Calf. A calf is a baby cow, a child of an animal that is used for food supply.
Calves were commonly made use of in sacrifices, and are therefore frequently mentioned in Scripture. The “fatted calf” was regarded as the choicest of animal food; it was frequently also offered as a special sacrifice (1Sa 28:24; Amo 6:4; Luk 15:23). The words used in Jer 34:18, Jer 34:19, “cut the calf in twain,” allude to the custom of dividing a sacrifice into two parts, between which the parties ratifying a covenant passed (Gen 15:9, Gen 15:10, Gen 15:17, Gen 15:18). The sacrifice of the lips, i.e., priase, is called “the calves of our lips” (Hos 14:2, R.V., “as bullocks the offering of our lips.” Compare Heb 13:15; Psa 116:7; Jer 33:11).
The golden calf which Aaron made (Exo 32:4) was probably a copy of the god Moloch rather than of the god Apis, the sacred ox or calf of Egypt. The Jews showed all through their history a tendency toward the Babylonian and Canaanitish idolatry rather than toward that of Egypt.
Ages after this, Jeroboam, king of Israel, set up two idol calves, one at Dan, and the other at Bethel, that he might thus prevent the ten tribes from resorting to Jerusalem for worship (1Ki 12:28). These calves continued to be a snare to the people till teh time of their captivity. The calf at Dan was carried away in the reign of Pekah by Tiglath-pileser, and that at Bethel ten years later, in the reign of Hoshea, by Shalmaneser (2Ki 15:29; 2Ki 17:33). This sin of Jeroboam is almost always mentioned along with his name (2Ki 15:28 etc.).
Calf. The young of cattle whether male or female. A calf was offered for a sin-offering for Aaron, and a calf and a lamb for a burnt-offering for the people, at the commencement of Aaron’s service. Lev. 9: 2, 8.
A calf was kept by the affluent, ready for any special meal, such as was presented tender and good to the angels by Abraham, Gen. 18: 7; which is also described as ‘the fatted calf’ in the parable of the Prodigal Son. Luke 15: 23. The calf or ox is used typically to represent one of the attributes of God in governmental power, namely, firm endurance. Rev. 4: 7: cf. Ezek. 1: 10.