[Table of Contents]
[Previous] [Next]
Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Acts: Chapter 7)

7:1 {Are these things so?} (\ei tauta houtōs echei\). On this use
of \ei\ in a direct question see on ¯1:6. Literally "Do these
things hold thus?" A formal question by the high priest like our
"Do you plead guilty, or not guilty?" (Furneaux). The abrupt
question of the high priest would serve to break the evident
spell of the angelic look on Stephen's face. Two charges had been
made against Stephen (1) speaking against the holy temple, (2)
changing the customs which Moses had delivered. Stephen could not
give a yes or no answer to these two charges. There was an
element of truth in each of them and a large amount of error all
mixed together. So he undertakes to explain his real position by
the historical method, that is to say, by a rapid survey of God's
dealing with the people of Israel and the Gentiles. It is the
same method adopted by Paul in Pisidian Antioch (Ac 13:16ff.)
after he had become the successor of Stephen in his
interpretation of the universal mission of Christianity. If one
is disposed to say that Luke made up this speech to suit
Stephen's predicament, he has to explain how the style is less
Lukan than the narrative portions of Acts with knowledge of
Jewish traditions that a Greek would not be likely to know.
Precisely how Luke obtained the data for the speech we do not
know, but Saul heard it and Philip, one of the seven, almost
certainly. Both could have given Luke help about it. It is even
possible that some one took notes of this important address. We
are to remember also that the speech was interrupted at the end
and may not include all that Stephen meant to say. But enough is
given to give us a good idea of how Stephen met the first charge
"by showing that the worship of God is not confined to Jerusalem
or the Jewish temple" (Page). Then he answers the second charge
by proving that God had many dealings with their fathers before
Moses came and that Moses foretold the coming of the Messiah who
is now known to be Jesus. It is at this point (verse 51) that
Stephen becomes passionate and so powerful that the wolves in the
Sanhedrin lose all self-control. It is a great and masterful
exposition of the worldwide mission of the gospel of Christ in
full harmony with the Great Commission of Christ. The apostles
had been so busy answering the Sadducees concerning the
Resurrection of Christ and maintaining their freedom to teach and
preach that they had not pushed the world-wide propaganda of the
gospel as Jesus had commanded after they had received the Promise
of the Father. But Stephen had proclaimed the same message of
Christ and was now facing the same fate. Peter's mind had been
enlightened by the Holy Spirit so that he could rightly interpret
Joel and David in the light of Pentecost. "So Stephen read the
history of the Old Testament with new eyes in the light of the
life and death of Jesus" (Furneaux).

7:2 {Brethren and fathers} (\andres adelphoi kai pateres\). The
spectators (brethren) and members of the Sanhedrin (fathers) as
Paul in Ac 22:1. {Hearken} (\akousate\). First aorist
(ingressive) active imperative, Give me your attention now. {The
God of glory}
(\Ho theos tēs doxēs\). The God characterized by
glory (genitive case, genus or kind) as seen in the Shekinah, the
visible radiance of God. Jesus is also called "the Glory"=the
Shekinah in Jas 2:1. Cf. Ex 25:22; 40:34; Le 9:6; Heb 9:5. By
these words Stephen refutes the charge of blasphemy against God
in Ac 6:11. {Appeared} (\ōphthē\). First aorist passive
indicative of \horaō\. See on ¯Lu 23:43. Before there was temple
or tabernacle and away over in Mesopotamia (Ur of the Chaldees,
Ge 11:31)
, even before (\prin ē\ with the infinitive) he dwelt
in Haran (\Charran\, or Carrae not far from Edessa, where Crassus
met death after his defeat by the Parthians B.C. 53)

7:3 {Which I shall shew thee} (\hēn an soi deixō\). Indefinite
relative clause with \an\ and the aorist active subjunctive (same
form in first person singular as the future active indicative)
Abraham followed on as God led him.

7:4 {When his father was dead} (\meta to apothanein auton\).
\Meta\ with the accusative of the articular infinitive and the
accusative of general reference (\auton\), regular Greek idiom.
In Ge 11:32 it is stated that Terah died at Haran at the age of
205. There are various explanations of the discrepancy, but no
one that seems certain. It is possible (Hackett, Felten) that
Abraham is mentioned first in Ge 11:26 because he became the
most prominent and was really younger than Haran his brother who
died before the first migration who was really sixty years older
than Abraham. According to this view Terah was 130 years old at
the birth of Abraham, leaving Abraham 75 at the death of Terah
(205). {Wherein ye now dwell} (\eis hēn humeis nun katoikeite\).
Note \eis\ in the sense of \en\ as often. Note also emphatic use
of \humeis\ (ye) and now (\nun\).

