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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 7 - Verse 51

Verse 51. Ye stiffnecked. The discourse of Stephen has every appearance of having been interrupted by the clamours and opposition of the sanhedrim. This verse has no immediate connexion with that which precedes; and appears to have been spoken in the midst of much opposition and clamour. If we may conjecture in this case, it would seem that the Jews saw the drift of his argument; that they interrupted him; and that when the tumult had somewhat subsided, he addressed them in the language of this verse, showing them that they sustained a character precisely similar to their rebellious fathers. The word stiff-necked is often used in the Old Testament, Ex 32:9; Ex 33:3,5; 34:9; De 9:6,13; 10:16, etc. It is a figurative expression taken from oxen that were refractory, and that would not submit to be yoked. Applied to men, it means that they were stubborn, contumacious, and unwilling to submit to the restraints of law.

Uncircumcised in heart. Circumcision was a sign of being a Jew— of acknowledging the authority of the laws of Moses. It was also emblematic of purity, and of submission to the law of God. The expression uncircumcised in heart denotes those who were not willing to acknowledge the law, and submit to it. They had hearts filled with vicious and unsubdued affections and desires.

And ears. That is, who are unwilling to hear what God says. Comp. Le 26:41; Jer 9:26; See Barnes "Ro 2:28,29.


Resist the Holy Ghost. You oppose the message which is brought to you by the authority of God, and the inspiration of his Spirit. The message brought by Moses, by the prophets, by the Saviour, and by the apostles—all by the infallible direction of the Holy Ghost—they and their fathers opposed.

As your fathers did, etc. As he had specified in Ac 7:27,35,39-43.


{a} "stiffnecked" Ex 32:9; Isa 48:4 {b} "uncircumcised" Le 26:41; Jer 9:26; Ro 2:28,29

{*} "Holy Ghost" "Holy Spirit"

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