But in this killing, God forces 3000 friends and family members to kill each other. That seems kind of nasty even for a very nasty god.
Here are the gory details.
Moses was up on Mount Sinai getting the ten commandments from God. Since he'd been gone so long (he'd been up there for 40 days) the people began to wonder if he'd ever come back, so they asked Aaron to make some other gods for them. Aaron thought that was a pretty good idea, so he:
... said to them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me ... And ... he had made it a molten calf. Exodus 32:2-4You might think that a bunch of runaway slaves wouldn't have much gold. But God told them to steal whatever jewelry they could find from the Egyptians. (This was before God gave them the ten commandments, so it was OK to do back then.)
The children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment. And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians. Exodus 12:35-36I guess God wanted them to have enough gold to make a golden calf. It was all a part of his plan.
So the people gave Aaron their stolen gold and Aaron made a golden calf.
Now making a golden calf out of a bunch of ear rings and a campfire might seem hard to you. But Aaron just threw them all onto a fire and out came a golden calf. Really.
And I [Aaron] said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf. Exodus 32:24It was a miracle. God made the golden calf when Aaron threw the jewelry on the fire. It was all part of his plan.
In any case, when Moses came down from the mountain, he saw the people dancing naked ("for Aaron had made them naked") around the golden calf. So he smashed the stone tablets, burned the golden calf, ground it into a powder, sprinkled it on water, and then forced everyone (all 3 million of them) to drink it.
But Moses was just getting started. Here's what he said next:
Who is on the Lord's side? .... Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour ... and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men. Exodus 32:26-28So those on God's side went out and killed 3000 of their friends, neighbors, and family members. (A question for believers: Are you on the Lord's side? Are you willing to kill your family, friends, and neighbors for God?)
But God still wasn't satisfied. When he first found out about the golden calf and the naked dancing he wanted to kill everyone, but Moses talked him out of it. Imagine that. Moses is a nicer guy than God. (Read Numbers 31:14-18- to see the implication here.)
The LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made. Exodus 32:25And I have another killing to add to God's list.
This killing is highlighted in the Poverty and Justice Bible.
The Lord God of Israel commands you to strap on your swords and go through the camp killing your relatives, friends, and neighbours.I guess it shows God's sense of justice.
God's next killing: The Lord plagued the people because of the calf that Aaron made