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7:1 Then said the high priest, Are these things so?
7:2 And 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,
7:3 And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee.
7:4 Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell.
7:5 And 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.
7:6 And 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.
7:7 And 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.
7:8 And 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.
7:9 And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him,
7:10 And 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.
7:11 Now there came a dearth over all the land of Egypt and Chanaan, and great affliction: and our fathers found no sustenance.
7:12 But when Jacob heard that there was corn in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first.
7:13 And at the second time Joseph was made known to his brethren; and Joseph's kindred was made known unto Pharaoh.
7:14 Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls.
7:15 So Jacob went down into Egypt, and died, he, and our fathers,
7:16 And 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.
7:17 But when the time of the promise drew nigh, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt,
7:18 Till another king arose, which knew not Joseph.
7:19 The 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.
7:20 In which time Moses was born, and was exceeding fair, and nourished up in his father's house three months:
7:21 And when he was cast out, Pharaoh's daughter took him up, and nourished him for her own son.
7:22 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.
7:23 And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel.
7:24 And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian:
7:25 For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not.
7:26 And 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?
7:27 But he that did his neighbour wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us?
7:28 Wilt thou kill me, as thou diddest the Egyptian yesterday?
7:29 Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Madian, where he begat two sons.
7:30 And 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.
7:31 When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight: and as he drew near to behold it, the voice of the LORD came unto him,
7:32 Saying, 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.
7:33 Then said the Lord to him, Put off thy shoes from thy feet: for the place where thou standest is holy ground.
7:34 I 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.
7:35 This 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.
7:36 He 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.
7:37 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.
7:38 This 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:
7:39 To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt,
7:40 Saying 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.
7:41 And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.
7:42 Then 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?
7:43 Yea, 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.
7:44 Our 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.
7:45 Which 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;
7:46 Who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob.
7:47 But Solomon built him an house.
7:48 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,
7:49 Heaven 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?
7:50 Hath not my hand made all these things?
7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
7:52 Which 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:
7:53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.
7:54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.
7:55 But 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,
7:56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
7:57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,
7:58 And 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.
7:59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
7:60 And 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.

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Everything King James Bible:Acts

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Acts
Book: Acts
Chapter: 7

Stephen's defence. (1-50) Stephen reproves the Jews for the
Death of Christ. (51-53) The martyrdom of Stephen. (54-60)

1-16 Stephen was charged as a blasphemer of God, and an
apostate from the Church; therefore he shows that he is a son of
Abraham, and values himself On it. The slow steps By which the
promise made to Abraham advanced toward performance, plainly
show that it had a spiritual meaning, and that the land intended
was the heavenly. God owned Joseph in his troubles, and was with
him By the power of his Spirit, both On his own mind By giving
him comfort, and On those he was concerned with, By giving him
favour in their eyes. Stephen reminds the Jews of their mean
beginning as a check to priding themselves in the glories of
that nation. Likewise of the wickedness of the patriarchs of
their tribes, in envying their Brother Joseph; and the same
Spirit was still working in them toward Christ and his
ministers. The Faith of the patriarchs, in desiring to be buried
in the land of Canaan, plainly showed they had regard to the
heavenly country. It is Well to recur to the first rise of
usages, or sentiments, which have been perverted. Would we know
the nature and effects of justifying Faith, we should study the
character of the Father of the Faithful. His Calling shows the
power and freeness of Divine Grace, and the nature of
Conversion. Here also we see that outward forms and distinctions
are as nothing, compared with separation from the world, and
devotedness to God.

17-29 Let us not be discouraged at the slowness of the
fulfilling of God's promises. Suffering times often are growing
times with the Church. God is preparing for his people's
deliverance, when their Day is darkest, and their distress
deepest. Moses was exceeding fair, "fair toward God;" it is the
beauty of Holiness which is in God's sight of great price. He
was wonderfully preserved in his infancy; for God will take
special care of those of whom he designs to make special use.
And did he thus protect the Child Moses? Much more will he
secure the interests of his holy Child Jesus, from the enemies
who are gathered together against him. They persecuted Stephen
for disputing in defence of Christ and his Gospel: in opposition
to these they set up Moses and his Law. They may understand, if
they do not wilfully shut their eyes against the Light, that God
will, By this Jesus, deliver them out of a worse slavery than
that of Egypt. Although men prolong their own miseries, yet the
Lord will take care of his servants, and effect his own designs
of Mercy.