7:5 {Not so much as to set his foot on} (\oude bēma podos\). From
De 2:5. Old word from \bainō\, to go, to step. "Stepping of a
foot," only instance of this original meaning in the N.T. From
this it comes to mean a platform reached by steps, official seat
of a judge (Mt 27:19). The field purchased by Abraham (Ge
was not a gift from God. {Promised} (\epēggeilato\).
First aorist middle indicative of \epaggellō\, common verb. See
Ge 12:7; 17:8; 48:4 for this promise. So God appeared again to
Abraham in a strange land. {In possession} (\eis kataschesin\).
Late word, in LXX, and in N.T. only here and verse 45. From
\katechō\, to hold back, then to hold fast (or down), to possess.
It was fulfilled in the descendants of Abraham. {When as yet he
had no child}
(\ouk ontos autōi teknou\). Genitive absolute with
negative \ouk\ rather than \mē\ to emphasize actual absence of a
child. He had only the promise of God about the land and the

7:6 {On this wise} (\houtōs\). A free quotation from Ge 15:13.
{Should sojourn} (\estai paroikon\). Shall be a sojourner,
\Paroikos\ (\para\, beside, \oikos\, home), one dwelling near
one's home, but not of it, so a stranger, foreigner, old word,
often in LXX, temporary residence without full rights of
citizenship (7:29; 13:17), and descriptive of Christians (Eph
2:19; 1Pe 1:17; 2:11)
. {In a strange land} (\en gēi allotriāi\).
In a land not one's own, that belongs to another, alien as in Mt
17:25f., which see. {Four hundred years} (\etē tetrakosia\).
Accusative of duration of time. As in Ge 15:13, but a round
number as in Ex 12:40 the time is 430 years. But in Ga 3:17
Paul, following the LXX in Ex 12:40, takes the 430 years to
cover the period in Canaan and the stay in Egypt, cutting the
sojourn in Egypt to about half. Josephus gives it both ways.
Hackett suggests two solutions, one that there were two ways of
reckoning the period among the Jews with no way of settling it,
the other that by the 430 years in Egypt the writers meant to
include Canaan also as merely the preliminary to the period in

7:7 {Will I judge} (\krinō egō\). Future (accent on \ō\) active
indicative of \krinō\ and \egō\ (I) expressed is emphatic. {In
this place}
(\en tōi topōi toutōi\). Quoted from Ex 3:12 and
referring to Sinai or Horeb, but Stephen applies it to the
Promised Land.

7:8 {The covenant of circumcision} (\diathēkēn peritomēs\). A
covenant marked by (genitive) circumcision (no article) of which
circumcision is the sign (Ro 4:11) as set forth in Ge
17:9-14. In the ancient Greek \diathēkē\ was usually will
(Latin, _testamentum_) and \sunthēkē\ was used for covenant
(\sun\, together, rather than \dia\, between). But the LXX and
the N.T. use \diathēkē\ for covenant (will in Heb 9:15f.) as
Lightfoot on Ga 3:16 says: "The LXX translation and New
Testament writers probably preferred \diathēkē\ as better
expressing the {free grace} of God than \sunthēkē\." {And so}
(\kai houtōs\). After the covenant was made and as a sign and
seal of it.

7:9 {Moved with jealousy} (\zēlōsantes\). First aorist active
participle of \zēloō\, old verb from \zēlos\ (Ac 5:17), to burn
or boil with zeal, and then with envy as here (17:5, etc.) and
Ge 37:11.

7:10 {Delivered him out} (\exeilato auton ek\). First aorist
middle indicative of \exaireō\, old verb to take out, snatch out.
Note repetition of \ek\. {Pharaoh King of Egypt} (\Pharaō
basileōs Aiguptou\)
. Pharaoh is not a name, but a title, the
Egyptian _perāā_ meaning great house.

7:11 {Found no sustenance} (\ouch hēuriskon chortasmata\).
Imperfect active, kept on not finding. {Chortasmata} is from
{chortazō}, originally to feed with grass (\chortos\) or herbs.
Old word, but only here in the N.T. and includes food for both
men and animals. In Ge 24:25,32 it is fodder for the cattle, a
first necessity for owners of herds of cattle.

7:12 {That there was corn} (\onta sitia\). Participle (present
active of \eimi\)
in indirect discourse, after \akousas\, "heard
of corn being in Egypt." \Sitia\ is diminutive of \sitos\ and
means grain (wheat, barley, not our maize or Indian corn), old
word also for provisions, victuals, here only in the N.T. {The
first time}
(\prōton\). While Jacob himself remained in Canaan
before he went down to Egypt and died there (verse 15f.).

7:13 {At the second time} (\en tōi deuterōi\). This expression
only here in the N.T. This second visit is recorded in Ge
45:1ff. {Became manifest} (\phaneron egeneto\). In Ge 41:12
the fact that Joseph was a Hebrew had been incidentally mentioned
to Pharaoh, but now it was made clear to him.

7:14 {Three-score and fifteen souls} (\en psuchais hebdomēkonta
. Stephen follows the LXX which counts some grandchildren
of Joseph and so makes it 75 whereas Ge 46:26 has 66 and then
the next verse makes it 70 including Jacob and Joseph with his
two sons. The use of \en\ means "consisting in."

7:16 {They were carried over unto Shechem} (\metetethēsan eis
. First aorist passive of \metatithēmi\, only here in the
N.T. in this sense of changing places. Jacob was buried in the
cave of Machpelah (Ge 50:13). The O.T. does not say where the
sons of Jacob were buried save that Joseph was buried in Shechem
(Jos 24:32). Possibly only "our fathers" without Jacob is the
subject of "were carried." {Which Abraham bought} (\hōi ōnēsato
. Hackett is sure that our present text is wrong. Hort
notes some sixty "primitive errors" in the critical text of the
N.T. It is possible that this is also one. If "Jacob" is
substituted for "Abraham," the matter is cleared up. "It is quite
as likely, judging _a priori_, that the word producing the error
escaped from some early copyist as that so glaring an error was
committed by Stephen" (Hackett). At any rate Abraham bought a
burying-place, the cave of Machpelah, from Ephron the Hittite at
Hebron (Ge 23:16), while Jacob bought a field from the sons of
Hamor at Shechem (Ge 33:19; Jos 24:32). Abraham had built an
altar at Shechem when he entered Canaan (Ge 12:6f.). It is
possible, of course, that Abraham also bought the ground on which
the altar stood. {In Shechem} (\en Suchem\). This is the reading
of Aleph B C instead of the Textus Receptus \tou Suchem\ which
makes it "Hamar the father of Sichem." "In Shechem" is the true

7:17 {Drew nigh} (\ēggizen\). Imperfect active, was drawing nigh.

