Sins of Confusion – Response to David

David

In response to these comments

https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2015/03/13/devotion-and-rationalizations-excerpt-from-kosher-reality/#comment-17822

https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2015/03/13/devotion-and-rationalizations-excerpt-from-kosher-reality/#comment-17797

https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2015/03/13/devotion-and-rationalizations-excerpt-from-kosher-reality/#comment-17792

Before I begin let me thank you for taking the time and the energy to write these lengthy responses. It is through discussions like these that we can all grow in our understanding of the truth.

First let me demonstrate why your Biblical interpretation is not rooted in a sound analysis of Scripture.

You argue that the motive of the people (in worshiping the golden calf at Sinai) was to replace both Moses and God out of full knowledge of rejection of both of them when the Scripture  clearly says that it was only Moses who they were missing and that the motivation was panic (Exodus 32:1). The word that Scripture uses for god is a word that is explicitly associated with Moses himself (Exodus 7:1) and does not necessarily mean that they were looking for a replacement for God Himself. Furthermore, in Nehemiah (9:19) we are told that the pillars of cloud and fire were still with them, another indication that they were not looking to replace God Himself.

You argue that the people’s declaration that these were the gods that took them out of Egypt proves that they credited the calf with everything that God and Moses had done for them is untenable simply because it makes no sense. How could anyone think that a calf that just arrived on the scene took them out of Egypt several months before?

The more likely explanation is that they understood that Moses was a medium through which God had operated in order to take them out of Egypt and they believed that the power that was manifest in Moses would henceforth be manifest in the calf. But this was not a new power. They understood that the power originated with God whether in Moses or in the calf.

Your interpretation that has people running around naked has no root outside of your own imagination. The Hebrew word “parua” never means “naked.”

You argue that when the Scripture says that they made the calf “for themselves” this indicates a rebellion against God. Your argument is non-Scriptural. The expression “for themselves” or “for yourselves” is used in relation to bringing offerings to God Himself (Exodus 12:3,21; 30:23; Numbers 19:2). This expression does not indicate conscious rebellion against God.

The fact that Aaron tells the people that the festival will be for God (Exodus 32:5) tells us that the people had not forgotten about God. Your explanation that Aaron only said these words to cover his back in case Moses returns is untenable simply because Aaron does not repeat these words when he tells Moses the story.

You argue that the Scripture says that they worshiped “it” and not God. That is precisely my point. They might have thought that with this worship they are serving God but the Scripture is teaching is that in reality they were serving the calf.

You argue from the fact that they made a new altar that this was a replacement of the worship initiated by Moses. This argument is inconclusive because Moses himself did not use this altar when he ultimately built the Tabernacle. It seems that the first altar that Moses made was of temporary nature. Furthermore, it could well be that they felt that a different altar is needed for this new mode of worship without consciously realizing that this worship was a rebellion against God.

You argue that the people were warned not to make an idol and that their worship of the calf was described as disobedience.

Again, this is precisely my point. Look at the Catholics who believe in the Jewish Bible yet flood their Churches with graven images without realizing that they are in violation of the direct command of God. They are reading the text exactly the way you are. They are magnifying the sin of the Israelites in order to deflect the accusation from their own sin.

Your analysis of Jeroboam’s calves is nothing more than a translation of a selection from Scripture and you completely ignored my questions. (Why does Elijah never rebuke Ahab for the golden calves? Why are Jehoram and Jehu commended for destroying Baal worship if they were still engaged in worship of the golden claves?)

I recognize that the motive of Jeroboam to make the calves was completely political and cynical but what did he tell the people? What did the people in future generations think about his calves? My understanding is that they believed that this was worship of the true God and they forgot the message of the prophet who warned Jeroboam. Perhaps they ignored his message because he was ultimately punished by God (1Kings 13:24) making the same mistake that the Christians make; namely – arguing that if the witness is not sinless then even if he was appointed by God then we can ignore his testimony.

Your analysis of Judges 17/18 simply ignores 17:13 and 18:6. 17:13 tells us that Micah felt that the very priest that he appointed for his image was favored by God. This does not sound like he saw the image as a worship that is unrelated to God. In 18:6, the priest that was appointed to serve the image responds to a question that was posed to him in the name of the true God. Again, all indicators show that this worship was a confused mixture of worshiping God together with an image.

You also failed to explain Deuteronomy 4:15.

Your approach to Scripture is to ignore what is inconvenient for your theory and overinflate what you see as supportive of your theory. Your interpretation does not arise out of a careful read of the text. I encourage you to reread the relevant texts and do not develop any theory before you have all the relevant Scriptures in front of you.

Now let us approach the root of our argument.

Your position is (and correct me if I am wrong) that if one is not worshiping the idol out of a conscious rebellion against God then it is not the idolatry prohibited by Scripture.

It seems that we our positions are the polar opposites of each other. You seem to believe that the Scriptures magnify the sin of Israel to demonstrate that it is only the extreme level of rebelliousness against God that is considered a sin by God. My position is the exact opposite. I believe that the Scriptures magnify the sin to demonstrate that even a sin rooted in confusion is really a rebellion against God. Thus your attempts to magnify the sins recorded in Scripture is actually an attempt to limit the sin of idolatry to cases of open rebellion while my interpretation posits that one is still committing idolatry even if there is some confused justification to assuage one’s conscience.

If you want to see which of us is right, just look at Joshua 7. One man sins and all of Israel is held guilty. Look also at 1Kings 13:21. A sin is committed out of confusion yet it is described as rebellion and open disobedience.

I encourage you to look at the example of Christianity. These men and women are not conscious idol-worshipers. They mistakenly believe that their worship is worship of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But their actions and attitudes belie this belief of theirs. Yes, I know that there are many sincere people who follow Jesus innocently thinking that they are following God but, as a rule, their lives are Jesus centered and not God centered. Their worship is not based on the debt that every creature owes to its Creator but rather it sits on the imagined power of the activities of one human body. Their theology attempts to exalt the activities of that body and tend to look away from the fact that the body that they focus on together with every other body under the heavens never did anything with strength that belonged to them.

But these sincere people do not realize their rebellion against God. And this lack of realization is aided and abetted by the disdain for God’s commandments taught to them by the masters of persuasion. Of-course they do not label their attitude as “disdain for God’s commandments” but after everything is said and done, a large part of their time is devoted to “demonstrating the ineffectiveness of observing God’s Law.” They spend none of their time seeking God’s commandments, studying them in order to fulfill them on a practical level.

