Exodus 32:2
(2) And Aaron said . . . Break off the golden earrings.--It is a reasonable conjecture that Aaron thought to prevent the projected idolatry by this requirement. Not having the courage to meet the demand of the people with a direct negative, he may have aimed at diverting them from their purpose by requiring a sacrifice which they would be unwilling to make, viz., the personal ornaments of their wives and children. The women might reasonably have been expected to resist, and the men to yield before such resistance; but the event proved otherwise.

Your sons.--Earrings are worn in the East almost as much by men as by women. Most Assyrian and some Egyptian monarchs are represented with them.

Verse 2. - Break off. "Take off" would perhaps be a better translation. The ear-rings would not require any breaking. They were penannular, and could be removed by a smart pull. Your wives, your sons, and your daughters. See the comment on Exodus 3:22. It is implied that the men did not wear earrings. At an earlier date the household of Jacob, chiefly men, had worn them (Genesis 35:4).

32:1-6 While Moses was in the mount, receiving the law from God, the people made a tumultuous address to Aaron. This giddy multitude were weary of waiting for the return of Moses. Weariness in waiting betrays to many temptations. The Lord must be waited for till he comes, and waited for though he tarry. Let their readiness to part with their ear-rings to make an idol, shame our stubbornness in the service of the true God. They did not draw back on account of the cost of their idolatry; and shall we grudge the expenses of religion? Aaron produced the shape of an ox or calf, giving it some finish with a graving tool. They offered sacrifice to this idol. Having set up an image before them, and so changed the truth of God into a lie, their sacrifices were abomination. Had they not, only a few days before, in this very place, heard the voice of the Lord God speaking to them out of the midst of the fire, Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image? Had they not themselves solemnly entered into covenant with God, that they would do all he had said to them, and would be obedient? ch. 24:7. Yet before they stirred from the place where this covenant had been solemnly made, they brake an express command, in defiance of an express threatening. It plainly shows, that the law was no more able to make holy, than it was to justify; by it is the knowledge of sin, but not the cure of sin. Aaron was set apart by the Divine appointment to the office of the priesthood; but he, who had once shamed himself so far as to build an altar to a golden calf, must own himself unworthy of the honour of attending at the altar of God, and indebted to free grace alone for it. Thus pride and boasting were silenced.And Aaron said unto them,.... Perceiving that they were not to be dissuaded from their evil counsel, and diverted from their purpose, but were determined at all events to have an image made to represent God unto them in a visible manner:

break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters; these were some of the jewels in gold they had borrowed of the Egyptians; and it seems that, in those times and countries, men, as well as women, used to wear earrings, and so Pliny (w) says, in the eastern countries men used to wear gold in their ears; and this may be confirmed from the instance of the Ishmaelites and Midianites, Judges 8:24. Aaron did not ask the men for theirs, but for those of their wives and children; it may be, because he might suppose they were more fond of them, and would not so easily part with them, hoping by this means to have put them off of their design:

and bring them unto me; to make a god of, as they desired, that is, the representation of one.

(w) Nat. Hist. l. 11. c. 37.

Exodus 32:1
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