Atos 7

1 THE High Priest said, "Are these things true?"

2 Stephen said: "Brethren and Fathers, listen. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran,

3 and said to him, 'Leave your land and your kindred and go into whatever land I shall show you.'

4 Then he came out from the land of the Chaldaeans and settled in Haran. From there, after the death of his father, God removed him into this land in which you now live,

5 but he did not give him any inheritance in it, not even a foot of it. Still he promised to give it as a possession to him and to his descendants after him, though at that time he had no child.

6 God spoke thus, 'His descendants will sojourn in a land not their own, and they will be enslaved and maltreated four hundred years.'

7 And God said, 'That nation by which they are enslaved I will judge, and after that they shall come out and serve me in this place.'

8 God gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. So Abraham circumcised his son Isaac on the eighth day, and Isaac circumcised his son Jacob, and Jacob circumcised his sons, the twelve patriarchs.

9 "The patriarchs becoming jealous of Joseph sold him into Egypt. But God was with him

10 and delivered him out of all his trials, and gave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him governor over the land of Egypt and all his own house.

11 Then there came a famine over all Egypt and Canaan, and great distress, and our fathers found no food.

12 When Jacob heard that there was food in Egypt he sent our fathers the first time.

13 On their second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Joseph's family was made known to Pharaoh.

14 Then Joseph sent and invited down Jacob his father and all his relatives, seventy-five persons,

15 and Jacob went down into Egypt and died there \'97 he and our fathers.

16 They were brought to Shechem and buried in the tomb which Abraham bought for a price in silver from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.

17 "As the time drew near for the fulfillment of the promise which God had made to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt

18 until there arose to rule over Egypt a different king, who did not know Joseph.

19 He adopted a crafty policy toward our race and oppressed our fathers, forcing them to expose their babes so that they should not be kept alive.

20 "At that time Moses was born, and was beautiful in God's sight. For three months he was cared for in his father's house.

21 When he had been exposed, Pharaoh's daughter took him up and reared him as her own son.

22 Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was strong in words and in deeds.

23 When he reached the age of forty years it came into his heart to look after his brethren, the children of Israel.

24 Seeing one of them being wronged, he defended him and did justice for the injured man by striking down the Egyptian.

25 He thought that his brethren knew that God would give them freedom through his hand. But they did not understand it.

26 On the next day Moses appeared when two of them were fighting, and tried to make peace between them, saying, 'Men, you are brethren. Why are you injuring each other?'

27 But he who was injuring his neighbor pushed him away, saying, 'Who appointed you a ruler and judge over us?

28 Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?'

29 At that word Moses fled and became a sojourner in the land of Midian, and there he had two sons.

30 "When forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the desert of Mount Sinai in the flames of a burning bush.

31 When Moses saw the sight he was astonished, but as he was approaching to look closely, the voice of the Lord was heard,

32 'I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob.' Then Moses trembled and did not dare to look closely.

33 The Lord said to him, 'Loose your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.

34 I have plainly seen the distress of my people in Egypt and I have heard their groans and have come down to deliver them. Come now and I will send you to Egypt.'

35 "This Moses whom they disowned, saying, 'Who made you a ruler and judge?' \'97 this man God sent as ruler and deliverer by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush.

36 This man led them out, doing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt and at the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years.

37 This is the Moses who said, 'God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brethren.'

38 This is he who was in the assembly in the wilderness, with the angel who spoke to him in Mount Sinai and with our fathers, and he received the living words to give to us.

39 Our fathers would not obey him, but thrust him away and turned back in their hearts toward Egypt,

40 saying to Aaron, 'Make us gods to lead us; for this Moses, who led us out of the land of Egypt \'97 we do not know what has become of him.'

41 And they made the image of a calf in those days and brought sacrifices to the idol and rejoiced in the work of their own hands.

42 So God turned and gave them up to worship the stars of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets, 'Did you offer to me slaughtered animals and sacrifices forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel?

43 No, you carried the tent of Moloch and the star of the god Rephan, the images that you made for worship. Therefore I will remove you beyond Babylon.'

44 "In the wilderness our fathers had the Tent of the Testimony made as he who spoke to Moses directed, according to the model which he had seen.

45 This Tent our fathers who were with Joshua received in their turn and brought into the land of the nations whom God drove out from before our fathers, and it remained until the days of David.

46 He found favor with God and prayed that he might provide a temple for the house of Israel.

47 But Solomon built for him a house.

48 Yet the Most High does not dwell in buildings made by hands; as the prophet says,

49 'Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool. What sort of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is my place of rest?

50 Did not my hand make all these things?'

51 "You stiff-necked men, uncircumcised in hearts and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit! As your fathers did, so do you.

52 Which one of the prophets did not your fathers persecute? Yes, they killed those who announced in advance the coming of the righteous one of whom now you have become the betrayers and murderers \'97

53 you who received the law as it was transmitted by angels and have not kept it."

54 As they listened to these things they were cut to the heart and ground their teeth at him.

55 But he being full of the Holy Spirit looked up into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God's right hand,

56 and he said, "I see heaven opened and the Son of Man standing at God's right hand!"

57 With a great shout they stopped their ears and rushed upon him with one purpose,

58 and hurried him out of the city and stoned him. The witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul.

59 They stoned Stephen as he was praying and saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."

60 Kneeling he cried aloud, "Lord, do not lay up this sin against them!" After saying this he fell asleep.