Seek God’s commandments and you will find the salvation that God has in mind for all humanity (Psalm 119:155).

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Thank You

Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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3 Responses to Sins of Confusion – Response to David

  1. David says:

    Hi Yisroel,

    Thanks for your response. It’s been a while since I’ve been on the blog as you may have noticed, so I’m getting back to your post later, rather than never.

     Regarding the idolatry found in Judges, your rebuttal to my earlier post doesn’t actually refute my claim. You kind of side step the issue by talking about the idolatry in terms of “confusion.” My claim concerning Judges was that one could argue it is more likely a case of polytheism rather than representative monotheism. And I said that “ultimately though, as in the previous cases, the idolatry in question here was an intentional offense committed by a people who knew better or should have known better. Therefore in some respects, it is irrelevant as to which type of idolatry it is, whether intentional representative idolatry or intentional polytheism.”

     In the remainder of post I will comment generally on your post and rebut specifically your analysis of the golden calf at Mount Sanai. In a follow-on post I will deal specifically with your rebuttal to my comments on the golden calves of Jeroboam.

    You stated that my position is, “if one is not worshiping the idol out of a conscious rebellion against God then it is not the idolatry prohibited by Scripture.”

    Wrong. That’s not my argument. All idolatry is prohibited by scripture, whether it was done knowingly or unknowingly, or to be more biblically precise, whether it was done intentionally (high-handedly) or unintentionally. My position is that the idolatrous sin of Israel, exemplified in the golden calf incident at Mount Sinai and other less famous examples such as the idolatry of the calves of Jeroboam son of Nebat, was unquestionably “INTENTIONAL.”

    Secondly, whether you believe Israel’s idolatry be “representative idolatry” as you’ve termed it in the past, or polytheism to include a comingling of paganism with worship of the YHWH such as was the case with the Israelites elsewhere for example in Judges as we are currently discussing, or whether one classifies Israel’s idolatry as an outright rejection and replacement of the YHWH God with pagan gods is less important to God, than the question of whether it was “intentional” or “unintentional.” Clearly, intentional sin is more serious, and unintentional sin is less serious.

    God distinguishes between Intentional sin, also termed “high-handed” sin (Numbers 15:30) and unintentional sin (Leviticus 4 and 5). Intentional sin is clearly judged by God to be a more severe infraction under the Law of Moses than unintentional sin. In addition to that, there is provision in the Law of Moses, in the sacrificial system to address and atone for unintentional sin, including in some cases the requirement for restitution. So we need to be careful in determining which is which, and be careful not to misclassify the numerous scriptural examples of sin as you have done in this debate.

    Your example of the sin of the “man of God” in the case of the golden calves worshiped under the reign of Jeroboam son of Nebat (and all kings of Israel that were after him by the way) is a case in point wherein you’ve made the error of citing intentional sins and miss-classifying them as unintentional (1 Kings 13). I’m curious to know what you’d consider to be an example of intentional sin in the Hebrew Scriptures. Presumably, you would agree that the idolatry of Solomon in his old age was intentional sin as well as the sin of Adam in the Garden of Eden. For a biblical description of Solomon’s sin, read 1 Kings 11 with special attention to verses 9 -11.

    So let’s analyze the sin of Adam, the sin of Solomon, the sin of the man of God (that you cited) in the golden calves incident of Jeroboam son of Nebat, and the sin of the Israelites in the golden calf incident of Mount Sinai to compare their commonalities and see why they should all be classified as INTENTIONAL sin.

    A command is received from God:

    Adam: received a command directly and personally from God not to eat from the tree.
    Man of God: received a command directly and personally from God not to eat or drink.
    Solomon: received commandments directly and personally from God not to follow other gods.
    Israelites: received commandments directly and personally from God prohibiting idol worship.

    A decision is made by the subject(s) who received the command from God:

    Adam: Ignored God’s command, listened to a woman, even his wife, and ate from the tree.
    Man of God: Ignored God’s command, listened to a man, even a prophet, and ate and drank.
    Solomon: Ignored God’s command, listened to women, even his wives, and turned his heart after other gods.
    Israelites: Ignored God’s command, made an idol, listened to a man, even Aaron’s proclamation of a festival to the YHWH, and worshiped the idol.

    The commonality in all of the above intentional cases of sin is as follows:

    They all personally received clear, specific and understandable commands from God which they freely chose to violate. The fact that Adam, the man of God, Solomon, and the Israelites were all enticed by other people to some degree (some more than others) does not in itself support your argument that the sin was therefore unintentional. The deception or enticement can be considered as a mitigating factor where appropriate. But that factor must be balanced as in the cases above against other factors; such as the fact that the subjects personally received commands directly from God’s mouth to their ears. God makes it clear in all of these cases that the people in question should have known better especially since they all heard directly from Him, and therefore the enticement defense that you put forth does not support your classification of the sin as “unintentional.” Some things to consider in determining whether a sin is intentional or unintentional include but are not limited to:
    • First, the subject(s) receives a command from God, and understands the command and understands that the command comes from the YHWH God. The nature or medium of the delivery including the authenticity of the command of God and the personal competence of the subject to receive and understand the command are factors to consider. For example, one would expect to be held to a higher standard concerning a command received directly and personally from God Himself even if enticed by others to disobey. The personal commentaries or enticements of the Pope, priests, pastors, rabbis or scholars for example should not carry more weight than the written word of God contained in the bible. Yet some, especially Catholics hold that not to be the case.
    • Second, given that the subject receives a command from their God and understands the command and understands that the command comes from God, and that the subject then freely with forethought, and full knowledge and understanding, chooses to disobey the command we can conclude that the sin is in fact “intentional.” All of the subjects in the above 4 cases freely chose to disobey God. No one forced them against their own will. The fact that they were enticed or even tricked to some degree doesn’t change the fact that it was a free will decision based on a full and accurate knowledge and understanding of the command, which they then decided to disobey; and in their cases, a command that came directly from God’s mouth to their ears making any later enticement/deception insignificant in terms of the question of intentionality.

