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Acts 6:8--7:56

Context
Stephen is Arrested

6:8 Now Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and miraculous signs 1  among the people. 6:9 But some men from the Synagogue 2  of the Freedmen (as it was called), 3  both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, as well as some from Cilicia and the province of Asia, 4  stood up and argued with Stephen. 6:10 Yet 5  they were not able to resist 6  the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke. 6:11 Then they secretly instigated 7  some men to say, “We have heard this man 8  speaking blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 6:12 They incited the people, the 9  elders, and the experts in the law; 10  then they approached Stephen, 11  seized him, and brought him before the council. 12  6:13 They brought forward false witnesses who said, “This man does not stop saying things against this holy place 13  and the law. 14  6:14 For we have heard him saying that Jesus the Nazarene will destroy this place and change the customs 15  that Moses handed down to us.” 6:15 All 16  who were sitting in the council 17  looked intently at Stephen 18  and saw his face was like the face of an angel. 19 

Stephen’s Defense Before the Council

7:1 Then the high priest said, “Are these things true?” 20  7:2 So he replied, 21  “Brothers and fathers, listen to me. The God of glory appeared to our forefather 22  Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he settled in Haran, 7:3 and said to him, ‘Go out from your country and from your relatives, and come to the land I will show you.’ 23  7:4 Then he went out from the country of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After his father died, God 24  made him move 25  to this country where you now live. 7:5 He 26  did not give any of it to him for an inheritance, 27  not even a foot of ground, 28  yet God 29  promised to give it to him as his possession, and to his descendants after him, 30  even though Abraham 31  as yet had no child. 7:6 But God spoke as follows: ‘Your 32  descendants will be foreigners 33  in a foreign country, whose citizens will enslave them and mistreat them for four hundred years. 34  7:7 But I will punish 35  the nation they serve as slaves,’ said God, ‘and after these things they will come out of there 36  and worship 37  me in this place.’ 38  7:8 Then God 39  gave Abraham 40  the covenant 41  of circumcision, and so he became the father of Isaac and circumcised him when he was eight days old, 42  and Isaac became the father of 43  Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs. 44  7:9 The 45  patriarchs, because they were jealous of Joseph, sold 46  him into Egypt. But 47  God was with him, 7:10 and rescued him from all his troubles, and granted him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made 48  him ruler over Egypt and over all his household. 7:11 Then a famine occurred throughout 49  Egypt and Canaan, causing 50  great suffering, and our 51  ancestors 52  could not find food. 7:12 So when Jacob heard that there was grain 53  in Egypt, he sent our ancestors 54  there 55  the first time. 7:13 On their second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers again, and Joseph’s family 56  became known to Pharaoh. 7:14 So Joseph sent a message 57  and invited 58  his father Jacob and all his relatives to come, seventy-five people 59  in all. 7:15 So Jacob went down to Egypt and died there, 60  along with our ancestors, 61  7:16 and their bones 62  were later moved to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a certain sum of money 63  from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.

7:17 “But as the time drew near for God to fulfill the promise he had declared to Abraham, 64  the people increased greatly in number 65  in Egypt, 7:18 until another king who did not know about 66  Joseph ruled 67  over Egypt. 68  7:19 This was the one who exploited 69  our people 70  and was cruel to our ancestors, 71  forcing them to abandon 72  their infants so they would die. 73  7:20 At that time Moses was born, and he was beautiful 74  to God. For 75  three months he was brought up in his father’s house, 7:21 and when he had been abandoned, 76  Pharaoh’s daughter adopted 77  him and brought him up 78  as her own son. 7:22 So Moses was trained 79  in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful 80  in his words and deeds. 7:23 But when he was about forty years old, it entered his mind 81  to visit his fellow countrymen 82  the Israelites. 83  7:24 When 84  he saw one of them being hurt unfairly, 85  Moses 86  came to his defense 87  and avenged the person who was mistreated by striking down the Egyptian. 7:25 He thought his own people 88  would understand that God was delivering them 89  through him, 90  but they did not understand. 91  7:26 The next day Moses 92  saw two men 93  fighting, and tried to make peace between 94  them, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why are you hurting one another?’ 7:27 But the man who was unfairly hurting his neighbor pushed 95  Moses 96  aside, saying, ‘Who made 97  you a ruler and judge over us? 7:28 You don’t want to kill me the way you killed the Egyptian yesterday, do you? 98  7:29 When the man said this, 99  Moses fled and became a foreigner 100  in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.

