The Golden Calf Bible Story and Lessons

The Golden Calf bible story was one of the many incidents that showed the Israelites’ disobedience and show of lack of faith in both God and the leadership of Moses.

This tutorial on the Story of the Golden Calf in the bible is an extension of the lesson on Moses as a Leader. Here, we shall address important questions about the Golden Calf bible story such as why Aaron and the Israelites made and worshipped the Golden Calf, who made the Golden Calf and where exactly was the Golden Calf made?

Besides, there are answers to other questions regarding what the Golden Calf represented or symbolized, the sin of the Golden Calf, how God punished the Israelites for the Golden Calf and the number of people who died for the sin of the Golden Calf.

First, I will summarise the important elements in the story of the Golden Calf. This will be followed by a more detailed account of the Golden Calf incident. Beneath that, you will have the moral lessons from the story.

We shall end it all with the most likely examination questions on the Golden Calf story in the bible.

Are you ready? Let’s do it!

Summary of the Golden Calf Bible Story

Here is a quick summary of the essential points in the Golden Calf bible story.

Who made the Golden Calf in the bible?

It was Aaron, Moses’s brother that made the Golden Calf. Aaron made the Golden Calf following the intense pressure that was brought to bear on him by the Israelites.

Why did Aaron make the Golden Calf?

Aaron made the Golden Calf in order to calm the nerves of the Israelites who put pressure on him to make for them gods to go before. To the Israelites, Moses (who had kept too long on his journey to Mount Sinai) had apparently died and God might have forgotten about them.

Where did Aaron make the Golden Calf?

Aaron made the Golden Calf idol at the foot of Mount Sinai. This was where the Israelites, who God had helped to flee from bondage in Egypt, waited for a long time for the return of Moses, their leader, from the top of Mount Sinai. Mosen had gone to Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments from God.

When did the sin of the Golden Calf Occur?

The sin of the Golden Calf as recorded in the book of Exodus in the bible occurred in the 13th century BC.

The Sovereignty of God in CRS for SHS Lesson 1

Joseph as a Leader – CRS Lesson 2

Moses as a Leader – SHS CRS Textbook Lesson 3

How long was Moses on the mountain?

Moses stayed with God on the Sinai mountain for 40 days and 40 nights.

How big was the Golden Calf?

The Golden Calf was about 4 1/2 inches long and 4 1/4 inches tall. It weighed just under one pound.

PLEASE NOTE. This information is taken from a July 1990 New York Times report concerning the findings of some archaeologists in that region.

What does the Golden Calf symbolize?

The Golden Calf was a symbol of virility, fertility and strength closely associated with the Canaanite god, El. It clearly represented the Israelites’ rejection of God and lack of faith at this stage in their history.

The obvious sin of the Golden Calf was, therefore, apostasy of the highest order. By making and worshipping the Golden Calf idol, the Israelites had chosen to reject God and worship another god.

This action was against God’s will and, for that matter, amounted to sin against God.

Why did Moses break the tablets?

Moses broke the tablets at the foot of Mount Sinai right in front of the Israelites because he was upset and thought the Israelites were unworthy of the gift he carried. Moses’s destruction of the tablets of the ten commandments was therefore a way of punishing the Israelites for their rash decision to make and worship the Golden Calf idol instead of waiting patiently for him to return from the mountain.

How many people died for the sin of the Golden Calf?

Moses ordered 3000 males to be killed with the sword for the sin of the Golden Calf.

How did God punish the Israelites for the Golden Calf?

God decreed that for making another god for themselves, the Israelites would wander in the wilderness for an extra 40 years.

Which people did not worship the Golden Calf?

Moses and the Levites refused to worship the Golden Calf.

We shall now take a closer look at the details of the Story of the Golden Calf as narrated in the book of Exodus in the bible.

The Golden Calf Story in the Bible (Exodus 32:1 – 14)

Moses went back to the mountain to collect the tablets of the words of God. He remained there for a long time.

