Stephen told the Jewish leaders a long story
The big boss of the Jewish ceremonies said to Stephen, “These men are saying bad things about you. We think that they are telling the true story about you, but what do you say?”
2-4 Then Stephen said, “Listen to me, my countrymen and my leaders. Think about the story about our grand-fathers that lived a long time ago. Our great God came to our grand-father Abraham, while he was still living in Mesopotamia country, where the Chaldia mob lived. God said to him, ‘Leave your country and your family. Go to the country that I will show you.’ Abraham listened to God, and he left that country, and he went to live in Haran country. He lived there until his father died. Then God brought him here, to this country that you live in now.*
But God didn’t give any of this country to Abraham. He didn’t even give him a little bit of it. But God promised him that later on the people born into his family would own all of this land. At that time, Abraham didn’t even have any kids.* But God told him, ‘You will have grand-kids, and more grand-kids after them. Your family will go to a country that belongs to other people, to live there. Those people will treat your family really bad and make them work hard for no pay. They will do that for 400 years.* But after that, I will do payback to those other people, for treating your grand-kids really bad like that. Then your grand-kids will come out from that country, and they will show respect to me here in this place.’*
Then God promised to look after Abraham, and Abraham agreed to follow him. God told Abraham that his mob had to do a young man operation on all their boys, to show that they agreed with God. After that, Abraham had a son called Isaac, and 8 days later Abraham did a young man operation on him. After that, Isaac grew up and had a son called Jacob, and he did that operation on him too. And Jacob did the same for his 12 sons, and those 12 men became our grand-fathers that lived a long time ago.*
Joseph was one of those 12 men. His brothers were jealous of him, and they sold him to some people that took him to Egypt. He had to work there for no pay. But God was with Joseph and looked after him there in Egypt.* 10 Joseph got a lot of trouble there, but God saved him from all that trouble. God helped Joseph to think properly about everything. God showed Egypt’s big boss that Joseph was really good. So the big boss made Joseph the boss over all the people in Egypt, and he made Joseph the boss over his big house too.*
11 After a long time, there was a dry time for all those countries. There was no rain, so no food grew in Egypt. And there was no food in Canaan, the country that our grand-fathers were living in. They had no food, and they were very hungry.* 12 Then Jacob heard that there was food in Egypt. So he sent his sons to Egypt to get food. Those men were our grand-fathers that lived a long time ago. When they got to Egypt, they met Joseph, but he looked so different that they didn’t know him. Then they bought some food and took it home.
13 After that, Jacob sent them to Egypt again to get more food, and this time Joseph told them, ‘I am your brother.’ And Egypt’s big boss heard that Joseph had some brothers.* 14 Then Joseph sent his brothers to get his father Jacob, and all his family, to come and live in Egypt. So all 75 of them went to Egypt.* 15 That’s how Jacob and his family went to Egypt, and they lived there until they died.* 16 Later, their grand-kids took their bodies back to the place called Shekem, and they buried them in a cave. A long time before that, Jacob’s grand-father Abraham bought that cave from Hamor’s family. He paid the full price for that cave.”*
Stephen talked about Moses
17 Stephen kept on talking to the men of the Jewish Leaders Council. He said, “Remember, a long time before that, God told Abraham, ‘I will give you a big family, and they will become a great nation.’ And God also said, ‘Your family will move to another country, but after 400 years I will bring your family back and give them this country.’ So Abraham’s family lived in Egypt, and they had lots of kids and grand-kids, and those families grew into a big mob of people. Then it was almost time for God to bring them back to this country.* 18 Then, a new man became Egypt’s big boss. That new big boss didn’t know anything about Joseph.* 19 He tricked our family, and he was very hard on them. He made our mob throw their baby boys into the river to kill them.* 20 Moses was born while that man was the big boss. Moses was a very good little baby, and his mother and father looked after him in their house for 3 months.* 21 After that, they had to leave Moses out at the river, but the big boss’s daughter came along and found him, and she took him home and called him her own son.* 22 So Moses grew up in the big boss’s family, and the teachers in Egypt taught him a lot of their wise things. Moses became an important man. He talked well, and he did everything properly.
