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Stephen Speaks to the Sanhedrin
1Then the high priest questioned Stephen. "Is what these people are saying true?" he asked.
2"Brothers and fathers, listen to me!" Stephen replied. "The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham. At that time Abraham was still in Mesopotamia. He had not yet begun living in Haran. 3'Leave your country and your people,' God said. 'Go to the land I will show you.' (Genesis 12:1)
4"So Abraham left the land of Babylonia. He settled in Haran. After his father died, God sent Abraham to this land where you are now living. 5God didn't give him any property here. He didn't give him even a foot of land. But God made a promise to him and to all his family after him. He said they would possess the land. The promise was made even though at that time Abraham had no child.
6"Here is what God said to him. 'Your family after you will be strangers in a country that is not their own. They will be slaves and will be treated badly for 400 years. 7But I will punish the nation that makes them slaves,' God said. 'After that, they will leave that country and worship me here.' (Genesis 15:13,14)
8"Then God made a covenant with Abraham. God told him that circumcision would show who the members of the covenant were. Abraham became Isaac's father. He circumcised Isaac eight days after he was born. Later, Isaac became Jacob's father. Jacob had 12 sons. They became the founders of the 12 tribes of Israel.
9"Jacob's sons were jealous of their brother Joseph. So they sold him as a slave. He was taken to Egypt. But God was with him. 10He saved Joseph from all his troubles. God made Joseph wise. He helped him to become the friend of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. So Pharaoh made Joseph ruler over Egypt and his whole palace.
11"There was not enough food for all Egypt and Canaan. This brought great suffering. Jacob and his sons couldn't find food. 12But Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt. So he sent his sons on their first visit. 13On their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was. Pharaoh learned about Joseph's family.
14"After this, Joseph sent for his father Jacob and his whole family. The total number of people was 75. 15Then Jacob went down to Egypt. There he and his family died. 16Some of their bodies were brought back to Shechem. They were placed in a tomb Abraham had bought. He had purchased it from Hamor's sons at Shechem for a certain amount of money.
17"In Egypt the number of our people grew and grew. It was nearly time for God to make his promise to Abraham come true. 18Another king became ruler of Egypt. He knew nothing about Joseph. 19He was very evil and dishonest with our people. He beat them down. He forced them to throw out their newborn babies to die.
20"At that time Moses was born. He was not an ordinary child. For three months he was taken care of by his family. 21Then he was placed outside. But Pharaoh's daughter took him home. She brought him up as her own son. 22Moses was taught all the knowledge of the people of Egypt. He became a powerful speaker and a man of action.
23"When Moses was 40 years old, he decided to visit the people of Israel. They were his own people. 24He saw one of them being treated badly by a man of Egypt. So he went to help him. He got even by killing the man. 25Moses thought his own people would realize that God was using him to save them. But they didn't.
26"The next day Moses saw two men of Israel fighting. He tried to make peace between them. 'Men, you are both of Israel,' he said. 'Why do you want to hurt each other?'
27"But the man who was treating the other one badly pushed Moses to one side. He said, 'Who made you ruler and judge over us? 28Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?' (Exodus 2:14) 29When Moses heard this, he escaped to Midian. He lived there as a stranger. He became the father of two sons there.
30"Forty years passed. Then an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush. This happened in the desert near Mount Sinai. 31When Moses saw the bush, he was amazed. He went over for a closer look. There he heard the Lord's voice. 32'I am the God of your fathers,' the Lord said. 'I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.' (Exodus 3:6) Moses shook with fear. He didn't dare to look.
33"Then the Lord said to him, 'Take off your sandals. The place you are standing on is holy ground. 34I have seen my people beaten down in Egypt. I have heard their groans. I have come down to set them free. Now come. I will send you back to Egypt.' (Exodus 3:5,7,8,10)
35"This is the same Moses the two men of Israel would not accept. They had said, 'Who made you ruler and judge?' But God himself sent Moses to rule the people of Israel and set them free. He spoke to Moses through the angel who had appeared to him in the bush. 36So Moses led them out of Egypt. He did wonders and miraculous signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and for 40 years in the desert.