    You wrote in a previous post,
    “David
    The fact that idolatry is unintentional doesn’t redefine it – it is still 100 percent idolatry – it only mitigates the guilt of the perpetrators – and no one here is discussing the guilt of Christians – perhaps God judges their idolatry leniently because they know not what they do – but it is still idolatry.”

    My response: With regard to the sin of “Christians”, that being the Trinity, since you hold that the worship of the Trinity is an “unintentional” sin then, we are in agreement, so we have nothing to debate there as far as the issue of intentionality. Although we may still be in disagreement as to WHY the Trinity is an unintentional sin, that possible disagreement, for the time being is beyond the scope of our discussion.

    Sin, including idolatry, is either “intentional” or “unintentional.” You, in your argument are attempting to “redefine” the 100% “intentional” sin of idolatry of the Israelites and reclassify it as 100% “unintentional” idolatry, in an apparent attempt to lessen the severity of the more serious intentional sin of the Israelites perhaps to make at appear less serious than it is.

    I’ll restate my position which I have proven through scripture in previous posts and will elaborate on and present additional scriptural supporting evidence in the following paragraphs:
    The Israelites at Mount Sinai knowingly with foreknowledge of what NOT to do, did so, with rebellious forethought, willfully violating God’s direct command not to make an idol. In other-words, their disobedience was “INTENTIONAL.”

    In violation of the 2nd commandment, they made for themselves a pagan idol; they bowed down to it, and they served it by sacrificing to it. The fact that they received a command directly and personally from God Himself negates any possible mitigating argument that Aaron may have enticed them into some “confused” or “representative” worship and sacrifice to the idol by proclaiming a festival to the YHWH. Further, the fact that they continued in their rebellion after the fact (when Moses came down from the Mountain) and chose their idol calf over the YHWH God, thus confirming the intentional character of their disobedience, lends little doubt that the sin was in fact without a doubt, INTENTIONAL.

    Your argument on the other hand, as near as I could tell from statements here and there in this post and pervious posts is as follows:

    The Israelites were “confused” in that they may have “thought” they were worshiping the YHWH God and perhaps Moses when they made for themselves an idol, bowed down to it, sacrificed to it, and ascribed to it that which the YHWH God had done. You have in the past termed this as “representative idolatry” in that you believe they used the idol to “represent” the YHWH in their worship. You believe, as with the two claves of Jeroboam, son of Nebat, that since they were confused and may have “thought” they were worshiping the YHWH, the sin in question should be classified as “unintentional.”

    My response:
    Your position is not supported biblically. And there is serious error in your reasoning as to what constitutes intentional sin and what constitutes unintentional sin. Even if one accepts your argument that the Israelites were “confused” in that they “thought” they were, by way of “representation”, worshiping the YHWH God by worshiping the idol as a go between, that conclusion, EVEN IF CORRECT, doesn’t support your claim that it was an unintentional sin. The standard is very simple: did they understand the Law not to make and worship idols, and did they willingly violate the Law. They did in fact understand the law. And they did in fact willingly violate the law, plain and simple.

    Here are some points to consider in assessing whether the Israelites intentionally or unintentionally violated God’s Law at Mount Sinai:
    • The Israelites had just received the 10 commandments PERSONALLY from God Himself at Mount Sinai from God’s mouth to their ears which demonstrates that they had indisputably flawless, understandable, current/timely and supremely authoritative information of what God required and prohibited with regards worship and idolatry, thus demonstrating they had competent foreknowledge of what NOT to do.
    • In the 2nd commandment, God equates idol worship as “rejection” of Him, which the Israelites heard with their own ears, demonstrating the Israelites would also have been acutely cognizant of the severity of the sin of idolatry, knowing that it equated to “rejection” of God. Furthermore, it is nonsensical to argue that one can mistakenly “think” they are worshiping God (even indirectly) through worship of an idol while “knowing” that God considers idol worship as “rejection” of Him.
    • After the incident, God repeatedly characterizes them as “stubborn” “stiff-necked” which is defined as knowing what to do but willfully refusing to do it and characterized their actions as perverse, as being “quick to turn aside.” Psalm 106 and other scripture (to be cited later) support the argument that they “exchanged” the glory of God for and idol and “forgot” God in the process, thus further demonstrating willful intent and the understanding that they were “rejecting” God in favor of the idol.
    • The idol in question, the golden calf, was one of the Egyptian gods with which they were all too familiar. Scripture tells us the Hebrews served the Egyptian gods while in Egypt, thus supporting the argument that their idol worshiping conduct was with full knowledge, willful and was their custom. They simply returned to what they knew best.
    • When given a chance by Moses after the fact to demonstrate a repentant heart and a return to the YHWH, they chose instead to continue in rebellion, thus confirming once again the willful and INTENTIONAL nature of their idol worshiping conduct.

    The sacrificial system in the Law of Moses:
    Another important point to consider is the fact that the Law of Moses has built-in provisions through the sacrificial system for addressing and atoning for “unintentional” sin. If God were to treat unintentional sin no different than intentional sin He would be violating His own Law, which of course is not possible.

    Moses broke the stone tablets of the covenant. That was more than just symbolic. Historically speaking, breaking the medium of the agreement, contract, treaty, or covenant represented the dissolvent of said contract. Most of the contracts of the ancient near east were written on clay tablets. When a covenant was dissolved and no longer in force, you literally broke the clay tablets on which it was written. The covenant between God and the Israelites was in fact dissolved while Moses was on the Mountain due to the egregious and willful disobedience of the Israelites (intentional sin). God expressed this fact when he “disowned them” in talking to Moses, calling them “your people” and had in mind to “consume them” and “blot out their name from under heaven” (Deuteronomy 9:14) and start over with Moses to make a nation mightier and more numerous. In that instant in time, the covenant was dissolved, but thanks to Moses God changed His mind. Nevertheless, the original stone tablets were destroyed in the “sight” of the Israelites (Deuteronomy 9:17). Thus the Israelites would have known at that time if not before the seriousness of the sin, since the destruction of the tablets would have signified the dissolution of the covenant. However, Moses interceded on their behalf intending to reestablish the covenant. Moses said “perhaps” I can make atonement for your sin (Exodus 32:30). The reason Moses said “perhaps” is because as suggested above, the system in the Law of Moses for addressing intentional sin is NOT the same as that for addressing unintentional sin in the sacrificial system. Unintentional sin may be unquestionably atoned for in the sacrificial system. But the sacrificial system was not used. Moses as you know fasted again for 40 days and nights in his “attempt” to make atonement for the nation of Israel (Note: atonement was made successfully for the nation as a whole; thus he saved the nation; but the adult individuals involved in the sin were NOT atoned for accept for Aaron) and making atonement in the special case of Aaron as well, who later assumed the priesthood. God being gracious and merciful reestablished the identical covenant written with the same words as before.

