In Exo. 32:12–14, it is written,

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. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst 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 for ever. 14 And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.

The word evil (bad, wrong, mischief, wicked) is used in reference to God’s action against the Israelites after they had made a golden calf. I’m trying to understand why the author used that word.


Evil had both a MORAL and a COSMIC sense.

Here are some scriptures where EVIL is used in a MORAL sense:

Gen 6:5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only EVIL (WICKEDNESS) continually.

Matt 7:17 Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth EVIL (CORRUPT) fruit.

Here are some scriptures where EVIL is used in a COSMIC sense:

Gen 19:19 I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some EVIL (HARM) take me, and I die:

Psa 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no EVIL (HARM / CALAMITY)

Matt 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from EVIL (HARM / MISFORTUNE / CALAMITY / DISEASE)

The love of money is the root of all EVIL (not sin or moral wickedness, but rather harm, misfortune, calamity).

Isa 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make PEACE, and create EVIL: I the LORD do all these things.

This is cosmic evil because clearly this 'evil' is contrasted to 'peace'and not to ‘good’ or ‘righteous’. Cosmic evil refers to calamities of nature like earthquakes, hail, fire, tsunamis, hurricanes, etc.

The most explicit of scriptures to show this difference in usage between cosmic evil and moral evil is Jonah 3:10

And God saw their works, that they turned from their EVIL (moral) way; and God repented of the EVIL (cosmic), that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

The evil of the Ninevites was moral wickedness, whereas the evil that God intended to do was to overthrow Nineveh in some form of calamity.


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