Yahweh was the Golden Calf as Aaron, God’s spokesperson, declares in Exodus 32

Was the Golden Calf worshipped as Yahweh?

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

  Once in a while, one might hear some misinformed non-Muslim questioning the origin of Allah’s identity. Certain critics, in their ignoble efforts to blemish and besmirch Allah’s name, may even boldly propose, as many have, that Allah was a false idol worshipped by polytheists and pagans before the arrival of the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. Some critics, such as Robert Morey, have been more direct and specific in their attacks and have propelled such ideas as Allah being a moon god in pre-Islamic Arab communities. Such claims that are bereft of any evidence of any kind continue to plague non-Muslim sites and apologetics material against Islam. It seems, those who simply despise Islam, for reasons best known to them, would cling to any idea at all, however far fetched or untrue, so long as they can use it to confuse others and paint an ugly picture of Islam. In any case, this article shall turn the tables on those conniving detractors, who try to use this in their game to demonise and discredit Islam, and ultimately show that their point, which says that when Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. came to the scene, he simply adopted one of the many idols worshipped by polytheists in their idolatry (so the Muslim God in this faulty argument as we shall demonstrate is contended to be just an idol of ancient times deserving of rejection by claimants of monotheism), is absolutely devoid of proof and without any historical or archaeological evidence.

  The answer that we can offer to clarify the confusion that these critics have concerning Allah is quite easy and simple: there is absolutely no historical documentary evidence, not even a scintilla of proof anywhere or archaeological artifact that has ever been discovered that shows that there was ever an image or an idol that was fashioned by the hands of men to represent Allah or that was labelled as such. There are no statues, no manuscripts, no references anywhere, no inscription. There is absolutely zilch amount of data to support this baseless assumption and this cannot be stressed enough.

Allah tells us in the Qur’an unequivocally, “They worship besides Allah, that which can neither profit them nor harm them, and the disbeliever is ever a helper against the Lord.” (25:55)

 ويعبدون من دون الله مالا ينفعهم ولايضرهم وكانالكفرعلى ربه ظهيرا

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:

“Allah tells us how ignorant the idolaters are: instead of worshipping Allah, they worship idols which do not possess the power either to harm or benefit… So, they take these idols as protectors and fight for their sake, and they oppose Allah and His Messenger and the believers for their sake.” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir [Abridged], page 179)

According to the Qur’an and the above tafsir (interpretation by Ibn Kathir), it is evidently clear that the polytheists in pre-Islamic Arabia rejected Allah and so would not have had an idol of him that they would have worshipped. Nobody worships a God that they reject or do not really believe in, unless there is some form of compulsion involved, which would render the worship disingenuous anyway, but this is a different issue that can be discussed at a later time elsewhere. The point of the matter is, the Qur’anic evidence, which is the primary source for historical information concerning the belief system and practices of the Arab idolaters during that time, shows clearly that the Arabs couldn’t have made Allah into an idol since they didn’t bother worshipping him as a valid deity to begin with. But even if for the sake of argument we were to agree and accept that there was a time when Allah was made into an idol and worshipped as such, that is by no means an argument against the validity of Allah as God’s true name. It would be an inconsequential historical hiccough to the truth and reality of Islam. That is because it is a fundamental belief and doctrine in Islam that it came, in different phases throughout time to selected men called prophets, to correct the errors and mistakes of past nations and lead those at present to true guidance, therefore, if there was in fact a nation that erroneously made Allah into an idol and worshipped Him in that form, Islam, through many of its clear cut passages and exhortations such as Surah al-Ikhlas, came to correct and perfect that which was made imperfect through years of misguidance and misunderstanding.

