32:15 Moses turned and went down from the mountain with 1 the two tablets of the testimony in his hands. The tablets were written on both sides – they were written on the front and on the back. 32:16 Now the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets. 32:17 When Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, 2 he said to Moses, “It is the sound of war in the camp!” 32:18 Moses 3 said, “It is not the sound of those who shout for victory, 4 nor is it the sound of those who cry because they are overcome, 5 but the sound of singing 6 I hear.” 7
32:19 When he approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses became extremely angry. 8 He threw the tablets from his hands and broke them to pieces at the bottom of the mountain. 9
1 tn The disjunctive vav (ו) serves here as a circumstantial clause indicator.
2 sn See F. C. Fensham, “New Light from Ugaritica V on Ex, 32:17 (br’h),” JNSL 2 (1972): 86-7.
3 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
4 tn Heb “the sound of the answering of might,” meaning it is not the sound of shouting in victory (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 418).
5 tn Heb “the sound of the answering of weakness,” meaning the cry of the defeated (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 415).
6 tn Heb “answering in song” (a play on the twofold meaning of the word).
7 sn See A. Newman, “Compositional Analysis and Functional Ambiguity Equivalence: Translating Exodus 32, 17-18,” Babel 21 (1975): 29-35.
8 tn Heb “and the anger of Moses burned hot.”
9 sn See N. M. Waldham, “The Breaking of the Tablets,” Judaism 27 (1978): 442-47.