Stephen’s Defense Before the Council
7:1 Then the high priest said, “Are these things true?”1 7:2 So he replied,2 “Brothers and fathers, listen to me. The God of glory appeared to our forefather3 Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he settled in Haran, 7:3 and said to him, ‘Go out from your country and from your relatives, and come to the land I will show you.’4 7:4 Then he went out from the country of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After his father died, God5 made him move6 to this country where you now live. 7:5 He7 did not give any of it to him for an inheritance,8 not even a foot of ground,9 yet God10 promised to give it to him as his possession, and to his descendants after him,11 even though Abraham12 as yet had no child. 7:6 But God spoke as follows: ‘Your13 descendants will be foreigners14 in a foreign country, whose citizens will enslave them and mistreat them for four hundred years.15 7:7 But I will punish16 the nation they serve as slaves,’ said God, ‘and after these things they will come out of there17 and worship18 me in this place.’19 7:8 Then God20 gave Abraham21 the covenant22 of circumcision, and so he became the father of Isaac and circumcised him when he was eight days old,23 and Isaac became the father of24 Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.25 7:9 The26 patriarchs, because they were jealous of Joseph, sold27 him into Egypt. But28 God was with him, 7:10 and rescued him from all his troubles, and granted him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made29 him ruler over Egypt and over all his household. 7:11 Then a famine occurred throughout30 Egypt and Canaan, causing31 great suffering, and our32 ancestors33 could not find food. 7:12 So when Jacob heard that there was grain34 in Egypt, he sent our ancestors35 there36 the first time. 7:13 On their second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers again, and Joseph’s family37 became known to Pharaoh. 7:14 So Joseph sent a message38 and invited39 his father Jacob and all his relatives to come, seventy-five people40 in all. 7:15 So Jacob went down to Egypt and died there,41 along with our ancestors,42 7:16 and their bones43 were later moved to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a certain sum of money44 from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.
7:17 “But as the time drew near for God to fulfill the promise he had declared to Abraham,45 the people increased greatly in number46 in Egypt, 7:18 until another king who did not know about47 Joseph ruled48 over Egypt.49 7:19 This was the one who exploited50 our people51 and was cruel to our ancestors,52 forcing them to abandon53 their infants so they would die.54 7:20 At that time Moses was born, and he was beautiful55 to God. For56 three months he was brought up in his father’s house, 7:21 and when he had been abandoned,57 Pharaoh’s daughter adopted58 him and brought him up59 as her own son. 7:22 So Moses was trained60 in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful61 in his words and deeds. 7:23 But when he was about forty years old, it entered his mind62 to visit his fellow countrymen63 the Israelites.64 7:24 When65 he saw one of them being hurt unfairly,66 Moses67 came to his defense68 and avenged the person who was mistreated by striking down the Egyptian. 7:25 He thought his own people69 would understand that God was delivering them70 through him,71 but they did not understand.72 7:26 The next day Moses73 saw two men74 fighting, and tried to make peace between75 them, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why are you hurting one another?’ 7:27 But the man who was unfairly hurting his neighbor pushed76 Moses77 aside, saying, ‘Who made78 you a ruler and judge over us? 7:28 You don’t want to kill me the way you killed the Egyptian yesterday, do you?’79 7:29 When the man said this,80 Moses fled and became a foreigner81 in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.
7:30 “After82 forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the desert83 of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning bush.84 7:31 When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight, and when he approached to investigate, there came the voice of the Lord, 7:32 ‘I am the God of your forefathers,85 the God of Abraham, Isaac,86 and Jacob.’87 Moses began to tremble and did not dare to look more closely.88 7:33 But the Lord said to him, ‘Take the sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.89 7:34 I have certainly seen the suffering90 of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to rescue them.91 Now92 come, I will send you to Egypt.’93 7:35 This same94 Moses they had rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge?’95 God sent as both ruler and deliverer96 through the hand of the angel97 who appeared to him in the bush. 7:36 This man led them out, performing wonders and miraculous signs98 in the land of Egypt,99 at100 the Red Sea, and in the wilderness101 for forty years. 7:37 This is the Moses who said to the Israelites,102 ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers.’103 7:38 This is the man who was in the congregation104 in the wilderness105 with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors,106 and he107 received living oracles108 to give to you.109 7:39 Our110 ancestors111 were unwilling to obey112 him, but pushed him aside113 and turned back to Egypt in their hearts, 7:40 saying to Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go in front of us, for this Moses, who led us out of the land of Egypt114—we do not know what has happened to him!’115 7:41 At116 that time117 they made an idol in the form of a calf,118 brought119 a sacrifice to the idol, and began rejoicing120 in the works of their hands.121 7:42 But God turned away from them and gave them over122 to worship the host123 of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets: ‘It was not to me that you offered slain animals and sacrifices124 forty years in the wilderness, was it,125 house of Israel? 7:43 But you took along the tabernacle126 of Moloch127 and the star of the128 god Rephan,129 the images you made to worship, but I will deport130 you beyond Babylon.’131 7:44 Our ancestors132 had the tabernacle133 of testimony in the wilderness,134 just as God135 who spoke to Moses ordered him136 to make it according to the design he had seen. 7:45 Our137 ancestors138 received possession of it and brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before our ancestors,139 until the time140 of David. 7:46 He141 found favor142 with143 God and asked that he could144 find a dwelling place145 for the house146 of Jacob. 7:47 But Solomon built a house147 for him. 7:48 Yet the Most High148 does not live in houses made by human hands,149 as the prophet says,
and earth is the footstool for my feet.
What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord,
or what is my resting place?150
7:50 Did my hand151 not make all these things?’152
7:51 “You stubborn153 people, with uncircumcised154 hearts and ears!155 You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, like your ancestors156 did! 7:52 Which of the prophets did your ancestors157 not persecute?158 They159 killed those who foretold long ago the coming of the Righteous One,160 whose betrayers and murderers you have now become!161 7:53 You162 received the law by decrees given by angels,163 but you did not obey164 it.”165
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