Insight Behind the Golden Calf of the Bible
It was not a easy job leading slaves out of Egypt. Especially the ones that are used to commodification of life, the gold being it's symbolic manifestation. Of course, the gold is of no use if it doesn't have the exchange value for a cattle or Khorasan wheat (Kamut), einkorn, and emmer, but it takes a vampire-like all-persuasive form of exchange value. Buddha forbade such aggrandisement of wealth, but to no avail. So did Moses, "he freed the slaves from Egypt", like how Jesus tried and Mohammed did many centuries later, only for them to become rulers of India, a backward caste society, easy to be ruled over, who had their own Jesus, Mahatma Gandhi, to lead them out of colonisation. Not easy this business of leading people, quite risky. Like Jesus and Mahatma found, love and peace are risky business, but what other choice we have?
"Whether we use the term Elohim or YDVH is largely determined by the source that fed which part of the story. "
I think you're missing another piece of the puzzle here. To my understanding "elohim" is NOT another name for the God of Israel. Yahweh is a proper name for Israel's God.
"Elohim" is more akin to a type of being rather than a proper name. It's like saying "Spiritual being". See: Samuel 28:13 (ESV): The king said to her, “Do not be afraid. What do you see?” And the woman said to Saul, “I see a god (elohim) coming up out of the earth.” Sometimes translated as "ghostly figure" here, but it's still the word elohim.
That is, there are many "elohim" in the bible. Angels are considered elohim. Yahweh is an elohim. But he's THE Elohim. That's why there are phrases like Deuteronomy 10:17 that says "The LORD (Yahweh) your God (Elohim) is God (Elohim) of gods (elohim) and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome. And why the 1st commandment is "You shall have no other gods (elohim) before Me.”
If I am not mistaken, the jewelry that the Israelites used to make the Golden Calf was previously owned by Egyptians, who gave it to the Israelites before they left Egypt. Moses told them to go ask their neighbors for jewelry, and the Egyptians were so happy they were leaving that they gave them a lot of free stuff. Egyptian culture worshipped all kind of nature gods, so it is ironic that the Israelites then used that gold to create an animal god
An explanation I have heard while studying Exodus is that the Israelites, since they lived for so many generations in Egypt (since Joseph to Moses) they started worshiping the Egyptian gods. One of them is Apis, which is represented by a bull, so the golden calf would be close to this.
I'm really glad Eli was able to weigh in here!
Perhaps a more significant question is: Are we (today) making tools or idols? And yes, you actually do know the difference, so it needn't become a semantic debate
'BCE'. Oh dear.