Acts 7:6

6 God spoke to him in this way: ‘For four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated.

Read Acts 7:6 Using Other Translations

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 four hundred years.
And God spoke to this effect--that his offspring would be sojourners in a land belonging to others, who would enslave them and afflict them four hundred years.
God also told him that his descendants would live in a foreign land, where they would be oppressed as slaves for 400 years.

What does Acts 7:6 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Acts 7:6

And God spake on this wise
The Vulgate Latin and Syriac versions read, "and God spake to him", and so does one of Beza's copies; and the Ethiopic version reads it both ways, God "said thus to Abraham", as in ( Genesis 15:13 ) .

That his seed should sojourn in a strange land;
or "be a stranger in a land not theirs"; first in the land of Canaan, and then in Egypt, which were possessed by other persons, the natives of them:

and that they should bring them into bondage;
that is, the inhabitants of the lands, and particularly Egypt, should bring the seed of Abraham into bondage, as they did; and very hard bondage it was, at least some part of it:

and entreat them evil four hundred years;
which must be reckoned not from the time of their going down into Egypt, which to their coming up out of it were but two hundred and ten years, but from the birth of Isaac: which was as soon as Abraham had the promised seed, and may be reckoned after this manner; from the birth of Isaac to the birth of Jacob, sixty years, ( Genesis 25:26 ) and from thence to the coming of Jacob into Egypt, one hundred and thirty years, ( Genesis 47:9 ) and from thence to the coming of the children of Israel out of Egypt, two hundrd and ten years; which in all make up four hundred years; for the sojourning and evil entreating of Abraham's seed are not to be confined to the land of Egypt, but belong to other lands, where they were within this time, though that land is more especially intended; and so the Septuagint version renders the text in ( Exodus 12:40 ) . "Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, which they (and some copies add, and their fathers) sojourned in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, were four hundred and thirty years": and this text is differently read in the Talmuds, in one of them thus F6; "and the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt", (twurah) (lkbw) , "and in all the lands, were four hundred and thirty years"; and in the other of them thus F7, "and the sojourning of the children of Israel who dwelt in Egypt", (twura ravbw) , "and in the rest of the lands, were four hundred years"; upon which latter the gloss has these words;

``from the time that the decree of the captivity was made between them to the birth of Isaac, were thirty years; and from the birth of Isaac, until the Israelites went out of Egypt, were four hundred years; take out of them the sixty of Isaac, and the one hundred and thirty that Jacob had lived when he went down into Egypt, and there remain two hundred and ten; and so is the decree, that "thy seed shall be a stranger in a land not theirs", ( Genesis 15:13 ) and it is not said in Egypt, but in a land not theirs; and when Isaac was born, Abraham was a sojourner in the land of the Philistines; and from thence, till they went out of Egypt, it will be found that Isaac and his seed who were the seed of Abraham, were strangers: and the thirty years before that are not numbered in the decree;''

(See Gill on Galatians 3:17).


FOOTNOTES:

F6 T. Hieros, Megilla, fol. 71. 4.
F7 T. Bab. Megilla, fol. 9. 1. Vid. Aben Ezra, in Exod. xii. 40.
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