7:30 “After 101  forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the desert 102  of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning bush. 103  7:31 When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight, and when he approached to investigate, there came the voice of the Lord, 7:32I am the God of your forefathers, 104  the God of Abraham, Isaac, 105  and Jacob.’ 106  Moses began to tremble and did not dare to look more closely. 107  7:33 But the Lord said to him,Take the sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 108  7:34 I have certainly seen the suffering 109  of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to rescue them. 110  Now 111  come, I will send you to Egypt.’ 112  7:35 This same 113  Moses they had rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge? 114  God sent as both ruler and deliverer 115  through the hand of the angel 116  who appeared to him in the bush. 7:36 This man led them out, performing wonders and miraculous signs 117  in the land of Egypt, 118  at 119  the Red Sea, and in the wilderness 120  for forty years. 7:37 This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, 121 God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers.’ 122  7:38 This is the man who was in the congregation 123  in the wilderness 124  with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors, 125  and he 126  received living oracles 127  to give to you. 128  7:39 Our 129  ancestors 130  were unwilling to obey 131  him, but pushed him aside 132  and turned back to Egypt in their hearts, 7:40 saying to Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go in front of us, for this Moses, who led us out of the land of Egypt 133  – we do not know what has happened to him! 134  7:41 At 135  that time 136  they made an idol in the form of a calf, 137  brought 138  a sacrifice to the idol, and began rejoicing 139  in the works of their hands. 140  7:42 But God turned away from them and gave them over 141  to worship the host 142  of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets: ‘It was not to me that you offered slain animals and sacrifices 143  forty years in the wilderness, was it, 144  house of Israel? 7:43 But you took along the tabernacle 145  of Moloch 146  and the star of the 147  god Rephan, 148  the images you made to worship, but I will deport 149  you beyond Babylon.’ 150  7:44 Our ancestors 151  had the tabernacle 152  of testimony in the wilderness, 153  just as God 154  who spoke to Moses ordered him 155  to make it according to the design he had seen. 7:45 Our 156  ancestors 157  received possession of it and brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before our ancestors, 158  until the time 159  of David. 7:46 He 160  found favor 161  with 162  God and asked that he could 163  find a dwelling place 164  for the house 165  of Jacob. 7:47 But Solomon built a house 166  for him. 7:48 Yet the Most High 167  does not live in houses made by human hands, 168  as the prophet says,

7:49Heaven is my throne,

and earth is the footstool for my feet.

What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord,

or what is my resting place? 169 

7:50 Did my hand 170  not make all these things? 171 

7:51 “You stubborn 172  people, with uncircumcised 173  hearts and ears! 174  You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, like your ancestors 175  did! 7:52 Which of the prophets did your ancestors 176  not persecute? 177  They 178  killed those who foretold long ago the coming of the Righteous One, 179  whose betrayers and murderers you have now become! 180  7:53 You 181  received the law by decrees given by angels, 182  but you did not obey 183  it.” 184 

Stephen is Killed

7:54 When they heard these things, they became furious 185  and ground their teeth 186  at him. 7:55 But Stephen, 187  full 188  of the Holy Spirit, looked intently 189  toward heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing 190  at the right hand of God. 7:56 “Look!” he said. 191  “I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”

1 tn The miraculous nature of these signs is implied in the context. Here the work of miracles extends beyond the Twelve for the first time.

2 sn A synagogue was a place for Jewish prayer and worship, with recognized leadership (cf. Luke 8:41). Though the origin of the synagogue is not entirely clear, it seems to have arisen in the postexilic community during the intertestamental period. A town could establish a synagogue if there were at least ten men. In normative Judaism of the NT period, the OT scripture was read and discussed in the synagogue by the men who were present (see the Mishnah, m. Megillah 3-4; m. Berakhot 2).

