7
Stephen started to answer the high priest's accusations by talking about Abraham.
Acts 7:1-4
Then the high priest asked Stephen, “Are the things that these people are saying about you(sg) true?” Stephen replied, “Fellow Jews and respected leaders, please listen to me! The glorious God whom we(inc) worship appeared to our ancestor Abraham while he was still living in Mesopotamia region, before he moved to Haran town. God said to him, ‘Leave this land where you (sg) and your relatives are living, and go into the land to which I will lead you.’ So Abraham left that land, which was also called Chaldea, and he arrived in Haran and lived there. After his father died, God told him to move to this land in which you and I are now living.”
God promised to give the land to Abraham and his descendants.
Acts 7:5
At that time God did not give Abraham any land here, not even a small plot of this land that would belong to him. God promised that he would later give this land to him and his descendants, and that it would always belong to them. However, at that time Abraham did not have any children who wouldinherit it/receive it after he died►.”
God told Abraham that later on he would deliver his descendants from Egypt.
Acts 7:6-7
Later God told Abraham, ‘Your descendants will go and live in a foreign country. They will live there for four hundred years, and during that time their leaders will mistreat your descendants and force them to work as slaves.’ But God also said, ‘I will punish the people who make them work as slaves. Then, after that, your descendants will leave that land and they will come and worship me in this land.’ ”
God commanded the ceremony of circumcision for Abraham and his descendants.
Acts 7:8
“Then God commanded Abraham that every male in his household and all of his male descendants should be circumcised to show that they all belonged to God and that they would obey what he had told Abraham to do. Later Abraham's son, Isaac, was born, and when Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him. Later Isaac's son, Jacob, was born, and Isaac similarly circumcised him. And Jacob similarly circumcised his twelve sons. They are the twelve men from whom we(inc) Jews have all descended.”
God helped Joseph, so Pharaoh appointed him to govern Egypt.
Acts 7:9-10
You know that Jacob's older sons became jealous because their father favored their younger brother Joseph. So they sold him to merchants/traders who took him [MTY] to Egypt. There he became a slave of an official who lived there. But God helped Joseph. 10 He protected him whenever people caused him to suffer. He enabled Joseph to be wise; and he caused Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to think well of Joseph. So Pharaoh appointed him to rule over Egypt and to look after all of Pharaoh's property [MTY].”
There was a famine in Canaan, so Jacob's family moved to Egypt.
Acts 7:11-15a
11 While Joseph was doing that work, there was a time ◄when there was very little food/of famine► throughout Egypt and also throughout Canaan. People did not have enough food to eat. People were suffering. At that time Jacob and his sons in Canaan also could not find enough food. 12 When Jacob heard people report that there was grain/food that people could buy in Egypt, he sent Joseph's older brothers to go there to buy grain. They went and bought grain from Joseph, but they did not recognize him. Then they returned home. 13 When Joseph's brothers went to Egypt the second time, they again bought grain from Joseph. But this time he told them who he was. And people told Pharaoh that Joseph's people were Hebrews and that those men who had come from Canaan were his brothers. 14 Then after Joseph sent his brothers back home, they told their father Jacob that Joseph wanted him and his entire family to come to Egypt. At that timeJacob's family consisted of seventy-five people/there were seventy-five people in Jacob's family► [SYN]. 15  So when Jacob heard that, he and all his family went to live in Egypt.”
When Jacob and his sons died, people buried them in Canaan.
Acts 7:15b-16
Later on, Jacob died there, and our other ancestors, his sons, also died there. 16  But the bodies of Jacob and Joseph were brought { they brought the bodies of Jacob and Joseph} back to our land, and Jacob's body was buried {they buried Jacob's body} in the tomb that Abraham had bought, and they buried Joseph's body in Shechem in the ground that Jacob had bought from Hamor's sons.”
An Egyptian king who did not know about Joseph began to oppress the Israelites.
Acts 7:17-19
17 “Our ancestors had become very numerous when it was almost time for God to rescue them from Egypt, as he had promised Abraham that he would do. 18 Another king had begun to rule in Egypt. He did not know that Joseph, long before that time, had greatly helped the people of Egypt [MTY]. 19 That king cruelly tried to get rid of our ancestors. He oppressed them and caused them to suffer greatly. He even commanded them to leave their baby boys outside their homes so that they would die.”