    As you can see, if the sin had been unintentional, when they became aware of their sin, they could simply have followed the process under the Law of Moses for atonement of unintentional sin using the sacrificial system. Moses didn’t even suggest the sacrificial system, nor would God have allowed the sacrificial atonement under the Law for their egregious and intentional sin, thus establishing conclusively that the sin in question was NOT unintentional.

    So let’s now begin an analysis of the detailed particulars as to WHY the sin in question was unequivocally INTENTIONAL (NOTE: CONCERNING SCRIPTURE, CAPS, QUOTES, HIGHLIGHTS, ETC., ARE AT TIMES MY EMPHASIS):

    You state the following: “How could anyone think that a calf that just arrived on the scene took them out of Egypt several months before?” Here you make the classic error of judging an ancient people and God’s word by modern and out of context standards. Rather than attempting to understand the bible in its context and setting in the time period in which it was written, and by understanding the culture in which it was written. You mistakenly apply modern day thought and beliefs as your standard on an ancient people. And since the plain wording of the Exodus 32 doesn’t make sense to you in your 21st century beliefs and culture, you then erroneously conclude that the bible must mean something other than how it plainly reads. It is a scriptural fact that the Israelites served the gods of the Egyptians (Joshua 24:14)! So the fact of the matter is, the Hebrews worshiped the gods of Egypt AND … those gods included the Apis bull/calf and Ra among others. Their worship of the Egyptian gods would have also included an understanding of the belief and process of “EMBODIMENT” of idols, animals and even humans by the gods of Egypt.

    They made an idol for “THEMSELVES” and NOT for God. Knowing as the Israelites did, that the Law states “You shall not make for YOURSELF…” And comparing that foreknowledge with the fact that they indeed made the idol for “THEMSELVES…” refutes your argument that the idol worship was unintentional. In response you wrote, “Your argument is non-Scriptural. The expression “for themselves” or “for yourselves” is used in relation to bringing offerings to God Himself (Exodus 12:3,21; 30:23; Numbers 19:2).” Actually Yisroel, it is rather your argument which is misplaced and non-scriptural. You are mistaken about your citations, as they don’t in any way disprove my claim and scriptural citations which is that they made the idol for themselves. On the contrary, scripture often and repeatedly clearly sets up the juxtaposition between what is made “for God” and what is made “for themselves.” Within the same chapter of the 10 commandments, in the passage of Exodus 20:22 – 26 and in the context of making objects (idols and altars) used in the Israelite practice of worship, God states not to make for “YOURSELVES” gods of gold. “You need make for “ME” only an altar of earth.” They demanded from Aaron to “Come make gods for “US.” They worshiped “it” sacrificed to “it” and ascribed to “it” that which belonged exclusively to the YHWH. Interestingly this theme is repeated throughout the Hebrew Scriptures most notably again in 2 Kings 17:16 regarding the other case of golden calves idolatry. Read the following excerpts:

    • Exodus 20:23 “You shall not make gods of silver alongside me, nor shall you make for “YOURSELVES” gods of gold.”
    • Exodus 20:24 “You need make for “ME” only an altar…”
    • Exodus 32:1 “…Come, make gods for US…”
    • Exodus 32:4 “…THEY said, THESE are YOUR gods, O Israel, who brought you up out the land of Egypt!”
    • Exodus 32:8 “…THEY have cast for “THEMSELVES” an image of a CALF and have worshiped “IT” and have sacrificed to “IT”, and said, “THESE” are “YOUR” gods, O Israel, “WHO” brought “YOU” up out of the land of Egypt.”
    • Exodus 20:4 “YOU” shall not make for “YOURSELF” an idol, …”
    • Deuteronomy 6:14 “Do not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who are all around you,”
    • Deuteronomy 9:12 “…THEY have cast an image for THEMSELVES…”
    • Deuteronomy 9:16 “Then I saw that “YOU” had indeed sinned against the YHWH your God, by casting for “YOUSELVES” an image of a calf…”
    • 2 Kings 17:16 “They rejected all the commandments of the YHWH their God and made for “THEMSELVES” cast images of two calves…”

    The incident of the two altars adds to the evidence, highlighting the contrast between what the Israelites did for “themselves” and what they did NOT do for the YHWH God. AGAIN, we see the contrast established in the clear wording of scripture. Note how they continued in their former custom (obviously referring to Egypt). Note also the contrast in the purpose and use of the two altars at Mount Sinai, one for the YHWH, the other for the calf:
    • Exodus 24:5 “He sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed oxen as offerings of wellbeing “ TO THE YHWH .”
    • Exodus 32:6 “They rose early the next day, and offered burnt offerings and brought sacrifices of well-being; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to revel.” Exodus 32:8 “and have worshiped “it” and sacrificed to “it.” (“it” referring to the idol)
    • 2 Kings 17:35 – 40 35 The YHWH had made a covenant with “THEM” and commanded “THEM”, “You shall not worship “OTHER GODS” or bow yourselves “TO THEM” or serve “THEM” or sacrifice “TO THEM”, 36 but you shall worship “THE YHWH”, who brought you out of the land of “EGYPT” with great power and with an outstretched arm; you shall bow yourselves “TO HIM”, and “TO HIM” you shall sacrifice. 37 The statutes and the ordinances and the law and the commandment that he wrote “FOR YOU”, you shall always be careful to observe. You shall not worship “OTHER GODS”; 38 you shall “NOT FORGET” the covenant that “I” have made “WITH YOU.” You shall not worship “OTHER GODS”, 39 but you shall worship “THE YHWH” your God; “HE” will deliver “YOU” out of the hand of all your enemies.” 40 ”THEY” would not listen, however, “BUT “THEY” CONTINUED TO PRACTICE THEIR FORMER CUSTOM.”