3 tn Grk “the so-called Synagogue of the Freedmen.” The translation of the participle λεγομένης (legomenh") by the phrase “as it was called” is given by L&N 87.86. “Freedmen” would be slaves who had gained their freedom, or the descendants of such people (BDAG 594-95 s.v. Λιβερτῖνος).

4 tn Grk “Asia”; in the NT this always refers to the Roman province of Asia, made up of about one-third of the west and southwest end of modern Asia Minor. Asia lay to the west of the region of Phrygia and Galatia. The words “the province of” are supplied to indicate to the modern reader that this does not refer to the continent of Asia.

5 tn Grk “and.” The context, however, indicates that the conjunction carries an adversative force.

6 sn They were not able to resist. This represents another fulfillment of Luke 12:11-12; 21:15.

7 tn Another translation would be “they suborned” (but this term is not in common usage). “Instigate (secretly), suborn” is given by BDAG 1036 s.v. ὑποβάλλω.

8 tn Grk “heard him”; but since this is direct discourse, it is more natural (and clearer) to specify the referent (Stephen) as “this man.”

9 tn Grk “and the,” 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.

10 tn Or “and the scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 4:5.

11 tn Grk “approaching, they seized him”; the referent (Stephen) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

12 tn Or “the Sanhedrin” (the highest legal, legislative, and judicial body among the Jews). Stephen suffers just as Peter and John did.

13 sn This holy place is a reference to the temple.

14 sn The law refers to the law of Moses. It elaborates the nature of the blasphemy in v. 11. To speak against God’s law in Torah was to blaspheme God (Deut 28:15-19). On the Jewish view of false witnesses, see Exod 19:16-18; 20:16; m. Sanhedrin 3.6; 5.1-5. Stephen’s speech in Acts 7 may indicate why the temple was mentioned.

15 tn Or “practices.”

sn Will destroy this place and change the customs. Stephen appears to view the temple as a less central place in light of Christ’s work, an important challenge to Jewish religion, since it was at this time a temple-centered state and religion. Unlike Acts 3-4, the issue here is more than Jesus and his resurrection. Now the impact of his resurrection and the temple’s centrality has also become an issue. The “falseness” of the charge may not be that the witnesses were lying, but that they falsely read the truth of Stephen’s remarks.

16 tn Grk “And all.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

17 tn Or “Sanhedrin” (the highest legal, legislative, and judicial body among the Jews).

18 tn Grk “at him”; the referent (Stephen) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

19 sn His face was like the face of an angel. This narrative description of Stephen’s face adds to the mood of the passage. He had the appearance of a supernatural, heavenly messenger.

20 tn Grk “If it is so concerning these things” (see BDAG 422 s.v. ἔχω 10.a for this use).

21 tn Grk “said.”

22 tn Or “ancestor”; Grk “father.”

23 sn A quotation from Gen 12:1.

24 tn Grk “he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

25 tn The translation “made him move” for the verb μετοικίζω (metoikizw) is given by L&N 85.83. The verb has the idea of “resettling” someone (BDAG 643 s.v.); see v. 43, where it reappears.

26 tn Grk “And he.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

27 tn Grk “He did not give him an inheritance in it.” This could be understood to mean that God did not give something else to Abraham as an inheritance while he was living there. The point of the text is that God did not give any of the land to him as an inheritance, and the translation makes this clear.

28 tn Grk “a step of a foot” (cf. Deut 2:5).

29 tn Grk “he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

30 sn An allusion to Gen 12:7; 13:15; 15:2, 18; 17:8; 24:7; 48:4. On the theological importance of the promise and to his descendants after him, see Rom 4 and Gal 3.

31 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Abraham) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

32 tn Grk “that his”; the discourse switches from indirect to direct with the following verbs. For consistency the entire quotation is treated as second person direct discourse in the translation.

33 tn Or “will be strangers,” that is, one who lives as a noncitizen of a foreign country.

34 sn A quotation from Gen 15:13. Exod 12:40 specifies the sojourn as 430 years.