Abul-Fazl Ezzati captures the essence of the above in a nutshell:

“But, as the final divine message to mankind, Islam came to correct and perfect those previous messages.” [1]

However, one who is well-versed in the Qur’an might say that there are verses in the Qur’an that point to the fact that the Quraish pagans or idolaters did in fact recognise Allah as the Supreme Deity who created the universe, the Ultimate Creator. It is true that the Qur’an does contain such verses, for example, in Surah al-Zumar, verse 38 the Arab idolaters when asked the question, “Who made the heavens and the earth?” they would reply, “Allah,” so does this mean that they did in fact worship Allah as one of many deities in pre-Islamic Arabia? Well, first of all, al-Zumar, verse 38 is not alone in its testimony concerning the Arab pagans’ recognition of the Lordship of Allah, that is, He is the Ultimate Creator. Other verses do inform us of this fact as well such as in 29:61, 29:63 and in 43:87, we are told that when the Arab idolaters were asked, “Who created them?” they replied, “Allah”. So do these Quranic verses prove that Allah was actually worshipped as an idol in pre-Islamic Arabia? Well, there are a few things we have observe when we analyse the verses in question. Firstly, we should note that as we have stated above, even if for the sake of argument, we were to accept that Allah was actually made into an idol and worshipped as such by some misguided pre-Islamic Arab or even non-Arab group or community, this does not impinge on the Islamic fundamental belief that Allah is the pure name of the one true God of all of creation. We need not repeat what we have already explained above. If it remains foggy to you, then please trace your steps and reread what has been said about this just a paragraph before this. Secondly, the verses do not actually say that all of the Arab idolaters identified Allah as the Ultimate Creator and it is possible that only a small fraction did and this would then be inconsequential to our discussion. Thirdly, if we read Surah al-Zumar, verse 38 in its entirety, we will understand that the Qur’an’s testimony is clear and in line with what Ibn Kathir, cited above, explains, i.e. the Arab pagans despite their recognition of Allah as the Supreme Deity after probing upon probing by Allah’s messenger, had no interest in actually worshipping Him and instead preferred other deities that they did worship as idols. Here is Surah al-Zumar, verse 38, ” And if you ask them as to who created the heavens and the earth, they will certainly say, “Allah.” Say, “Then, tell me about those whom you invoke other than Allah, if Allah intends to cause some harm to me, are they (able) to remove the harm caused by Him? Or if He intends to bless me with mercy, are they (able) to hold back His mercy (from me)?” Say, “Allah is sufficient for me. In Him trust those who (rightly) trust (in someone).” So here when we read the verse in its full, we see that the Qur’an rebukes this group of Arab pagans as they put aside worship of Allah in preference to idolatry. Fourthly, above all else, in none of these verses and passages do we find a depiction or an instance where the Qur’an testifies in any way that these pagan Arabs actually worshipped Allah in the form of an idol. Nowhere in these verse do we find evidence of any kind that there was some absurd Arab person who fashioned a statue or some type of idol and thereafter worshipped it as Allah. Finally, we should point out that just because a being or an entity recognises the Lordship or Godhood of Allah that does not mean that the individual would be inclined necessarily to follow His precepts and worship Him. A clear example of this is Satan who without a doubt knows 100% who God is and yet he continues, unabashedly, in his relentless rebellion and actually guide people in his wretched whispers to misguidance and call them to the worship of idols and false gods in derogation of the One True God, Allah whom they recognise and know as being the One and Only true God. Therefore, just because these Arabs recognised with their lips (giving only lip service) that Allah was seen as Supreme Deity and Creator, their actions and practices indicate that they didn’t care nor bothered with Allah and would rather immerse themselves in their ancestral practices of idolatry that had absolutely nothing to do with Allah.

Let us refresh our minds and recap the detractor’s proposition: Allah was a pre-Islamic idol worshipped by pre-Islamic Arabian people in their idolatry. We have already refuted this claim and shown that it has absolutely no foundation and history, but let us entertain it as if it were true and see where it will lead us. If indeed Allah is to be rejected because He was made into an idol and worshipped as such, then, in fact, Yahweh, the biblical deity, is to be equally and even more strongly rejected because he was truly and clearly worshipped as an idol: Aaron who was appointed by God Himself as Moses’ spokesperson (Exodus 7:1), created the Golden Calf idol from the jewelry of the Israelites and labelled it “YAHWEH.” He then instructed the Israelites to identify it as Yahweh and make a religious celebration (worship) in the name of the Golden Calf who was now identified as Yahweh by Aaron and those Israelites that hearkened to his call.

