Exodus 32:27
He told them, "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'Each of you men is to fasten his sword to his side, go back and forth through the camp from gate to gate, and slay his brother, his friend, and his neighbor.'"
Idolatry PunishedD. C. Hughes, M. A.Exodus 32:27
Penalty a Veiled BlessingS. S. TimesExodus 32:27
Judgment and MercyJ. Urquhart Exodus 32:15-35
The Zeal of LeviJ. Orr Exodus 32:25-30
The following points suggest a practical treatment of the passage -

I. IN THE WARFARE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL, THERE IS NEED FOR TAKING SIDES. Some side we must take. We cannot remain neutral. Not to be on the Lord's side, is to be on the side of his enemies. It is our duty to choose the Lord's side.

(1) He has a claim on our allegiance.

(2) It is the side of honour and of duty.

(3) It is the side we will ultimately wish we had chosen.

II. THE EXAMPLE OF ONE GOOD MAN, IN DECLARING HIMSELF ON THE LORD'S SIDE, AFFORDS A RALLYING-POINT FOR OTHERS. He gathers others around him. His influence decides and emboldens them.

III. THE TEST OF BEING ON THE LORD'S SIDE IS, THAT, WHEN OTHERS ARE APOSTATISING AROUND US, WE REMAIN FAITHFUL. Weak natures will always go with the multitude. Decided piety shows itself in being able to resist the contagion of numbers. It needs courage to be singular.


(1) The obligation of personal consecration.

(2) The obligation of renouncing earthly ties, so far as inconsistent with the higher allegiance.

(3) The obligation of doing the Lord's work.


Slay every man his brother.

1. Their historical character.

2. The recent experiences through which they had passed.

3. In view of these facts what a revelation of human nature we have here!

(1)Of its fickleness.

(2)Of the difficulty of making deep religious impressions.

(3)Of the imperiousness of the religious nature (ver. 1).

(4)Of the depraved tendency of man's natural religious instincts (ver. 6).

(5)Of the ingratitude of human nature.

(6)Of the weakness of their present leader, Aaron.


1. The opportunity to repent before the punishment was meted out (ver. 26).

2. The fidelity of the sons of Levi.

3. The terrible slaughter (vers. 27, 28).

4. The condition of forgiveness (vers. 29, 30).

5. The tender-hearted intercessor (vers. 31, 32).

6. The result of the intercession (vers. 33-35).Lessons:

1. The plausible grounds on which men justify themselves in following their inclinations.

(1)Doubtless the leaders in this idolatry were those who had been corrupted in Egypt, and were longing to have a taste of Egyptian religion.

(2)Their excuse was the delay of Moses in coming down from the mount.

2. The ease with which some leaders will fall in with a popular cry.

3. False leaders will lie to justify themselves.

4. What a power for good or evil is a great popular enthusiasm!

5. The contrast between the religion of man and the religion of God.

6. Sin is no less odious in God's sight because it is committed in the name of religion. God is ever ready to forgive the truly penitent.

(D. C. Hughes, M. A.)

S. S. Times.
When a thunderstorm is in progress, and torrents of rain are falling, one might wonder why God allowed such a seemingly evil thing to happen. But the farmer, who has been watching for weeks for some sign of rain, knows that this sudden storm and downpour is a blessing in disguise. So the penalties by which God preserved the Israelites from complete self-destruction were veiled blessings. Frowning fortresses, heavy artillery, and iron-clad ships are sometimes God's best instruments in His sharp surgery of the nations. It is hard to see how the visitation of a penalty is often an act of mercy; but when Moses for his sin was denied an entrance into the Holy Land, was it, after all, a great hardship that he was taken into God's Paradise instead?

(S. S. Times.)

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