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Cambodia’s Golden Calf

November 14, 2009

   Westerners thought the idea of the golden calf as a deity died out with the Egyptians of old.  Boy was I surprised that the golden calf (Preah Ko) is a worshipped today in Cambodia and has been worship for thousands of years already.  In Cambodia any animal which is born with a defect is automatically worshipped as divine.  They believe that worship of a calf will bring prosperity and peace. This calf had thick, dark, scaly skin like a crocodile’s, and legs with odd markings.

dead calf

Cambodia's Dead Divine Calf

   A defect calf was born in the remote village of Damnak Sangkie in Pursat province.  It was born on Tuesday and died on Thursday. Villagers in this poor community live hand to mouth, but many sacrificed their food money to help pay for a funeral for a three-day-old calf with a dark, reptilian hide that many believed was holy. The villagers believed in the calf’s divinity because there had been a drought in the area for three months, but it rained the day after it was born.

   Hundreds of villagers flocked to see the animal, lighting incense to pray for its well-being and collecting its saliva which was believed to cure illness. The flood of visitors panicked the cow’s mother, affecting her ability to enough produce milk to feed the calf, and it died. But the faithful were undeterred. The calf’s corpse was placed on a plastic sheet, and people washed water over it in the hopes of making the liquid holy.

   Srey Nak, aged 72, said that when some was applied to her joints and teeth, long-standing pains and aches went away. She said, “But I am very upset that the Preah Ko (divine calf) came to live with us for just three days and has now died,” she said. “If she stayed longer, then many sick people could have been treated.”

  Stories like this emerge every day in Cambodia.  It makes me sad for two reasons.  First of all, it makes me sad that Satan has so blinded people that they would worship a deformed calf.  Going to the extent they do with the calf’s bodily fluid is not only sickening, but it highlights the desperation of the people.  Secondly, it makes me sad because in a world of 2.2 billion professing Christians no one had shown them the true power of Jesus.

   People all around us are searching for supernatural power, yet they are not finding the supernatural power of Jesus.  Today as you go around, try to be observant to people around you.  The Lord will probably show you someone.  Why not ask to pray for them, no matter where you are, and ask for the supernatural power of Jesus to transform them.

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