Did Moses Persuade God to Change His Mind?
Exo.32:1 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 the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him
32:2 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.
32:3 And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron.
32:4 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.
32:6 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.
32:7 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.
32:8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which i commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshiped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
32:10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and i will make of thee a great nation.
32:11 And Moses besought the lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt wi th great power, and with a mighty hand?
32:12 Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.
32:13 Remember Abraham, Isaac and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swearest by thine own self, and saidest unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it forever.
32:14 And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.
Some conclusions of modern
NASV Exo.32:14: So the Lord changed His mind...
Open theists say God changes His mind with changing circumstances, which is just absurd modern humanism.
Modern scholars need to adopt better
Num.19:20 God is not a man that he should lie; neither the son of man that he should repent.
This repentance is that of man, and the repentance of Exodus 32:14 is a unique one that pertains only to God, as we'll see in some commentary below.
The notion that a man persuaded God to change His mind is nonsense. What happened here is that God tested Moses to prepare him to be a mediator on behalf of the Hebrews, and there is a pattern here which Moses had to fulfill. He first had to resist the offer to be a father of his people, a role like the one of Abraham earlier. Then he had to offer the three crucial reasons why God should not destroy His people, despite their gross disobedience and lack of faith, and he did just that. First, he noted that God brought the people out of Egypt by a power that only He possesses, and this great deliverance couldn't be wasted. Second, he noted that the purpose would be defeated in the eyes of the Egyptians if He slew the people for their sin. Third, he noted that the promise to fathers of Israel to make these rebels become His people can't be annulled since it was God's promise. Only after Moses spoke of these three points could God repent of His judgment unto destruction. At that point the role of Moses as a mediator for the people was fulfilled as he prefigured the ultimate mediator, Jesus Christ. Moses intervened for unrepentant people who were forgiven to demonstrate God's grace, this forgiveness serving as a forerunner of ultimate grace by the ultimate mediator who intervenes for all repentant souls delivered by the greatest imaginable sacrifice. These latter ones are humbled to the point of desiring a completely new life centered on obedience to God, a life that includes ultimate-type rewards.
Further comment on Moses prefiguring the Ultimate Mediator
Dt.18:15 The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet, from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken.
As mediators, the roles of Christ and Moses both differed from the usual earthly-type role in which two parties are led by a mediator to compromise with each other to find a mutually satisfactory course of action. In the case of a mediator with God, people cannot compromise or bargain with God, and only His requirements for de- liverance must be satisfied, which is what is taught in Galatians 3:19,20
Gal.3:19,20 Wherefore then serveth the law…it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. (meaning only God’s requirement must be met - men can’t bargain with God).
Comment on Exodus 32:14: How is it possible for God to repent?
Num.19:20 speaks of repentance as it applies to a sinner changing his
mind about evil behavior, but
God never has
His mind about anything.
Exo. 32:14 speaks of God’s repentance from judgment, which is a crucial matter in our salvation. If we never repent of our sin, we’re judged unto eternal death, but if we repent of sin, God repents in the sense of changing His judgment of us.Jer.18: Proving God’s repentance is a change of judgment
8. If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.
10. If it (a nation) do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then will I repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.
God repents of doing good or evil, depending on man’s obedience, so it’s a change of judgment, and repentance of the good certainly bears no resemblance at all to the repentance of men.