Stephen’s DefenseAnd the high priest said, “Are these things so?” 2 And he said, “Hear me, brothers and fathers! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, 3 and said to him, ‘Leave your country and your relatives, and come into the land that I will show you.’ 4 Then he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. From there, after his father died, God had him move to this country in which you are now living. 5 But He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot of ground, and He promised that He would give it to him as a possession, and to his seed after him, even when he had no child. 6 But God spoke in this way, that his seed would be sojourners in a foreign land, and that they would be enslaved and mistreated for four hundred years. 7 ‘And I Myself will judge the nation to which they will be enslaved,’ said God, ‘and after that they will come out and serve Me in this place.’ 8 And He gave him the covenant of circumcision; and so Abraham was the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac was the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs. 9 “And the patriarchs, becoming jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt. Yet God was with him, 10 and rescued him from all his afflictions, and granted him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he appointed him governor over Egypt and all his household. 11 “Now a famine came over all Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction with it, and our fathers could find no food. 12 But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers there the first time. 13 And on the second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family was disclosed to Pharaoh. 14 Then Joseph sent word and invited Jacob his father and all his relatives to come to him, seventy-five persons in all. 15 And Jacob went down to Egypt and there he and our fathers died. 16 And from there they were removed to Shechem and placed in the tomb which Abraham had purchased for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem. 17 “But as the time of the promise was drawing near which God had assured to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt, 18 until another king arose over Egypt who did not know about Joseph. 19 It was he who deceitfully took advantage of our family and mistreated our fathers to set their infants outside so that they would not survive. 20 It was at this time that Moses was born, and he was lovely in the sight of God, and he was nurtured three months in his father’s home. 21 And after he had been set outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him away and nurtured him as her own son. 22 And Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was powerful in words and deeds. 23 But when he was approaching the age of forty, it entered his heart to visit his brothers, the sons of Israel. 24 And when he saw one of them being treated unjustly, he defended him and took justice for the oppressed by striking down the Egyptian. 25 And he supposed that his brothers understood that God was granting them salvation through him, but they did not understand. 26 On the following day he appeared to them as they were fighting together, and he tried to reconcile them in peace, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers, why are you treating one another unjustly?’ 27 But the one who was treating his neighbor unjustly pushed him away, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge over us? 28 Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ 29 At this remark, Moses fled and became a sojourner in the land of Midian, where he was the father of two sons. 30 “And after forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning bush. 31 When Moses saw it, he was marveling at the sight; and as he approached to look more closely, there came the voice of the Lord: 32 ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.’ Moses trembled with fear and would not dare to look. 33 But the Lord said to him, ‘Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have surely seen the oppression of My people in Egypt and have heard their groans, and I 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 a judge?’ is the one whom God sent to be both a ruler and a deliverer with the help 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 in the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years. 37 This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers.’ 38 This is the one who, in the congregation in the wilderness, was with the angel who was speaking to him on Mount Sinai and with our fathers; the one who received living oracles to pass on to you. 39 Our fathers were unwilling to be obedient to him, but rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt, 40 saying to Aaron, ‘Make for us gods who will go before us; for this Moses who led us out of the land of Egypt—we do not know what has become of him.’ 41 At that time they made a calf and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands. 42 But God turned away and delivered them up to serve the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, ‘Did you present Me with slain beasts and sacrifices forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? 43 You also took along the tabernacle of Moloch and the star of the god Rompha, the images which you made to worship. I also will remove you beyond Babylon.’ 44 “Our fathers had the tabernacle of testimony in the wilderness, just as He, who spoke to Moses, directed him to make it according to the pattern which he had seen. 45 And having received it in their turn, our fathers brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations whom God drove out before our fathers, until the time of David. 46 David found favor in the sight of God, and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. 47 But Solomon built a house for Him. 48 However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands, as the prophet says: 49
‘Heaven is My throne,
And earth is the footstool of My feet.
What kind of house will you build for Me?’ says the Lord,
‘Or what place is there for My rest? 50
Was it not My hand which made all these things?’ 51 “You men—stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears—are always resisting the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. 52 And which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; 53 you who received the Law as ordained by angels, and yet did not observe it.”
Stephen Is Stoned to Death54 Now when they heard this, they became furious in their hearts, and they began gnashing their teeth at him. 55 But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; 56 and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 But crying out with a loud voice, they covered their ears and rushed at him with one accord. 58 And when they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 They went on stoning Stephen as he was calling out and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” 60 Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” And having said this, he fell asleep.