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  • ROBERTSON'S NT WORD STUDIES
    & BIBLE COMMENTARY - ACTS 7

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    7:1 {Are these things so?} (ei tauta houtws ecei). 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). qen 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 adelfoi 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 qeos tes doxes). 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} (wfqe). First aorist passive indicative of horaw. 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 e with the infinitive) he dwelt in Haran (carran, 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} (hen an soi deixw). 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 apoqanein 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 hen 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 bema podos). From #De 2:5. Old word from bainw, 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 23:9-17) was not a gift from God. {Promised} (epeggeilato). First aorist middle indicative of epaggellw, 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 katascesin). Late word, in LXX, and in N.T. only here and verse #45. From katecw, to hold back, qen to hold fast (or down), to possess. It was fulfilled in the descendants of Abraham. {When as yet he had no child} (ouk ontos autwi teknou). Genitive absolute with negative ouk rather than me to emphasize actual absence of a child. He had only the promise of God about the land and the child.

    7:6 {On this wise} (houtws). 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 gei allotriai). In a land not one's own, that belongs to another, alien as in #Mt 17:25f., which see. {Four hundred years} (ete 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 Egypt.

    7:7 {Will I judge} (krinw egw). Future (accent on ") active indicative of krinw and egw (I) expressed is emphatic. {In this place} (en twi topwi toutwi). 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} (diaqeken peritomes). 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 diaqeke was usually will (Latin, _testamentum_) and sunqeke was used for covenant (sun, together, rather than dia, between). But the LXX and the N.T. use diaqeke for covenant (will in #Heb 9:15f.) as Lightfoot on #Ga 3:16 says: "The LXX translation and New Testament writers probably preferred diaqeke as better expressing the {free grace} of God than sunqeke." {And so} (kai houtws). After the covenant was made and as a sign and seal of it.

    7:9 {Moved with jealousy} (zelwsantes). First aorist active participle of zelow, old verb from zelos (#Ac 5:17), to burn or boil with zeal, and qen with envy as here (#17:5, etc.) and #Ge 37:11.

    7:10 {Delivered him out} (exeilato auton ek). First aorist middle indicative of exairew, old verb to take out, snatch out. Note repetition of ek. {Pharaoh King of Egypt} (faraw basilews aiguptou). Pharaoh is not a name, but a title, the Egyptian _peraa_ meaning great house.

    7:11 {Found no sustenance} (ouc heuriskon cortasmata). Imperfect active, kept on not finding. {Chortasmata} is from {cortazw}, originally to feed with grass (cortos) 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} (prwton). While Jacob himself remained in Canaan before he went down to Egypt and died there (verse #15f.).

    7:13 {At the second time} (en twi deuterwi). this expression only here in the N.T. this second visit is recorded in #Ge 45:1ff. {Became manifest} (faneron 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 yucais hebdomekonta pente). Stephen follows the LXX which counts some grandchildren of Joseph and so makes it 75 whereas #Ge 46:26 has 66 and qen 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} (meteteqesan eis sucem). First aorist passive of metatiqemi, 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} (hwi wnesato abraam). 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 sucem). this is the reading of Aleph B C instead of the Textus Receptus tou sucem which makes it "Hamar the father of Sichem."In Shechem" is the true reading.

    7:17 {Drew nigh} (eggizen). 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 eidei ton iwsef). 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} (katasofisamenos). First aorist middle participle of katasofizomai, late compound (kata and sofizw, old verb, to make wise, to become wise, qen 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 brefe ekqeta). 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 ekqeta (exposed, cast out) is a verbal adjective from ektiqemi. 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 me zwogoneisqai). Purpose with eis and the articular infinitive (present middle). this compound verb is from zwogonos (from zwos, alive, and genw, 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 twi qewi). 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} (anetrafe). Second aorist passive indicative of anatrefw. He was brought up at home for three months in defiance of the new Pharaoh.

    7:21 {When he was cast out} (ekteqentos autou). Genitive absolute with first aorist passive participle of ektiqemi. {Took up} (aneilato). Second aorist middle indicative (with first aorist vowel a instead of e as often in the _Koin‚_) of anairew, 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} (aneqreyato auton heautei eis huion). Literally, "she nursed him up for herself (heautei 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} (epaideuqe). First aorist passive indicative of paideuw, to train a child (pais), the usual idea in ancient Greek as here. The notion of chastisement (#Heb 12:6) is also in the old Greek and especially in the LXX and the N.T. Here with instrumental case (pasei sofiai) 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} (hws eplerouto autwi tessarakontaetes cronos). 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 (eplerouto, 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} (anebe epi ten kardian autou). Second aorist active indicative of anabainw, 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 visit} (episkeyasqai). 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 7:16). 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 adikeo. By blows (#Ex 2:11). {Avenged} (epoiesen ekdikesin). First aorist active indicative of poiew. this idiom occurs in #Lu 18:7 with ekdikesin ( this from ekdikew and that from ekdikos without right or law dike and qen exacting law of right out of ek one, exacting vengeance). {Him that was oppressed} (twi kataponoumenwi). 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 patassw, in the old Greek the beat of the heart, only in the LXX and N.T. to smite a deadly blow as here like plessw.

