Acts 7:1-21 The Message Bible

Stephen's Defense

7 1  Then the Chief Priest said, "What do you have to say for yourself?" 2  Stephen replied, "Friends, fathers, and brothers, the God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was still in Mesopotamia, before the move to Haran, 3  and told him, 'Leave your country and family and go to the land I'll show you.' 4  "So he left the country of the Chaldees and moved to Haran. After the death of his father, he immigrated to this country where you now live, 5  but God gave him nothing, not so much as a foothold. He did promise to give the country to him and his son later on, even though Abraham had no son at the time. 6  God let him know that his offspring would move to an alien country where they would be enslaved and brutalized for four hundred years. 7  'But,' God said, 'I will step in and take care of those slaveholders and bring my people out so they can worship me in this place.' 8  "Then he made a covenant with him and signed it in Abraham's flesh by circumcision. When Abraham had his son Isaac, within eight days he reproduced the sign of circumcision in him. Isaac became father of Jacob, and Jacob father of twelve 'fathers,' each faithfully passing on the covenant sign. 9  "But then those 'fathers,' burning up with jealousy, sent Joseph off to Egypt as a slave. God was right there with him, though - 10  he not only rescued him from all his troubles but brought him to the attention of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. He was so impressed with Joseph that he put him in charge of the whole country, including his own personal affairs. 11  "Later a famine descended on that entire region, stretching from Egypt to Canaan, bringing terrific hardship. Our hungry fathers looked high and low for food, but the cupboard was bare. 12  Jacob heard there was food in Egypt and sent our fathers to scout it out. 13  Having confirmed the report, they went back to Egypt a second time to get food. On that visit, Joseph revealed his true identity to his brothers and introduced the Jacob family to Pharaoh. 14  Then Joseph sent for his father, Jacob, and everyone else in the family, seventy-five in all. 15  That's how the Jacob family got to Egypt. 16  They were taken to Shechem and buried in the tomb for which Abraham paid a good price to the sons of Hamor.

17  "When the four hundred years were nearly up, the time God promised Abraham for deliverance, the population of our people in Egypt had become very large. 18  And there was now a king over Egypt who had never heard of Joseph. 19  He exploited our race mercilessly. He went so far as forcing us to abandon our newborn infants, exposing them to the elements to die a cruel death. 20  "In just such a time Moses was born, a most beautiful baby. He was hidden at home for three months. 21  When he could be hidden no longer, he was put outside - and immediately rescued by Pharaoh's daughter, who mothered him as her own son.

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