    There is clear scriptural evidence that they knew full well they were worshiping the golden calf and had rejected the YHWH as noted in Psalm 106: 19 – 23 for example. The bible also makes crystal clear that making and serving an idol equates to “REJECTION” and disobedience of God. You can’t with any credibility claim to be serving God while despising, rejecting, and rebelling against Him. The 2nd commandment and other biblical verses make clear that idolatry represents: rejection of God, despising God, disobedience to God, rebelliousness, stubbornness, etc. The Israelites had just been commanded by God himself; they had even heard His voice concerning all of the 10 commandments, and to suggest they didn’t know or were ignorant or were “confused” as implied by the title of your post as to what God had just told them is neither biblical nor does it pass the common sense test.
    • Exodus 20:5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them for I the YHWH your God am a JEALOUS God, punishing the children for the iniquity of the parents to the 3rd and 4th generation of those who “REJECT” “ME.”
    • Numbers 14:22 “none of the people who have SEEN my glory and the signs that I did in “EGYPT” and in the “WILDERNESS”, and yet have tested me these “TEN TIMES” and have “NOT OBEYED” my voice…” (that of course would include Mount Sinai)
    • Numbers 14:23 “…none of those who “DESPISED” me shall see it.”
    • Deuteronomy 9:7,8 “…you have been “REBELLIOUS” against the YHWH from the “DAY YOU CAME OUT OF EGYPT” until you came to this place. 8 “EVEN AT HOREB” you provoked the YHWH to wrath…” (rebellion by definition is an INTENTIONAL act)
    • You wrote, “The fact that Aaron tells the people that the festival will be for God (Exodus 32:5) tells us that the people had not forgotten about God.” Yisroel, Psalm 106 says just that, “THEY FORGOT GOD!” Note how Psalm 106 clearly and unequivocally elucidates the choice they made, how they “EXCHANGED” the glory of God for the ox, how they “FORGOT” God. They “FORGOT” Him, and even ABANDONED Him and SCOFFED at Him and didn’t even BELIEVE in Him as noted in Psalm 106, Deuteronomy 32 and 2 Kings 17.
    • Psalm 106: 19 They made a calf at Horeb
    and worshiped a cast image.
    20 They exchanged the glory of God
    for the image of an ox that eats grass.
    21 They forgot God, their Savior,
    who had done great things in Egypt,
    22 wondrous works in the land of Ham,
    and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.
    23 Therefore he said he would destroy them—
    had not Moses, his chosen one,
    stood in the breach before him,
    to turn away his wrath from destroying them.
    • Deuteronomy 32:15 “…He ABANDONED God who made him, and SCOFFED at the Rock of his salvation.”
    • 2 Kings 17:14 “…as their ancestors had been who did not “BELIEVE” in the YHWH their God.”

    Your argument that God made Moses as an “Elohim” to Pharaoh and his brother Aaron his prophet is misapplied. Your reference to Exodus 7:1 applies to the relation between Pharaoh, Aaron and Moses, not between the Israelites and Moses. I recall by the way that some time ago you made the argument to me that a better translation of this verse as applied to Moses is, “judge” and NOT “god.” Now that it suits your current argument, you appear to have changed your tune. Furthermore, although the term Elohim can and is rarely used to refer to a person as “judge”, it is almost always used in reference to God or god(s), not to people. Of the over 2,600 times Elohim occurs in Hebrew Scripture, it most commonly refers to people as judge(s) 4 times and angel 1 time when translated to English. More specifically as to the scriptural evidence which does apply directly to Mount Sinai (unlike your misapplied citation above), scripture clearly supports the view that the Israelites thought of Moses as a “MAN”, as a “PERSON”, and not as Elohim, “a god or gods.” They clearly knew the difference between the Elohim (god(s)) which they demanded Aaron make for them, which they had recently been worshiping in Egypt, and the “MAN”, Moses. Additionally, as I noted at the beginning of my post, they weren’t just clamoring for any ole gods, they wanted the gods of Egypt as evidenced by the fact they actually made. They made a calf, one of the highest ranking god’s of Egypt which actually shared status with Ra, which was THE highest ranking god of Egypt. Furthermore, if they were only seeking to replace Moses they wouldn’t have needed to cast an idol of gold and sacrifice to it, they could have simply enlisted Aaron to take the place of Moses to lead them as Moses had. Nor would they have worshiped and sacrificed to it, since they had never before sacrificed to the “MAN” Moses. Your argument is non-scriptural nonsense.
    • Exodus 32:1 “…Come make gods (Elohim) for “US”, who shall go before us; as for the Moshe, the MAN” who brought us up out of Egypt we do not know what has become of him.”
    • Exodus 32:23 “…the MAN…”
    • Deuteronomy 5:24 “24 and you said, “Look, the YHWH our God (Elohim) has shown us his glory and greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the fire. Today we have seen that God (Elohim) may speak to “SOMEONE” and the “PERSON” may still live.”
    • Numbers 12:3 “Now the MAN Moses was very humble…”

