Exodus 32: 7-14
Exodus, the second book of the Bible, covers the period from the slavery in Egypt under Pharaoh (around 1250 BCE, if the account is historical), the call(s) of Moses, Exodus itself, and the early months in the Wilderness.
At Mount Sinai (the holy mountain is “Horeb” in some other books), Moses received the Law from YHWH for 40 days and nights. (“Forty” is a euphemism in the Bible for “a long time.”) While Moses was away, the people under Aaron (Moses’ brother) became impatient and cast a calf made from gold earrings that Egyptian women (somewhat curiously) gave them when they left Egypt. Aaron also built an altar and proclaimed a festival to YHWH.
YHWH is presented today’s passage as having very human qualities. At first, the angry God disowns the Israelites, says Moses brought them out of Egypt, and determines to “consume them.” Moses responds that “they are your people” and the Egyptians will question YHWH’s power and motives if the Israelites were rescued by YHWH and then were killed. He reminds YHWH of the promises to the Patriarchs, and YHWH’s mind is changed about bringing disaster on the people.
1 Timothy 1:12-17
The Letters to Timothy and Titus are called “Pastoral Letters” because they concern the internal life, governance and behavior of the early Christian churches and their members. Most scholars agree they were written in the early Second Century in Paul’s name by some of his followers (Paul died in 62 CE). Writing a document in someone else’s name was a common practice in the First and Second Centuries. By then, the Jesus Follower Community had become more institutionalized and concerns about “heresy” had arisen.
In today’s reading, as a prelude to opposing false teachings, “Paul” asserts his authority by saying that his conversion occurred “because [Jesus] judged me faithful and appointed me to his service (v.12). He states that Jesus the Christ made him “an example to those who would come to believe in [Jesus] for eternal life” (v. 16).