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Acts 7:35-39

7:35 This same 1  Moses they had rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge? 2  God sent as both ruler and deliverer 3  through the hand of the angel 4  who appeared to him in the bush. 7:36 This man led them out, performing wonders and miraculous signs 5  in the land of Egypt, 6  at 7  the Red Sea, and in the wilderness 8  for forty years. 7:37 This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, 9 God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers.’ 10  7:38 This is the man who was in the congregation 11  in the wilderness 12  with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors, 13  and he 14  received living oracles 15  to give to you. 16  7:39 Our 17  ancestors 18  were unwilling to obey 19  him, but pushed him aside 20  and turned back to Egypt in their hearts,

1 sn This same. The reference to “this one” occurs five times in this speech. It is the way the other speeches in Acts refer to Jesus (e.g., Acts 2:23).

2 sn A quotation from Exod 2:14 (see Acts 7:27). God saw Moses very differently than the people of the nation did. The reference to a ruler and a judge suggests that Stephen set up a comparison between Moses and Jesus, but he never finished his speech to make the point. The reader of Acts, however, knowing the other sermons in the book, recognizes that the rejection of Jesus is the counterpoint.

3 tn Or “liberator.” The meaning “liberator” for λυτρωτήν (lutrwthn) is given in L&N 37.129: “a person who liberates or releases others.”

4 tn Or simply “through the angel.” Here the “hand” could be understood as a figure for the person or the power of the angel himself. The remark about the angel appearing fits the first century Jewish view that God appears to no one (John 1:14-18; Gal 3:19; Deut 33:2 LXX).

5 tn Here the context indicates the miraculous nature of the signs mentioned.

sn Performing wonders and miraculous signs. Again Moses acted like Jesus. The phrase appears 9 times in Acts (2:19, 22, 43; 4:30; 5:12; 6:8; 7:36; 14:3; 15:12).

6 tn Or simply “in Egypt.” The phrase “the land of” could be omitted as unnecessary or redundant.

7 tn Grk “and at,” but καί (kai) has not been translated since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more.

8 tn Or “desert.”

9 tn Grk “to the sons of Israel.”

10 sn A quotation from Deut 18:15. This quotation sets up Jesus as the “leader-prophet” like Moses (Acts 3:22; Luke 9:35).

11 tn This term, ἐκκλησία (ekklhsia), is a secular use of the term that came to mean “church” in the epistles. Here a reference to an assembly is all that is intended.

12 tn Or “desert.”

13 tn Or “forefathers”; Grk “fathers.”

14 tn Grk “fathers, who.” The relative pronoun was replaced by the pronoun “he” and a new clause introduced by “and” was begun in the translation at this point to improve the English style.

15 tn Or “messages.” This is an allusion to the law given to Moses.

16 tc ‡ The first person pronoun ἡμῖν (Jhmin, “to us”) is read by A C D E Ψ 33 1739 Ï lat sy, while the second person pronoun ὑμῖν (Jumin, “to you”) is read by Ì74 א B 36 453 al co. The second person pronoun thus has significantly better external support. As well, ὑμῖν is a harder reading in this context, both because it is surrounded by first person pronouns and because Stephen perhaps “does not wish to disassociate himself from those who received God’s revelation in the past, but only from those who misinterpreted and disobeyed that revelation” (TCGNT 307). At the same time, Stephen does associate himself to some degree with his disobedient ancestors in v. 39, suggesting that the decisive break does not really come until v. 51 (where both his present audience and their ancestors are viewed as rebellious). Thus, both externally and internally ὑμῖν is the preferred reading.

17 tn Grk “whom our.” The continuation of the sentence as a relative clause is awkward in English, so a new sentence was started in the translation at this point.

18 tn Or “forefathers”; Grk “fathers.”

19 sn To obey. Again the theme of the speech is noted. The nation disobeyed the way of God and opted for Egypt over the promised land.

20 sn Pushed him aside. This is the second time Moses is “pushed aside” in Stephen’s account (see v. 27).

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