    Concerning the altar which Aaron built, if they were merely continuing worship of the YHWH as you suggest, they would have had no need to build another to replace the one that Moses built at the base of the mountain. Your rebuttal that Aaron was authorized to build another since Moses also later built another altar shows a lack of understanding of the setting of the camp, the events, and the purpose for the altars in question and the later altar of the tabernacle which was ordained and ordered and consecrated by God. The altar that Moses first built was at the foot of the mountain between the camp which was on the plain and God who was on the top of the mountain. It was used in the consecration of the covenant; Moses called the people OUT of the camp which was on the plain to come to him at the base of the mountain to the altar while he read from the book of the covenant while standing next to the altar, dashing the blood of the covenant on the people and against the altar. God descended on the mountain and spoke from the cloud and fire which continued burning on the mountain even up to the time when Moses came down from the mountain following the 40 day fast when he witnessed the apostasy. The point in all the above is that God (and the altar) never physically moved from the place the Israelites first encountered Him at Mount Sinai. God was encountered on the mountain, having brought them to Him-self, and spoke the 10 commandments out of the “fire”, and God remained on the mountain, at the top of the mountain with Moses throughout the 40 days. The camp was on the plain, the altar Moses built was at the foot of the mountain “outside” the camp. The idol was “in” the camp which necessitated building another altar in order to sacrifice to the idol. We know scripturally that the idol was “in” the camp because Moses and Joshua heard the celebratory “noise” coming from “the camp”, and when they came “near the camp” they saw the calf and the dancing in the camp. The Israelites were impatient when Moses delayed in coming down the mountain more than likely because they were exposed, out in the open, not in fortified cities and without a visible manifestation or other evidence of god(s) “in the camp”, which meant that they would be seen as easy prey for any opposing army. In the period of time we’re talking about, virtually all ancient peoples had their own god(s) which they invoked for protection. Moses was still on the mountain, whether alive or dead they did not know, but it meant that the YHWH God was also still on the mountain. In addition to that, they could see with their own eyes that the fire from whence the voice of God had emanated the 10 commandments was still burning on the mountain top of the mountain, which was additional proof to the Israelites that the YHWH God was still on the top of the mountain, not with them “in” the camp. They wanted gods to “go before them” which meant they intended to break camp and leave Mount Sinai. So the Israelites would be without a god if they did make a god “in” the camp. They returned to what they knew and had been practicing in Egypt; they made the golden calf “IN” the camp, bowed down to “IT” and sacrificed to “IT” “IN” the camp, working themselves into a pagan ritualistic sexual frenzy, sacrificing to “it” NOT on the altar that Moses built for “the YHWH” but on the altar that Aaron built to “the idol.” By the way, your citation of Nehemiah 9:19 is misplaced and non-specific. It is a general statement regarding the pillar of cloud just as Nehemiah 9:15 is a general statement concerning the manna from heaven. We know that the manna didn’t start from the “beginning” of the exodus, but it started in the 2nd month after the exodus. In any event, they wouldn’t have understood the pillar of cloud as God “IN” the camp when they knew that God was on the top of the mountain for reasons I’ve just described. Furthermore, the pillar of cloud wasn’t “IN” the camp until the tabernacle was erected “IN” the camp. I’ve listed citations which are specific regarding the pillar of cloud and the tabernacle. Additionally, scripture tells us that the YHWH God wouldn’t yet “DWELL” “AMONG” the people “IN” the camp until the 1st day of the 2nd year when the tabernacle was inaugurated “IN” the camp and consecrated (with the “authorized” altar by the way) at the command of God. Only then did the Israelites later break camp and set out from Mount Sinai with the YHWH God “IN” the camp who then also “DWELLED IN THE CAMP.”
    • Exodus 19:4 “…I bore you on eagles’ wings and BROUGHT YOU TO MYSELF.”
    • Exodus 19:11 “…the YHWH will come down on Mount Sinai in the SIGHT of ALL the people.”
    • Exodus 19:17 “Moses brought the people OUT of the camp to MEET GOD.”
    • Exodus 19:18 “…the YHWH descended upon it in FIRE.”
    • Exodus 24:6 “Moses took half the blood and put it in basins and half the blood he dashed against the altar.”
    • Exodus 24:7 “Then he took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the YHWH has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.”
    • Exodus 24:17 “Now the appearance of the glory of the YHWH was like a devouring fire on the TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN in the SIGHT of the people of Israel.”
    • Exodus 32:1 “… Come, make gods for us, who shall “GO BEFORE US”…
    • Deuteronomy 9:12 “they have been quick to turn from the way that I commanded them; they have cast an image for THEMSELVES.”
    • Deuteronomy 9:15 “So I turned and went down from the mountain, WHILE THE MOUNTAIN WAS ABLAZE …”
    • Numbers 9:15,16,17 15 On the day the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant;[d] and from evening until morning it was over the tabernacle, having the appearance of fire. 16 It was always so: the cloud covered it by day[e] and the appearance of fire by night. 17 Whenever the cloud lifted from over the tent, then the Israelites would set out; and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the Israelites would camp.
    • Exodus 40:17 17 In the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, the tabernacle was set up. 18 Moses set up the tabernacle;
    • Exodus 29:43 – 45 43 I will meet with the Israelites there, and it shall be sanctified by my glory; 44 I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the “ALTAR”; Aaron also and his sons I will consecrate, to serve me as priests. 45 “I WILL DWELL AMONG” the Israelites, and I will be their God. 46 And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that “I might DWELL AMONG” them; I am the Lord their God.
    • Exodus 40: 34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 36 Whenever the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, the Israelites would set out on each stage of their journey; 37 but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out until the day that it was taken up. 38 For the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud[f] by night, before the eyes of all the house of Israel at each stage of their journey.
    • Numbers 10:11 11 In the second year, in the second month, on the twentieth day of the month, the cloud lifted from over the tabernacle of the covenant.[a] 12 Then the Israelites set out by stages from the wilderness of Sinai, and the cloud settled down in the wilderness of Paran. 13 THEY SET OUT FOR THE FIST TIME at the command of the Lord by Moses.

    You wrote, “You also failed to explain Deuteronomy 4:15.”
    Actually, I did address it. Here is a copy from a previous post of my response. You must have missed it.
    “Deuteronomy 4:15 is not as you claim a warning against making a representation of the YHWH. Just the opposite. It’s a warning against making a representation of a created thing including not bowing down to created things in the sky etcetera. God makes it clear that He is not a created thing since they saw no form.”

    You wrote: “Your interpretation that has people running around naked has no root outside of your own imagination. The Hebrew word “parua” never means “naked.””

    My response: Whether they were naked or not, does not significantly affect either argument, whether one holds, as you do, that the sin was “unintentional” or whether one holds as I do, that the sin was “intentional.” But the translation of the Hebrew to English didn’t come from my imagination as you well know. Many respected translations of the Hebrew Scriptures contain the word “naked” in verse 25, and the word “play” in verse 6. And the scholars of Hebrew doing the translations are standing on firm ground. It also makes sense from a historical perspective if you think about it; we know that ritual pagan sex was practiced by Israel and their surrounding pagan neighbors. In fact we see several biblical examples during the period of the kings providing us irrefutable proof that Israel engaged in even male on male (in other words, “homosexual”) ritual sex at their pagan temples throughout their land in the worship of idols. There were even male prostitutes IN THE TEMPLE OF GOD for crying out loud. Read 2 kings.