Moses, who grew up as an Egyptian, spoke and acted powerfully.
Acts 7:20-22
20 “During that time Moses was born, and he was a very beautiful [LIT] child. So his parents secretly cared for him in their house for three months. 21 Then they had to put him outside the house, but Pharaoh's daughter found him and adopted him and cared for him as though he were her own son. 22 Moses was taught { The Egyptian teachers taught Moses} many kinds of wise things [HYP] that the people in Egypt knew, and when he grew up, he spoke powerfully and did things powerfully.”
Moses killed an Egyptian, so he had to flee to Midian.
Acts 7:23-29
23 One day when Moses was about forty years old, he decided that he would go and see his fellow Israelis. So he went to the place where they worked. 24 He saw an Egyptian beating one of the Israels. So he went over to help [MTY] the Israeli man who was being hurt/beat {whom the Egyptian was hurting/beating}, and he ◄got revenge on/paid back► the Israeli man by killing the Egyptian who was hurting/beating him. 25 Moses was thinking that his fellow Israelis would understand that God had sent him to free them from being slaves. But they did not understand that. 26 The next day, Moses saw two Israeli men fighting each other. He tried to make them stop fighting by saying to them, ‘Men, you two are fellow Israelis! So ◄stop hurting each other!/why are you hurting each other?► [RHQ]’ 27 But the man who was injuring the other man pushed Moses away and said to him, ‘◄No one appointed you (sg) to rule and judge us (exc)!/Do you (sg) think someone appointed you (sg) to rule and judge us (exc)?► [RHQ] 28 Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ 29 When Moses heard that, he thought to himself, ‘Obviously, people know what I have done, and someone will kill me.’ He was afraid, so he fled from Egypt to Midian land. He lived there for some years. He got married, and he and his wife had two sons.”
God commanded Moses to rescue the Jewish people from Egypt.
Acts 7:30-34
30 One day forty years later, the Lord God appeared as an angel to Moses. He appeared in a bush that was burning in the desert near Sinai Mountain. 31 When Moses saw that, he was greatly surprised, because the bush was not burning up. As he went over to look more closely, he heard the Lord God say to him, 32 ‘I am the God whom your ancestors worshipped. I am the God that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob worship.’ Moses was so afraid that he began to shake. He was afraid to look at the bush any longer. 33 Then the Lord God said to him, ‘Take your sandals off to show that you(sg) revere me. Because I am here, the place where you are standing is holy/sacred. 34 I have surely seen how the people of Egypt are continually causing my people to suffer. I have heard my people when they groan because those people continually oppress them. So I have come down to rescue them from Egypt. Now get ready, because I am going to send you back to Egypt to do that.’ ”
God sent Moses to lead Israel and tell them of the Prophet who would come.
Acts 7:35-38
35 “This Moses is the one who had tried to help our Israeli people, but whom they rejected by saying, ‘No one [RHQ] appointed you to rule and judge us!’ Moses is the one whom God himself sent to rule them and to free them from being slaves. He is the one whom an angel in the bush commanded to do that. 36 Moses is the one who led our ancestors out from Egypt. He did many kinds of miracles in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and during the forty years that the Israelite people lived in the desert. 37 This Moses is the one who said to the Israelite people, ‘God will appoint a prophet for you from among your own people. He will speak words from God, just like I speak his words to you.’ 38 This man Moses was our people's leader when they gathered together in the desert. It is Moses to whom God sent the angel on Mount Sinai to give him our laws, and he was the one who told our other ancestors what the angel had said. He was the one who received from God words that tell us how to live eternally, and Moses passed them on to us.”
Israel rejected Moses, so God rejected them and said that he would punish them.
