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 fathers. 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.
(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.
(c) Not enough ground to even set his foot upon. 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 years.
(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.
7:9 3 And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was f with him,
(e) Four hundred years are counted from the beginning of Abrahams 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.
(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. 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 house.
(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.
(g) Gave him favour in Pharaohs sight because of his wisdom. 7:16 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.
7:19 The 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.
(h) The patriarchs who were the sons of Jacob, though only Joseph is mentioned; ( Joshua 24:32 ).
(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 fathers house three months:
(k) This child was born through Gods merciful goodness and favour, to be of a lovely and fair countenance. 7:30 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." 7:35 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. 7:37 4 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 hear.
(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. 7:41 And they made a n calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.
(n) This was the superstition of the Egyptians 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 the wilderness?
(o) Being destitute and void of his Spirit, he gave them up to Satan, and wicked lusts, to worship 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.
(p) By "the host of heaven" here he does not mean the angels, but the moon, and sun, and other stars.
(q) You took it upon your shoulders and carried it. 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. 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;
(r) That is, of the covenant.
(s) Delivered from hand to hand. 7:47 6 But Solomon built him an house.
(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 land.
(6) Solomon built a temple according to Gods commandment, but not under any condition that the majesty of God should be enclosed within it. 7:51 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. 7:53 Who have received the law by the y disposition of angels, and have not kept [it].
(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 2:28-29 ).
(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. 7:57 10 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and a ran upon him with one accord,
(z) Ready to affirm him in the confession of the truth, and to receive him unto himself.
7:58 And cast [him] out of the city, and stoned [him]: and the b witnesses laid down their clothes at a young mans feet, whose name was Saul.
(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.
7:60 11 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 fell asleep.
(b) It was appointed by the Law that the witnesses should cast the first stones; ( Deuteronomy 17:7 ).
(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 ones charge that remains firm and steady forever, never to be remitted.
(d) See ( 1 Thessalonians 4:13 ).