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Acts 7:18-36

Context
7:18 until another king who did not know about 1  Joseph ruled 2  over Egypt. 3  7:19 This was the one who exploited 4  our people 5  and was cruel to our ancestors, 6  forcing them to abandon 7  their infants so they would die. 8  7:20 At that time Moses was born, and he was beautiful 9  to God. For 10  three months he was brought up in his father’s house, 7:21 and when he had been abandoned, 11  Pharaoh’s daughter adopted 12  him and brought him up 13  as her own son. 7:22 So Moses was trained 14  in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful 15  in his words and deeds. 7:23 But when he was about forty years old, it entered his mind 16  to visit his fellow countrymen 17  the Israelites. 18  7:24 When 19  he saw one of them being hurt unfairly, 20  Moses 21  came to his defense 22  and avenged the person who was mistreated by striking down the Egyptian. 7:25 He thought his own people 23  would understand that God was delivering them 24  through him, 25  but they did not understand. 26  7:26 The next day Moses 27  saw two men 28  fighting, and tried to make peace between 29  them, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why are you hurting one another?’ 7:27 But the man who was unfairly hurting his neighbor pushed 30  Moses 31  aside, saying, ‘Who made 32  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? 33  7:29 When the man said this, 34  Moses fled and became a foreigner 35  in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.

7:30 “After 36  forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the desert 37  of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning bush. 38  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, 39  the God of Abraham, Isaac, 40  and Jacob.’ 41  Moses began to tremble and did not dare to look more closely. 42  7:33 But the Lord said to him,Take the sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 43  7:34 I have certainly seen the suffering 44  of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to rescue them. 45  Now 46  come, I will send you to Egypt.’ 47  7:35 This same 48  Moses they had rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge? 49  God sent as both ruler and deliverer 50  through the hand of the angel 51  who appeared to him in the bush. 7:36 This man led them out, performing wonders and miraculous signs 52  in the land of Egypt, 53  at 54  the Red Sea, and in the wilderness 55  for forty years.

1 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).

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

3 sn A quotation from Exod 1:8.

4 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.”

5 tn Or “race.”

6 tn Or “forefathers”; Grk “fathers.”

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

8 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).

9 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).

10 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”).

11 tn Or “exposed” (see v. 19).

12 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.

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

14 tn Or “instructed.”

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

16 tn Grk “heart.”

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

18 tn Grk “the sons of Israel.”

19 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.

20 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.

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

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

23 tn Grk “his brothers.”

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

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

26 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.

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

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

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

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

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

32 tn Or “appointed.”

33 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.

34 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.

35 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.

36 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.

37 tn Or “wilderness.”

38 sn An allusion to Exod 3:2.

39 tn Or “ancestors”; Grk “fathers.”

40 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.

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

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

43 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.

44 tn Or “mistreatment.”

45 tn Or “to set them free.”

46 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.

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

48 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).

49 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.

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

51 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).

52 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).

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

54 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.

55 tn Or “desert.”



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