7:18 {Another king} (\basileus heteros\). A different kind of
king also, probably a king of the new dynasty after the shepherd
kings had been expelled from Egypt. {Who knew not Joseph} (\hos
ouk ēidei ton Iōsēph\)
. Second past perfect of \oida\ used like
an imperfect. Joseph's history and services meant nothing to the
new king. "The previous dynasty had been that of the Hyksos: the
new king was Ahmes who drove out the Hyksos" (Knobel).

7:19 {Dealt subtilly} (\katasophisamenos\). First aorist middle
participle of \katasophizomai\, late compound (\kata\ and
\sophizō\, old verb, to make wise, to become wise, then to play
the sophist)
, perfective use of \kata\. In the LXX, but here only
in the N.T. To use fraud, craft, deceit. {That they should cast
out their babes}
(\tou poiein ta brephē ektheta\). \Tou poiein\
(genitive of the articular present infinitive) can be either
design or result. The Revised Version here takes it as purpose
while the Authorized as result. In either case Pharaoh required
the Israelites to expose their children to death, a possible
practice done voluntarily in heathen China and by heathen in
so-called Christian lands. But the Israelites fought against such
an iniquity. The word \ektheta\ (exposed, cast out) is a verbal
adjective from \ektithēmi\. It is an old word, but here only in
the N.T. and not in the LXX. {To the end they might not live}
(\eis to mē zōogoneisthai\). Purpose with \eis\ and the articular
infinitive (present middle). This compound verb is from
\zōogonos\ (from \zōos\, alive, and \genō\, to bear) and is used
by late writers and the LXX. It is three times in the N.T. (here,
Lu 17:33; 1Ti 6:13)
in the sense to preserve alive.

7:20 {Exceeding fair} (\asteios tōi theōi\). Ethical dative, fair
to God (as God looked at him). \Asteios\ is from \astu\, city,
and so means "of the city," with city manners and polish. Old
word, only twice in the N.T. (here and Heb 11:23) and both
times about Moses and taken from Ex 2:2. {He was nourished}
(\anetraphē\). Second aorist passive indicative of \anatrephō\.
He was brought up at home for three months in defiance of the new

7:21 {When he was cast out} (\ektethentos autou\). Genitive
absolute with first aorist passive participle of \ektithēmi\.
{Took up} (\aneilato\). Second aorist middle indicative (with
first aorist vowel \a\ instead of \e\ as often in the _Koinē_)
\anaireō\, common in the N.T. in the sense of take up and make
away with, to kill as in verse 28, but here only in the N.T. in
the original sense of taking up from the ground and with the
middle voice (for oneself). Quoted here from Ex 2:5. The word
was used of old for picking up exposed children as here. Vincent
quotes Aristophanes (_Clouds_, 531): "I exposed (the child), and
some other women, having taken it, adopted (\aneileto\) it."
Vulgate has _sustulit_. "Adopted" is the idea here. "After the
birth of a child the father took it up to his bosom, if he meant
to rear it; otherwise it was doomed to perish" (Hackett).
{Nourished him for her own son} (\anethrepsato auton heautēi eis
. Literally, "she nursed him up for herself (\heautēi\
besides middle voice)
as a son." This use of \eis\=as occurs in
the old Greek, but is very common in the LXX as a translation of
the Hebrew _le_. The tradition is that she designed Moses for the
throne as the Pharaoh had no son (Josephus, _Ant_. ii. 9, 7).

7:22 {Was instructed} (\epaideuthē\). First aorist passive
indicative of \paideuō\, to train a child (\pais\), the usual
idea in ancient Greek as here. The notion of chastisement (Heb
is also in the old Greek and especially in the LXX and the
N.T. Here with instrumental case (\pasēi sophiāi\) or the
locative. The accusative would usually be retained after this
verb. The priestly caste in Egypt was noted for their knowledge
of science, astronomy, medicine, and mathematics. This reputation
was proverbial (1Ki 4:30). Modern discoveries have thrown much
light on the ancient civilization of Egypt. Moses, like Paul, was
a man of the schools. {Mighty in his words and works} (\dunatos
en logois kai ergois autou\)
. The same phrase used of Jesus in
Lu 24:19. The adjective \dunatos\ is employed of Apollos as an
interpreter of the Scriptures (Ac 18:24). Moses did not have
the rhetorical skill or eloquence of Aaron (Ex 4:10), but his
words like his deeds carried weight and power.