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

    7:26 {The day following} (tei epiousei hemerai). Locative case, "on the following day" (from epeimi, to come upon, to approach, present active participle epi"n -ousa, -on). Common phrase in old Greek both with hemera (day) as here and without as #16:11. Only in Acts in the N.T. {Appeared} (wfqe). First aorist passive indicative of horaw not with idea that only a vision but rather that it was sudden or unexpected. {As they strove} (macomenois). Present middle participle of macomai, actually fighting. {Would have set them at one again} (sunellassen autous eis eirenen). Better, he tried to reconcile them (or change them into peace). It is the conative imperfect active as in #Mt 3:14 of sunallassw, 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 katallassw. {Do ye wrong one to another} (adikeite allelous). 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} (apwsato auton). First aorist middle indicative (_Koin‚_ for Attic ape"sato) of apwqew, 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?} (me anelein me su qeleis). 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 flogi 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 flogi, flame). 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} (prosercomenou autou). Genitive absolute with present middle participle of prosercomai. {A voice of the Lord} (fwne 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 tremw, to tremble, to quake) occurs in Plutarch and the LXX. In the N.T. only here and #Ac 16:29. {Dare not} (ouk etolma). Imperfect active, was not daring, negative conative imperfect.

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

    7:34 {I have surely seen} (idwn eidon). Imitation of the Hebrew infinitive absolute, (#Ex 3:7) "Seeing I saw" (cf. #Heb 6:14). {The affliction} (tˆn kak"sin). From kakow, to treat evilly (from kakos, evil). Old word, here only in the N.T. and from #Ex 3:7. {Groaning} (stenagmou). Old word from stenazw, to sigh, to groan. In the N.T. only here and #Ro 8:26. Root sten in our word stentorian. {I am come down} (kateben). Second aorist active indicative of katabainw, I came down. {To deliver} (exelesqai). Second aorist middle infinitive of exairew, to take out for myself. {I will send} (aposteilw). First aorist active subjunctive (hortatory of apostellw, "Let me send").

    7:35 { this Moses} (touton ton mwusen). 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} (ernesanto) Moses as now you the Jews denied (ernesasqe, #3:13) Jesus. Those in Egypt scouted Moses as "ruler and judge" (verses #27,35, archonta kai dikastˆn) and God "hath sent" (apestalken, perfect active indicative, state of completion) Moses "both a ruler and a deliverer" (arconta kai lutrwten) as Jesus was to be (#Lu 1:68; 2:38; Heb 9:12; Tit 2:14). "Ransomer" or "Redeemer" (lutrwtes) is not found elsewhere, lutron (ransom), lutrow, to ransom, and lutrwsis, ransoming or redemption, are found often. In #Ac 5:31 Christ is termed "Prince and Savior." {With the hand} (sun ceiri). 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} (hws 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 tei ekklesiai en tei eremwi). 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 (mesites) or middle man between the angel and the people whereas Jesus is the Mediator of a better covenant (#Heb 8:6). But Exodus does not speak of an angel. {Living oracles} (logia zwnta). A logion is a little word (diminutive of logos). 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 zwnta, living, is the same used by Peter (#1Pe 2:4f.), stone (liqos) 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 qeou (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} (hwi). That is Moses, this Moses. {Would not be} (ouk eqelesan genesqai). Aorist active, negative aorist, were unwilling to become (genesqai) obedient. {Thrust him from them} (apwsanto). Indirect middle of the very verb used of the man (verse #27) who "thrust" Moses away from him. {Turned back} (estrafesan). Second aorist passive indicative of strefw, 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 home-thrust.

    7:40 {Gods which shall go before us} (qeous hoi proporeusontai hemwn). #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 autwi). Happened to him. " this " (houtos) here is a contemptuous allusion to Moses by the people.

