1Then said the high priest, Are these things so? 2And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, 3And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee. 4Then came he out of the land of the Chaldæans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell. 5And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child. 6And God spake on this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years. 7And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, said God: and after that shall they come forth, and serve me in this place. 8And he gave him the covenant of circumcision: and so Abraham begat Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs. 9And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him, 10And delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favour and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house. 11Now there came a dearth over all the land of Egypt and Chanaan, and great affliction: and our fathers found no sustenance. 12But when Jacob heard that there was corn in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first. 13And at the second time Joseph was made known to his brethren; and Joseph’s kindred was made known unto Pharaoh. 14Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls. 15So Jacob went down into Egypt, and died, he, and our fathers, 16And were carried over into Sychem, and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem. 17But when the time of the promise drew nigh, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt, 18Till another king arose, which knew not Joseph. 19The same dealt subtilly with our kindred, and evil entreated our fathers, so that they cast out their young children, to the end they might not live. 20In which time Moses was born, and was exceeding fair, and nourished up in his father’s house three months: 21And when he was cast out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him up, and nourished him for her own son. 22And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds. 23And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. 24And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian: 25For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not. 26And the next day he shewed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another? 27But he that did his neighbour wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us? 28Wilt thou kill me, as thou diddest the Egyptian yesterday? 29Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Madian, where he begat two sons. 30And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush. 31When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight: and as he drew near to behold it, the voice of the Lord came unto him, 32Saying, I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Then Moses trembled, and durst not behold. 33Then said the Lord to him, Put off thy shoes from thy feet: for the place where thou standest is holy ground. 34I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send thee into Egypt. 35This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush. 36He brought them out, after that he had shewed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years.
37¶ This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. 38This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us: 39To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt, 40Saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. 41And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands. 42Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness? 43Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon. 44Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen. 45Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David; 46Who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. 47But Solomon built him an house. 48Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, 49Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? 50Hath not my hand made all these things?
51¶ Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. 52Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: 53Who 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 on him with their teeth. 55But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. 57Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 58And 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. 59And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 60And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Stephen’s speech to the Sanhedrin
1Then the high priest asked Stephen, ‘Are these charges true?’
2To this he replied: ‘Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Harran. 3“Leave your country and your people,” God said, “and go to the land I will show you.”7:3 Gen. 12:1
4‘So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Harran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living. 5He gave him no inheritance here, not even enough ground to set his foot on. But God promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child. 6God spoke to him in this way: “For four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and ill-treated. 7But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves,” God said, “and afterwards they will come out of that country and worship me in this place.”7:7 Gen. 15:13,14 8Then he gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. And Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him eight days after his birth. Later Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs.
9‘Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him 10and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt. So Pharaoh made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace.
11‘Then a famine struck all Egypt and Canaan, bringing great suffering, and our ancestors could not find food. 12When Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our forefathers on their first visit. 13On their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was, and Pharaoh learned about Joseph’s family. 14After this, Joseph sent for his father Jacob and his whole family, seventy-five in all. 15Then Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our ancestors died. 16Their bodies were brought back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought from the sons of Hamor at Shechem for a certain sum of money.
17‘As the time drew near for God to fulfil his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt had greatly increased. 18Then “a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt”.7:18 Exodus 1:8 19He dealt treacherously with our people and oppressed our ancestors by forcing them to throw out their newborn babies so that they would die.
20‘At that time Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child.7:20 Or was fair in the sight of God For three months he was cared for by his family. 21When he was placed outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. 22Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.
23‘When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his own people, the Israelites. 24He saw one of them being ill-treated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defence and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. 25Moses thought that his own people would realise that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not. 26The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, “Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?”
27‘But the man who was ill-treating the other pushed Moses aside and said, “Who made you ruler and judge over us? 28Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?”7:28 Exodus 2:14 29When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he settled as a foreigner and had two sons.
30‘After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. 31When he saw this, he was amazed at the sight. As he went over to get a closer look, he heard the Lord say: 32“I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”7:32 Exodus 3:6 Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look.
33‘Then the Lord said to him, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.”7:34 Exodus 3:5,7,8,10
35‘This is the same Moses they had rejected with the words, “Who made you ruler and judge?” He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36He led them out of Egypt and performed wonders and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the wilderness.
37‘This is the Moses who told the Israelites, “God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your own people.”7:37 Deut. 18:15 38He was in the assembly in the wilderness, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors; and he received living words to pass on to us.
39‘But our ancestors refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt. 40They told Aaron, “Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who led us out of Egypt – we don’t know what has happened to him!”7:40 Exodus 32:1 41That was the time they made an idol in the form of a calf. They brought sacrifices to it and revelled in what their own hands had made. 42But God turned away from them and gave them over to the worship of the sun, moon and stars. This agrees with what is written in the book of the prophets:
‘ “Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings
for forty years in the wilderness, people of Israel?
43You have taken up the tabernacle of Molek
and the star of your god Rephan,
the idols you made to worship.
Therefore I will send you into exile”7:43 Amos 5:25-27 (see Septuagint) beyond Babylon.
44‘Our ancestors had the tabernacle of the covenant law with them in the wilderness. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen. 45After receiving the tabernacle, our ancestors under Joshua brought it with them when they took the land from the nations God drove out before them. It remained in the land until the time of David, 46who enjoyed God’s favour and asked that he might provide a dwelling-place for the God of Jacob.7:46 Some early manuscripts the house of Jacob 47But it was Solomon who built a house for him.
48‘However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says:
49‘ “Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build for me?
says the Lord.
Or where will my resting-place be?
50Has not my hand made all these things?”7:50 Isaiah 66:1,2
51‘You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: you always resist the Holy Spirit! 52Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him – 53you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.’
The stoning of Stephen
54When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’
57At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.
59While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ 60Then he fell on his knees and cried out, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he fell asleep.