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An idol that the Israelites made during the Exodus. While God was giving Moses the Ten Commandments and other provisions of the Mosaic law on Mount Sinai, the people whom Moses was leading to the Promised Land melted down their gold jewelry and ornaments and built a golden calf, which they began to worship. Moses came down from the mountain carrying two stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments were written; when he saw the calf, he smashed the tablets and made the people destroy the idol.
Note: By extension, a “golden calf” is any false god or anything worshiped undeservedly.
(Ex. 32:4,8; Deut. 9:16; Neh. 9:18). This was a molten image of a calf which the idolatrous Israelites formed at Sinai. This symbol was borrowed from the custom of the Egyptians. It was destroyed at the command of Moses (Ex. 32:20). (See AARON ØT0000002; MOSES.)
idol worshipped by the Hebrews during the period of the Exodus from Egypt in the 13th century BC and during the age of Jeroboam I, king of Israel, in the 10th century BC. Mentioned in Exodus 32 and I Kings 12 in the Old Testament, worship of the golden calf is seen as a supreme act of apostasy, the rejection of a faith once confessed. The figure is probably a representation of the Egyptian bull god Apis in the earlier period and of the Canaanite fertility god Baal in the latter.