35 tn BDAG 568 s.v. κρίνω 5.b.α states, “Oft. the emphasis is unmistakably laid upon that which follows the Divine Judge’s verdict, upon the condemnation or punishment: condemn, punishAc 7:7 (Gen 15:14).”

36 tn The words “of there” are not in the Greek text, but are implied.

sn A quotation from Gen 15:14.

37 tn Or “and serve,” but with religious/cultic overtones (BDAG 587 s.v. λατρεύω).

38 sn An allusion to Exod 3:12.

39 tn Grk “he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

40 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Abraham) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

41 sn God gave…the covenant. Note how the covenant of promise came before Abraham’s entry into the land and before the building of the temple.

42 tn Grk “circumcised him on the eighth day,” but many modern readers will not understand that this procedure was done on the eighth day after birth. The temporal clause “when he was eight days old” conveys this idea more clearly. See Gen 17:11-12.

43 tn The words “became the father of” are not in the Greek text due to an ellipsis, but must be supplied for the English translation. The ellipsis picks up the verb from the previous clause describing how Abraham fathered Isaac.

44 sn The twelve patriarchs refers to the twelve sons of Jacob, the famous ancestors of the Jewish race (see Gen 35:23-26).

45 tn Grk “And the.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

46 tn The meaning “sell” for the middle voice of ἀποδίδωμι (apodidwmi) is given by BDAG 110 s.v. 5.a. See Gen 37:12-36, esp. v. 28.

47 tn Though the Greek term here is καί (kai), in context this remark is clearly contrastive: Despite the malicious act, God was present and protected Joseph.

48 tn Or “appointed.” See Gen 41:41-43.

49 tn Grk “came upon all Egypt.”

50 tn Grk “and,” but logically causal.

51 sn Our. Stephen spoke of “our” ancestors (Grk “fathers”) in an inclusive sense throughout the speech until his rebuke in v. 51, where the nation does what “your” ancestors did, at which point an exclusive pronoun is used. This serves to emphasize the rebuke.

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

53 tn Or possibly “food,” since in a number of extrabiblical contexts the phrase σιτία καὶ ποτά (sitia kai pota) means “food and drink,” where solid food is contrasted with liquid nourishment (L&N 3.42).

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

55 tn The word “there” is not in the Greek text. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context, but must be supplied for the modern English reader.

56 tn BDAG 194 s.v. γένος 2. gives “family, relatives” here; another alternative is “race” (see v. 19).

57 tn The words “a message” are not in the Greek text, but are implied.

58 tn Or “Joseph had his father summoned” (BDAG 121 s.v. ἀποστέλλω 2.b).

59 tn Grk “souls” (here an idiom for the whole person).

60 tn The word “there” is not in the Greek text. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context, but must be supplied for the modern English reader.

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

62 tn “and they.”

63 sn See Gen 49:29-32.

64 tn Grk “But as the time for the fulfillment of the promise drew near that God had declared to Abraham.” The order of the clauses has been rearranged to improve English style. See vv. 6-7 above.

65 tn Grk “the people increased and multiplied.”

66 tn Or simply “did not know.” However, in this context the point is that the new king knew nothing about Joseph, not whether he had known him personally (which is the way “did not know Joseph” could be understood).

67 tn Grk “arose,” but in this context it clearly refers to a king assuming power.

68 sn A quotation from Exod 1:8.

69 tn According to L&N 88.147 it is also possible to translate κατασοφισάμενος (katasofisameno") as “took advantage by clever words” or “persuaded by sweet talk.”

70 tn Or “race.”

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

72 tn Or “expose” (BDAG 303 s.v. ἔκθετος).

73 tn Grk “so that they could not be kept alive,” but in this context the phrase may be translated either “so that they would not continue to live,” or “so that they would die” (L&N 23.89).

74 tn Or “was well-formed before God,” or “was well-pleasing to God” (BDAG 145 s.v. ἀστεῖος suggests the meaning is more like “well-bred” as far as God was concerned; see Exod 2:2).

75 tn Grk “who was brought up for three months.” The continuation of the sentence as a relative clause is awkward in English, so a new sentence was started in the translation by changing the relative pronoun to a regular pronoun (“he”).

