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Acts 7


 1 Then (1) said the chief Priest, Are these things so?


(1) Stephen is admitted to plead his cause, but to this end and purpose, that under a cloak, and color of Law, he might be condemned.


  (2) And he said, Ye (♣) men, brethren, and Fathers, hearken. (*) That God of (a) (♠) glory appeared unto our father Abraham, while he was in (b) (♦) Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran,


(2) Stephen witnesseth unto the Jews, that he acknowledgeth the true fathers, and the only true God; and sheweth moreover, that they are more ancient than the Temple, with all that 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.

(♣) Stephen was accused that he denied God, and therefore he is more diligent to purge this crime.

(*) Genesis 12:1 .
(a) That mighty God full of glory and majesty.

(♠) Hereby he is discerned from the false gods.
(b) When he saith afterwards,  Acts 7:4; that Abraham came out of Chaldea, it is evident that Mesopotamia contained Chaldea which was near unto it, and bordering upon it, and so writeth Plinius, book 6, chapter 27.

(♦) He speaketh here of Mesopotamia, as it containeth Babylon and Chaldea in it.


  (*) And said unto him, Come out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee.


(*) Genesis 12:1 .


 4 Then came he out of the land of the Chaldeans, and dwelt in Charran. And after that his father was dead, God brought him from thence into this land, wherein ye now dwell,


 5 And he gave him none inheritance in it, no not the (c) breadth of a foot, 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 so much ground as to set his foot upon.
(d) The promise of the possession was certain and belonged to Abraham, though his posterity enjoyed it a great while after his death, and this is the figure Synecdoche.


 6 But God spake thus, that his (*) seed should be a sojourner in a strange land, and that they should keep it in bondage, and entreat it evil (e) (♣) four hundred years.


(*) Genesis 15:13 .

(e) There are reckoned four hundred years, 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, Galatians 3:17; from the time that Abraham and his father departed together out of Ur of the Chaldeans.

(♣) Beginning to reckon the years from the time that Isaiah was born.


 7 But the nation to whom they shall be in bondage, will I (*) judge, saith God, and after that, they shall come forth and serve me in this place.


(*) Take vengeance of them and deliver my people.


  (*) He gave him also the covenant of circumcision; and so Abraham begat (♣) Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac begat (♦) Jacob, and Jacob the twelve (♠) Patriarchs.


(*) Genesis 17:9 .

(♣) Genesis 21:3 .

(♦) Genesis 25:24 .

(♠) Genesis 29:33; Genesis 30:5; Genesis 35:23 .


  (3) And the Patriarchs, moved with envy, sold (*) Joseph into Egypt, but God was (f) (♣) with him,


(3) Stephen reckoneth up diligently the horrible mischiefs of some of the Fathers, to teach the Jews that they ought not rashly to rest in the authority or examples of the Fathers.

(*) Genesis 37:18 .
(f) By this kind of speech, is meant the peculiar favor that God sheweth men; for he seemeth to be away from them, whom he helpeth not, and on the other side, he is with them whom he delivereth out of whatsoever great troubles.

(♣) That is, preserved and brought all things to a good issue.


 10 And delivered him out of all his afflictions, and (*) gave him (g) favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh King of Egypt, who made him governor over Egypt, and over his whole house.


(*) Genesis 41:37 .

(g) Gave him favor in Pharaoh's sight for his wisdom.


 11  ∂ Then came there a famine over all the land of Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction, that our fathers found no sustenance.


 12 But when (*) Jacob heard that there was corn in Egypt, he sent our fathers first;


(*) Genesis 42:1 .


 13  (*) And at the second time Joseph was known of his brethren, and Josephís kindred was made known unto Pharaoh.


(*) Genesis 45:4 .


 14 Then sent Joseph and caused his father to be brought, and all his kindred, even (*) threescore and fifteen souls.


(*) After the Hebrew, threescore and ten.


 15 So (*) Jacob went down into Egypt, and he (♣) died, and our fathers,


(*) Genesis 46:5 .

(♣) Genesis 49:33 .


 16 And were (h) removed into Sychem, and were put in the sepulcher, that (♣) Abraham had bought (*) for money of the sons of Emmor, son of Sychem.


(h) The Patriarchs the sons of Jacob, though there be mention made of no more than Joseph, Joshua 24:32 .

(♣) It is probable that some writer through negligence put in Abraham in this place, in stead of Jacob, who bought this field Genesis 33,19; or by Abraham he meaneth the posterity of Abraham.

(*) Genesis 23:16 .