Acts 7:39-43
39 However, our ancestors did not want to obey Moses. Instead, while he was still on the mountain, they rejected him as their leader and decided that they wanted to return to Egypt. 40 So they told his older brother Aaron, ‘Make idols for us who will be our gods to lead us back to Egypt! As for that fellow Moses who led us out of Egypt we (exc) do not know what has happened to him!’ 41 So, they made out of gold an image that looked like a calf. Then they sacrificed animals and offered other things to honor that idol, and they sang and danced to honor the idol that they themselves had made. 42 So God rejected them. He abandoned them to worship the sun, moon and stars in the sky. This agrees with the words that one of the prophets wrote that God said,
You Israelite people [MTY], when you repeatedly killed animals and offered them as sacrifices during those forty years that you were in the desert, ◄you most certainly were not offering them to me!/what makes you think that you were offering them to me?► [RHQ] 43  On the contrary, you carried with you from place to place the tent that contained the idol representing the god Molech that you worshipped. You also carried with you the image of the star called Rephan. Those were idols that you had made, and you worshipped them instead of me. So I will cause you to be taken away { people to take you} from your own country. You will be taken { They will take you} far from your homes to regions even farther than Babylon.”
The Israelite people worshipped God at the tent Moses built and later in the temple that Solomon built.
Acts 7:44-47
44 “While our ancestors were in the desert, they worshipped God at the tent that showed that he was there with them. They had made the tent exactly like God had commanded Moses to make it. It was exactly like the model that Moses had seen when he was up on the mountain. 45  Later on, other ancestors of ours carried that tent with them when Joshua led them into this land. That was during the time that they took this land for themselves, when God forced the people who previously lived here to leave. So the Israelis were able to possess this land. The tent remained in this land and was still here when King David ruled. 46 David pleased God, and he asked God to let him build a house where he and all of our Israeli people could worship God. 47 But instead, God let David's son Solomon build a house where people could worship God.”
People can worship God anywhere, not only at certain places.
Acts 7:48-50
48 “However, we(inc) know that God is greater than everything, and he does not live in houses that people [SYN] have made. It is like the prophet Isaiah wrote. He wrote these words that God had spoken:
49-50 Heaven is ◄my throne/the place from which I rule the entire universe►, and the earth is ◄my footstool/ merely like a stool on which I may rest my feet►. I myself [SYN] have made everything both in heaven and on the earth. So you human beings, ◄ you really cannot build a house that would be adequate for me!/do you think you can build a house that would be appropriate for me?► [RHQ] You cannot [RHQ] make a place good enough for me to live in!”
Stephen said that those who were listening to him were opposing God.
Acts 7:51-53
51 “You people are extremely stubborn [MET], not wanting to obey God or listen [MTY] to him! You are exactly like your ancestors! You always resist the Holy Spirit as they did! 52 Your ancestors caused [RHQ] every prophet to suffer, including Moses. They even killed those who long ago announced that the Messiah would come, the one who always did what pleased God. And the Messiah has come! He is the one whom you recently turned over to his enemies and insisted that they kill him! 53 You are the people who have received God's laws. Those were laws that God caused angels to give to our ancestors. However, incredibly, you have not obeyed them!”
All the people there became very angry with Stephen.
Acts 7:54
54 When the Jewish Council members and others there heard all that Stephen said, they became very angry. They were grinding their teeth together because they were so angry at him!
After Stephen said that he could see Jesus standing beside God in heaven, they stoned him.
Acts 7:55-59
55 But the Holy Spirit completely controlled Stephen. He looked up into heaven and saw a dazzling light from God, and he saw Jesus standing at God's right side. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open, and I see the one who came from heaven standing at God's right side!”
57  When the Jewish Council members and others heard that, they shouted loudly. They put their hands over their ears so that they could not hear Stephen, and immediately they all rushed at him. 58 They dragged him outside the city of Jerusalem and started to throw stones at him. The people who were accusing him took off their outer garments in order to throw stones more easily, and they put their clothes on the ground next to a young man whose name was Saul, so that he could guard them. 59 While they continued to throw stones at Stephen, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!”
He asked the Lord to forgive them, and he died. The disciples fled, some men buried Stephen, and Saul harassed believers. But the believers preached about Jesus wherever they were scattered.
Acts 7:60—8:3
60 Then Stephen fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not punish them (OR, forgive them) [LIT] for this sin!” After he had said that, he died.