The Zohar, Chapter “Ki Tissa (When You Take),” Item 56: The sinners that have created that nation on the outside – the mixed multitude (Erev Rav), and the holy nation attached to it; they have sinned in the mother – Malchut, as it is written: “Rise, make for us gods.”
The mixed multitude (Erev Rav) are those who use bestowal in order to receive. On the one hand, they carry out the Creator’s will – they bestow, which is why they are called “fearful of the Creator.” However, they bestow for their own benefit, which is why they are also called “the Pharaoh’s agents.” Erev Rav are people that observe the commandments and fulfill all of the Creator’s demands, but only for their own well being in this world and in the world to come.
Surely a god, to make them another god (that is understood by egoism) instead of Malchut, who is called “God” (Elokim). Instead of this glory of Israel, meaning Malchut, who was over them like a mother over the sons.
“Israel” are people who have an intention that is “straight to the Creator” (Yashar Kel). The whole purpose of their work is for the Creator, and not for themselves. The Erev Rav are those who want to and are prepared to work; they have the strength to complete what is required of them with complete devotion, but in return they want money, respect and power. They are unable to work without these things, and they are the reason for all the exiles. The problem with the Erev Rav is that they do the same actions as Israel, talk about the same things, use the same Upper Force, share the same desire to enjoy, but for their own benefit. They say, “We are prepared to fulfill all of the Torah’s commandments, but only if it benefits us.”