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Why didn't Moses punish Aaron for the Golden Calf?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Rainbow Mage, Oct 17, 2010.

  1. Rainbow Mage

    Rainbow Mage Dharma Learner

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    11,005
    This is something that's always bothered me about the golden calf story in Exodus. The story goes like this.

    Exo 32:1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. 2 And Aaron said unto 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. 3 And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. 4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 5 And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD.

    We can see clearly that Aaron is responsible for most of this ordeal. He fashioned the calf and built the altar to it, and proclaimed a feast day for it. Yet Moses does not punish Aaron, instead he punishes everyone else. Why didn't Moses punish Aaron? Favortism? What do you think?

     
  2. Ilisrum

    Ilisrum New Member

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    It likely has to do with the way the editor(s) spliced the traditions together.
     
  3. Smoke

    Smoke Done here.

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    The story of the Golden Calf is mostly Jahwist, with some Elohist and Deuteronomist interpolations. That is, there's some sort of tradition about the Golden Calf in both the north and the south, but it's only harshly condemned in the southern sources.

    I don't think it's likely that the story happened as presented in Exodus. I think the northern Israelites had a tradition of representing God with a golden bull or calf, and they had a legend that the tradition went back to Aaron. The southern Judahites had the same legend, but in their version God and Moses condemned the veneration of the golden calf.

    The books of Kings tell us that the northern Israelites didn't worship at Jerusalem but at Dan and Bethel, where they had golden calves set up. The Judahites were for centralizing worship at their own temple in Jerusalem, and -- at least from the time of Hezekiah -- had a strong iconoclastic streak.

    So basically, I think what the story is telling us is to cast down our graven images and worship at the Jerusalem Temple like God intended.

    If Moses and Aaron really existed, it's not likely that either one objected to graven images. Aaron was credited as the maker of a golden calf, and Moses as the maker of the brazen serpent, Nehushtan, that was venerated at Jerusalem until it was destroyed by Hezekiah. The early Israelites weren't iconoclasts; that came later.
     
  4. Pegg

    Pegg Well-Known Member

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    12,626
    Aaron was not responsible for the calf, nor did he join in worshiping the calf and when Moses asked those involved to stand on the side of the calf of the side of Jehovah, Aaron chose the side of Jehovah which showed that his motives for making the calf were not because he wished to worship it.

    its most likely that the people coerced him into it which is why he wasnt punished.
     
  5. mohammed_beiruti

    mohammed_beiruti New Member

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    we have a different story in qura'an regarding golden calf and Aaron

    read Ta-ha verse 85
     
  6. islam means peace

    islam means peace Member

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    I think you are talking about the event when some people at the time of Prophet Moosa alisalam make a cow or calf (i donot know the right word in english) and start worshiping that.

    First of all i tatally disagree with you that Prophae Aaron alisalm is respnsible for that, i donot know where did you take the passage , if you read the Quran you will find that the person named 'samri' is basically the main person responsible and obvisly those too who just start worshiping stones

    Quran says in surah 20 Verse

    83. (When Moses was up on the Mount, Allah said:) "What made thee hasten in advance of thy people, O Moses?"

    84. He replied: "Behold, they are close on my footsteps: I hastened to thee, O my Lord, to please thee."

    85. (Allah) said: "We have tested thy people in thy absence: the Samiri has led them astray."

    86. So Moses returned to his people in a state of indignation and sorrow. He said: "O my people! did not your Lord make a handsome promise toyou? Did then the promise seem to you long (in coming)? Or did ye desirethat Wrath should descend from your Lord on you, and so ye broke yourpromise to me?"

    87. They said: "We broke not the promise to thee, as far as lay in our power: but we were made to carry the weight of the ornaments of the(whole) people, and we threw them (into the fire), and that was what theSamiri suggested.


    88. "Then he brought out (of the fire) before the (people) the image of a calf: It seemed to low: so they said: This is your god, and thegod of Moses, but (Moses) has forgotten!"

    89. Could they not see that it could not return them a word (for answer), and that it had no power either to harm them or to do them good?

    90. Aaron had already, before this said to them: "O my people! ye are being tested in this: for verily your Lord is (Allah) Most Gracious; sofollow me and obey my command."

    91. They had said: "We will not abandon this cult, but we will devote ourselves to it until Moses returns to us."

    92. (Moses) said: "O Aaron! what kept thee back, when thou sawest them going wrong,

    93. "From following me? Didst thou then disobey my order?"

    94. (Aaron) replied: "O son of my mother! Seize (me) not by my beard nor by (the hair of) my head! Truly I feared lest thou shouldst say,'Thou has caused a division among the children of Israel, and thou didstnot respect my word!'"

    95. (Moses) said: "What then is thy case, O Samiri?"

    96. He replied: "I saw what they saw not: so I took a handful (of dust) from the footprint of the Messenger, and threw it (into the calf): thusdid my soul suggest to me."

    97. (Moses) said: "Get thee gone! but thy (punishment) in this life will be that thou wilt say, 'touch me not'; and moreover (for a futurepenalty) thou hast a promise that will not fail: Now look at thy god, ofwhom thou hast become a devoted worshipper: We will certainly (melt) it ina blazing fire and scatter it broadcast in the sea!"


