Exodus 32:12

Hebrew Bible

10 So now, leave me alone so that my anger can burn against them and I can destroy them, and I will make from you a great nation.” 11 But Moses sought the favor of the Lord his God and said, “O Lord, why does your anger burn against your people, whom you have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘For evil he led them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your burning anger, and relent of this evil against your people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel your servants, to whom you swore by yourself and told them, ‘I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken about I will give to your descendants, and they will inherit it forever.’” 14 Then the Lord relented over the evil that he had said he would do to his people.

Wisdom of Solomon 16:8


6 they were troubled for a little while as a warning, and received a symbol of deliverance to remind them of your law's command. 7 For the one who turned toward it was saved, not by the thing that was beheld, but by you, the Savior of all. 8 And by this also you convinced our enemies that it is you who deliver from every evil. 9 For they were killed by the bites of locusts and flies, and no healing was found for them, because they deserved to be punished by such things. 10 But your children were not conquered even by the fangs of venomous serpents, for your mercy came to their help and healed them.

 Notes and References

"... The purpose of the serpents sent by God was to warn and remind his people to observe his law. This explanation of God's pedagogical purpose here refutes the Egyptians' claim that God brought his people into the wilderness simply to destroy them (Exodus 32:12; Numbers 14:13-16; Deuteronomy 9:28). Wisdom counters that God did not want to hurt them but wanted to save them. The bronze serpent then was not an animal idol (although some Israelites later treated it as one, 2 Kings 18:4) but a token of deliverance or 'sign of salvation' (Wisdom of Solomon 16:6). Lest anyone be confused, the author goes out of his way to explain that the bronze serpent possessed no inherent, totemic power to heal people. The unseen God is the one who saves people, not the bronze serpent itself. The fact that the God of Israel is 'Savior of all' reassures his people that his power is universal. 'Savior of all' was used to refer to Serapis, a popular god in Alexandria - a hint that the author is seeking to dissuade his audience from worshiping this specific false god ... Even the Egyptians were convinced of God's power to save by his care for the Israelites in the wilderness. Some indications in the wilderness texts point to the possibility of communication between the two groups (Numbers 14:13-14) ... [compare] Wisdom of Solomon 16:8 'Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil.' ..."

Giszczak, Mark Wisdom of Solomon (p. 101) Baker Academic, 2024

 User Comments

Do you have questions or comments about these texts? Please submit them here.