When the people realized that Moses had kept too long coming down from Mountain Sinai, they became impatient. They presumed him dead and thought God had rejected them as a people.

Thus, the Israelites asked Aaron to make gods that would lead them. Aaron then made a calf from the gold earrings that the people gave him because they wanted a god they could see.

He told them they were their gods who brought them out of Egypt. Aaron then built an altar and proposed a feast the following day.

Early in the morning the people got up and offered burnt and peace offerings.

After the sacrifice, the people settled down to feasting and revelry which involved sexual misconduct. This was a Canaanite ritual in which the worshippers had sexual intimacy as part of the worship of their gods.

God’s Anger at Israel’s Apostasy

God became very angry with the unfaithfulness of the Israelites and promised to burn them with fire. Moses interceded on their behalf.

Moses and Joshua Returned from Mount Sinai

When Moses and Joshua descended from the mountains with the tablets of the commandments, they heard noises which Joshua thought were sounds of war.

Then Moses realized that the people were rather singing and worshipping an idol in the image of a Golden Calf.

Moses became angry because the people had forgotten so soon the commandments of God that he had given to them.

Moses’s Immediate Reaction

He consequently threw the tablet at the foot of the mountain and they broke into pieces. He then took the calf and burnt it with fire and ground it into powder. Moses then scattered it upon water and made the people of Israel drink it.

This action was to find the guilty ones in the plot since it was believed the guilty ones would become sick or die if they drank the mixture.

Also, it was a sin offering to God.

How Greed Led Gehazi to Sin

The Story of the Temptation of Jesus.

What Led to the Appointment of the Seven Deacons

Joshua’s Sending of the Two Spies

Mission of the Twelve Spies Sent by Moses

The following day, Moses reproached the Israelites for their apostasy and promised to make atonement for them before God.

Moses honoured this promise by offering his own life as an offering. But God refused to accept Moses’s offer. Instead, God held each Israelite accountable for their sins.

Significance of the Story of the Golden Calf

  • The action of the Israelites violated the Ten Commandments.
  • It also shows Israel’s lack of faith in God.
  • Moses’s role as a mediator between God and Israel is highlighted.
  • The Golden Calf episode marked the beginning of the Priestly family. The Levites who were exonerated were made priests.

Moral Lessons Christians Can Learn from the Story of the Golden Calf

Here are the lessons that can be learnt from the Golden Calf bible story.

  • Christians should not practice idolatry since it shows lack of faith in God.
  • Impulsive anger can lead to unnecessary destruction.
  • God cannot work with us when we elevate anyone or anything above him.
  • Even when we deserve punishment, God is willing to forgive us.
  • Like Moses, we must intercede on behalf of others through prayers.
  • God will respond in anger when we abuse his merch.
  • Poor leadership from people like Aaron can lead us into trouble.

Moses’s Leadership Qualities To Emulate

A leader must be tolerant.

Leaders need to be patient.

A leader must be tactful.

Good leaders serve the interest of their people

A leader must be prepared to face a lot of challenges.

Likely Exam Questions on the Golden Calf Story

You can now have the likely questions on the Golden Calf bible story.

  • State two factors which could contribute to the breakdown of a covenant.
  • Give an account of the preparations made by the Israelites before the Sinai covenant.
  • Narrate the story of the Golden calf. What three lessons can be learnt from this incident?
  • Outline the events that led to the destruction of the tablets of the Ten Commandments.
  • What consequences can follow the breach of a covenant?

Final Thoughts

This is the end of our Christian Religious Studies lesson on the Story of the Golden Calf in the bible. In case you haven’t yet seen the lesson on the call and commissioning of Moses, you can still have it. You can also access Lesson 1 and Lesson 2 in these CRS Textbook series for SHS students and teachers.

Did you find this information helpful? Then share it on your favourite social media platform for the benefit of others you care about. Thank you!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Get Dependable High School General Arts Textbooks

Scroll to Top