7:23 {When he was well-nigh forty years old} (\Hōs eplērouto
autōi tessarakontaetēs chronos\)
. A rather awkward Greek idiom
for the English: "When a forty year old time (same idiom in Ac
13:18 and only twice in the N.T.)
was being fulfilled
(\eplērouto\, imperfect passive) for him (dative case)." The life
of Moses is divided into three periods of forty years each (in
Egypt 40 years, in Midian 40, governed Israel 40, 120 when he
died, De 34:7)
. {It came into his heart} (\anebē epi tēn
kardian autou\)
. Second aorist active indicative of \anabainō\,
common verb. Came up as if from the lower deeps of his nature.
This Hebrew image occurs in Jer 3:16; Isa 65:17; 1Co 2:9. {To
(\episkepsasthai\). First aorist middle infinitive of
\episkeptomai\, old verb to go to see for oneself, with his own
eyes, to help if possible. Used of God visiting his people (Lu
. Our "visit" is from Latin _video_, to see, _visito_, to
go to see. During the Welsh mining troubles the Prince of Wales
made a sympathetic visit to see for himself the actual condition
of the coal miners. Moses desired to know first hand how his
kinsmen were faring.

7:24 {Suffer wrong} (\adikoumenon\). Present passive participle
of \adikēo\. By blows (Ex 2:11). {Avenged} (\epoiēsen
. First aorist active indicative of \poieō\. This
idiom occurs in Lu 18:7 with \ekdikēsin\ (this from \ekdikeō\
and that from \ekdikos\ without right or law \dikē\ and then
exacting law of right out of \ek\ one, exacting vengeance)
. {Him
that was oppressed}
(\tōi kataponoumenōi\). Present passive
articular participle in the dative case of \kataponeo\, to tire
down with toil, to treat roughly, common in late Greek, in the
N.T. only here and 2Pe 2:7 (sore distressed). The man was on
the point of being overcome. {Smiting} (\pataxas\). First aorist
active participle of \patassō\, in the old Greek the beat of the
heart, only in the LXX and N.T. to smite a deadly blow as here
like \plēssō\.

7:25 {He supposed} (\enomizen\). Imperfect active of \nomizō\. He
was supposing, Stephen explains, when he smote the Egyptian.
{That his brethren understood} (\sunienai tous adelphous\).
Present active infinitive of \suniēmi\, to send (put) together,
to grasp, to comprehend, in indirect discourse with the
accusative of general reference. {By his hand was giving them
(\dia cheiros autou didōsin sotērian autois\).
Picturesque use of "hand" as in 2:23, present active indicative
of \didōmi\ retained in indirect discourse after imperfect
\enomizen\. But they understood not (\hoi de ou sunēkan\). Page
notes "the rhetorical power of these words" from Stephen.
\Sunēkan\ (first aorist indicative, \k\ aorist) refers to
\sunienai\ just before.

7:26 {The day following} (\tēi epiousēi hēmerāi\). Locative case,
"on the following day" (from \epeimi\, to come upon, to approach,
present active participle \epiōn -ousa, -on\)
. Common phrase in
old Greek both with \hēmera\ (day) as here and without as
16:11. Only in Acts in the N.T. {Appeared} (\ōphthē\). First
aorist passive indicative of \horaō\ not with idea that only a
vision but rather that it was sudden or unexpected. {As they
(\machomenois\). Present middle participle of \machomai\,
actually fighting. {Would have set them at one again}
(\sunēllassen autous eis eirēnen\). Better, he tried to reconcile
them (or change them into peace). It is the conative imperfect
active as in Mt 3:14 of \sunallassō\, only here in the N.T.
though common in the old Greek. Vulgate has _reconciliabat_. The
usual word in the N.T. for reconcile is \katallassō\. {Do ye
wrong one to another}
(\adikeite allēlous\). The same word used
in verse 24 of the wrong done one of the Hebrews by the
Egyptian, but here both are "brethren."

7:27 {Thrust him away} (\apōsato auton\). First aorist middle
indicative (_Koinē_ for Attic \apeōsato\) of \apōtheō\, to push
away from oneself in middle voice as here, common in old Greek.
Again in verse 39; 13:46; Ro 11:1; 1Ti 1:19. It is always the
man who is doing the wrong who is hard to reconcile.

7:28 {Wouldest thou kill me?} (\mē anelein me su theleis\).
Expecting the answer no, but a thrust direct at Moses, Do you
wish to kill me (note \me su\ right together, {me thou}). See Ex
2:14 quoted by Stephen.

7:29 {Sojourner} (\paroikos\). Temporary dweller (cf. Abraham in
verse 6)
in Midian though for forty years.

7:30 Sentence begins with genitive absolute again. {In a flame of
fire in a bush}
(\en phlogi puros batou\). Horeb in Ex 3:1; but
Sinai and Horeb were "probably peaks of one mountain range"
(Page), Horeb "the mountain of the dried-up ground," Sinai "the
mountain of the thorns." Literally, "in the flame of fire of a
bush" (two genitives, \puros\ and \batou\ dependent on \phlogi\,
. Descriptive genitives as in 9:15; 2Th 1:8. \Batos\
(bush) is the wild acacia (_mimosa nilotica_). In Ex 3:20 it is
Jehovah who speaks. Hence "angel" here with Stephen is understood
to be the Angel of the Presence, the Eternal Logos of the Father,
the Angel of Jehovah.

7:31 {The sight} (\to horama\). Used of visions in the N.T. as in
Mt 17:9. {As he drew near} (\proserchomenou autou\). Genitive
absolute with present middle participle of \proserchomai\. {A
voice of the Lord}
(\phōnē kuriou\). Here the angel of Jehovah of
verse 30 is termed Jehovah himself. Jesus makes powerful use of
these words in his reply to the Sadducees in defence of the
doctrine of the resurrection and the future life (Mr 12:26; Mt
22:32; Lu 20:37f.)
that God here describes himself as the God of
the living. {Trembled} (\entromos genomenos\). Literally,
becoming tremulous or terrified. The adjective \entromos\ (\en,
tromos\ from \tremō\, to tremble, to quake)
occurs in Plutarch
and the LXX. In the N.T. only here and Ac 16:29. {Durst not}
(\ouk etolma\). Imperfect active, was not daring, negative
conative imperfect.