    98. But the god of you all is the One Allah: there is no god but He: all things He comprehends in His knowledge.

    99. Thus do We relate to thee some stories of what happened before: for We have sent thee a Message from Our own Presence.

    100. If any do turn away therefrom, verily they will bear a burden on the Day of judgment;



    Hope this clarifies you
     
  7. Poisonshady313

    Poisonshady313 Well-Known Member

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    In addition to that, Aaron figured he could buy some time so that Moses would come back and the people would abandon their folly of relying on a golden calf.

    He said "Remove the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, sons, and daughters, and bring them to me".

    He honestly didn't expect them to go ahead and do it... he told the men to take it from their wives, sons, and daughters... yet the people ended up giving it willingly. Aaron didn't count on that.

    And he said "A festival for the Lord tomorrow"

    Tomorrow and not tonight. Again, he was trying to buy some time for Moses to get back, so that the people might abandon their folly.

    When you say "A festival tomorrow"... you might think mid-day to about evening. Aaron didn't count on them rising early to start bringing offerings.
     
  8. Poisonshady313

    Poisonshady313 Well-Known Member

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    3,953
    Something to consider: Not only didn't Moses punish Aaron... but God didn't punish Aaron either. God ordained that Aaron become the High Priest, and that all priests descend from him.
     
  9. arimoff

    arimoff New Member

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    720
    Are you serious? did you ever hear of a book called Torah?
     
  10. Rainbow Mage

    Rainbow Mage Dharma Learner

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    11,005
    I think you raise the most interesting point in the whole thread. I agree with much of what you say here, btw.
     
  11. Pegg

    Pegg Well-Known Member

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    thats a good point i hadnt thought of.
     
  12. islam means peace

    islam means peace Member

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    Brother , I not only know torah but also believe that it was the word from Allah , same as i believe in Quran I believe in Torah too.

    But what i understand (sorry my english is not perfect so might be i misunderstood ) that you might saying that Prophet Aaron alisalam in responsible for making that cow/calf ,(I would say sorry if i misunderstood it) the thing is i donot agree that Prophet Aaron alisalam did that , by reading the verses from Quran its clear that a person name 'samri' who had created it and responsible for it.

    Hope you understand what i mean to say and sorry if i misunderstood your message.
     
  13. arimoff

    arimoff New Member

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    720
    You have no clue what Torah is, you asked where did you get the passage, well the passage is from Torah. I neither expressed my view on it. It really doesn't matter what the Quran says about it, it is irrelevant here.
     
  14. Starsoul

    Starsoul Truth

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    955
    How can a same story with same characters in two divine books be irrelevant to each other? Just because its not your book?
     
  15. Tarheeler

    Tarheeler Argumentative Curmudgeon Staff Member Premium Member

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    Religion:
    Jewish
    No, I'd say it's probably because the story that the thread is discussing comes from the Torah and not the Quran.

    Kind of like how using the Torah to discuss the story of Mohammad's ascension would be irrelevant.

    Or, for the secular POV, using Grimm's fairy tales to explain Aesop's fables would be irrelevant.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2010
  16. Tarheeler

    Tarheeler Argumentative Curmudgeon Staff Member Premium Member

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    Religion:
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    That's the way I've always seen it as well.
     
  17. Starsoul

    Starsoul Truth

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    Well its in the religious debate section, not same faith debates, so i think the reference is quite relevant, unless ofcorse you don't assign any leverage to it because you don't believe in that source.

    And since there is a small mention of Muhammad in Torah too( which i understand is not accepted by torah believers) I dont know how they refute the same stories in the Quran when Quran actually clarifies the misconception and incomplete information found in the torah ,gospels and the bible about the same stories? That seems like 'not wanting to go further to explore the true content ' of the same stories. Harun (as Aron) And Musa as Moses. Whats the difference?

    How can you compare divine scriptures to a person's stories? Divine books contain the same mentioning of names of the Prophets and the concept of God ( somewhat atleast).
     
  18. Tarheeler

    Tarheeler Argumentative Curmudgeon Staff Member Premium Member

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    5,589
    Religion:
    Jewish
    We're discussing a specific story that appears in a specific book. As islam means peace has already described, the story that appears in the Quran is very different than the one in the Torah. Enough so that it is irrelevant to the discussion.

    His interpretation of the story as presented in Exodus, however, would be relevant.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2010
  19. arimoff

    arimoff New Member

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    720
    Yes just because it is not my book. Quran is a poor copy of the Torah so how can you answer a question that is based on the story in Torah by quoting a book that is a copy in it self.

    I don't accept claims that Muhammad is in the Torah that Quran proves incorrectness of Torah and every other crap like that, such stupid claims are irrelevant.
     
  20. Pegg

    Pegg Well-Known Member

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    12,626
    the difference is that the stories written in the Quran were written by people who lived thousands of years after the Torah was written. And the stories in the Torah were penned by the 'eyewitnesses' who saw the events for themselves.

    The Torah, and the stories you speak of, were written around 1500 BCE... Mohammad wasnt even born until the 600's CE...thats over 2,000 years later....and he wasnt even the one who wrote the Quran.

    Why do you believe that the stories in the Quran are more accurate in truth, then the stories written by the eyewitnesses?
     
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