    7:41 {They made a calf} (emoscopoiesan). First aorist active indicative of moscopoiew, here only in the N.T. and unknown elsewhere. The LXX (#Ex 32:3) has epoiese moscon from which phrase the word is evidently made. Aaron made the calf, but so did the people (#Ex 32:35). {The idol} (twi eidwlwi). 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. eidwlon (from eidos, form or figure) is the image or likeness of anything. The heathen worship the god through the image or idol. {Rejoiced} (eufrainonto). Imperfect, middle, kept on rejoicing (#Ex 32:6,18) or making merry.

    7:42 {Gave them up} (paredwken). First aorist active indicative of paradidwmi. 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 heaven} (latreuein tei stratiai tou ouranou). The verb latreuw is used of the worship of God (#Mt 4:10) as well as of idols as here (from latron, hire, latris, hireling, qen to serve). 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 biblwi twn profetwn). 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} (sfagia). Here only in the N.T. (from #Am 5:25) sfage, slaughter, sfazw, to slay.

    7:43 {The tabernacle of Moloch} (ten skenen tou moloc). 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 qeou romfa). 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} (metoikiw). Attic future of metoikisw from metoikizw. {Beyond Babylon} (epekeina babulwnos). The Hebrew and the LXX have "beyond Damascus." An adverbial preposition (ep' ekeina with mere understood) 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} (he skene tou marturiou). Probably suggested by the mention of "the tabernacle of Moloch" (verse #43). See on ¯Mt 17:4 for discussion of skene (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 tupon). According to the type or pattern. tupos is from tuptw, to strike, to smite, and is the print of the blow (#Joh 20:25), qen 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 hewrakei). Past perfect active of horaw, to see (double reduplication).

    7:45 {Which} (hen). Agreeing with skenen, not with tupon. {In their turn} (diadexamenoi). First aorist middle participle of diadecomai, 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 diadocos means rather deputy or court official than successor. {With Joshua} (meta iesou). 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 tei katascesei twn eqnwn). Literally "in (or at the time of) the possession of the nations." See on ¯7:5 for the only other N.T. instance of katascesis. {Which} (hwn). The nations, genitive by attraction to case of eqnwn. {Thrust out} (exwsen). First aorist active indicative of exwqew, to push out, common verb, here, only in N.T. save some MSS. in #Ac 27:39.

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

    7:48 {However} (all'). By contrast with what Solomon did and David planned. Note emphatic position of "not" (all' ouc), "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 ceiropoietois). No word here for "houses" or "temples" in correct text (naois temples in Textus Receptus). Literally, "In things made with hands" (ceir, hand, poietos, verbal adjective of poiew). 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 prophet} (ho profetes). #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 desperation.

    7:51 {Stiffnecked} (sklerotraceloi). From skleros (hard) and tracelos, 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} (aperitmetoi kardiais). Late adjective common in LXX and here only in the N.T. Verbal of peritemnw, 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 "sin (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 liy 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 twn profetwn). 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} (tes eleusews). 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} (foneis). 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; 10:41,47). {As it was ordained by angels} (eis diatagas aggelwn). About angels see on ¯7:38. diatage (from diatassw, 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 eis). {And kept it not} (kai ouk efulaxate). 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 akouw, while hearing. {They were cut to the heart} (dieprionto tais kardiais). See #5:33 where the same word and form (imperfect passive of diapriw) 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} (ebrucon tous odontas ep' auton). Imperfect (inchoative) active of brucw (Attic bruk"), 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 iesoun hestwta). 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} (dienoigmenous). Perfect passive predicate participle of dianoignumi (cf. #Mt 3:16; Lu 3:21). {The son of man} (ton huion tou anqrwpou). 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} (sunescon ta wta autwn). Second aorist active of sunecw, 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 accord} (hwrmesan homoqumadon ep' auton). Ingressive aorist active indicative of hormaw, 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 tes polews). 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 21:30f.). {Stoned} (eliqoboloun). Imperfect active indicative of liqobolew, began to stone, from liqobolos (liqos, stone, ballw, 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 6:11,13). 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} (eliqoboloun). 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 iesou). {Receive my spirit} (dexai to pneuma mou). Aorist middle imperative, urgency, receive it now. Many have followed Stephen into death with these words upon their dying liy. See, #9:14,21; 22:16.

    7:60 {Kneeled down} (qeis ta gonata). Second aorist active participle of tiqemi, 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} (me steseis autois tauten ten hamartian). First aorist (ingressive) active subjunctive with me, 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} (ekoimeqe). First aorist passive indicative of koimaw, 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 (koimeterion) is the sleeping place of the dead. Knowling calls ekoimeqe here "a picture word of rest and calmness which stands in dramatic contrast to the rage and violence of the scene."

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