Exodus 32 details the tragic failure of Israel’s apostasy with the golden calf. The story is well known, mostly for its portrayal in the movie The Ten Commandments. The Israelites are in a panic. Moses has been gone forty days with no hint that he’ll return. In tandem with Moses’ absence, God has not manifested his presence over the same time period. The people are without evidence that God is still with them, they have no leader, they cannot return to Egypt, and they have no idea where they are supposed to go. They demand Aaron give them a god to fill these voids, a yearning that leads to disaster. This episode of the podcast discusses these elements and other less obvious issues in the passage, including whether the calf was thought to represent Yahweh in Israelite religion.
Exodus 30-31 completes the Torah description of the instructions for the Tabernacle and its furnishings. In this episode of the podcast we’ll talk about the altar of incense, the “horn” imagery used of the altar and elsewhere, the meaning and function of incense, and Bezalel and Oholiab, the main craftsmen picked by God for Tabernacle construction.
The descriptions of the vestments worn by the priests of Israel, particularly the high priest, can make for uninteresting reading. But these two chapters of Exodus and their content put forth significant theological messaging. In this episode of the podcast we discuss how the priestly garments take us into the concepts of kingship, mediation, and mission to the nations outside Israel.