76 tn Or “exposed” (see v. 19).

77 tn Grk “Pharaoh’s daughter took him up for herself.” According to BDAG 64 s.v. ἀναιρέω, “The pap. exx. involve exposed children taken up and reared as slaves…The rendering ‘adopt’ lacks philological precision and can be used only in a loose sense (as NRSV), esp. when Gr-Rom. terminology relating to adoption procedures is taken into account.” In this instance both the immediate context and the OT account (Exod 2:3-10) do support the normal sense of the English word “adopt,” although it should not be understood to refer to a technical, legal event.

78 tn Or “and reared him” (BDAG 74 s.v. ἀνατρέφω b).

79 tn Or “instructed.”

80 tn Or “was able” (BDAG 264 s.v. δυνατός 1.b.α).

81 tn Grk “heart.”

82 tn Grk “brothers.” The translation “compatriot” is given by BDAG 18-19 s.v. ἀδελφός 2.b.

83 tn Grk “the sons of Israel.”

84 tn Grk “And when.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

85 tn “Hurt unfairly” conveys a better sense of the seriousness of the offense against the Israelite than “treated unfairly,” which can sometimes refer to slight offenses, or “wronged,” which can refer to offenses that do not involve personal violence, as this one probably did.

86 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

87 tn Or “he defended,” “he retaliated” (BDAG 55 s.v. ἀμύνομαι).

88 tn Grk “his brothers.”

89 tn Grk “was granting them deliverance.” The narrator explains that this act pictured what Moses could do for his people.

90 tn Grk “by his hand,” where the hand is a metaphor for the entire person.

91 sn They did not understand. Here is the theme of the speech. The people did not understand what God was doing through those he chose. They made the same mistake with Joseph at first. See Acts 3:17; 13:27. There is good precedent for this kind of challenging review of history in the ancient scriptures: Ps 106:6-46; Ezek 20; and Neh 9:6-38.

92 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

93 tn Grk “saw them”; the context makes clear that two individuals were involved (v. 27).

94 tn Or “tried to reconcile” (BDAG 964-65 s.v. συναλλάσσω).

95 tn Or “repudiated Moses,” “rejected Moses” (BDAG 126-27 s.v. ἀπωθέω 2).

96 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

97 tn Or “appointed.”

98 tn The Greek construction anticipates a negative reply which is indicated in the translation by the ‘tag’ at the end, “do you?”

sn A quotation from Exod 2:14. Even though a negative reply was expected, the question still frightened Moses enough to flee, because he knew his deed had become known. This understanding is based on the Greek text, not the Hebrew of the original setting. Yet the negative here expresses the fact that Moses did not want to kill the other man. Once again the people have badly misunderstood the situation.

99 tn Grk “At this word,” which could be translated either “when the man said this” or “when Moses heard this.” Since λόγος (logos) refers to the remark made by the Israelite, this translation has followed the first option.

100 tn Or “resident alien.” Traditionally πάροικος (paroiko") has been translated “stranger” or “alien,” but the level of specificity employed with “foreigner” or “resident alien” is now necessary in contemporary English because a “stranger” is a person not acquainted with someone, while an “alien” can suggest science fiction imagery.

101 tn Grk “And after.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and contemporary English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

102 tn Or “wilderness.”

103 sn An allusion to Exod 3:2.

104 tn Or “ancestors”; Grk “fathers.”

105 tn Grk “and Isaac,” 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.

106 sn A quotation from Exod 3:6. The phrase suggests the God of promise, the God of the nation.

107 tn Or “to investigate,” “to contemplate” (BDAG 522 s.v. κατανοέω 2).

108 sn A quotation from Exod 3:5. The phrase holy ground points to the fact that God is not limited to a particular locale. The place where he is active in revealing himself is a holy place.

109 tn Or “mistreatment.”

110 tn Or “to set them free.”

111 tn Grk “And now.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

112 sn A quotation from Exod 3:7-8, 10.

113 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).

114 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.

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

116 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).

117 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).

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

119 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.

120 tn Or “desert.”

121 tn Grk “to the sons of Israel.”

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

123 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.

