7:1 Then 1 said the high priest, Are these things so?
(1) Steven is allowed to plead his cause, but for
this reason and purpose, that under a disguise and pretence of the Law he
might be condemned.
7:2 2 And he
said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of a
glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in b
Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran,
(2) Steven witnesses to the Jews that he
acknowledges the true fathers, and the only true God, and more than this shows
this that these are more ancient than the temple and all the temple service
appointed by the Law, and therefore they ought to lay another foundation of
true religion, that is to say, the free covenant that God made with the
(a) The mighty God full of glory and majesty.
(b) When he says afterwards in (Acts
7:4) that Abraham came out of Chaldea, it is evident that Mesopotamia
contained Chaldea which was near to it, and bordered upon it; and so writes
Plinius, book 6, chap. 27.
7:5 And he
gave him none inheritance in it, no, not [so much as] to c
set his foot on: yet he d promised that
he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when [as
yet] he had no child.
(c) Not enough ground to even set his foot upon.
(d) The promise of the possession was certain,
and belonged to Abraham, though it was his posterity that enjoyed it a great
while after his death: and this is the figure of speech synecdoche.
7:6 And God spake on this wise, That his seed should
sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and
entreat [them] evil e four hundred
(e) Four hundred years are counted from the
beginning of Abraham's progeny, which was at the birth of Isaac: and four
hundred and thirty years which are spoken of by Paul in (Galatians
3:17), from the time that Abraham and his father departed together out of
Ur of the Chaldeans.
And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was f
(3) Steven diligently recounts the horrible
misdeeds of some of the fathers, to teach the Jews that they ought not rashly
to rest in the authority or examples of the fathers.
(f) By these words are meant the peculiar favour
that God shows men: for he seems to be away from those whom he does not help:
and on the other hand, he is with those whom he delivers out of troubles, no
matter how great the troubles may be.
7:10 And delivered him out of all his afflictions,
and gave him g favour and wisdom in the
sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his
(g) Gave him favour in Pharaoh's sight because
of his wisdom.
And were h carried over into Sychem, and
laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of
Emmor [the father] of Sychem.
(h) The patriarchs who were the sons of Jacob,
though only Joseph is mentioned; (Joshua
same i dealt subtilly with our kindred,
and evil entreated our fathers, so that they cast out their young children, to
the end they might not live.
(i) He devised a subtle plan against our stock,
in that he commanded all the males to be cast out.
7:20 In which time Moses was born, and was k
exceeding fair, and nourished up in his father's house three months:
(k) This child was born through God's merciful
goodness and favour, to be of a lovely and fair countenance.
And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of
mount Sina an l angel of the Lord in a
flame of fire in a bush.
(l) Now, he calls the Son of God an angel, for he
is the angel of great counsel, and therefore immediately after he describes
him as saying to Moses, "I am the God of thy fathers, etc."
This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the
same did God send [to be] a ruler and a deliverer by the m
hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush.
(m) By the power.
This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the
Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye
(4) He acknowledges Moses as the Lawgiver, but in
such a way that he proves by his own witness that the Law had respect to a
more perfect thing, that is to say, to the prophetical office which
accompanied Christ, the head of all Prophets.
And they made a n calf in those days,
and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own
(n) This was the superstition of the Egyptian's
idolatry: for they worshipped Apis, a strange and marvellous looking calf, and
made beautiful images of cows.
7:42 Then God turned, and o
gave them up to worship the p host of
heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have
ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices [by the space of] forty years in
(o) Being destitute and void of his Spirit, he
gave them up to Satan, and wicked lusts, to worship stars.
(p) By "the host of heaven" here he
does not mean the angels, but the moon, and sun, and other stars.
7:43 Yea, ye q
took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures
which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon.
(q) You took it upon your shoulders and carried
7:44 5 Our
fathers had the tabernacle of r witness
in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make
it according to the fashion that he had seen.
(5) Moses indeed erected a tabernacle, but that
was to call them back to the one whom he had seen on the mountain.
(r) That is, of the covenant.
7:45 Which also our fathers that came after s
brought in with Jesus into the t
possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out u
before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David;
(s) Delivered from hand to hand.
(t) This is said using the figure of speech
metonymy, and refers to the countries which the Gentiles possessed.
(u) God drove them out that they should yield up
the possession of those countries to our fathers when they entered into the
But Solomon built him an house.
(6) Solomon built a temple according to God's
commandment, but not under any condition that the majesty of God should be
enclosed within it.
7 Ye stiffnecked and x
uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your
fathers [did], so [do] ye.
(7) Steven, moved with the zeal of God, at length
judges his own judges.
(x) They are of uncircumcised hearts who still
lie drowned in the sins of nature, and are stuck fast in them: for otherwise
all the Jews were circumcised with regard to the flesh, and therefore there
are two kinds of circumcision; (Romans
7:53 Who have received the law
by the y disposition of angels, and have
not kept [it].
(y) By the ministry of angels.
7:54 8 When
they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him
with [their] teeth.
(8) The more Satan is pressed, the more he breaks
out into an open rage.
7:55 9 But
he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the
glory of God, and Jesus z standing on
the right hand of God,
(9) The nearer that martyrs approach to death,
the nearer that they rise up, even into heaven, as they behold Christ.
(z) Ready to affirm him in the confession of the
truth, and to receive him unto himself.
Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and a
ran upon him with one accord,
(10) The zeal of hypocrites and superstitious
people eventually breaks out into a most open madness.
(a) This was done in a rage and fury, for at that
time the Jews could put no man to death by law, as they confessed before
Pilate saying that it was no lawful for them to put any man to death, and
therefore it is reported by Josephus that Ananus, a Sadducee, slew James the
brother of the Lord, and for so doing was accused before Albinus, the
president of the country; lib. 20.
7:58 And cast [him] out of the city, and stoned
[him]: and the b witnesses laid down
their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul.
(b) It was appointed by the Law that the
witnesses should cast the first stones; (Deuteronomy
And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, c
lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he d
(11) Faith and charity never forsake the true
servants of God, even to the last breath.
(c) The word which he uses here refers to a type
of imputing or laying to one's charge that remains firm and steady forever,
never to be remitted.
(d) See (1 Thessalonians