The Acts of the Apostles

Chapter 7

Stephen, permitted to answer to the accusation of blasphemy, 1, shows that Abraham worshiped God rightly, and how God chose the fathers, 2-19, before Moses was born and before the tabernacle and temple were built, 20-36; that Moses himself witnessed of Christ, 37-43; and that all outward ceremonies were ordained, according to the heavenly pattern, to last but for a time, 44-50; reproving their rebellion and murdering of Christ, the Just One, whom the prophets foretold should come into the world, 51-53. Upon hearing that, they stone him to death, while he commends his soul to Jesus and humbly prays for them, 54-60.

1 Then the high priest said, "Are these things so?"

2 And he said, "Men, brothers, and fathers, listen. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran, 3 And said to him, 'Depart from your country and from your kindred and come into the land which I shall show you.' 4 Then he came from the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Haran. And from there, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land in which you now dwell. 5 And he gave him no inheritance in it, not even so much as to set his foot on. Yet he promised that 'he would give it to him for a possession, and to his offspring after him,' when as yet he had no child. 6 And God spoke in this way, that 'his offspring should sojourn in a foreign land, and that they should bring them into bondage and treat them ill four hundred years.' 7 'And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage I will judge,' said God. 'And after that they shall come forth "and serve me in this place."' 8 And he gave him the covenant of circumcision. And so Abraham begot Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day. Then Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot the twelve patriarchs.

9 "And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him, 10 And delivered him from all his afflictions and gave him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt, who made him governor over Egypt and all his house.

11 "Now there came a famine over all the land of Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction, and our fathers found no sustenance. 12 But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first. 13 And at the second time Joseph was made known to his brothers, and Joseph's kindred was made known to Pharaoh. 14 Then Joseph sent and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, seventy-five souls. 15 So Jacob went down into Egypt and died—he and our fathers. 16 They were carried over into Shechem and laid in the sepulcher that Abraham bought for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem.

17 "But when the time of the promise drew near which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt, 18 Until 'another king arose who did not know Joseph.' 19 The same dealt subtly with our kindred and ill-treated our fathers, making them cast out their young children so that they would not live. 20 At that time, Moses was born and was exceedingly fair and nourished in his father's house three months. 21 And when he was cast out, Pharaoh's daughter took him up and nourished him as her own son. 22 And Moses was taught in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was mighty in words and in deeds. 23 And when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brothers the children of Israel. 24 And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him and avenged him who was oppressed and smote the Egyptian. 25 For he supposed his brothers to understand that God by his hand would deliver them, but they did not understand. 26 And the next day he showed himself to them as they were contending and would have constrained them to be at peace again, saying, 'Sirs, you are brothers. Why do you do wrong to one another?' 27 But he who did his neighbor wrong thrust him away, saying, 'Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? 28 Will you kill me as you did the Egyptian yesterday?' 29 Then 'Moses fled at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Midian,' where he begot two sons.

30 "And when forty years had expired, there 'appeared to him' in the wilderness of mount Sinai, 'an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush.' 31 When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight. And as he drew near to behold it, the voice of the Lord came to him, 32 Saying, 'I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' Then Moses trembled and dared not behold. 33 Then the Lord said to him, 'Take off your shoes from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. 34 I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and I have heard their groaning. And I have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you into Egypt.'

35 "This Moses, whom they refused, saying, 'Who made you a ruler and a judge?' the same, God sent to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36 He brought them out after he had showed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years. 37 This is that Moses who said to the children of Israel, 'The Lord your God will raise up to you a prophet of your brothers, like me. You will hear him.' 38 This is he who was in the church in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him on the mount Sinai and with our fathers, who received the living oracles to give to us, 39 Whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt, 40 Saying to Aaron, 'Make us gods to go before us. For as for this Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.' 41 And they made a calf in those days, offered sacrifice to the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands. 42 Then God turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets,

'O house of Israel, have you offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices/
during forty years in the wilderness?

43 You even took up the tabernacle of Moloch/
and the star of your god Rephan,/
figures which you made to worship them./
I will carry you away beyond Babylon.

44 "Our fathers had the tabernacle of testimony in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking to Moses that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen. 45 Which also our fathers, in their turn, brought in with Joshua when they entered into the possession of the nations, whom God drove out before the face of our fathers, until the days of David, 46 Who found favor before God and asked to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. 47 But Solomon built him a house. 48 Yet, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as says the prophet,

49 'Heaven is my throne,/
and earth is my footstool./
What house will you build for me?
' says the Lord./
'And what is the place of my rest?

50 Has my hand not made all these things?'

51 "You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets have your fathers not persecuted? And they have slain those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you have now been the betrayers and murderers, 53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels and have not kept it."

54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart and they gnashed at him with their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up steadfastly into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56 And said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God." 57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, ran upon him with one accord, 58 Cast him out of the city, and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling upon God, and saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." 60 And he kneeled down and cried with a loud voice, "Lord, do not lay this sin to their charge." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.


Matthew Henry Commentary - Acts, Chapter 7[➚]


[v.3] - Quoting Genesis 12:1 (LXX).

[v.5] - Quoting Genesis 17:8. See also, Genesis 12:7, 15:18.

[v.6a] - Quoting Genesis 15:13.

[v.6b] - Reference, Exodus 12:40; Galatians 3:17.

[v.7] - Quoting Genesis 15:14 (LXX); Exodus 3:12 (LXX—paraphrased).

[v.17] - Reference, Exodus 1:7.

[v.18] - Quoting Exodus 1:8 (LXX).

[v.26] - Reference, Exodus 2:13.

[v.27-28] - Quoting Exodus 2:14 (LXX).

[v.29] - Quoting Exodus 2:15.

[v.30] - Quoting Exodus 3:2.

[v.32] - Quoting Exodus 3:6.

[v.33] - Quoting Exodus 3:5 (LXX).

[v.34] - Quoting Exodus 3:7-8, 10.

[v.35] - Quoting Exodus 2:14 (LXX).

[v.37] - Quoting Deuteronomy 18:15.

[v.40] - Quoting Exodus 32:1 (LXX).

[v.42] - Quoting Amos 5:25 (LXX).

[v.43a] - Even though Stephen is quoting Amos, there is an apparent discrepancy with his rendering of the passage. The reason being is that Stephen quoted the Greek Septuagint, which renders the text a little differently. See the note for Amos 5:26.

[v.43b] - "Babylon" - Stephen mentions Babylon, but the text in Amos mentions Damascus. Here Stephen is interpreting the meaning of the passage, rather than offering the exact wording. See the note for Amos 5:27.

[v.43c] - Quoting Amos 5:26-27 (LXX—paraphrased).

[v.49] - Quoting Isaiah 66:1 (LXX).

[v.50] - Quoting Isaiah 66:2.