7:33 {Holy ground} (\gē hagia\). The priests were barefooted when
they ministered in the temple. Moslems enter their mosques
barefooted today. Cf. Jos 5:15. {Sandal} (\hupodēma\, bound
is here "a distributive singular" (Hackett). Even the
ground near the bush was "holy," a fine example for Stephen's

7:34 {I have surely seen} (\idōn eidon\). Imitation of the Hebrew
infinitive absolute, (Ex 3:7) "Seeing I saw" (cf. Heb 6:14).
{The affliction} (\tēn kakōsin\). From \kakoō\, to treat evilly
(from \kakos\, evil). Old word, here only in the N.T. and from
Ex 3:7. {Groaning} (\stenagmou\). Old word from \stenazō\, to
sigh, to groan. In the N.T. only here and Ro 8:26. Root \sten\
in our word stentorian. {I am come down} (\katebēn\). Second
aorist active indicative of \katabainō\, I came down. {To
(\exelesthai\). Second aorist middle infinitive of
\exaireō\, to take out for myself. {I will send} (\aposteilō\).
First aorist active subjunctive (hortatory of \apostellō\, "Let
me send")

7:35 {This Moses} (\Touton ton Mōusēn\). Rhetorical repetition
follows this description of Moses (five times, anaphora, besides
the use here, six cases of \houtos\ here about Moses: verse 35
twice, 36,37,38,40)
. Clearly Stephen means to draw a parallel
between Moses and Jesus. They in Egypt {denied} (\ērnēsanto\)
Moses as now you the Jews denied (\ērnēsasthe\, 3:13) Jesus.
Those in Egypt scouted Moses as "ruler and judge" (verses
27,35, \archonta kai dikastēn\)
and God "hath sent"
(\apestalken\, perfect active indicative, state of completion)
Moses "both a ruler and a deliverer" (\archonta kai lutrōtēn\) as
Jesus was to be (Lu 1:68; 2:38; Heb 9:12; Tit 2:14). "Ransomer"
or "Redeemer" (\lutrōtēs\) is not found elsewhere, \lutron\
(ransom), \lutroō\, to ransom, and \lutrōsis\, ransoming or
redemption, are found often. In Ac 5:31 Christ is termed
"Prince and Saviour." {With the hand} (\sun cheiri\). So the
correct text. The Pharisees had accused Stephen of blaspheming
"against Moses and God" (6:11). Stephen here answers that
slander by showing how Moses led the people out of Egypt in
co-operation (\sun\) with the hand of the Angel of Jehovah.

7:37 {Like unto me} (\hōs eme\). This same passage Peter quoted
to the crowd in Solomon's Porch (Ac 3:22). Stephen undoubtedly
means to argue that Moses was predicting the Messiah as a prophet
like himself who is no other than Jesus so that these Pharisees
are in reality opposing Moses. It was a neat turn.

7:38 {In the church in the wilderness} (\en tēi ekklēsiāi en tēi
. Better rendered "congregation" here as in Heb 2:12
(Ps 22:22), the people of Israel gathered at Mt. Sinai, the
whole nation. Moses is here represented as receiving the law from
an angel as in Heb 2:2; Ga 3:19 (De 33:2, LXX) and so was a
mediator (\mesitēs\) or middle man between the angel and the
people whereas Jesus is the Mediator of a better covenant (Heb
. But Exodus does not speak of an angel. {Living oracles}
(\logia zōnta\). A \logion\ is a little word (diminutive of
. Common in the old Greek, LXX, Philo, in ecclesiastical
writers for sayings of Christ, Papias (for instance) saying that
Matthew wrote in Hebrew (Aramaic) "Logia of Jesus." Oxyrhynchus
papyri fragments called "Logia of Jesus" are of much interest
though only fragments. The Greeks used it of the "oracles" or
brief sayings from Delphi. In the N.T. the word occurs only four
times (Ac 7:38; Ro 3:2; Heb 5:12; 1Pe 4:11). Here the
participle \zōnta\, living, is the same used by Peter (1Pe
, stone (\lithos\) of Christ and Christians. The words
from God to Moses are still "living" today. In 1Pe 4:11 the
word is applied to one who speaks \logia theou\ (oracles of God).
In Ro 3:2 Paul refers to the substance of the law and of
prophecy. In Heb 5:12 the writer means the substance of the
Christian religious teaching.

7:39 {To whom} (\hōi\). That is Moses, this Moses. {Would not be}
(\ouk ēthelēsan genesthai\). Aorist active, negative aorist, were
unwilling to become (\genesthai\) obedient. {Thrust him from
(\apōsanto\). Indirect middle of the very verb used of the
man (verse 27) who "thrust" Moses away from him. {Turned back}
(\estraphēsan\). Second aorist passive indicative of \strephō\,
to turn. They yearned after the fleshpots of Egypt and even the
gods of Egypt. It is easy now to see why Stephen has patiently
led his hearers through this story. He is getting ready for the

7:40 {Gods which shall go before us} (\theous hoi proporeusontai
. Ex 32:1. As guides and protectors, perhaps with some
allusion to the pillar of fire and of cloud that had gone before
them (Ex 13:21). The future indicative here with \hoi\
(relative) expresses purpose. {Ye wot not} (\ouk oidamen\). We do
not know. How quickly they had forgotten both God and Moses while
Moses was absent in the mount with God. {Become of him} (\egeneto
. Happened to him. "This" (\houtos\) here is a
contemptuous allusion to Moses by the people.

