Okay, a few problems with Exodus 32:7-8. First of all, while speaking to Moses, God calls the Israelites, “your people,” indicating that Moses is their owner. Okay, maybe he’s just saying that Moses is their leader, but I still don’t agree with the phrasing. Obama may be the president of my country, but I would never call myself one of Obama’s people. And if there is a god out there forcing me to belong to someone else, screw that!
Second, in the more modern translation of the New International Version, God tells Moses that the Israelite have said, “these are your gods,” still using the plural form. However, I noticed that the NIV has a footnote which reads, “or This is your god,” (this also applies to the earlier use of the word “gods”). To me, this demonstrates that the translation is not as accurate as the KJV likes to pretend.
Finally, as I said before, if the stone tablets contain the Ten Commandments, like they do in the movie, then the Israelites have not yet seen them. And if they haven’t seen them, then they’re not yet aware that making idols is a sin, and therefore cannot be guilty of the crime. And this isn’t a case of being ignorant of the law. Any well run society makes it easy for civilians to see and understand the law of the land (I do not count the United States of America in this category because the laws are very cryptic and not made readily available). But as I said, this isn’t a case of the Israelites not making the effort to read the law, they couldn’t possibly know this law, even if they wanted to. Any ruler who keeps the law a secret and then punishes people for breaking the secret law, is an awful and unjust ruler!