7:1  AND THE high priest asked [Stephen], Are these charges true?

7:2  And he answered, Brethren and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our forefather Abraham when he was still in Mesopotamia, before he [went to] live in Haran,

7:3  And He said to him, Leave your own country and your relatives and come into the land (region) that I will point out to you.

7:4  So then he went forth from the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. And from there, after his father died, [God] transferred him to this country in which you are now dwelling.

7:5  Yet He gave him no inheritable property in it, [no] not even enough ground to set his foot on; but He promised that He would give it to Him for a permanent possession and to his descendants after him, even though [as yet] he had no child.

7:6  And this is [in effect] what God told him: That his descendants would be aliens (strangers) in a land belonging to other people, who would bring them into bondage and ill-treat them 400 years.

7:7  But I will judge the nation to whom they will be slaves, said God, and after that they will escape {and} come forth and worship Me in this [very] place.

7:8  And [God] made with Abraham a covenant (an agreement to be religiously observed) of which circumcision was the seal. And under these circumstances [Abraham] became the father of Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac [did so] when he became the father of Jacob, and Jacob [when each of his sons was born], the twelve patriarchs.

7:9  And the patriarchs [Jacob's sons], boiling with envy {and} hatred {and} anger, sold Joseph into slavery in Egypt; but God was with him,

7:10  And delivered him from all his distressing afflictions and won him goodwill {and} favor and wisdom {and} understanding in the sight of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him governor over Egypt and all his house.

7:11  Then there came a famine over all of Egypt and Canaan, with great distress, and our forefathers could find no fodder [for the cattle] {or} vegetable sustenance [for their households].

7:12  But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent forth our forefathers [to go there on their] first trip.

7:13  And on their second visit Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, and the family of Joseph became known to Pharaoh {and} his origin {and} race.

7:14  And Joseph sent an invitation calling to himself Jacob his father and all his kindred, seventy-five persons in all.

7:15  And Jacob went down into Egypt, where he himself died, as did [also] our forefathers;

7:16  And their bodies [Jacob's and Joseph's] were taken back to Shechem and laid in the tomb which Abraham had purchased for a sum of [silver] money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.

7:17  But as the time for the fulfillment of the promise drew near which God had made to Abraham, the [Hebrew] people increased and multiplied in Egypt,

7:18  Until [the time when] there arose over Egypt another {and} a different king who did not know Joseph [neither knowing his history and services nor recognizing his merits].

7:19  He dealt treacherously with {and} defrauded our race; he abused {and} oppressed our forefathers, forcing them to expose their babies so that they might not be kept alive.

7:20  At this juncture Moses was born, and was exceedingly beautiful in God's sight. For three months he was nurtured in his father's house;

7:21  Then when he was exposed [to perish], the daughter of Pharaoh rescued him and took him {and} reared him as her own son.

7:22  So Moses was educated in all the wisdom {and} culture of the Egyptians, and he was mighty (powerful) in his speech and deeds.

7:23  And when he was in his fortieth year, it came into his heart to visit his kinsmen the children of Israel [to help them and to care for them].

7:24  And on seeing one of them being unjustly treated, he defended the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian {and} slaying [him].

7:25  He expected his brethren to understand that God was granting them deliverance by his hand [taking it for granted that they would accept him]; but they did not understand.

7:26  Then on the next day he suddenly appeared to some who were quarreling {and} fighting among themselves, and he urged them to make peace {and} become reconciled, saying, Men, you are brethren; why do you abuse {and} wrong one another?

7:27  Whereupon the man who was abusing his neighbor pushed [Moses] aside, saying, Who appointed you a ruler (umpire) and a judge over us?

7:28  Do you intend to slay me as you slew the Egyptian yesterday?

7:29  At that reply Moses sought safety by flight and he was an exile {and} an alien in the country of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.

7:30  And when forty years had gone by, there appeared to him in the wilderness (desert) of Mount Sinai an angel, in the flame of a burning bramblebush.