7:41 {They made a calf} (\emoschopoiēsan\). First aorist active
indicative of \moschopoieō\, here only in the N.T. and unknown
elsewhere. The LXX (Ex 32:3) has \epoiēse moschon\ from which
phrase the word is evidently made. Aaron made the calf, but so
did the people (Ex 32:35). {The idol} (\tōi eidōlōi\). Stephen
calls it by the right name. The people said it was their way of
worshipping Jehovah! So the Egyptians worshipped the bull Apis at
Memphis as the symbol of Osiris (the sun). They had another
sacred bull Mnevis at Leontopolis. \Eidōlon\ (from \eidos\, form
or figure)
is the image or likeness of anything. The heathen
worship the god through the image or idol. {Rejoiced}
(\euphrainonto\). Imperfect, middle, kept on rejoicing (Ex
or making merry.

7:42 {Gave them up} (\paredōken\). First aorist active indicative
of \paradidōmi\. This same form occurs three times like clods on
a coffin in a grave in Ro 1:24,26,28 where Paul speaks of God
giving the heathen up to their lusts. {To serve the host of
(\latreuein tēi stratiāi tou ouranou\). The verb
\latreuō\ is used of the worship of God (Mt 4:10) as well as of
idols as here (from \latron\, hire, \latris\, hireling, then to
. But the worship of the host of heaven (De 17:3; 2Ki
17:16; 21:3; 2Ch 33:3,5; Jer 8:2; 19:13)
is Sabaism or worship
of the host (\stratia\) of heaven (sun, moon, and stars) instead
of the Lord of hosts. This star-worship greatly injured the Jews.
{In the book of the prophets} (\en biblōi tōn prophētōn\). That
is the twelve minor prophets which the Jews counted as one book
(cf. Ac 13:40). This quotation is from Am 5:25-27. The
greater prophets were Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel. {Slain beasts}
(\sphagia\). Here only in the N.T. (from Am 5:25) \sphagē\,
slaughter, \sphazō\, to slay.

7:43 {The tabernacle of Moloch} (\tēn skēnēn tou Moloch\). Or
tent of Moloch which they took up after each halt instead of the
tabernacle of Jehovah. Moloch was the god of the Amorites to whom
children were offered as live sacrifices, an ox-headed image with
arms outstretched in which children were placed and hollow
underneath so that fire could burn underneath. {The star of the
god Rephan}
(\to astron tou theou Rompha\). Spelled also Romphan
and Remphan. Supposed to be Coptic for the star Saturn to which
the Egyptians, Arabs, and Phoenicians gave worship. But some
scholars take the Hebrew _Kiyyoon_ to mean statues and not a
proper name at all, "statues of your gods" carried in procession,
making "figures" (\tupous\) with both "tabernacle" and "star"
which they carried in procession. {I will carry} (\metoikiō\).
Attic future of \metoikisō\ from \metoikizō\. {Beyond Babylon}
(\epekeina Babulōnos\). The Hebrew and the LXX have "beyond
Damascus." An adverbial preposition (\ep' ekeina\ with \merē\
used in the old Greek and the LXX with the ablative
case and meaning "beyond." Here only in the N.T. in quotation
from Am 5:27.

7:44 {The tabernacle of the testimony} (\hē skēnē tou
. Probably suggested by the mention of "the tabernacle
of Moloch" (verse 43). See on ¯Mt 17:4 for discussion of
\skēnē\ (from \skia\, shadow, root \ska\, to cover). This first
sanctuary was not the temple, but the tent in the wilderness.
"Stephen passes on from the conduct of the Israelites to his
other argument that God is not necessarily worshipped in a
particular spot" (Page). {According to the figure} (\kata ton
. According to the type or pattern. \Tupos\ is from
\tuptō\, to strike, to smite, and is the print of the blow (Joh
, then the figure formed by a blow or impression like our
type, a model or example. Quoted from Ex 25:40. Common word in
the old Greek. {That he had seen} (\hon heōrakei\). Past perfect
active of \horaō\, to see (double reduplication).

7:45 {Which} (\hēn\). Agreeing with \skēnēn\, not with \tupon\.
{In their turn} (\diadexamenoi\). First aorist middle participle
of \diadechomai\, to receive through another, to receive in
sucession or in turn. Late Greek, only here in N.T. Deissmann
(_Bible Studies_, p. 115) argues from a second century B.C.
papyrus that \diadochos\ means rather deputy or court official
than successor. {With Joshua} (\meta Iēsou\). With Jesus, the
Greek form of Joshua (contracted from Jehoshua, Mt 1:21), as in
Heb 4:8. {When they entered on the possession of the nations}
(\en tēi kataschesei tōn ethnōn\). Literally "in (or at the time
the possession of the nations." See on ¯7:5 for the only
other N.T. instance of \kataschesis\. {Which} (\hōn\). The
nations, genitive by attraction to case of \ethnōn\. {Thrust out}
(\exōsen\). First aorist active indicative of \exōtheō\, to push
out, common verb, here, only in N.T. save some MSS. in Ac