Exodus 32:4

“And he received it at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, and made it a molten calf; and they said: ‘This is thy god, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt,’ ” (JPS Tanakh 1917)

Many other versions of the Bible try to blur the obvious meaning of the above by preferring to translate it based on linguistics and grammatical considerations rather than contextual*. Among them include the King James Bible, English Standard Version and the New Living Translation and they make the above unclear by translating ‘god’ as ‘gods’ making it appear as if the one made into the golden calf was not in fact identified as YHWH, the One God of Israel. The JPS, however, is not alone in its translation but is backed by quite a few other Bibles such as the New American Standard Bible, Holman Christian Standard Bible, New American Standard 1977 edition and Darby Bible Translation.

*To be fair to the KJV, ESV and NLT versions that render ‘god’ as ‘gods’, we should note here that in Hebrew if a noun appears to be plural with the masculine plural ending suffixed to it as is the case with the noun ‘god’ as it appears in the Hebrew of Exodus 32:4 (elohim), then to determine its numerical value, one would look at its verbs, i.e. are the verbs formatted in the plural or the singular. Typically, in Hebrew the numerical value of a noun is determined by whether its verb or verbs are structured in the singular or plural, i.e. if the verb is plural, then the noun is treated as plural and if it is singular then the noun is treated singular. This point is mentioned in brief by the New Jerome Biblical Commentary in its commentary on the verse in question and we will refer to this commentary again later. But a question would arise as to why we contend that these Bibles consciously try to blur the actual meaning of the verse. We say this because there are an equal set of authoritative Bibles, some by Jewish sources and others by Christian (Trinitarian sources), that we have named above that depart from the grammatical consideration that we have elucidated here in translating the verse in question. Why would they do that if it is not to make clear the real intention of the verse in question so that the accurate meaning, rather than the technical grammatical one, of the text reaches the reader?

In any case, how do we truly determine which of the two positions above is that one that is scripturally sounds and yet linguistically tenable at the same time? To determine which of the true has the strongest position, we simply have to put it side-by-side with the next verse and see it in its immediate context.

Exodus 32:5

“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.”

This verse is obviously a follow up to the previous verse and here it qualifies unequivocally the identity of the “god” or “gods” mentioned in the previous verse. It reveals the identity of the “god” as YHWH and the idol represents him. YHWH (Yahweh) for those who do not know is of course the One Lord of Israel (Deuteronomy 6:4). And the above translation comes from the KJBV, which in its rendering of the previous verse inconsistently, probably due to theological motivations, blur the identity of the being meant by making it plural when it should in fact be singular (in terms of meaning rather than grammar) because YHWH, being the One Singular God of Israel, is always treated as singular. We know that the word Lord in Hebrew is adon, but when it is used for God then it is adonai. Granted, that the two verses that we have seen so far seem to speak of God, none of them in the English appear to actually mention YHWH (Yahweh). So how do we then say that Aaron was actually identifying the idol, the golden calf as YHWH when the text doesn’t mention YHWH? Well, in context, we already know that the Jewish people had been instructed prior to their idolatry in Exodus 32 to only worship the One God of Israel and so when the Exodus 32:4 and 5 speak of “god” and “the Lord”, it could not logically and exegetically refer to anything else except that “God of Israel”, i.e. YHWH. More clearly is the fact that the original text of Exodus 32:5 in the Hebrew mentions YHWH and modern English translations have substituted that word with “The Lord” (or adonai) out of reverence to the name, i.e. traditionally the name YHWH would not be uttered or spoken out loud due to the great reverence it is given. This may not appear sensible to others beyond Judaism and some Christian denominations who maintain this Jewish tradition, but that is just how it has been all these centuries. Be that as it may, the Hebrew text does in fact identify the golden calf to whom religious celebration is given upon the proclamation of Aaron as YHWH:

(Exodus 32:5) וירא אהרן ויבן מזבח לפניו ויקרא אהרן ויאמר חג ליהוה מחר

The underlined and bold word ליהוה  is transliterated as LEYHWH (lamed yod heh vav heh). The prefix lamed means “to” as in “make a feast to YHWH” as per Aaron’s proclamation in the verse, but the word we’re concern with is the original word behind the translated one “The Lord” which is in fact as we clearly see יהוה  (YHWH). 

