1 Then the high priest asked, “Is this true?”
2 Stephen replied, “Listen, brothers and fathers! The glorious God appeared to our ancestor Abraham while he was in Mesopotamia before he settled in Haran.
3 He said to him, ‘Leave your country and your relatives and go to the land I will show you.’
4 So he left the country of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. Then after the death of his father, God had him move to this country where you now live.
5 He gave him no property in it, not even a foot of land, yet he promised to give it to him and his descendants after him as a permanent possession, even though he had no child.
6 This is what God promised: His descendants would be strangers in a foreign country, and its people would enslave them and oppress them for 400 years.
7 ‘But I will punish the nation they serve,’ said God, ‘and afterwards they will leave and worship me in this place.’
8 Then he gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision, and he became the father of Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day. Then Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.
9 “The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him as a slave into Egypt. However, God was with him
10 and rescued him from all his troubles. He allowed him to win favor and show wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who appointed him ruler of Egypt and of his whole household.
11 “But a famine spread throughout Egypt and Canaan, and with it great suffering, and our ancestors couldn't find any food.
12 But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our ancestors on their first visit.
13 On their second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Joseph's family became known to Pharaoh.
14 Then Joseph sent word and invited his father Jacob and all his relatives to come to him—seventy-five persons in all.
15 So Jacob went down to Egypt. Then he and our ancestors died.
16 They were brought back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.
17 “Now as the time approached for the fulfillment of the promise that God had made to Abraham, the people multiplied and grew more numerous in Egypt,
18 until another king, who had not known Joseph, became ruler of Egypt.
19 By shrewdly scheming against our people, he oppressed our ancestors and forced them to expose their infants so that they wouldn't live.
20 “At this time Moses was born. He was beautiful in the sight of God, and for three months he was cared for in his father's house.
21 When he was placed outside, Pharaoh's daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son.
22 So Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and became a great man in speech and action.
23 “When he was forty years old, his heart was moved to visit his brothers, the descendants of Israel.
24 Because he saw one of them being mistreated, he defended and avenged the man who was being mistreated by striking down the Egyptian.
25 He supposed that his brothers would understand that God was using him to rescue them, but they didn't understand.
26 The next day he showed himself to some of them while they were fighting and tried to reconcile them, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers. Why should you harm each other?’
27 But the man who was harming his neighbor pushed Moses away and said, ‘Who made you ruler and judge over us?
28 You don't want to kill me like you killed the Egyptian yesterday, do you?’
29 At this statement Moses fled and lived as a foreigner in the land of Midian. There he had two sons.
30 “When forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai.
31 When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight, and when he approached to look at it, the voice of the Lord said,
32 ‘I am the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’ Moses became terrified and didn't dare to look.
33 Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take your shoes off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.
34 I have surely seen the oppression of my people in Egypt and have heard their groans, and I have come down to rescue them. Now come, I will send you to Egypt.’
35 “This same Moses, whom they rejected by saying ‘Who made you ruler and judge?’, was the man whom God sent to be both their ruler and deliverer with the help of the angel who had appeared to him in the bush.
36 It was he who led them out, performing wonders and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness for forty years.
37 It was this Moses who told the Israelites, ‘God will raise up a prophet for you from among your own brothers, just as he did me.’
38 This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai and with our ancestors. He received living truths to give to us,
39 but our ancestors refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt.
40 They said to Aaron, ‘Make gods for us who will lead us. This Moses who led us out of the land of Egypt—we don't know what happened to him!’
41 In those days they even made a calf, offered a sacrifice to their idol, and delighted in the works of their hands.
42 “So God turned away from them and gave them over to worship the heavenly bodies. As it is written in the book of the Prophets: ‘O house of Israel,you didn't offer me slaughtered animals andsacrifices those forty years in the wilderness, did you?
43 You even took along the tent of Moloch,the star of your god Rephan, and the images you made in order to worship them.So I will remove you beyond Babylon.’
44 “Our ancestors had the Tent of Testimony in the wilderness constructed, just as the one who spoke to Moses directed him to make it according to the pattern he had seen.
45 Our ancestors brought it here with Joshua when they replaced the nations that God drove out before our ancestors, and it was here until the time of David.
46 He found favor with God and asked to design a dwelling for the house of Jacob,
47 but it was Solomon who built a house for him.
48 However, the Most High does not live in buildings made by human hands. As the prophet says,
49 “‘Heaven is my throne,and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house can you build for me,’ declares the Lord, “or what place is there in which I can rest?
50 It was my hand that made all these things, wasn't it?’”
51 “You stubborn people with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are always opposing the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors used to do.
52 Which of the prophets did your ancestors fail to persecute? They killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One, and now you have become his betrayers and murderers.
53 You received the law as ordained by angels, and yet you didn't obey it!”
54 While they were listening to these things, they became more and more furious and began to grind their teeth at him.
55 But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
56 He said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”
57 But they raised a loud shout, held their ears shut, and together they all rushed at him.
58 They threw him out of the city and began to stone him to death. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.
59 As they continued to stone Stephen, he kept praying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!”
60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, don't hold this sin against them!” When he had said this, he died.