7:46 {Asked} (\ēitēsato\). Aorist middle (indirect) indicative,
asked for himself (as a favour to himself). Cf. 2Sa 7:2f. {A
(\skēnōma\). Like Ps 132:5, but it was a house that
David proposed to build (2Sa 7:2), not a tent (\skēnē\) which
already existed. \Skēnōma\ here means a more permanent abode
(\oikon\, house, in verse 47), though from the same root as

7:48 {Howbeit} (\all'\). By contrast with what Solomon did and
David planned. Note emphatic position of "not" (\all' ouch\),
"But not does the Most High dwell." The presence of the Most High
is not confined in any building, even one so splendid as
Solomon's Temple as Solomon himself foresaw and acknowledged in
his prayer (1Ki 8:27; 2Ch 6:18). {In houses made with hands}
(\en cheiropoiētois\). No word here for "houses" or "temples" in
correct text (\naois\ temples in Textus Receptus). Literally, "In
things made with hands" (\cheir\, hand, \poiētos\, verbal
adjective of \poieō\)
. It occurs in Mr 14:58 of the temple and
of the sanctuary of Moab (Isa 16:12). It occurs also in Ac
7:24; Heb 9:11,24; Eph 2:11. Common in the old Greek. {The
(\ho prophētēs\). Isa 66:1. Isaiah taught plainly that
heaven is God's throne.

7:49 {What manner of house} (\Poion oikon\). What sort of a
house? This interrogative is sometimes scornful as in 4:7; Lu
6:32ff. (Page). So Stephen shows by Isaiah that Solomon was
right that the temple was not meant to "confine" God's presence
and that Jesus had rightly shown that God is a spirit and can be
worshipped anywhere by any individual of any race or land. It is
a tremendous argument for the universality and spirituality of
Christianity free from the shackles of Jewish racial and national
limitations, but its very strength only angered the Sanhedrin to

7:51 {Stiffnecked} (\sklērotrachēloi\). From \sklēros\ (hard) and
\trachēlos\, neck, both old words, but this compound only in the
LXX and here alone in the N.T. Critics assume that Stephen was
interrupted at this point because of the sharp tone of the
speech. That may be true, but the natural climax is sufficient
explanation. {Uncircumcised in heart} (\aperitmētoi kardiais\).
Late adjective common in LXX and here only in the N.T. Verbal of
\peritemnō\, to cut around and \a\ privative. Both of these
epithets are applied to the Jews in the O.T. (Ex 32:9; 33:3,5;
34:9; Le 26:41; De 9:6; Jer 6:10)
. \Kardiais\ is locative plural
like \ōsin\ (ears), but some MSS. have genitive singular
\kardias\ (objective genitive). No epithet could have been more
galling to these Pharisees than to be turned "uncircumcised in
heart" (Ro 2:29). They had only the physical circumcision which
was useless. {Ye always} (\humeis aei\). Emphatic position of
humeis and "always" looks backward over the history of their
forefathers which Stephen had reviewed. {Resist} (\antipiptete\).
Old word to fall against, to rush against. Only here in the N.T.,
but used in the O.T. which is here quoted (Nu 27:14). Their
fathers had made "external worship a substitute for spiritual
obedience" (Furneaux). Stephen has shown how God had revealed
himself gradually, the revelation sloping upward to Christ Jesus.
"And as he saw his countrymen repeating the old mistake--clinging
to the present and the material, while God was calling them to
higher spiritual levels--and still, as ever, resisting the Holy
Spirit, treating the Messiah as the patriarchs had treated
Joseph, and the Hebrews Moses--the pity of it overwhelmed him,
and his mingled grief and indignation broke out in words of fire,
such as burned of old on the lips of the prophets" (Furneaux).
Stephen, the accused, is now the accuser, and the situation
becomes intolerable to the Sanhedrin.

7:52 {Which of the prophets} (\tina tōn prophētōn\). Jesus (Lu
11:47; Mt 23:29-37)
had charged them with this very thing. Cf.
2Ch 36:16. {Which shewed before} (\prokataggeilantas\). The
very prophets who foretold the coming of the Messiah their
fathers killed. {The coming} (\tēs eleuseōs\). Not in ancient
Greek or LXX and only here in the N.T. (in a few late writers).
{Betrayers} (\prodotai\). Just like Judas Iscariot. He hurled
this old biting word at them. In the N.T. only here and Lu 6:16;
2Ti 3:4. It cut like a knife. It is blunter than Peter in Ac
3:13. {Murderers} (\phoneis\). The climax with this sharp word
used of Barabbas (3:14).

7:53 {Ye who} (\hoitines\). The very ones who, _quippe qui_,
often in Acts when the persons are enlarged upon (8:15; 9:35;
. {As it was ordained by angels} (\eis diatagas
. About angels see on ¯7:38. \Diatagē\ (from
\diatassō\, to arrange, appoint)
occurs in late Greek, LXX,
inscriptions, papyri, Deissmann, _Light from the Ancient East_,
pp. 89ff., and in N.T. only here and Ro 13:2. At (or as) the
appointment of angels (cf. Mt 10:41; 12:41 for this use of
. {And kept it not} (\kai ouk ephulaxate\). Like a
whipcracker these words cut to the quick. They gloried in
possessing the law and openly violated it (Ro 2:23).