7:31  When Moses saw it, he was astonished {and} marveled at the sight; but when he went close to investigate, there came to him the voice of the Lord, saying,

7:32  I am the God of your forefathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob. And Moses trembled {and} was so terrified that he did not venture to look.

7:33  Then the Lord said to him, Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground {and} worthy of veneration.

7:34  Because I have most assuredly seen the abuse {and} oppression of My people in Egypt and have heard their sighing {and} groaning, I have come down to rescue them. So, now come! I will send you back to Egypt [as My messenger].

7:35  It was this very Moses whom they had denied (disowned and rejected), saying, Who made you our ruler (referee) and judge? whom God sent to be a ruler and deliverer {and} redeemer, by {and} with the [protecting and helping] hand of the Angel that appeared to him in the bramblebush.

7:36  He it was who led them forth, having worked wonders and signs in Egypt and at the Red Sea and during the forty years in the wilderness (desert).

7:37  It was this [very] Moses who said to the children of Israel, God will raise up for you a Prophet from among your brethren as He raised me up.

7:38  This is he who in the assembly in the wilderness (desert) was the go-between for the Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai and our forefathers, and he received living oracles (words that still live) to be handed down to us.

7:39  [And yet] our forefathers determined not to be subject to him [refusing to listen to {or} obey him]; but thrusting him aside they rejected him, and in their hearts yearned for {and} turned back to Egypt.

7:40  And they said to Aaron, Make us gods who shall [be our leaders and] go before us; as for this Moses who led us forth from the land of Egypt--we have no knowledge of what has happened to him.

7:41  And they [even] made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice to the idol and made merry {and} exulted in the work of their [own] hands.

7:42  But God turned [away from them] and delivered them up to worship {and} serve the host (stars) of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets: Did you [really] offer to Me slain beasts and sacrifices for forty years in the wilderness (desert), O house of Israel?

7:43  [No!] You took up the tent (the portable temple) of Moloch {and} carried it [with you], and the star of the god Rephan, the images which you [yourselves] made that you might worship them; and I will remove you [carrying you away into exile] beyond Babylon.

7:44  Our forefathers had the tent (tabernacle) of witness in the wilderness, even as He Who directed Moses to make it had ordered, according to the pattern {and} model he had seen.

7:45  Our forefathers in turn brought it [this tent of witness] in [with them into the land] with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations which God drove out before the face of our forefathers. [So it remained here] until the time of David,

7:46  Who found grace (favor and spiritual blessing) in the sight of God and prayed that he might be allowed to find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. [II Sam. 7:8-16; Ps. 132:1-5.]

7:47  But it was Solomon who built a house for Him. [I Kings 6.]

7:48  However, the Most High does not dwell in houses {and} temples made with hands; as the prophet says,

7:49  Heaven [is] My throne, and earth the footstool for My feet. What [kind of] house can you build for Me, says the Lord, or what is the place in which I can rest?

7:50  Was it not My hand that made all these things?

7:51  You stubborn {and} stiff-necked people, still heathen {and} uncircumcised in heart and ears, you are always actively resisting the Holy Spirit. As your forefathers [were], so you [are and so you do]!

7:52  Which of the prophets did your forefathers not persecute? And they slew those who proclaimed beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, Whom you now have betrayed and murdered--

7:53  You who received the Law as it was ordained {and} set in order {and} delivered by angels, and [yet] you did not obey it!

7:54  Now upon hearing these things, they [the Jews] were cut to the heart {and} infuriated, and they ground their teeth against [Stephen].

7:55  But he, full of the Holy Spirit {and} controlled by Him, gazed into heaven and saw the glory (the splendor and majesty) of God, and Jesus standing at God's right hand;

7:56  And he said, Look! I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at God's right hand!

7:57  But they raised a great shout and put their hands over their ears and rushed together upon him.

7:58  Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him, and the witnesses placed their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.

7:59  And while they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, Lord Jesus, receive {and} accept {and} welcome my spirit!

7:60  And falling on his knees, he cried out loudly, Lord, fix not this sin upon them [lay it not to their charge]! And when he had said this, he fell asleep [in death].