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Holman Bible Dictionary

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Representation, of young bulls used to symbolize the god's presence in the worship place. The bull was used to represent many gods in the Ancient Near East, particularly Amon-Re in Egypt and El and Baal in Canaan. As Moses was on Mount Sinai, Aaron formed a golden calf to use in a “feast to Yahweh” (Exodus 32:4-5). Similarly, Jeroboam placed calves in Dan and Bethel for the Northern Kingdom to use in its worship of Yahweh (1 Kings 12:28) so the people would not have to go to Jerusalem, the southern capital, to worship. In both instances the calves represent the gods who brought Israel up from Egypt. Thus the sin of the calves is not worshiping the wrong god but worshiping the true God in the wrong way, through images. See Psalms 106:19-20. Israel tried to make pedestals on which the invisible God could ride. The only such pedestal Old Testament teaching allows was the ark of the covenant. (See 1 Samuel 4:4.) See Bull.

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'CALVES, GOLDEN'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".
<>. 1991.


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