 17 But when the time of the promise drew near, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people (*) grew and multiplied in Egypt,


(*) Exodus 1:7 .


 18 Till another King arose, which knew not Joseph.


 19 The same (i) dealt (*) subtly with our kindred, and evil entreated our fathers, and made them to cast out their young children, that (♣) they should not remain alive.


(i) He devised a subtil invention against our stock, in that he commanded all the males to be cast out.

(*) He invented crafty ways both to destroy the Israelites with over much labor, and also to get great profit by them, Exodus 1:10 .

(♣) Or, that their race should fail.


 20  (*) The same time was Moses born, and was (k) acceptable unto God, which was nourished up in his fatherís house three months.


(*) Exodus 2:2; Hebrews 11:23 .

(k) That child was born through God's merciful goodness and favor, to be of a goodly and fair countenance.           


 21 And when he was cast out, Pharaohís daughter took him up, and nourished him for her own son.


 22 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.


 23 Now when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel.


 24  (*) And when he saw one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged his quarrel that had the harm done to him, and smote the Egyptian.


(*) Exodus 2:11 .


 25 For he supposed his brethren would have understood, that God by his hand should give them deliverance, but they understood it not.


 26  (*) And the next day, he shewed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren, why do ye wrong one to another?


(*) Exodus 2:13 .


 27 But he that did his neighbor wrong, thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a prince, and a judge over us?


 28 Wilt thou kill me, as thou didst the Egyptian yesterday?


 29 Then fled Moses at that saying, and was a stranger in the land of Midian, where he begat two sons.


 30 And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the (*) wilderness of mount Sinai, an (l) Angel of the Lord in a flame (♣) of fire, in a bush.


(*) Exodus 3:2 .

(l) Now he calleth the Son of God an Angel, for he is the Angel of great counsel, and therefore straightways after he sheweth him, saying to Moses, I am that God of thy Fathers, etc.

(♣) This fire represented the furnace of affliction wherein the people of God were.


 31 And when Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight; and as he drew near to consider it, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying,


 32 I am the (*) God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Then Moses trembled, and durst not behold it.


(*) Seeing this Angel called himself God, it declareth that he was not an Angel, but Christ the Mediator, who is the eternal God.


 33 Then the Lord said to him, (*) Put off thy shoes from thy feet, for the place where thou standest, is holy ground.


(*) In sign of reverence, read Exodus 3:5 .


 34 I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people, which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them; and now come, and I will send thee into Egypt.


 35 This Moses whom they forsook, saying, Who made thee a prince and a judge? The same God sent for a prince, and a deliverer by the (m) hand of the Angel which appeared to him in the bush.


(m) By the power.


 36 He (*) brought them out, doing wonders, and miracles in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness (♣) forty years.


(*) Exodus 7-14 .

(♣) Exodus 16:1 .


 37  (4) This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, (*) A (♣) Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you, even of your brethren, like unto me, him shall ye hear.


(4) He acknowledgeth Moses for the Lawgiver, but so that he proveth by his own witness, that the Law had respect to a more perfect thing, that is to say, to the prophetical office which tended to Christ, the head of all Prophets.  

(*) Deuteronomy 18:15; Acts 3:22 .

(♣) He proveth that Christ is the end of the Law and the Prophets.


 38  (*) This is he that was in the Congregation, in the wilderness with the (♣) Angel, which spake to him in mount Sinai, and with our fathers, who received the (♠) lively oracles to give unto us.


(*) Exodus 19:2 .

(♣) Moses was the Angelís or Christís minister and a guide to the fathers.

(♠) By oracles is meant the sayings that God spake to Moses.


 39 To whom our fathers would not obey, but refused, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt,


 40 Saying unto Aaron, (*) Make (♣) us gods that may go before us; for (♠) we know not what is become of this Moses that brought us out of the land of Egypt.


(*) Exodus 32:1 .

(♣) Figures, or testimonies of the presence of God.

(♠) Yet they knew he was absent for their commodity, and so would shortly return and bring them the Law.


 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 Egyptian's idolatry; for they worshipped Apis, a strange and marvelous calf, and made goodly images of Kine. Herod library 2 .


 42 Then God turned himself away, and (o) gave them up to serve the (p) (♣) host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the Prophets, (*) (♠) O 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.
(p) By the host of heaven, here he meaneth not the Angels, but the moon and sun and other stars.

(♣) As the sun, moon and other stars, Deuteronomy 17:3 .

(*) Amos 5:25 .