124 tn Or “desert.”

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

126 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.

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

128 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.

129 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.

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

131 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.

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

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

134 sn A quotation from Exod 32:1, 23. Doubt (we do not know what has happened to him) expresses itself in unfaithful action. The act is in contrast to God’s promise in Exod 23:20.

135 tn Grk “And.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

136 tn Grk “In those days.”

137 tn Or “a bull calf” (see Exod 32:4-6). The term μοσχοποιέω (moscopoiew) occurs only in Christian writings according to BDAG 660 s.v.

138 tn Grk “and brought,” 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.

139 tn The imperfect verb εὐφραίνοντο (eufrainonto) has been translated ingressively. See BDAG 414-15 s.v. εὐφραίνω 2.

140 tn Or “in what they had done.”

141 sn The expression and gave them over suggests similarities to the judgment on the nations described by Paul in Rom 1:18-32.

142 tn Or “stars.”

sn To worship the hosts of heaven. Their action violated Deut 4:19; 17:2-5. See Ps 106:36-43.

143 tn The two terms for sacrifices “semantically reinforce one another and are here combined essentially for emphasis” (L&N 53.20).

144 tn The Greek construction anticipates a negative reply which is indicated in the translation by the ‘tag’ question, “was it?”

145 tn Or “tent.”

sn A tabernacle was a tent used to house religious objects or a shrine (i.e., a portable sanctuary).

146 sn Moloch was a Canaanite deity who was believed to be the god of the sky and the sun.

147 tc ‡ Most mss, including several important ones (Ì74 א A C E Ψ 33 1739 Ï h p vg syh mae bo Cyr), have ὑμῶν (Jumwn, “your”) here, in conformity with the LXX of Amos 5:26. But other significant and diverse witnesses lack the pronoun: The lack of ὑμῶν in B D 36 453 gig syp sa Irlat Or is difficult to explain if it is not the original wording here. NA27 has the word in brackets, indicating some doubt as to its authenticity.

148 sn Rephan (῾Ραιφάν, RJaifan) was a pagan deity. The term was a name for Saturn. It was variously spelled in the mss (BDAG 903 s.v. has Rompha as an alternate spelling). The references cover a range of deities and a history of unfaithfulness.

149 tn Or “I will make you move.”

150 sn A quotation from Amos 5:25-27. This constituted a prediction of the exile.

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

152 tn Or “tent.”

sn The tabernacle was the tent used to house the ark of the covenant before the construction of Solomon’s temple. This is where God was believed to reside, yet the people were still unfaithful.

153 tn Or “desert.”

154 tn Grk “the one”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

155 tn The word “him” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context, but must be supplied for the modern English reader.

156 tn Grk “And.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

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

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

sn Before our ancestors. Stephen has backtracked here to point out how faithful God had been before the constant move to idolatry just noted.

159 tn Grk “In those days.”

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

161 tn Or “grace.”

162 tn Grk “before,” “in the presence of.”

163 tn The words “that he could” are not in the Greek text, but are implied as the (understood) subject of the infinitive εὑρεῖν (Jeurein). This understands David’s request as asking that he might find the dwelling place. The other possibility would be to supply “that God” as the subject of the infinitive: “and asked that God find a dwelling place.” Unfortunately this problem is complicated by the extremely difficult problem with the Greek text in the following phrase (“house of Jacob” vs. “God of Jacob”).

164 tn On this term see BDAG 929 s.v. σκήνωμα a (Ps 132:5).

165 tc Some mss read θεῷ (qew, “God”) here, a variant much easier to understand in the context. The reading “God” is supported by א2 A C E Ψ 33 1739 Ï lat sy co. The more difficult οἴκῳ (oikw, “house”) is supported by Ì74 א* B D H 049 pc. Thus the second reading is preferred both externally because of better ms evidence and internally because it is hard to see how a copyist finding the reading “God” would change it to “house,” while it is easy to see how (given the LXX of Ps 132:5) a copyist might assimilate the reading and change “house” to “God.” However, some scholars think the reading “house” is so difficult as to be unacceptable. Others (like Lachmann and Hort) resorted to conjectural emendation at this point. Others (Ropes) sought an answer in an underlying Aramaic expression. Not everyone thinks the reading “house” is too difficult to be accepted as original (see Lake and Cadbury). A. F. J. Klijn, “Stephen’s Speech – Acts vii.2-53,” NTS 4 (1957): 25-31, compared the idea of a “house within the house of Israel” with the Manual of Discipline from Qumran, a possible parallel that seems to support the reading “house” as authentic. (For the more detailed discussion from which this note was derived, see TCGNT 308-9.)