    Not only that, but you are mistaken in your claim about the Hebrew word “para.” It actually can mean to expose, to loosen, or to show lack of restraint among other meanings. Some examples of expose or uncover: Leviticus 10:6 “… UNCOVER not your heads …” 13:45; “… and his head BARE…”; 21:10 “… shall not UNCOVER his head …”; Numbers 5:18 “… and UNCOVER the woman’s head …”

    We must also consider the Hebrew word “tsachaq” used in verse 6 translated euphemistically to “play” as in “they sat down to eat and drink and rose up to “PLAY.” It is the same word Hebrew word translated to “play” or “sport” when Isaac was “playing” with his wife Genesis 26:8 “… behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife.”

    Either way, whether they were “exposed” and “playing” literally or figuratively, or just “playing” innocently, footsie or pin the tail on the donkey, the point is, they were “dancing”, they were “playing”, they were “shouting”, and they were either “naked” or “out of control” (depending on your translation and interpretation) to their “shame” among their “enemies” because Aaron had let them get “out of control” or “naked.” NOT a picture of Godly worship to say the least, but more likened to pagan worship.

    Lastly, the Israelites confirm after the fact, the intentional nature of their rejection of the YHWH. Moses stood at the gate of the camp (probably the gate closest to the Mountain) and offered them the opportunity to repent of their sin, to “side”, or “choose”, or stand “with” the YHWH (all translations mean basically the same), and signify their decision to be “with” the YHWH by going to Moses at the gate. They refused except for the tribe of Levite, thus confirming the intentionality of their idolatry (Exodus 32:25,26).

    You wrote: “If you want to see which of us is right, just look at Joshua 7. One man sins and all of Israel is held guilty.”

    My response: Ok, let’s look at Joshua 7. I see you are mixing apples and oranges by way of mixing the concepts of collective sin with the concept of intentional and unintentional sin. It is beyond the scope of our debate to go into the details of collective sin and collective punishment/atonement, but if you’d like to talk about that some other time I’d be happy to. For the purpose of our current debate I’ll keep it brief. The sin of the collective, in this case, the army and the nation, shares the same character (in terms of the original intention of the sin) as the sin of the person or persons upon which the collective sin is based. In this case, Achan was the only one who sinned and his sin was intentional (Joshua 7:20,21); therefore, the sin of the collective army/nation is intentional as well. God says in verse 11 “Israel has sinned… .” And concerning the origin of the collective sin, God say in verse 15 “And the “one” who is taken as having the devoted things shall be burned with fire… for having transgressed the covenant of the YHWH…”

    As I pointed out earlier in this post the remedy, because it is an intentional sin, is not found in the sacrificial system of the Law of Moses. That’s why God ordered the destruction of the one guilty person rather than a sacrificial remedy. And we see that only when ALL Israel, each individual, takes action against the one who originated the intentional collective sin (in this case by stoning him to death and burning all that he has) is Israel able to expunge from it the collective sin originated by Achan.

    I’ll address your comments regarding the sin of Jeroboam (the golden calves) in a follow-on post.

  2. David says:

    Hi Yisroel,

    The following post is in response to your comments regarding the sin of Jeroboam, the two calves found in kings.

    You wrote, “Elijah NEVER rebukes Ahab for worship of the calves – this is because in context of worship of the Baal – worship of the calves was not as serious.”

    My response: You have misjudged Scripture. Your reasoning is based on the false premise that because Elijah did not rebuke Ahab specifically for walking in the sins of Jeroboam, son of Nebat, concerning worship of the golden calves, it therefore follows that the worship of the golden calves must not be as serious as worship of Baal which he was specifically rebuked for. You overlook the fact that God does criticize the behavior of Ahab both specifically and generally on more than one occasion for the sins of Jeroboam, which included the golden calves. So your statement is based on erroneous thinking for several reasons. The reasons for Elijah’s rebuke of Ahab concerning Baal and not the golden calves, is explained in detail below. But in a nutshell, God is dealing with the more immediate and pressing problem of Baal. In addition, the Baal worship (unlike the golden calves worship) is directly related to the assassinations and attempted annihilation of God’s prophets and other faithful followers of the YHWH, at the command of Jezebel, herself being a Baal worshiper. A detailed explanation follows:

    a. First of all, because someone is rebuked for a specific act does not in and of itself mean that the other acts not mentioned in a particular rebuke are any better or worse. Case in point, Ahab was rebuked by a prophet for letting Ben-hadad off the hook, saying, “Because you have let the man go whom I had devoted to destruction, therefore your life shall be for his life, and your people for his people” (1 Kings 20:42) should we then conclude that God is only concerned about this one incident? Obviously not. Another example more to the point at hand, Elijah rebukes Ahab for the murder of Naboth, saying, “In the place where dogs licked up the blood of Naboth, dogs will also lick up your blood” (1 Kings 20:19). Should we conclude then that God cares any less for the blood of the 100s of prophets of the YHWH who were murdered during the reign of Ahab because they are not specifically mentioned in this particular rebuke? Of course not.
    b. So then why was Ahab rebuked? Answer: The nature of the worship of Baal was a more immediate and pressing problem. It became a more widely practiced sin through a wider geographical area throughout ALL of Israel. The cancer of worshiping Baal and other foreign gods eventually spread to ALL their towns, from “watchtower to fortified city”; they eventually set up pillars and Asherim on “EVERY” high hill and under “EVERY” green tree (2 Kings 17:9-11). The golden calves on the other hand were confined to, as you know, two locations, Bethel and Dan. The issue of Baal worship therefore, offered a far greater potential for immediate sin not because it was a worse sin, BUT because of the ubiquitous nature of Baal worship throughout ALL of the land of Israel. Furthermore and perhaps even more pressing of an issue was the problem than the worship of Baal was directly linked to the assassinations of God’s servants. The wife of Ahab, Jezebel, a foreigner from Sidon, herself a Baal worshiper, wheeled great influence throughout the entire kingdom imposing her idolatrous Baal worshiping practices on the entire kingdom including her husband, the king! As a result, there were vastly more priests and prophets loyal to Baal and Asherah by way of Jezebel than those loyal to the YHWH. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Jezebel was actively seeking out and killing off the prophets of the YHWH who opposed her idolatry! And if the above isn’t convincing enough, we have the scriptural evidence of a prophet speaking for the prophet Elisha (who was Elijah’s protégé, who took his place), who told Jehu that he shall strike down the house of his master, Ahab, for God to avenge on Jezebel the blood of His prophets, and the blood of His servants (2 Kings 9:7). Precious in the sight of the YHWH is the death of his faithful ones (Psalms 116:15).