30-41 Men deceive themselves, if they think God cannot do what
he sees to be good any where; he can bring his people into a
Wilderness, and there speak comfortably to them. He appeared to
Moses in a Flame of Fire, yet the Bush was not consumed; which
represented the state of Israel in Egypt, where, though they
were in the Fire of affliction, yet they were not consumed. It
may also be looked upon as a Type of Christ's taking upon him
the nature of Man, and the union between the Divine and human
nature. The Death of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, cannot break the
Covenant relation between God and them. Our Saviour By this
proves the future state, Mt 22:31. Abraham is dead, yet God is
still his God, therefore Abraham is still alive. Now, this is
that Life and Immortality which are brought to Light By the
Gospel. Stephen here shows that Moses was an eminent Type of
Christ, as he was Israel's deliverer. God has compassion for the
troubles of his Church, and the groans of his persecuted people;
and their deliverance takes rise from his pity. And that
deliverance was typical of what Christ did, when, for us men,
and for our Salvation, he came down from Heaven. This Jesus,
whom they now refused, as their fathers did Moses, even this
same has God advanced to be a Prince and Saviour. It does not at
all take from the just honour of Moses to say, that he was but
an instrument, and that he is infinitely outshone By Jesus. In
asserting that Jesus should change the customs of the ceremonial
Law, Stephen was So far from blaspheming Moses, that really he
honoured him, By showing how the Prophecy of Moses was come to
pass, which was So clear. God who gave them those customs By his
servant Moses, might, No doubt, change the Custom By his Son
Jesus. But Israel thrust Moses from them, and would have
returned to their Bondage; So men in general will not obey
Jesus, because they Love this present evil world, and rejoice in
their own Works and devices.

42-50 Stephen upbraids the Jews with the Idolatry of their
fathers, to which God gave them up as a Punishment for their
early forsaking him. It was No dishonour, but an honour to God,
that the Tabernacle gave way to the Temple; So it is now, that
the earthly Temple gives way to the spiritual one; and So it
will be when, at last, the spiritual shall give way to the
eternal one. The whole world is God's Temple, in which he is
every where present, and fills it with his Glory; what occasion
has he then for a Temple to manifest himself in? And these
things show his eternal power and Godhead. But as Heaven is his
Throne, and the Earth his Footstool, So none of our services can
profit Him who made all things. Next to the human nature of
Christ, the broken and spiritual Heart is his most valued

51-53 Stephen was going On, it seems, to show that the Temple
and the Temple service must come to an End, and it would be the
Glory of both to give way to the Worship of the Father in Spirit
and in Truth; but he perceived they would not Bear it. Therefore
he broke off, and By the Spirit of Wisdom, courage, and power,
sharply rebuked his persecutors. When Plain arguments and truths
provoke the opposers of the Gospel, they should be shown their
guilt and danger. They, like their fathers, were stubborn and
wilful. There is that in our sinful hearts, which always resists
the Holy Ghost, a Flesh that lusts against the Spirit, and wars
against his motions; but in the hearts of God's elect, when the
Fulness of time comes, this resistance is overcome. The Gospel
was offered now, not By angels, but from the Holy Ghost; yet
they did not embrace it, for they were resolved not to comply
with God, either in his Law or in his Gospel. Their guilt stung
them to the Heart, and they sought relief in murdering their
reprover, instead of sorrow and supplication for Mercy.

54-60 Nothing is So comfortable to dying saints, or So
encouraging to suffering saints, as to see Jesus at the right
Hand of God: blessed be God, By Faith we may see him there.
Stephen offered up two short prayers in his dying moments. Our
Lord Jesus is God, to whom we are to seek, and in whom we are to
trust and comfort ourselves, living and dying. And if this has
been our care while we live, it will be our comfort when we die.
Here is a Prayer for his persecutors. Though the Sin was very
great, yet if they would lay it to their hearts, God would not
lay it to their charge. Stephen died as much in a hurry as ever
any Man did, yet, when he died, the words used are, he fell
asleep; he applied himself to his dying work with as much
composure as if he had been going to sleep. He shall awake again
in the morning of the resurrection, to be received into the
presence of the Lord, where is Fulness of joy, and to share the
pleasures that are at his right Hand, for evermore.

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