Acts 7:2

2 And Stephen replied: "Brothers and fathers, listen to me. The God of glory appeared to our ancestor Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran,

Acts 7:2 Meaning and Commentary

Acts 7:2

And he said
Stephen replied, in answer to the high priest's question, and addressed himself to the whole sanhedrim, saying:

men, brethren, and fathers, hearken;
to the following oration and defence; he calls them men, brethren, by an usual Hebraism, that is, "brethren"; and that, because they were of the same nation; for it was common with the Jews to call those of their own country and religion, brethren; and he calls them "fathers", because of their age and dignity, being the great council of the nation, and chosen out of the senior and wiser part of the people:

the God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham;
he calls God "the God of glory", because he is glorious in himself, in all his persons, perfections, and works, and is to be glorified by his people; and his glory is to be sought by all his creatures, and to be the end of all their actions; and the rather he makes use of this epithet of him, to remove the calumny against him, that he had spoke blasphemous things against God; and because God appeared in a glorious manner to Abraham, either in a vision, or by an angel, or in some glorious form, or another; and it is observable, that when the Jews speak of Abraham's deliverance out of the fiery furnace, for so they interpret Ur of the Chaldees, they give to God much such a title; they say F18

``"the King of glory" stretched out his right hand, and delivered him out of the fiery furnace, according to ( Genesis 15:7 ) .''

Stephen uses a like epithet; and he calls Abraham "our father", he being a Jew, and according to the common usage of the nation: and this appearance of God to Abraham was "when he was in Mesopotamia"; a country that lay between the two rivers Tigris and Euphrates, from whence it had its name; and is the same with Aram Naharaim, the Scriptures speak of; (See Gill on Acts 2:9). Of this appearance of God to Abraham, mentioned by Stephen, the Scriptures are silent; but the Jewish writers seem to hint at it, when they say F19,

``thus said the holy blessed God to Abraham, as thou hast enlightened for me Mesopotamia and its companions, come and give light before me in the land of Israel.''

And again, mentioning those words in ( Isaiah 41:8 Isaiah 41:9 ) "the seed of Abraham my friend, whom I have taken from the ends of the earth"; add by way of explanation, from Mesopotamia and its companions F20: and this was

before he dwelt in Charan;
or Haran; see ( Genesis 11:31 ) where the Septuagint call it "Charan", as here; and by Herodish F21 it is called (karrai) , where Antoninus was killed; and by Pliny F23, "Carra"; and by Ptolomy F24, "Carroe"; it was famous for the slaughter of M. Crassus, by the Parthians F25. R. Benjamin gives this account of it in his time F26;

``in two days I came to ancient Haran, and in it were about twenty Jews, and there was as it were a synagogue of Ezra; but in the place where was the house of Abraham our father, there was no building upon it; but the Ishmaelites (or Mahometans) honour that place, and come thither to pray.''

Stephanus F1 says it was a city of Mesopotamia, so called from "Carra", a river in Syria.


F18 Pirke Eliezer, c. 26.
F19 Bereshit Rabba, sect. 30. fol. 25. 1
F20 lb. sect. 44. fol. 38. 3.
F21 L. 4. sect. 24.
F23 L. 5. c. 24.
F24 L. 5. c. 18.
F25 ----Miserando funere Crassus Assyrias Latio maculavit sanguine Carrhas. Lucan. Pharsal. l. 1. v. 105.
F26 Itinerar. p. 60.
F1 De Urbibus.

Acts 7:2 In-Context

1 Then the high priest asked him, "Are these things so?"
2 And Stephen replied: "Brothers and fathers, listen to me. The God of glory appeared to our ancestor Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran,
3 and said to him, "Leave your country and your relatives and go to the land that I will show you.'
4 Then he left the country of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After his father died, God had him move from there to this country in which you are now living.
5 He did not give him any of it as a heritage, not even a foot's length, but promised to give it to him as his possession and to his descendants after him, even though he had no child.

Footnotes 1

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.