The Meaning of Exodus 32:14 Explained

Exodus 32:14

KJV: And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.

YLT: and Jehovah repenteth of the evil which He hath spoken of doing to His people.

Darby: And Jehovah repented of the evil that he had said he would do to his people.

ASV: And Jehovah repented of the evil which he said he would do unto his people.

What does Exodus 32:14 Mean?

Study Notes

Repentance (O.T.), Summary: In the O.T., repentance is the English word used to translate the Heb. nacham, to be "eased" or "comforted." It is used of both God and man. Notwithstanding the literal meaning of nacham, it is evident, from a study of all the passages, that the sacred writers use it in the sense of metanoia in the N.T.--a change of mind. Matthew 3:2 (See Scofield " Acts 17:30 ") . As in the N.T., such change of mind is often accompanied by contrition and self-judgment. When applied to God the word is used phenomenally according to O.T. custom. God seems to change His mind. The phenomena are such as, in the case of man, would indicate a change of mind.

Context Summary

Exodus 32:1-14 - Aaron's Golden Calf Offends The Lord
The people never thought of taking Aaron as a substitute for Moses, because they instinctively recognized his moral weakness. Though he was dressed in the garments of the high priest, he was essentially a weak man. This came into evidence:
(1) By his reply to the people. When they demanded the calf he ought to have met them with an indignant negative; but instead, and to prevent the unpopularity which such an attitude might have evoked, he contented himself with putting difficulties in the way of their project. "Surely," he thought, "they will never go on with their mad scheme, if they have to pay for it with their jewels." But the event did not justify his expectations.
(2) By his reply to Moses. "There came out this calf." It was the furnace, not I, that did it. "Blame my heredity, environment, companions," says the wrongdoer. The weak becomes the sinful one. Strong Son of God, help us! Make us strong! See Jeremiah 15:20. [source]

Chapter Summary: Exodus 32

1  The people in the absence of Moses, caused Aaron to make a calf
7  God informs Moses, who intercedes for Israel, and prevails
15  Moses comes down with the tablets
19  He breaks them
20  He destroys the calf
22  Aaron's excuse for himself
25  Moses causes the idolaters to be slain
30  He prays for the people

What do the individual words in Exodus 32:14 mean?

So relented Yahweh from the harm which He said He would do to His people -
וַיִּנָּ֖חֶם יְהוָ֑ה עַל־ הָ֣רָעָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר דִּבֶּ֖ר לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת לְעַמּֽוֹ פ

וַיִּנָּ֖חֶם  So  relented 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Nifal, Consecutive imperfect, third person masculine singular
Root: נָחַם  
Sense: to be sorry, console oneself, repent, regret, comfort, be comforted.
יְהוָ֑ה  Yahweh 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: יהוה 
Sense: the proper name of the one true God.
הָ֣רָעָ֔ה  the  harm 
Parse: Article, Adjective, feminine singular
Root: רַע 
Sense: bad, evil.
דִּבֶּ֖ר  He  said 
Parse: Verb, Piel, Perfect, third person masculine singular
Root: דָּבַר 
Sense: to speak, declare, converse, command, promise, warn, threaten, sing.
לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת  He  would  do 
Parse: Preposition-l, Verb, Qal, Infinitive construct
Root: עָשָׂה 
Sense: to do, fashion, accomplish, make.
לְעַמּֽוֹ  to  His  people 
Parse: Preposition-l, Noun, masculine singular construct, third person masculine singular
Root: עַם 
Sense: nation, people.
פ  - 
Parse: Punctuation