(♠) Your fathers began in wilderness to contemn mine ordinances, and you now far pass them in impiety.


 43 And ye (q) took up the tabernacle of (*) Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures, which ye made to worship them, therefore I will carry you away beyond Babylon.


(q) You took it upon your shoulders and carried it.

(*) Leviticus 20:2 .


 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 that form which he had seen in the mountain.
(r) That is, of the covenant.

(♣) They ought to have been content with this covenant only, and not to have gone after their lewd fantasies.

(*) Exodus 25:40; Hebrews 8:5 .


 45  (*) Which tabernacle also our fathers (s) received, and brought in with Jesus into the (t) possession of the Gentiles, which God drave out (u) before our fathers, unto the days of David;


(*) Joshua 3:14 .

(s) Delivered from hand to hand.
(t) By the figure Metonymy, for the countries which the Gentiles possessed.
(u) God drave them out, that they should yield up the possession of those countries to our fathers, when they entered into the land.


 46  (*) Who found favor before God, and desired that he might find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob.


(*) 2 Samuel 7:2; Psalm 132:5 .


 47  (*) (6) But Solomon built him a house.


(*) 1 Chronicles 17:12; 1 Kings 6:1 .

(6) Solomon built a Temple, according to God's commandment, but not with any such condition, that the Majesty of God should be enclosed therein.


 48 Howbeit the most High (*) dwelleth not in (♣) temples made with hands, as saith the Prophet,


(*) Acts 17:24 .

(♣) He reproveth the gross dullness of the people which abused the power of God in that they would have contained it within the temple.


 49  (*) Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool; what (♣) house will ye build for me, saith the Lord? Or what place is it that I should rest in?


(*) Isaiah 66:1 .

(♣) God cannot be contained in any space of place.


 50 Hath not my hand made all these things?


 51  (*) (7) Ye stiff-necked and of (x) uncircumcised (♣) hearts and ears, ye have always resisted the holy Ghost; as your fathers did, so do you.


(*) Jeremiah 9:26; Ezekiel 44:9 .

(7) Stephen moved with the zeal of God, at length judgeth his own judges.
(x) They are of uncircumcised hearts, which still lie drowned still in the sins of nature, and stick fast in them; for otherwise all the Jews were circumcised as touching the flesh, and therefore there were two kinds of circumcision, Romans 2:28 .

(♣) Which neither forsake your old wickedness, nor so much as hear when God speaketh to you, but still rebel.


 52 Which of the Prophets have not your fathers persecuted? And they have slain them, which shewed before of the coming of that (*) Just, of whom ye are now the betrayers and murderers,


(*) Which is Jesus Christ who is not only just for his innocency, but because all true justice cometh of him.


 53  (*) Which have received the Law by the (y) ordinance of Angels, and have not kept it.


(*) Exodus 19:16; Galatians 3:19 .

(y) By the ministry of Angels.         


 54  (8) But when they heard these things, their hearts brast for anger, and they gnashed at him with their teeth.


(8) The more Satan is pressed, the more he brasteth out into an open rage.    


 55  (9) But he being full of the holy Ghost, looked steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus (z) standing at (*) the right hand of God,


(9) The nearer that the Martyrs approach to death, the nearer they beholding Christ, do rise up even into heaven.
(z) Ready to confirm him in the confession of the truth, and to receive him to him.

(*) And reigning in his flesh, wherein he had suffered.


 56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens open, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.


 57  (10) Then they gave a shout with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and (a) (*) ran upon him all at once,


(10) The zeal of hypocrites and superstitious people, breaketh out at length into 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 confess before Pilate, saying that it was not lawful for them to put any man to death, and therefore it is reported by Josephus library 20 that Ananus, a Sadducee, slew James the brother of the Lord, and for so doing, was accused before Albinus the President of the country.

(*) This was done of furious violence and by no form of justice.


 58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him; and the (b) (*) witnesses laid down their clothes at a young manís feet, named Saul.


(b) It was appointed by the Law, that the witnesses should cast the first stones, Deuteronomy 17:7 .

(*) Acts 22:20 .


 59 And they stoned Stephen, who called on God, and said, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.


 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 thus spoken, he (d) slept.


(11) Faith and charity never forsake the true servants of God, even to the last breath.

(*) Matthew 5:44; Luke 23:34; 1 Corinthians 4:12 .
(c) The word which he useth here noteth out such a kind of imputing or laying to one's charge, as remaineth firm, and steady forever, never to be remitted.
(d) Look at 1 Thessalonians 4:13 .






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