7:54 {When they heard} (\akouontes\). Present active participle
of \akouō\, while hearing. {They were cut to the heart}
(\dieprionto tais kardiais\). See 5:33 where the same word and
form (imperfect passive of \diapriō\) is used of the effect of
Peter's speech on the Sadducees. Here Stephen had sent a saw
through the hearts of the Pharisees that rasped them to the bone.
{They gnashed on him with their teeth} (\ebruchon tous odontas
ep' auton\)
. Imperfect (inchoative) active of \bruchō\ (Attic
, to bite with loud noise, to grind or gnash the teeth.
Literally, They began to gnash their teeth at (\ep'\) him (just
like a pack of hungry, snarling wolves)
. Stephen knew that it
meant death for him.

7:55 {And Jesus standing} (\kai Iēsoun hestōta\). Full of the
Holy Spirit, gazing steadfastly into heaven, he saw God's glory
and Jesus "standing" as if he had risen to cheer the brave
Stephen. Elsewhere (save verse 56 also) he is pictured as
sitting at the right hand of God (the Session of Christ) as in
Mt 26:64; Mr 16:19; Ac 2:34; Eph 1:20; Col 3:1; Heb 1:3.

7:56 {Opened} (\diēnoigmenous\). Perfect passive predicate
participle of \dianoignumi\ (cf. Mt 3:16; Lu 3:21). {The son of
(\ton huion tou anthrōpou\). Elsewhere in the N.T. in
Christ's own words. Here Stephen may refer to the words of Jesus
as preserved in Mt 26:64.

7:57 {Stopped their ears} (\suneschon ta ōta autōn\). Second
aorist active of \sunechō\, to hold together. They held their
ears together with their hands and affected to believe Stephen
guilty of blasphemy (cf. Mt 26:65). {Rushed upon him with one
(\hōrmēsan homothumadon ep' auton\). Ingressive aorist
active indicative of \hormaō\, to rush impetuously as the hogs
did down the cliff when the demons entered them (Lu 8:33). No
vote was taken by the Sanhedrin. No scruple was raised about not
having the right to put him to death (Joh 8:31). It may have
taken place after Pilate's recall and before his successor came
or Pilate, if there, just connived at such an incident that did
not concern Rome. At any rate it was mob violence like modern
lynching that took the law into the hands of the Sanhedrin
without further formalities. {Out of the city} (\ek tēs poleōs\).
To keep from defiling the place with blood. But they sought to
kill Paul as soon as they got him out of the temple area (Ac
. {Stoned} (\elithoboloun\). Imperfect active indicative
of \lithoboleō\, began to stone, from \lithobolos\ (\lithos\,
stone, \ballō\, to throw)
, late Greek verb, several times in the
N.T. as Lu 13:34. Stoning was the Jewish punishment for
blasphemy (Le 24:14-16). {The witnesses} (\hoi martures\). The
false testifiers against Stephen suborned by the Pharisees (Ac
. These witnesses had the privilege of casting the first
stones (De 13:10; 17:7) against the first witness for Christ
with death (_martyr_ in our modern sense of the word). {At the
feet of a young man named Saul}
(\para tous podas neaniou
kaloumenou Saulou\)
. Beside (\para\) the feet. Our first
introduction to the man who became the greatest of all followers
of Jesus Christ. Evidently he was not one of the "witnesses"
against Stephen, for he was throwing no stones at him. But
evidently he was already a leader in the group of Pharisees. We
know from later hints from Saul (Paul) himself that he had been a
pupil of Gamaliel (Ac 22:3). Gamaliel, as the Pharisaic leader
in the Sanhedrin, was probably on hand to hear the accusations
against Stephen by the Pharisees. But, if so, he does not raise
his voice against this mob violence. Saul does not seem to be
aware that he is going contrary to the views of his master,
though pupils often go further than their teachers.

7:59 {They stoned} (\elithoboloun\). Same verb and tense
repeated, they kept on stoning, they kept it up as he was calling
upon the Lord Jesus and making direct prayer to him as "Lord
Jesus" (\Kurie Iēsou\). {Receive my spirit} (\dexai to pneuma
. Aorist middle imperative, urgency, receive it now. Many
have followed Stephen into death with these words upon their
dying lips. See, 9:14,21; 22:16.

7:60 {Kneeled down} (\theis ta gonata\). Second aorist active
participle of \tithēmi\, placing the knees (on the ground). This
idiom is not in the old Greek for kneeling, but Luke has it five
times (Lu 22:41; Ac 7:60; 9:40; 22:36; 21:5) and Mark once
(15:19). Jesus was standing at the right hand of God and
Stephen knelt before him in worship and called on him in prayer.
{Lay not this sin to their charge} (\mē stēsēis autois tautēn tēn
. First aorist (ingressive) active subjunctive with
\mē\, regular Greek idiom, Place not to them or against them
(dative \autois\) this sin. The very spirit of Jesus towards his
enemies as he died upon the Cross (Lu 23:34). {He fell asleep}
(\ekoimēthē\). First aorist passive indicative of \koimaō\, to
put to sleep. Old verb and the metaphor of sleep for death is
common in all languages, but it is peculiarly appropriate here as
Jesus used it of Lazarus. See also Ac 13:36; 1Co 15:18, etc.
Our word cemetery (\koimētērion\) is the sleeping place of the
dead. Knowling calls \ekoimēthē\ here "a picture word of rest and
calmness which stands in dramatic contrast to the rage and
violence of the scene."

[Table of Contents]
[Previous] [Next]
Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Acts: Chapter 7)