John Day writes:

“Granted that the golden calves denoted YHWH rather than some foreign deity…” [2]

Called to Be God’s People: an Introduction to the Old Testament identify the golden calf incident with Exodus 32 and that this event had Yahweh involved as the one made into an idol.

“Their human nature is set against Yahweh’s will. The Law shows the Israelite habit of rebellion in Moses’ summary of the golden calf event (Deut 9:18-29; see Exod 32).” [3]

William Lucas writes:

“While Moses comprehended the more advanced Egyptian religious philosophy, the Bedouin slaves knew little about such teachings, but they had never entirely forgotten the god of Mount Horeb, whom their ancestors called Yahweh… Moses thus was educated as an El-Shaddaist; through the influence of his father-in-law, he became an El Elyonist; and by the time of Hebrew encampment about Mount Sinai after the flight from Egypt, he had formulated a new and enlarged concept of deity (derived from all his former beliefs), which he wisely decided to proclaim to his people as an expanded concept of their older tribal god, Yahweh.” [4]

In the above, Lucas contends that in his historical studies, he finds that the biblical Moses simply adopts a concept of God that he had picked up, then modifies it through the influence of interactions that he had with his father-in-law and this God was known and labelled as “Yahweh” by his people (it was their tribal god) whom they associated with the golden calf.

“But always was he plagued by the awkward predicament of trying to present his new and higher idea of deity to these ignorant slaves under the guise of the ancient term Yahweh. which had always symbolized the golden calf of the Bedouin tribes.” [5] (emphasis added)

So, according to Lucas, Yahweh is an ancient God that was always identified by certain communities as the golden calf idol.

Biblical scholar John Craghan identifies the golden calf as an idol that was identified as YHWH and expands further saying that this practice and belief is an ancient belief that Israel was immersed in. To Craghan, this belief and practice of idolatry do not actually oppose the ten commandments on the prohibition of false images.

“Such a group under the leadership of Aaron may have broken away from allegiance to Moses and insisted on a bull figure as their symbol of the divine presence…

It should be noted that the Golden Calf does not violate the prescription of the Ten Commandments regarding false images (20:4-5). That prohibition concerns the person of Yahweh, whereas the Golden Calf (actually a young bull) looks to an attribute of Yahweh -strength… Israel’s history, however, shows that the people did not always distinguish between the deity and the deity’s attribute and so identified the young bull with Yahweh (see Hos 13:2).” [5] (emphasis added)

Avner Falk commenting on the golden calf fiasco writes:

“The key to the golden calf story was the psychological identity of Yahweh and the golden image of the bull. If the old bull Yahweh, like the Canaanite El, was a bull god, the golden calf episode represents the longing of the Israelites for their old totem god…the first king of Israel after its secession from Judah, represented Yahweh, the bull god, and Moses, the calf god. We have archaeological evidence, however, that these Israelite “calves” were a bull and a cow, Yahweh and Asherah, the father god and the mother goddess (Gilula 1978-79; Meshel 1979; Dever 1984; Lemaire 1984; Olyan 1988).” [6]

In the above, the scholar Falk informs his readers that not only do we have testimony that the golden calf was worshipped as YHWH by the peoples of Israel, but there is good archaeological evidence that demonstrates this as well.

Calum Carmichael explains that the religious devotion and celebration directed to the golden calf was in fact for Yahweh. The idol was named Yahweh and identified as the true God of Israel and Aaron proclaimed that religious devotion and celebration should be given in its name the very next day after its creation and erection upon a pedestal or altar.

“Aaron builds an altar for it and proclaims the next day as a feast day on which the people should celebrated Yahweh. This idol, then, will have an altar in its honor and will enjoy the name Yahweh – a name that the narrator associates only with the invisible Yahweh of the events of the Exodus – and a day of celebration.” [7] (emphasis added)

Richard J. Clifford, Professor of Old Testament, Weston School of Theology, Cambridge in his commentary on Exodus 32:

“In the story of Israel’s very origins, there was apostasy (and forgiveness leading to a renewal of covenant). In ancient Near Eastern iconography bulls figure prominently either as representations of god, e.g., Bull El in the Ugaritic texts, or as animal thrones of deities standing upon their backs. In the people’s eyes, the images represent Yahweh (hence an altar is built before them), contrary to Israel’s aniconic tradition… Worship is given to the false representation of Yahweh (Ex. 32: 6); eating and drinking before the deity are a rite of sharing the hospitality of the great one, becoming his client, a rejection of the rite in 24:11.” [8] 

Although Clifford disagrees with Craghan on the breaching of the ten commandments, “worship of them violates the first commandment (20:2-7),” [9] he nevertheless recognises, as do the other scholars, researchers and writers above and many other that we have not named and cited due to brevity’s sake, that the golden calf was in fact identified and seen as Yahweh by Aaaron and the Israelites who followed his idolatrous proclamation.