23 Moses kept on living in the big boss’s family until he was 40 years old. Then one day, he went to visit his own people. They were our grand-fathers, the Israel mob.* 24 While he was there, he saw an Egypt man beating up an Israel man. Moses wanted to help that Israel man, so he killed that Egypt man. 25 Moses reckoned, ‘Now my people will understand about me, and they will know that God will use me to save them.’ But they didn’t understand that.
26 The next day, Moses saw 2 of his own men fighting, and he tried to get them to stop fighting. He said, ‘You 2 men, you are both family. Why do you hit each other?’ 27 But the man that started the fight pushed Moses away. He said, ‘Nobody said that you can be our boss or our judge. 28 Are you going to kill me like you killed that Egypt man yesterday?’ 29 Moses heard that man’s words, and he got frightened. He thought, ‘Everyone knows that I killed that man. Now I will get big trouble.’ So he ran away from Egypt and went to live in the country called Midian. He didn’t belong to that country, but he got married there and had 2 sons.*
30 Moses stayed in Midian country for 40 years. Then one day, he was in the desert place near the big hill called Sinai, and God sent one of his angel messengers to him there. It happened like this. Moses saw a little tree that was burning with flames of fire.* 31 It kept on burning all the time, but it didn’t finish up that little tree. Moses was surprised. He thought, ‘How come that fire doesn’t finish up that tree?’ So he went closer to have a good look at it. Then he heard God talk to him from that fire. God said, 32 I am the God of your grand-fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I am their God.’
Moses was so frightened that he started shaking. He was too frightened to look at that little tree any more. 33 Then God said to him, ‘Moses, take off your shoes. The ground you are standing on is my special ground. 34 Listen, I saw those bosses in Egypt, they were hitting my people. I heard my people crying and groaning, and now I’m going to save them. So now, Moses, you go back to Egypt. I’m sending you back there to save them.’ ”
35 Stephen kept on talking to that mob of Jewish leaders. He said, “You see, God’s people didn’t listen to Moses before. They said, ‘Nobody said that you can be our boss or our judge.’ But later, God sent Moses back to save them, and to be their boss. And God sent his angel messenger to help Moses, the same angel that made that little tree keep on burning with fire.* 36 Moses helped God’s people leave Egypt. He did powerful things in Egypt, so that the big boss there let them go. So God’s people all followed Moses out of Egypt, and when they got to the water called the Red Sea, he did another powerful thing to let the people walk across to the other side. And later, he did more powerful things for them, while they walked around in the desert for 40 years.*
37 That same man, Moses, said to the people of Israel,
God will get one of your own people, and send him to tell you his message. He will be like me.’*
38 All our grand-fathers were with Moses in the desert country. And God sent an angel messenger to Moses, at the big hill called Sinai, to tell him the good message that helps people live with God. And then Moses told our grand-fathers that same message.*
39 But our grand-fathers didn’t listen to Moses. They didn’t want him to be their leader. So when Moses went back up that hill, they said that they just wanted to go back to Egypt. 40 They told Aaron, ‘Make us statues of gods, and we will get them to show us the way back to Egypt. We followed that Moses out from Egypt, but now he is not here. What happened to him? We don’t know.’* 41 So then they made a statue that looked like a young cow. They brought some animals, and they killed them and burned them to give them to that statue. And they had a big party to show respect to the statue they made.* 42 So God turned away from our grand-fathers. He left them, and they showed respect to the sun and the moon, and the stars too.
Some time later God told one of his men to write about that, and now it is in God’s book. He wrote,
You people of Israel, you were in the desert for 40 years, and at that time, did you bring animals to kill and give to me? No, they were not for me.
43 You only respected the god called Molek, and the star god called Refan. You made statues of them, and you carried things around with you to help you show respect to them.
So listen, I will send you all away from your country, I will send you a really long way away, even past the city called Babylon.’ ”*
Stephen talked about God’s ceremony house
44 Stephen kept on talking to the Jewish Leaders Council. He said, “A long time ago, God talked to Moses, and he showed Moses a picture of his special tent, and God told Moses how to make it. Our grand-fathers carried God’s special tent with them through the desert. That tent showed everyone that they had God’s law.*
45 Some years later, Moses died, and then Joshua was their leader. He and our grand-fathers came into this country, and they fought against the people that lived here. God made those people run away, and our grand-fathers got this country. And they brought that tent with them into this country, and they kept it here for a long time. It was still here when David became their big boss.*
46 God was good to David. And David wanted to build a ceremony house, instead of that tent, for the God of us Israel people. So David asked God to let him build that house.* 47 But God stopped David, and instead it was Solomon, David’s son, that built God’s ceremony house.* 48 But, you know, our great God does not live in houses that people build. You see, God told one of his men to write about that, and it is in God’s book. He wrote,
49-50 ‘God says, “I fill up all of heaven. It is like my big seat.