    So let’s analyze Scripture to ascertain how God “really” feels about Baal worship in relation to the golden calves worship and the house of Ahab. As you’ll see, it’s not that walking in the sins of Jeroboam (which included worship of the golden calves) was a “light thing”, but rather that Ahab multiplied Jeroboams sins, and did that which not even Jeroboam had done!, becoming himself even more EVIL than “ALL” who were before him.

    And keep in mind that Jeroboam himself was more EVIL than ALL who were before him, because he had gone and made other gods and cast images (1 kings 14:9,10) which is why the house of Jeroboam was consumed by God.

    1 Kings 16:30 – Ahab son of Omri did evil in the sight of the YHWH more than all who were before him.
    1 Kings 16:31 – 33 (my emphasis on all the multiplied sins committed by Ahab above and beyond that of his predesessors) 31 And “AS IF” it had been a “LIGHT THING” for him to walk in the “SINS OF JEROBOAM” son of Nebat, he took as his wife “JEZEBEL” daughter of King “ETH-BAAL” of the “Sidonians”, and went and served “Baal” and worshiped him. 32 He erected an “altar” for Baal in the “house” of Baal, which he built in Samaria. 33 Ahab also made a sacred “pole.” Ahab did more to provoke the anger of the YHWH, the God of Israel, than had “ALL” the kings of Israel who were before him.

    You wrote: “Why are Jehoram and Jehu commended for destroying Baal worship if they were still engaged in worship of the golden claves?”

    My response: Your suggestion is perhaps that Baal is inherently a worse sin than the two calves and therefore the calves must be unintentional sin. Perhaps you are not seeing that God is commending an action which was done right while criticizing an action which was not. Furthermore, there is no proof or suggestion in scripture that Baal is inherently a worse sin as was already pointed out above. And to keep the facts straight, to be more scripturally accurate, while Jehu did wipe out Baal from Israel, it was the fact that he “dealt with the house of Ahab” that he was commended for.

    Now, to address your question, if you read Scripture you’ll see case after case where God often distinguishes between one action and another to highlight each in comparison relative to the other, comparing and contrasting that which is worse or better, commending this while rebuking that or at times rebuking to varying degrees two different actions, or commending to varying degrees the same person for different actions. Often times God compares the good or the evil actions of one individual or King with reference to another individual or King.

    Notice how God rebukes Jehoram son of Ahab, king of Israel, for “clinging” to the sin of Jeroboam, in spite of the fact that he removed the pillar of Baal that Ahab had made. God clearly holds the sin of Jeroboam (the golden calves) to be equally as serious as that of Baal. Yet God takes note of the fact that Jehoram is not as bad as his parents, Ahab and Jezebel, since he did remove the Baal.

    2 Kings 3:2,3
    2 He did what was evil in the sight of the YHWH, though not like his father and mother, for he removed the pillar of Baal that his father had made. 3 Nevertheless he clung to the sin of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to commit; he did not depart from it.

    Jehu is criticized for not following the YHWH with all his heart, by not turning aside from the sin of Jeroboam – the golden calves, in spite of the fact that he was applauded for specifically wiping out Baal from Israel. Perhaps if he had been more conscientious with regards to turning aside from the golden calves, his descendants would have enjoyed a longer reign over Israel then just 4 generations. He, Jehu, and all of his sons held to the sins of the golden calves.

    2 Kings 10:28 – 31
    28 Thus Jehu wiped out Baal from Israel. 29 But Jehu did not turn aside from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to commit—the golden calves that were in Bethel and in Dan. 30 The YHWH said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in carrying out what I consider right, and in accordance with all that was in my heart have dealt with the house of Ahab, your sons of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.” 31 But Jehu was not careful to follow the law of the YHWH the God of Israel with all his heart; he did not turn from the sins of Jeroboam, which he caused Israel to commit.

    All the kings of Israel from the 1st King, Jeroboam son of Nebat, to Ahaz are criticized by God for holding to the sin of Jeroboam, the golden calves. Israel is exiled due to their idolatry they learned from the nations around them, AND due to the sins introduced by the kings of Israel, which of course is the worship of the golden calves. The exile starts during the reign of Ahaz and is completed during the reign of Hoshea.
    2 Kings 17:16 – 18; 2 Kings 17:21 – 23

    16 They rejected all the commandments of the YHWH their God and “MADE FOR THEMSELVES CAST IMAGES OF TWO CALVES”; they made a sacred pole,[c] worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. 17 They made their sons and their daughters pass through fire; they used divination and augury; and they sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the YHWH, provoking him to anger. 18 Therefore the YHWH was very angry with Israel and removed them out of his sight; none was left but the tribe of Judah alone.

    21 When he had torn Israel from the house of David, they made Jeroboam son of Nebat king. Jeroboam drove Israel from following the YHWH and made them commit great sin. 22 The people of Israel continued in all the sins that Jeroboam committed; they did not depart from them 23 until the YHWH removed Israel out of his sight, as he had foretold through all his servants the prophets. So Israel was exiled from their own land to Assyria until this day.

    Hoshea is the ONLY king of Israel (The last king of the northern kingdom) who was not specifically criticized in Scripture for following the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, and causing Israel to sin likewise. And interestingly Hoshea is criticized by God for being EVIL, yet not as evil as the kings before him. That would include JEHU of course whom you erroneously say was not criticized for the golden calves and would mean that Jehu was more evil than Hoshea in spite of the fact that Jehu got rid of the Baal worship while clinging to the sin of the golden calves, and in spite of the fact that Hoshea was the ONLY king NOT criticized for the sins of Jeroboam.

    That by itself is yet more evidence discrediting your theory that Baal is inherently a worse sin than that of the golden calves worship, since Jehu’s only remaining sin after removing Baal was the golden calves and he was yet worse than Hoshea.

    2 Kings 17:2
    “He did what was evil in the sight of the YHWH, yet not like the kings of Israel who were before him.”

    And let’s not forget that it was during Hoshea’s reign that Israel went into exile. And why did Israel go into Exile? Because, among a litany of other noted disobedience and indulgence into evil, they worshiped other gods, they served idols, they went after false idols and became false, and they rejected the commandments of the YHWH their God and made for themselves cast images of two calves (2 kings 17:7 – 18).

  3. Pingback: Sins of Confusion II – Response to David | 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources

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