37"This is the same Moses who spoke to the people of Israel. 'God will send you a prophet,' he said. 'He will be like me. He will come from your own people.' (Deuteronomy 18:15) 38Moses was with the Israelites in the desert. He was with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai. Moses was with our people of long ago. He received living words to pass on to us.
39"But our people refused to obey Moses. They would not accept him. In their hearts, they wished they were back in Egypt. 40They told Aaron, 'Make us a god who will lead us. This fellow Moses led us out of Egypt. But we don't know what has happened to him!' (Exodus 32:1) 41That was the time they made a statue to be their god. It looked like a calf. They brought sacrifices to it. They were glad because of what they had made with their own hands. 42But God turned away from them. He left them to worship the sun, moon and stars. This agrees with what is written in the book of the prophets. There it says, " 'People of Israel, did you bring me sacrifices and offerings
for 40 years in the desert?
43You lifted up the place where Molech was worshiped.
You lifted up the star of your god Rephan.
You made statues of them to worship.
So I will send you away from your country.' (Amos 5:25-27)
God sent them to Babylon and even farther.
44"Long ago our people had with them in the desert the holy tent where the tablets of the covenant were kept. Moses had made the holy tent as God had commanded him. It was made like the pattern he had seen. 45Our people received the tent from God. They brought it with them when they took the land of Canaan. God drove out the nations that were in their way. At that time Joshua was Israel's leader.
"The tent remained in the land until David's time. 46David was blessed by God. So David asked if he could build a house for the God of Jacob. 47Instead, it was Solomon who built it for him.
48"But the Most High God does not live in houses made by human hands. As God says through the prophet,
49" 'Heaven is my throne.
The earth is under my control.
What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord.
Where will my resting place be?
50Didn't my hand make all these things?' (Isaiah 66:1,2)
51"You people! You won't obey! You are stubborn! You won't listen! You are just like your people of long ago! You always oppose the Holy Spirit! 52Was there ever a prophet your people didn't try to hurt? They even killed those who told about the coming of the Blameless One. And now you have handed him over to his enemies. You have murdered him. 53The law you received was brought by angels. But you haven't obeyed it."
Stephen Is Killed
54When the Sanhedrin heard this, they became very angry. They ground their teeth at Stephen. 55But he was full of the Holy Spirit. He looked up to heaven and saw God's glory. He saw Jesus standing at God's right hand. 56"Look!" he said. "I see heaven open. The Son of Man is standing at God's right hand."
57When the Sanhedrin heard this, they covered their ears. They yelled at the top of their voices. They all rushed at him. 58They dragged him out of the city. They began to throw stones at him to kill him. The witnesses took off their coats. They placed them at the feet of a young man named Saul.
59While the members of the Sanhedrin were throwing stones at Stephen, he prayed. "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit," he said. 60Then he fell on his knees. He cried out, "Lord! Don't hold this sin against them!" When he had said this, he died.
1The high priest said, “Are these things so?”
2He said, “Brothers and fathers, listen. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, 3and said to him, ‘Get out of your land and away from your relatives, and come into a land which I will show you.’#Genesis 12:1 4Then he came out of the land of the Chaldaeans and lived in Haran. From there, when his father was dead, God moved him into this land, where you are now living. 5He gave him no inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on. He promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his offspring after him, when he still had no child. 6God spoke in this way: that his offspring would live as aliens in a strange land, and that they would be enslaved and mistreated for four hundred years. 7‘I will judge the nation to which they will be in bondage,’ said God, ‘and after that they will come out, and serve me in this place.’#Genesis 15:13-14 8He gave him the covenant of circumcision. So Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day. Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs.
9“The patriarchs, moved with jealousy against Joseph, sold him into Egypt. God was with him, 10and delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favour and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt. He made him governor over Egypt and all his house. 11Now a famine came over all the land of Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction. Our fathers found no food. 12But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers the first time. 13On the second time Joseph was made known to his brothers, and Joseph’s race was revealed to Pharaoh. 14Joseph sent and summoned Jacob, his father, and all his relatives, seventy-five souls. 15Jacob went down into Egypt and he died, himself and our fathers, 16and they were brought back to Shechem, and laid in the tomb that Abraham bought for a price in silver from the children of Hamor of Shechem.
17“But as the time of the promise came close which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt, 18until there arose a different king, who didn’t know Joseph. 19The same took advantage of our race, and mistreated our fathers, and forced them to throw out their babies, so that they wouldn’t stay alive. 20At that time Moses was born, and was exceedingly handsome. He was nourished three months in his father’s house. 21When he was thrown out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him up and reared him as her own son. 22Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. He was mighty in his words and works. 23But when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brothers,#7:23 The word for “brothers” here and where the context allows may be also correctly translated “brothers and sisters” or “siblings.” the children of Israel. 24Seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him who was oppressed, striking the Egyptian. 25He supposed that his brothers understood that God, by his hand, was giving them deliverance; but they didn’t understand.
26“The day following, he appeared to them as they fought, and urged them to be at peace again, saying, ‘Sirs, you are brothers. Why do you wrong one another?’ 27But he who did his neighbour wrong pushed him away, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? 28Do you want to kill me, as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’#Exodus 2:14 29Moses fled at this saying, and became a stranger in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.
30“When forty years were fulfilled, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in a flame of fire in a bush. 31When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight. As he came close to see, a voice of the Lord came to him, 32‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’#Exodus 3:6 Moses trembled, and dared not look. 33The Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you stand is holy ground. 34I have surely seen the affliction of my people that is in Egypt, and have heard their groaning. I have come down to deliver them. Now come, I will send you into Egypt.’#Exodus 3:5,7-8,10
35“This Moses, whom they refused, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’—God has sent him as both a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36This man led them out, having worked wonders and signs in Egypt, in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness for forty years. 37This is that Moses, who said to the children of Israel, ‘The Lord our God will raise up a prophet for you from amongst your brothers, like me.’#7:37 TR adds “You shall listen to him.”#Deuteronomy 18:15 38This is he who was in the assembly in the wilderness with the angel that spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers, who received living revelations to give to us, 39to whom our fathers wouldn’t be obedient, but rejected him, and turned back in their hearts to Egypt, 40saying to Aaron, ‘Make us gods that will go before us, for as for this Moses, who led us out of the land of Egypt, we don’t know what has become of him.’#Exodus 32:1 41They made a calf in those days, and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their hands. 42But God turned, and gave them up to serve the army of the sky,#7:42 This idiom could also be translated “host of heaven”, or “angelic beings”, or “heavenly bodies.” as it is written in the book of the prophets,
‘Did you offer to me slain animals and sacrifices
forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel?
43You took up the tabernacle of Moloch,
the star of your god Rephan,
the figures which you made to worship.
I will carry you away#Amos 5:25-27 beyond Babylon.’
44“Our fathers had the tabernacle of the testimony in the wilderness, even as he who spoke to Moses commanded him to make it according to the pattern that he had seen; 45which 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, to the days of David, 46who found favour in the sight of God, and asked to find a habitation for the God of Jacob. 47But Solomon built him a house. 48However, the Most High doesn’t dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says,
49‘heaven is my throne,
and the earth a footstool for my feet.
What kind of house will you build me?’ says the Lord.
‘Or what is the place of my rest?
50Didn’t my hand make all these things?’#Isaiah 66:1-2
51“You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit! As your fathers did, so you do. 52Which of the prophets didn’t your fathers persecute? They killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, of whom you have now become betrayers and murderers. 53You received the law as it was ordained by angels, and didn’t keep it!”
54Now when they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. 55But 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, 56and said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”
57But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears, then rushed at him with one accord. 58They threw him out of the city and stoned him. The witnesses placed their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59They stoned Stephen as he called out, saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” 60He knelt down, and cried with a loud voice, “Lord, don’t hold this sin against them!” When he had said this, he fell asleep.