Are the Golden Calves constructed by Aaron and Jeroboam affiliated with any specific deity? In Ugaritic literature Baal is portrayed as a bull mating with his sister Anat who was a female calf. Does this representation of Baal and Anat as Bulls or Calves have any relationship with Yahweh and the calves built by Aaron and Jeroboam? Additionally how does the name "Egeliah" which translates to "bull calf of Yah" relate to this topic? Thanks.

  • 2
    is this on-topic? I feel like it's a question on Ancient Near Eastern history, but knowing the answer to this ANE history question would help understand the Tanakh – הנער הזה Dec 31 '14 at 3:46
  • 1
    Hello Timmy McDonald and welcome to mi.yodeya. The second part of your question is a separate question, and one I do not understand. Can you provide a reference for the name Egeliah? – WAF Dec 31 '14 at 3:47
  • Timmy, where did you find the mane "Egeliah"? It isn't in my Bible. Perhaps this question is more appropriate for hermeneutics.stackexchange.com – הנער הזה Dec 31 '14 at 3:49
  • 1
    I found it here, books.google.com/… – Timmy McDonald Dec 31 '14 at 3:50
  • 3
    @Matt It is also about Torah. The question assumes the debatable premise that the egel was intended to be worshipped as a god (cf.) and wishes to know if it was a particular preexisting god. – WAF Dec 31 '14 at 3:53

The Golden Calf icon seems to be associated with Hashem. Aharon, Jeroboam, and Jehu (all of whom create or, in Jehu's case, do not destroy, calf-idols) never mention any other god in connection with their actions. In fact they all present themselves as worshiping Hashem, albeit in a way that the Torah disproves of.


According to Rabbi Deutsch's "Let My Nation Serve Me," one explanation given for why specifically a calf is because it represents Taurus. They previously were in Mitzraim, land of the sheep (Aries). After Mitzraim fell, they turned to the following Mazel, that of Iyar, the bull. (Several other explanations are given, but none relate to a specific deity.)

  • I don't know about the constellation aspect, but as far as i know, Tammuz was a person shaped/formed god, not an animal one. – Aaron Aug 22 '17 at 10:40
  • @Aaron Tammuz is the crab. But you are correct - I meant Iyar, which follows Nissan. – DonielF Aug 22 '17 at 13:44
  • This is essentially Ralbag's explanation: ולפי שהמזל העולה אחר טלה הוא שור התחכם אהרן לעשות תמונת שור כדי שיבטחו בו יותר ויאמינו שהוא מסכים להם כאילו יאמר שהטעות היה למצרים בתתם הממשלה למזל טלה כי היא למזל הבא אחריו והוא שור – Alex Mar 11 '19 at 16:13

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .