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Acts 7

Luscombe's Commentary on Selected Books of the NTLuscombe's NT Commentary

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Verse 1

1 Then the high priest said, " Are these things so? "

1. The charge was made in Act_6:14 . "Jesus said He would destroy the Temple and change the customs which Moses delivered to us."

1. The "temple" Jesus spoke about was His body. It was a statement that He would be killed. ( Joh_2:19 )

2. Change the "customs" - the rituals, added requirements, by long standing usage or habit. We do many things by custom - that is because that is how we have "always" done it. Customs are not evil. The become dangerous when we think that our custom is the law of God.

3. The council equated their customs with the Law of Moses.

2. The high priest is the head of the council. He is the "chief justice" of this supreme court in Israel.

Verse 2

2 And he said, " Brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran,

1. In his response Stephen begins with:

1. Regard for the council and the people listening - Brethren and fathers

2. Requesting attention - listen

3. Respect for God - The God of glory (Our Glorious God)

4. Refection to their origin - Our father Abraham

2. Mesopotamia - means "between the rivers" and refers to the land now known as Iraq. At various times in the Bible this territory is called Babylon, Chaldea, and Mesopotamia.

3. Abraham was often referred to as the "father of the Faithful." The Jews placed great value in their heritage and bloodline. Abraham was the beginning of the Jewish race. See Rom_4:18 .

Verse 3

3 and said to him, ‘Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you. '

1. Gen_12:1 is quoted here.

2. How would you have responded to such a request? Where am I going? How long will I be gone? Will it be warm or cold?

3. This command was not for a short vacation trip. This was a change in life, family, and heritage.

Verse 4

4 Then he came out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Haran. And from there, when his father was dead, He moved him to this land in which you now dwell.

1. Haran was a "half-way" place. Abraham stayed in Haran for 25 years.

2. Abraham was 75 when he left for Haran. ( Gen_12:4 )

3. Haran is located in what is now Syria, near the border with Turkey.

4. He remained here, away from his father and family, but not yet in the final destination. He lived in Haran until the death of his father, Terah.

Verse 5

5 And God gave him no inheritance in it, not even enough to set his foot on. But even when Abraham had no child, He promised to give it to him for a possession, and to his descendants after him.

1. Abraham wandered most of his life. He had no permanent possession. The only land he ever owned was the burial cave for Sarah.

2. Not even enough land to stand on. This expression is often used to describe the total lack of any land. He did not own enough land to put his foot on it.

3. He also had no children to inherit. The promise was "to thy seed" when he had no seed to inherit his possessions.

Verse 6

6 But God spoke in this way: that his descendants would dwell in a foreign land, and that they would bring them into bondage and oppress them four hundred years.

1. God chose His words carefully. The descendants of Abraham would dwell on other people's land for 400 years. It would be a long time before anyone actually "inherits" the promised land.

2. 400 years was mentioned in Gen_15:13 . A more precise number is given in Exo_12:40 . Gal_3:17 also says that it was 430 years.

3. There is no contradiction. They, like we do, often used round numbers. We might say the Civil War was 150 years ago, when actually 2006 - 1861 = 145 years. 400 is a round number. 430 is a precise number.

4. One other matter is when to start counting. Do you count only the time in Egypt? Do you begin counting when Abraham left Haran for the land of Caanan? Do you start counting when Joseph went to Egypt or when all the family of Jacob moved to Egypt?

Verse 7

7' And the nation to whom they will be in bondage I will judge, ' said God, ‘and after that they shall come out and serve Me in this place. '

1. Egypt welcomed them, then felt intimidated, and finally put them in bondage.

2. God will judge all nations (good and bad). God will judge all people (good or bad).

3. Judgment is often used in the sense of punishment. God judged Egypt, Babylon, and other nations that brought harm to Israel.

4. The prediction is that Israel will come out of bondage, return to the land promised to Abraham and will worship and serve God in that land.

Verse 8

8 Then He gave him the covenant of circumcision; and so Abraham begot Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot the twelve patriarchs.

1. After the promise came the covenant. A covenant is an agreement between a higher power (God) and a lesser power (man). Often we think of a contract as between equals, but a covenant is one-sided. The higher power states the terms. There is no negotiation. The lesser just accepts or rejects. There is no bargaining or compromise.

2. Circumcision is the sign of the covenant. When Isaac was eight days old, he was circumcised so he would be in covenant with God.

3. After Isaac, Jacob, and the twelve sons (tribes) of Israel. All were circumcised. All were under the covenant with God.

Verse 9

9 " And the patriarchs, becoming envious, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him

1. Patriarch describes the system of worship from Adam to Moses. The patriarch (father) of each family was the spiritual leader. In general, this word is a reference to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. These three represent all of the patriarchs of the OT.

2. Here "patriarch" is used to mention the 12 sons of Jacob (12 tribes of Israel). They became filled with envy and sold Joseph into slavery.

3. Providence is the watch, care and protection that God offers His people. Even though Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt - God was with him.

Verse 10

10 and delivered him out of all his troubles, and gave him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house.

1. A study of the "khsed" of God is important. God is our "big brother", our "bodyguard", our "protector." The Hebrew word "khsed" (pronounced ha said) is most often translated "loving kindness." It describes how God watches, protects and provides for His children.

2. We often pray "guard, guide and direct us." God does. He shows His loving kindness, care, protection, and provider.

3. God watched over Joseph. He gave him the tools (wisdom and favor) to rise in the ranks in Egypt. He was appointed governor over Egypt.

Verse 11

11 Now a famine and great trouble came over all the land of Egypt and Canaan, and our fathers found no sustenance.

1. And then came a famine. Not only in Egypt but over Canaan as well. Nothing was growing.

2. We become alarmed when there is no rain for 20 or 30 days. In the life of Elijah it did not rain for three and a half years. Not 36 days; but 36 months with no rain. Here the drought was to last seven years.

Verse 12

12 But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first.

1. News spread rapidly that there was grain available in Egypt.

2. Jacob's sons went to Egypt and bought sacks of grain.

Verse 13

13 And the second time Joseph was made known to his brothers, and Joseph ' s family became known to the Pharaoh.

1. Finally, Joseph revealed himself to his brothers.

2. He explained his presence in Egypt. God sent Joseph ahead to preserve your lives.

Verse 14

14 Then Joseph sent and called his father Jacob and all his relatives to him, seventy-five people.

1. All the family of Jacob - sons and a daughter, their spouses, all their children, and all the relatives.

2. The number is a problem. Here it says 75 people.

1. Gen_46:26-34 souls came with Jacob to Egypt

2. Gen_46:27-34 souls counting Joseph and family, already in Egypt

3. Exo_1:5 - all the souls from Jacob are 70

4. Al bert Barnes says, It is evident that Stephen has followed the account which is given by the Septuagint. In Gen_46:27 , that version reads, "But the sons of Joseph who were with him in Egypt were nine souls; all the souls of the house of Jacob which came with Jacob into Egypt were seventy-five souls."

5. B. W. Johnson's People's New Testament with Notes adds, But the Septuagint Version, quoted almost invariably by Christ and the apostles, as well as by Stephen here, after giving the sixty-six, adds: "And the sons of Joseph born in Egypt were nine souls." The nine, added to the sixty-six, make the seventy-five that Stephen gives. Why this clause was omitted from the Hebrew text, followed by the Common Version, is unknown. Stephen simply follows the text received by Christ, the apostles, and the Jews generally.

Verse 15

15 So Jacob went down to Egypt; and he died, he and our fathers.

1. Jacob died in Egypt.

2. So did all the sons of Jacob.

Verse 16

16 And they were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham bought for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem.

1. Jacob was carried out of Egypt and buried in the cave at Macpelah, the family burial place of Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac.

2. Joseph and his brothers were buried at Shechem. ( Jos_24:32 )

Verse 17

17 " But when the time of the promise drew near which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt

1. The small group of 70 or so that entered Egypt - grew rapidly. In fact, their sheer numbers became a threat to the rulers of Egypt.

2. The time of the promise means when God saw that it was time. Not by our clock or calendar. But by the infinite wisdom of God, He knew that their purpose in Egypt was complete and they were ready for the next part of God's plan.

Verse 18

18 till another king arose who did not know Joseph.

1. Memories fade rapidly. The heroics of Joseph in saving the nation of Egypt from starvation are now just a paragraph in a history book.

2. His family is no longer esteemed and respected. Rather this family that was 70 is now perhaps 2 to 3 million. Egypt has forgotten the good deed of the past.

Verse 19

19 This man dealt treacherously with our people, and oppressed our forefathers, making them expose their babies, so that they might not live.

1. A new king does not see the Israelites as a wonderful savior of a previous generation.

2. He only sees a huge group that could actually outnumber the Egyptians and take over the nation.

3. He sought to control the population growth by killing male babies.

Verse 20

20 At this time Moses was born, and was well pleasing to God; and he was brought up in his father ' s house for three months.

1. How ironic that while the king was killing all Hebrew males born, he was feeding and protecting the very one that was to lead the children of Israel to freedom.

2. Moses lived 3 months at home, but in constant danger of being discovered.

Verse 21

21 But when he was set out, Pharaoh ' s daughter took him away and brought him up as her own son.

1. The daughter of Pharaoh found him and "adopted" him to be raised as her son.

2. Personal note - We have a son we adopted as an infant. We often told him the story of Moses being adopted by Pharaoh's daughter.

Verse 22

22 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.

1. For 40 years, Moses grew up, trained, taught, and groomed in the palace. He had the education that no other Hebrew had.

2. All the wisdom, knowledge and philosophy of Egypt was available to Moses.

Verse 23

23 " Now when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel.

1. He went to visit his brethren. Here we have an interesting word.

1. To visit does not mean, as we use the word today, to go to a home and pass the time with conversation. It means to see for yourself, to check on the welfare of, to look out for the needs and condition of others.

2. The Greek word is from the same root as the word for "bishop" or "overseer". The elder or bishop is to look over the welfare of the congregation.

3. This word also is used to describe "pure religion" in Jam_1:27 . We are to "visit" the widows and orphans. This does not mean to pay a call on them. Just chat for a while and leave. Rather, it means to look to their needs. Check on their welfare and seek to meet their necessities.

Verse 24

24 And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended and avenged him who was oppressed, and struck down the Egyptian.

1. He witnessed the abuse that others were suffering under bondage.

2. Moses struck the Egyptian. At this time all who witnessed it were happy. An oppressor had died.

Verse 25

25 For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand.

1. He thought they would understand. God was preparing him to deliver them from bondage.

Verse 26

26 And the next day he appeared to two of them as they were fighting, and tried to reconcile them, saying, ‘Men, you are brethren; why do you wrong one another? '

1. Now the fight is between two Hebrew men. Moses tries to break up the fight.

2. Why are you doing wrong to each other? It is bad enough that they were being abused by the task masters of Egypt. Why would they abuse each other?

Verse 27

27 But he who did his neighbor wrong pushed him away, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us?

1. Our natural response to those who step in - Who died and made you boss?

2. Are you our king? Are you the judge and jury?

Verse 28

28 Do you want to kill me as you did the Egyptian yesterday? '

1. Now the news was out. Yesterday you killed an Egyptian. Are you going to kill me today?

2. Moses knew that his stay in Egypt was over.

Verse 29

29 Then, at this saying, Moses fled and became a dweller in the land of Midian, where he had two sons.

1. Moses spent 40 years in the house of Pharaoh.

2. He spent the next 40 years trying to find water in a desert for a herd of sheep.

3. In the land of Midian, he married and had two sons.

Verse 30

30 " And when forty years had passed, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai.

1. Think about the life of Moses.

1. 40 years in Pharaoh's house - trained to be the next king of Egypt. He needed this knowledge to know how to approach the king. He needed to know the customs wisdom of Egypt.

2. 40 years in the wilderness - tending sheep

3. In his final 40 years Moses would deliver the people from Egyptian bondage and lead a nation of people through the same land he spent 40 years caring for sheep.

4. The first 80 years of Moses' life was to prepare him for his life work.

2. The burning bush was the turning point. God called Moses to do his work. Moses was ready.

Verse 31

31 When Moses saw it, he marveled at the sight; and as he drew near to observe, the voice of the Lord came to him,

1. We must not forget that the "burning bush" was burning with flames, but it was not being consumed in the fire.

2. It was not the fire, but the fact that it did not burn up that got Moses' attention.

Verse 32

32 saying, ‘I am the God of your fathers-the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. ' And Moses trembled and dared not look.

1. God identifies himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Surely every Hebrew child knew about these great patriarchs.

2. Moses was terrified at the thought.

Verse 33

33‘Then the Lord said to him, " Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.

1. When we come into the presence of God - we are on holy ground. While I am not convinced that we must take our shoes off, we must be aware of where we are and Who is present with us.

2. Even today in many parts of the world, you take off your shoes as you enter a home. It is a sign of respet for the house you enter. You do not want to make it dirty.

Verse 34

34 I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt; I have heard their groaning and have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt. "'

1. God is aware of our pain, oppression, depression, hurts, distress and suffering.

2. God has heard our cry for help. God has been working on a plan for at least 80 years.

3. He raised up Moses, trained him in Egypt, trained him in the wilderness, and now he is ready.

Verse 35

35 " This Moses whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge? ' is the one God sent to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the Angel who appeared to him in the bush.

1. The very one the had rejected and sent away as a fugitive, was the very one God appointed to be the deliverer.

2. Another interesting study - the many references to the Angel of the Lord. These references are not just to some angel in the host of heaven. They are either a high ranking angel, an archangel for example, or it is Jesus. Remember the 3 Hebrew boys in the furnace and a fourth was like the Son of God. Remember when three men (angels) came to visit Abraham. Two angels left to visit Lot. Abraham stood before the Lord.

3. Perhaps it was Jesus talking to Moses through the bush.

Verse 36

36 He brought them out, after he had shown wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years.

1. After the plagues in Egypt, God was able to lead the children of Israel out of bondage.

2. He was able to lead them through the wilderness, to Mount Sinai, and toward the promised land of Canaan.

3. Because of their unbelief, they spent 40 years in the wilderness. Exactly in the territory Moses spent the previous 40 years looking for water for sheep, he was now able to lead millions of people to places of food and water.

Verse 37

37 " This is that Moses who said to the children of Israel, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear. '

1. Stephen now quotes from Deu_18:15 ; Deu_18:1-22 .

2. This passage is quoted and explained in Act_3:22 .

3. Moses was a great leader. God will raise up another prophet like Moses. Listen to him.

4. This prophet like Moses, was Jesus Christ.

Verse 38

38 " This is he who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers, the one who received the living oracles to give to us,

1. The KJV uses the word "church" here. Church means the called assembly.

2. Moses, in Exodus, clearly says that God was with him and spoke the Law of Moses to him. But here it is said to be the Angel. Could Jesus have been on Mount Sinai giving the law to Moses?

Verse 39

39 whom our fathers would not obey, but rejected. And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt,

1. The nation of Israel did not keep the Law of Moses.

2. They turned their hearts back to Egypt. Not that they wanted to be slaves again. They remembered the idols of Egypt. They turned their back on Jehovah and desired to worship the idols of Egypt.

Verse 40

40 saying to Aaron, ‘Make us gods to go before us; as for this Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him. '

1. The desire for idols was learned in Egypt. It was not forgotten at Sinai.

2. Here was their thinking:

1. Moses led us out here into the wilderness and left us.

2. We don't know if he will return or if he has abandoned us.

3. We need something (someone) to lead us.

3. So they requested Aaron to "make us gods to go before us."

Verse 41

41 And they made a calf in those days, offered sacrifices to the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.

1. It is an interesting thought process.

1. They design an idol figurine.

2. They gather the material and make it with their own hands.

3. Then they bow before it and say, "You created us."

2. Isa_44:13-17 describes how a man cuts down a tree, uses some wood for fire (heat and cooking) and with a small branch he carves out an idol. Then he bows down and says, Deliver me, for you are my god."

Verse 42

42 Then God turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the Prophets: ‘Did you offer Me slaughtered animals and sacrifices during forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel?

1. Often the best way to teach someone is to allow them to learn from their mistakes. The only way a child will learn to walk is for the parents to let go, allow them to fall. It is in falling that they learn to stand. The simple rule of learning to roller skate, applies to all of life. "You get up one more time than you fall down."

2. The book of the Prophets is a reference to the Hebrew scriptures. Where we have each of the 12 minor prophets as a separate book, the Hebrew Scriptures combined them into one book called the Book of the Prophets or the Writings of the Twelve.

3. This passage is quoted from Amo_5:25-26 .

Verse 43

43 You also took up the tabernacle of Moloch, And the star of your god Remphan, Images which you made to worship; And I will carry you away beyond Babylon. '

1. Moloch - A king god of the Ammonites. Solomon built a temple to Moloch on the Mount of Olives.

1. One of the requirements in the worship of Moloch was human sacrifice.

2. Such worship is condemned in Lev_20:2-5 and Lev_18:21 .

3. Albert Barnes describes Moloch, "The image of this idol was made of brass, and his arms extended so as to embrace anyone; and when they offered children to him, they heated the statue, and when it was burning hot, they placed the child in his arms, where it was soon destroyed by heat. It is not certain what this god was supposed to represent."

2. Remphan - There are various spellings of this name. Most believe it is an Egyptian god of the stars. Where Moloch represented the sun, Remphan represented the stars.

3. These were images that Israel made (designed and built) for the purpose of worship.

4. Because of this idolatry God said they would be carried in Babylonian captivity.

Verse 44

44 " Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as He appointed, instructing Moses to make it according to the pattern that he had seen,

1. In the wilderness the tabernacle was built.

1. God was specific as to the dimensions, materials, method of construction, and how it was to carried.

2. There was a pattern - blueprint, architect drawing, schematic.

2. There is a principle stated here. Make it according to the pattern. This principle applies to the New Testament church organization, worship, mission, plan of salvation, and work. When we deviate from the pattern, we are in rebellion to the will of God. God drew the plans (pattern) and our task is to follow the pattern. No changes. No additions. No subtractions. No substitutions.

3. This was the command from God in Exo_25:40 . This principle was also repeated in Heb_8:5 .

Verse 45

45 which our fathers, having received it in turn, also brought with Joshua into the land possessed by the Gentiles, whom God drove out before the face of our fathers until the days of David,

1. The KJV says Jesus. Joshua is the Hebrew word for savior. Jesus is the Greek word for savior. There are passages where the KJV translators wrote Jesus when Joshua is clearly the intent. Heb_4:8 is another passage with this same error.

2. The generation that came out of Egypt died in the wilderness. Now another generation is ready to possess the land. Joshua lead them into the promised land.

3. They were to drive out the inhabitants (pagan, idol worshipers), but they failed to do so.

Verse 46

46 who found favor before God and asked to find a dwelling for the God of Jacob.

1. The reference to the days of David goes back to the original topic, the tabernacle. David desired to build a permanent structure to house the Ark of the Covenant. God said that David's son, Solomon, would build the temple.

2. The desire was to provide a permanent location for the Ark, rather than the tent-like, temporary, portable Tabernacle. The Temple was built according to the pattern of the Tabernacle, but was a permanent structure, rather than a portable one.

Verse 47

47 But Solomon built Him a house.

1. As God promised David, his son would build God's house.

2. 480 years after the children of Israel left Egypt, the Temple was built. ( 1Ki_6:1 )

Verse 48

48 " However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says:

1. The charge against Stephen was his supposed contempt for the Temple. He has now shown that The Temple was built by the command of God. That it followed the pattern that God had established and that God accepted the Temple as the House of God.

2. Now Stephen moves to the "bone of contention."

1. What was true in the time of David and Solomon is no longer the case today.

2. Even Solomon realized that you can not limit or contain God to a building. ( 1Ki_8:27 )

3. Later, in Isa_66:1-2 , God stated that He was not limited to a structure.

Verse 49

49 ‘Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool. What house will you build for Me? says the Lord , Or what is the place of My rest?

1. The quote from Isa_66:1-2 makes it clear that Heaven and Earth are God's domain. He is not limited to a building in Jerusalem.