In the foregoing discussion, we have seen clear biblical and arhaeological evidence that Yahweh was once upon a time, for a long time, identified and labelled as a bull or more prominently as he is featured in Exodus 32, the golden calf, manmade items, idols and graven images that were derogatory to God’s Holiness and Oneness. And this blasphemy was committed in the biblical narrative by none other than Arron, the designated spokesperson of Moses, chosen by YHWH Himself. Therefore, if Allah is to be rejected on the basis that He was supposedly, in the past in pre-Islamic Arabia, equated with some idol somewhere by some misguided and unfortunate soul, for which there is no scriptural or historical evidence, then to remain consistent, which is the fundamental precept of coherent and sound discourse, applying the same criterion of evaluation YHWH too must be rejected as a false deity. And since there is actual biblical proof and archaeological artifacts that clearly show YHWH to be identified and worshipped as an idol, bulls and the golden calf, a much stronger case can be made against these detractors who try to reject Allah as God. But since there is no evidence at all that Allah has ever been made into an idol, He was and remains inpristine holiness and purity without blemish and based on the criterion that the critics use to reject Allah, it becomes an argument and a proof against them in the end and there is no excuse but to accept Allah as the pure Deity that He is – never made into an image or an idol of any kind.


[1] Abul-Fazl Ezzati (2002). The Spread of Islam: The Contributing Factors. London: Islamic College for Advance Islamic Studies Press. p. 8)

[2]Day, J. (2000). Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan. New York: Sheffield Academic Press Ltd. p. 37

[3] Anon. (2015). The Pentateuch: Deuteronomy. In Andrew E. Steinmann, Michael Eschelbach, Curtis Giese & Paul Puffe (Eds.), Called To be God’s People Abridged Edition: An Introduction to the Old Testament. Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 115

[4] Lucas, W. (2010). The Urantia Book: Revealing the Mysteries of God, the Universe, Jesus, and Ourselves. Illinois, Chicago: Urantia Foundation. p. 1056

[5] Craghan, J. F. (1992). Exodus. In Dianne Bergant (Ed.), The Collegeville Bible Commentary Based on the New American Bible: Old Testament. Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press. p. 109

[6] Falk, A. (1996). A Psychoanalytic History of the Jews. London: Associated University Presses. p. 91

[7] Carmichael, C. (1996). The Spirit of Biblical Law. Athens, Georgia: The University of Georgia Press. p. 87

[8] Clifford, R. J. (1990). Exodus. In Roland E. Murphy (Ed.), The New Jerome Biblical Commentary. New Jersey: Prentice Hall. p. 59

[9] Ibid.

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9 Responses to “Yahweh was the Golden Calf as Aaron, God’s spokesperson, declares in Exodus 32”

  1. Aliyu Musa says:

    Quite informative. Thanks.

  2. DefendChrist says:

    You know for a fact that it was Aaron and not Moses that did this, if it was Moses then I have no problem with what you are saying. Are you saying you believe the wording of the OT?

    Moses was on the mountain at the time receiving the 10 commandments from who?

    The issue we have here is Allah is not YHWH and you Muslims have been spending the last thousand years trying to prove the bible is incorrect and that Islam is true.

