1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
2 And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me.
And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron.
And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
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.
6 And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings, and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.
7 ¶ And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves.
SO tired were the children of Israel waiting at the foot of Mount Sinai for the return of Moses, that Aaron to pacify them made a golden calf which they worshipped. To procure the gold he took the jewelry of the women young and old, men never understanding how precious it is to them, and the great self-sacrifice required to part with it. But as the men generally give it to them during courtship, and as wedding presents, they feel that they have a vested right therein for emergencies.
It was just so in the American Revolution, in 1776, the first delicacy the men threw overboard in Boston harbor was the tea, woman's favorite beverage. The tobacco and whiskey, though heavily taxed, they clung to with the tenacity of the devil-fish. Rather than throw their luxuries overboard they would no doubt have succumbed to King George's pretensions. Men think that self-sacrifice is the most charming of all the cardinal virtues for women, and in order to keep it in healthy working order, they make opportunities for its illustration as often as possible. I would fain teach women that self-development is a higher duty than self-sacrifice.
The pillar of cloud for day and light for night, that went before the children of Israel in the wilderness, was indeed a marvel. It was an aqueous cloud that kept them well watered by day, and shadowed from the heat of the sun; by night it showed its light side to the Israelites, and its dark side to whatever enemy might pursue them. It is supposed that about 3,200,000 started on this march with 165,000 children. They carried all their provisions, cooking utensils, flocks, herds and all the gold, silver, precious stones and rich raiment that they borrowed (stole) of the Egyptians, besides the bones of the twelve sons of Jacob. It is said the Israelites spent forty years wandering in the wilderness, kept there because of their wickedness, though they might have accomplished the journey in a few weeks. They disobeyed the commandments given them by Moses, and worshipped a golden calf, so they journeyed through deep waters, woe and tribulation. Fire was always a significant emblem of Deity, not only among the Hebrews but many other ancient nations, hence men have adopted it as a male emblem. They talk of Moses seeing God; but Moses says: "ye saw no manner of similitude on the day the Lord spoke unto me on Mount Horeb out of the cloud of fire."
E. C. S.