Verse 50

50 Has My hand not made all these things? '

1. God can dwell in any place of His creation.

2. God made all things. He can dwell anywhere, everywhere.

Verse 51

51 " You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.

1. Stephen now becomes bold. He responds with a charge against those who are accusing him.

2. Stiff-necked - Have you ever had a stiff neck? The term was used of people who were stubborn, obstinate, and headstrong. They were unwilling to bend or move. Stephen accuses his accusers of being stubborn and obstinate.

3. Uncircumcised - Since circumcision was the sign of the covenant, see verse 8, Stephen was telling them they were not in covenant with God.

4. Heart and ears - They may have been circumcised in the flesh, but not in their spirit. The flesh was cut, but their ears were not open. Their hearts and minds were closed.

Verse 52

52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers,

1. Name a prophet and your forefathers persecuted, resisted, rejected, killed, and despised.

2. When a prophet told the nation of Israel that the Messiah was coming, they killed the the prophet. When they did not like the message, they killed the messenger.

Verse 53

53 who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it. "

1. The message of a prophet was not just the word of some man. It was received from God. His angels were involved in delivering the message.

2. Even knowing the source of the information, Israel did not keep the commands.

3. Summary - Stephen has told them that they:

1. Stiff-necked

2. Uncircumcised

3. Resisting the Holy Spirit

4. Murderers of God's prophets

5. Betrayers

6. Did not keep the commands of God.

Verse 54

54 When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth.

1. In Act_2:37 they were "cut to the heart" and sought how to be forgiven of their sins.

2. Here they were "cut to the heart" and sought to kill Stephen. The same message, different results. The same heat that melts wax, hardens clay.

3. There is some disagreement if they were actually biting him, or clinching their teeth in anger. Either way, they were filled with rage at the message and wanted to hear no more.

Verse 55

55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,

1. The audience had resisted the Holy Spirit. Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit.

2. As they looked for rocks to kill him, he was looking to heaven, the presence of Jesus at the right hand of God.

Verse 56

56 and said, " Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God! "

1. Stephen told everyone what he saw.

2. The heavens opened and the Son of Man (Jesus, the Messiah) present.

3. Jesus is standing (not sitting) at the right hand of God.

Verse 57

57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord;

1. This was more than they could stand to hear.

2. They shouted with a loud voice to drown out his speech.

3. They stopped their ears so they would not hear any more from him.

4. They ran at him as a mob.

Verse 58

58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.

1. The judgment could take place in the city, but the execution must take place "without the camp." ( Lev_24:14 )

2. The witnesses - Those who brought the charges were to cast the first stones. ( Deu_17:7 )

3. They took off their outer garments so they could throw stones with more velocity and accuracy. They laid these garments in the care of a young man, named Saul.

1. This is our first introduction to Saul.

2. Saul (later known as Paul) identifies himself as this same person in Act_22:20 .

3. He is described as a young man. This term generally applied to men under age 45. Most believe Saul was about 30 at this time.

Verse 59

59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, " Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. "

1. As Stephen was praying, they began stoning him.

2. The prayer was addressed to Jesus.

3. He prayed - not for his body, but for the protection of his spirit (soul).

Verse 60

60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, " Lord, do not charge them with this sin. " And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

1. Forgiveness takes three forms

1. Ultimate and complete forgiveness can only come from God. Only God can forgive sins.

2. We can forgive the wrongs of others against us. Jesus did this on the cross. Stephen does this as he is dying. This forgiveness expresses the attitude of the one wronged, but does not absolve the wrong doers.

3. We must realize our sins, repent and seek forgiveness from God and those we have wronged. For most of us, forgiving ourselves is most difficult.

2. Stephen expresses an attitude of forgiveness toward those who are attacking him.

3. He fell asleep - He died. We often use euphemisms (soft words) to express distasteful thoughts. Jesus told his apostles that Lazarus was resting. The apostles thought that was good news, that he was getting well. Then Jesus told them plainly, Lazarus is dead. ( Joh_11:11-14 )

Bibliographical Information
Luscombe, Manly. "Commentary on Acts 7". Luscombe's Commentary on Selected Books of the NT. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mlc/acts-7.html. 2021.
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