    • Ibn Anwar says:

      Yes, the title of the article itself identifies the culprit according to the Bible as being Aaron. I’m not sure what your point is. Have you actually read the article? From your comment, it would seem that you have not because the article’s main purpose is not merely to point out who became idolatrous, Moses or Aaron (though this poses a problem because both of them were specifically chosen by God; Exodus 7:1 as I point out in the article), but to turn the tables on those who try to dismiss Allah as God’s true name simply on the basis of a baseless claim that some individual, tribe or community in Pre-Islamic Arabia or elsewhere may have worshipped Him in the form of an idol. There were and still remain Christians, that is, Christian missionaries who use this as a point of contention against Islam and they will start to talk about the old-dimissed idea of a moon god etc. So in the article, in detail, I point out to the fact that is undeniable that YHWH according to archaeological and biblical texts themselves was for a long time worshipped as idols in the form of bulls and more particularly, in the time of Moses, under Aaron, a spokesperson for Moses and therefore, God appointed by Him as such in Exodus 7:1, worshipped and identified YHWH as the Golden Calf idol. So by the logic of the missionaries because YHWH as a deity was fashioned into an idol and worshipped in that form, he should be rejected as a false god, an idol. Had you actually read the article, you would have understood all of this and I wouldn’t have had to waste five minutes of my time and energy summarising what I wrote to dispel your confusion.

    • mrt says:

      “The issue we have here is Allah is not YHWH and you Muslims ha”

      it seems that EL is the proper name of God and only later does yhwh get conflated with EL

      Mark Smith writes:

      “The priestly theological treatment of Israel’s early religious history in Exodus 6:2-3 identifies the old god El Shadday with Yahweh. In this passage Yahweh appears to Moses: ‘And God said to Moses, “I am Yahweh. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as El Shadday, but by my name Yahweh I did not make myself known to them” ‘. This passage reflects the fact that Yahweh was unknown to the patriarchs. Rather, they worshipped the Canaanite god El. Inscriptional texts from Deir ‘Alla, a site noth of Jericho across the Jordan River, attest to the epithet Shadday….The author of Exodus 6:2-3 perhaps did not know of or make this distinction; rather, he identified Yahweh with the traditions of the great Canaanite god El”. (The Early History of God, p. 34)

      “This late occurrence is odd because the Bible says that Yahweh was the name that began to be used during Adam’s generation (Genesis 4:26) and was used by the Patriarchs (see Genesis 12:7-9, in contradiction to the statement in Exodus 6:3).”

      so my argument is that just like you pagan christians, the jews must have been saying ” who is this yhwh our god is El”

  3. mrt says:

    more proof that el was the proper name of God

    Genesis 46:1-3 (NJB):
    1So Israel set out with all his possessions. Arriving at Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. 2God spoke to Israel in a vision at night, “Jacob, Jacob,” he said. “Here I am,” he replied. 3“I am El, God of your father,” he said. “Do not be afraid of going down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there.

    1So Israel set out with all that was his, and when he reached Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.2 And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, “Jacob! Jacob!”“Here I am,” he replied. 3 “I am God, the God of your father,” he said.

    notice how niv has changed “el” to god so that one assumes “el” is not the name of god?

  4. mrt says:


    for christian like “defendkrist” to come here and tell muslim that Allah is not yhwh while knowing that yhwh was not the name known to the patriarcs makes one really feel anger on such people

    why don’t you place yourself back in moses time and take your argument about name change with moses?

  5. rob says:


    , i.e. if the verb is singular, then the noun is treated as plural and if it is singular then the noun is treated singular. ”

    The Rabbinical commentary:


    “These are your gods: But it does not say, “These are our gods.” -[from here [we learn] that the mixed multitude who had come up from Egypt were the ones who gathered against Aaron, and they were the ones who made it [the calf]. Afterwards, they caused the Israelites to stray after it. -[from Midrash Tanchuma 19]”

    isn’t this refuted when god tells moses that his people are doing harlotry with animal?

    • Ibn Anwar says:


      , i.e. if the verb is singular, then the noun is treated as plural and if it is singular then the noun is treated singular. ”

      Reply: That’s not a mistake. That contains a typo which has been rectified.

      As for the rest of your comment, it is evident that you have completely missed the whole point of the article.

  6. rob says:

    “As for the rest of your comment, it is evident that you have completely missed the whole point of the article.”

    i quoted the jewish apologetic which assumes that the named object was named not by the children but by non hebrews.
    to counter this i said :

    “isn’t this refuted when god tells moses that his people are doing harlotry with animal?”

    in other words god is telling moses that jews were worshipping an animal, so the spin created by the commentary which, i quoted, does not solve the problem .

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