And the whole earth is just like something for me to rest my feet on.
So what sort of house will you people build for me?
You can’t build a place big enough for me to live in.
You see, I made everything.” ’ ”*
Stephen talked strong to the Jewish Leaders Council men
51 Then Stephen talked to them straight. He said, “You mob are just like your grand-fathers that lived a long time ago. You don’t take any notice of God. You don’t listen to him, and you don’t do anything he says. You don’t do anything the Holy Spirit tells you to do.* 52 God sent men to your grand-fathers a long time ago to tell them his messages, but they beat up God’s men. God got some messengers to say that he will send his really good man to us, but they even killed those messengers from God. Then that really good man came to us. He was Jesus. But you mob told the people to kill him. You were the ones that murdered him. 53 You see, God sent his angel messengers to your grand-fathers to give you God’s law, but you didn’t listen, and you didn’t do anything it says.”
They killed Stephen with stones
54 The men of the Jewish Leaders Council heard Stephen say that, and they got really angry. They were so angry that they were rubbing their teeth together. 55 But the Holy Spirit controlled Stephen. He looked up into the sky, and he saw God there, shining very bright, and he saw Jesus standing at God’s right-hand side. 56 Stephen said to everyone, “Look, I can see into heaven. Its door is open, and I can see God’s special man there in heaven. He is standing at God’s right-hand side.”
57 When the Jewish council men heard that, they covered their ears so they couldn’t hear Stephen, and they yelled out really loud, and they jumped up quick and grabbed him. 58 Then they dragged Stephen outside the city and started throwing big stones at him to kill him. And the men that told lies about Stephen took off their coats and gave them to a young man to look after. The name of that young man was Saul.
59 Those men kept on hitting Stephen with big stones. Then he called out, “Jesus, my leader, let my spirit come to be with you now.” 60 Then he went down on to his knees, and he shouted, “Jesus, don’t blame these men for doing this bad thing.” And after he said that, he died.
* 7:2-4 Genesis 11:31; 12:1, 4 * 7:5 Genesis 12:7; 13:15; 15:18; 17:8; 48:4 * 7:6 Genesis 15:13-14 * 7:7 Exodus 3:12 * 7:8 Genesis 17:10-14; 21:2-4; 25:26; 29:31; 35:18 * 7:9 Genesis 37:11, 28; 39:2, 21 * 7:10 Genesis 41:39-41 * 7:11 Genesis 42:1-2 * 7:13 Genesis 45:1, 16 * 7:14 Genesis 45:9-10, 17-18; 46:27 * 7:15 Genesis 46:1-7; 49:33 * 7:16 Genesis 23:3-16; 33:19; 50:7-13; Joshua 24:32 * 7:17 Genesis 12:2; 15:13-15 * 7:18 Exodus 1:7-8 * 7:19 Exodus 1:10-11, 22 * 7:20 Exodus 2:2 * 7:21 Exodus 2:3-10 * 7:23 Exodus 2:11-15 * 7:29 Exodus 18:3-4 * 7:30 Exodus 3:1-10 * 7:35 Exodus 2:14 * 7:36 Exodus 7:5; 14:21; Numbers 14:33 * 7:37 Deuteronomy 18:15, 18 * 7:38 Exodus 19:1—20:17; Deuteronomy 5:1-33 * 7:40 Exodus 32:1, 23 * 7:41 Exodus 32:2-6 * 7:43 Amos 5:25-27 * 7:44 Exodus 25:9, 40 * 7:45 Joshua 3:14-17 * 7:46 2 Samuel 7:1-16; 1 Chronicles 17:1-14 * 7:47 1 Kings 6:1-38; 2 Chronicles 3:1-17 * 7:49-50 Isaiah 66:1-2 * 7:51 Isaiah 63:10