lord forgave the sin of the people, and took them once again for his own, and promised to go with them, and to lead them into the land which he had promised to their fathers.

And God said to Moses, "Cut out two tables of stone, like those which I gave to you, and which you broke; and bring them up to me in the mountain, and I will write on them again the words of the law."

So Moses went up a second time into the holy mount; and there God talked with him again. Moses stayed forty days on this second meeting with God, as he had stayed in the mountain forty days before. And all this time, while God was talking with Moses, the people waited in the camp; and they did not again set up any idol for worship.

Once more Moses came down the mountain, bringing the two stone tables, upon which God had written the words of his law, the Ten Commandments. And Moses had been so close to God's glory, and had been so long in the blaze of God's light, that when he came into the camp of Israel, his face was shining, though he did not know it. The people could not look on Moses' face, it was so dazzling. And Moses found that when he talked with the people, it was needful for him to wear a vail over his face. When Moses went to talk with God, he took off the vail; but while he spoke with the people, he kept his face covered, for it shone as the sun.

Ten Commandments


Front Matter

The Story of a Beautiful Garden
The First Baby in the World and His Brother
The Great Ship That Saved Eight People
The Tower That Was Never Finished
The Story of a Long Journey
How Abram's Choice Brought Blessing
The Angel by the Well
The Rain of Fire That Fell on a City
The Boy Who Became an Archer
How an Angel's Voice Saved a Boy's Life
The Story of a Journey after a Wife
How Jacob Stole His Brother's Blessing
Jacob's Wonderful Dream
A Midnight Wrestling Match
The Rich Man's Son Who Was Sold as a Slave
From the Prison to the Palace
How Joseph's Dream Came True
A Lost Brother Found
From the Land of Famine to the Land of Plenty
The Beautiful Baby Who Was Found in a River
The Voice from the Burning Bush
The River That Ran Blood
The Night When a Nation Was Born
How the Sea Became Dry Land and the Sky Rained Bre
The Mountain That Smoked and Words That Were Spoke
How Aaron Made a Golden Calf and What Became of It
The Tent Where God Lived Among His People
How They Worshipped God in the Tabernacle
What Strong Drink Brought to Aaron's Sons
The Scapegoat in the Wilderness
The Cluster of Grapes from the Land of Canaan
How the Long Journey of the Israelites Came to an
What a Wise Man Learned from an Ass
How Moses Looked upon the Promised Land
The Story of Job
The Story of a Scarlet Cord
How the River Jordan Became Dry
The Story of a Wedge of Gold
How Joshua Conquered the Land of Canaan
The Old Man Who Fought Against the Giants
The Avenger of Blook and the Cities of Refuge
The Story of an Altar Beside the River
The Presnt That Ehud Brought to King Eglon
How a Woman Won a Great Victory
Gideon and His Brave Three Hundred
Jephthah's Rash Promise and What Came from It
The Strong Man: How He Lived and How He Died
The Idol Temple at Dan and Its Priest
How Ruth Gleaned in the Field of Boaz
The Little Boy with a Linen Coat
How the Idol Fell Down Before the Ark
The Last of the Judges
The Tall Man Who Was Chosen King
How Saul Saved the Eyes of the Men of Jabesh
The Brave Young Prince
Saul's Great Sin and His Great Loss
The Shepherd Boy of Bethlehem
The Shepherd Boy's Fight with the Giant
The Little Boy Looking for the Arrows
Where David Found the Giant's Sword
How David Spared Saul's Life
The Last Days of King Saul
The Shepherd Boy Becomes a King
The Sound in the Treetops
The Cripple at the King's Table
The Prophet's Story of the Little Lamb
David's Handsome Son and How He Stole the Kingdom
Absalom in the Wood; David on the Throne
The Angel with the Drawn Sword on Mount Moriah
Solomon on This Father's Throne
The Wise Young King
The House of God on Mount Moriah
The Last Days of Solomon's Reign
The Breaking Up of a Great Kingdom
The King Who Led Israel to Sin
The Prophet Who Raised a Boy to Life
The Prayer That Was Answered in Fire
The Voice That Spoke to Elijah in the Mount
The Wounded Prophet and His Story
What Ahab Paid for His Vineyard
The Arrow That Killed a King
Elijah's Chariot of Fire
A Spring Sweetened by Salt
The Pot of Oil and the Pot of Poison
The Little Boy at Shunem
How a Little Girl Helped to Cure a Leper
The Chariots of Fire around Elisha
What the Lepers Found in the Camp
Jehu, the Furious Driver of His Chariot
Elisha and the Bow; Jonah and Nineveh
How the Ten Tribes Were Lost
The First Four Kings of Judah
The Little Boy Who Was Crowned King
Three Kings and a Great Prophet
The Good King Hezekiah
The Lost Book Found in the Temple
The Last Four Kings of Judah and the Weeping Proph
What Ezekiel Saw in the Valley
The Jewish Captives in the Court of the King
The Golden Image and the Fiery Furnace
The Tree That Was Cut Down and Grew Again
The Writing upon the Wall
Daniel in the Den of Lions
The Story of a Joyous Journey
The New Temple on Mount Moriah
The Beautiful Queen of Persia
The Scribe Who Wrote the Old Testament
The Nobleman Who Built the Wall of Jerusalem
Ezra's Great Bible Class in Jerusalem
The Angel by the Altar
The Manger of Bethlehem
The Star and the Wise Men
The Boy in his Father's House
The Prophet in the Wilderness
Jesus in the Desert, and beside the River
The Water Jars at the Wedding Feast
The Stranger at the Well
The Story of a Boy in Capernaum and a Riot
A Net Full of Fishes
The Leper and the Man Let Down through the Roof
The Cripple at the Pool and the Withered Hand
The Twelve Disciples and the Sermon on the Mount
The Captain's Servant, the Widow's Son, and a Sinn
Some Stories Jesus Told by the Sea
"Peace, Be Still"
The Little Girl Who Was Raised to Life
A Dancing Girl and What Was Given Her
The Feast beside the Sea and What Followed It
The Answer to a Mother's Prayer
The Glory of Jesus on the Mountain
The Little Child in the Arms of Jesus
At the Feast of Tabernacles
The Man with Clay on His Face
The Good Shepherd and the Good Samaritan
Lazarus Raised to Life
Some Parables in Perea
The Poor Rich Man and the Rich Poor Man
Jesus at Jericho
Palm Sunday
The Last Vistis of Jesus to the Temple
The Parables on the Mount of Olives
The Last Supper
The Olive Orchard and the High Priests Hall
The Crown of Thorns
The Darkest Day of All the World
The Brightest Day of All the World
The Stranger on the Shore
The Church of the First Days
The Man at the Beautiful Gate
The Right Way to Give, and the Wrong Way
Stephen with the Shining Face
The Man Reading in the Chariot
The Voice That Spoke to Saul
What Peter Saw by the Sea
How the Iron Gate Was Opened
The Earliest Missionaries
The Song in the Prison
Paul's Speech on the Hill
Paul at Corinth
Paul at Ephesus
Paul's Last Journey to Jerusalem
The Speech on the Stairs
Two Years in Prison
The Story That Paul Told to the King
Paul in the Storm
How Paul Came to Rome and How He Lived There
The Throne of God
The City of God