166 sn See 1 Kgs 8:1-21.

167 sn The title the Most High points to God’s majesty (Heb 7:1; Luke 1:32, 35; Acts 16:7).

168 sn The phrase made by human hands is negative in the NT: Mark 14:58; Acts 17:24; Eph 2:11; Heb 9:11, 24. It suggests “man-made” or “impermanent.” The rebuke is like parts of the Hebrew scripture where the rebuke is not of the temple, but for making too much of it (1 Kgs 8:27; Isa 57:15; 1 Chr 6:8; Jer 7:1-34).

169 sn What kind…resting place? The rhetorical questions suggest mere human beings cannot build a house to contain God.

170 tn Or “Did I.” The phrase “my hand” is ultimately a metaphor for God himself.

171 tn The question in Greek introduced with οὐχί (ouci) expects a positive reply.

sn A quotation from Isa 66:1-2. If God made the heavens, how can a human building contain him?

172 sn Traditionally, “stiff-necked people.” Now the critique begins in earnest.

173 tn The term ἀπερίτμητοι (aperitmhtoi, “uncircumcised”) is a NT hapax legomenon (occurs only once). See BDAG 101-2 s.v. ἀπερίτμητος and Isa 52:1.

174 tn Or “You stubborn and obstinate people!” (The phrase “uncircumcised hearts and ears” is another figure for stubbornness.)

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

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

177 sn Which…persecute. The rhetorical question suggests they persecuted them all.

178 tn Grk “And they.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

179 sn The Righteous One is a reference to Jesus Christ.

180 sn Whose betrayers and murderers you have now become. The harsh critique has OT precedent (1 Kgs 19:10-14; Neh 9:26; 2 Chr 36:16).

181 tn Grk “whose betrayers and murderers you have now become, who received the law” The two consecutive relative clauses make for awkward English style, so the second was begun as a new sentence with the pronoun “You” supplied in place of the Greek relative pronoun to make a complete sentence in English.

182 tn Traditionally, “as ordained by angels,” but εἰς (eis) with the accusative here should be understood as instrumental (a substitute for ἐν [en]); so BDAG 291 s.v. εἰς 9, BDF §206. Thus the phrase literally means “received the law by the decrees [orders] of angels” with the genitive understood as a subjective genitive, that is, the angels gave the decrees.

sn Decrees given by angels. According to Jewish traditions in the first century, the law of Moses was mediated through angels. See also the note on “angel” in 7:35.

183 tn The Greek word φυλάσσω (fulassw, traditionally translated “keep”) in this context connotes preservation of and devotion to an object as well as obedience.

184 tn Or “did not obey it.”

185 tn This verb, which also occurs in Acts 5:33, means “cut to the quick” or “deeply infuriated” (BDAG 235 s.v. διαπρίω).

186 tn Or “they gnashed their teeth.” This idiom is a picture of violent rage (BDAG 184 s.v. βρύχω). See also Ps 35:16.

187 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Stephen) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

188 tn Grk “being full,” but the participle ὑπάρχων (Juparcwn) has not been translated since it would be redundant in English.

189 tn Grk “looking intently toward heaven, saw.” The participle ἀτενίσας (atenisa") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

190 sn The picture of Jesus standing (rather than seated) probably indicates his rising to receive his child. By announcing his vision, Stephen thoroughly offended his audience, who believed no one could share God’s place in heaven. The phrase is a variation on Ps 110:1.

191 tn Grk “And he said, ‘Look!’” Because of the length of the Greek sentence and the tendency of contemporary English style to use shorter sentences, καί (kai) has not been translated here; a new sentence is begun instead.



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