wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and Luke xxiv. 19. in deeds. 23 And when he was full forty years old, it & Exod. ii. 11, came into his heart to visit his brethren the a children of Israel. 24 And seeing one [of them] suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian: 25 for he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them but they understood not. 26 h And the next day h Exod. ii. 13. he shewed himself unto them as they strove, and [ would have] set them at done again, saying, [Sirs,] ye are

14. ch. iv. 7.

brethren; why do ye wrong one to another? 27 But he that did his neighbour wrong thrust him away, saying, i Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us? 28 Wilt i see Luke xii. thou kill me, as thou diddest the Egyptian yesterday? 29 * Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Madian, where he begat two sons. 301 And, when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel [ of the Lord] in a

22: iv. 20: 1 Exod. iii. 2.

Exod. ii. 15, xviii. 3, 4.

a render, sons.

b not in the original.
literally, peace.


e literally, men brethren.

derstood to mean learnéd, i. e. erudite, ac-
complished. It should therefore be altered
into "instructed." That Moses was in-
structed in the wisdom of the Egyptians, is
not found in the Old Testament, but derived
from tradition, and following as a matter
of course from his adopted station as the
son of Pharaoh's daughter. This wisdom
of the Egyptians, celebrated by so many
ancient writers, consisted mainly in natural
philosophy, medicine, and mathematics,-
and its teachers were the priests.
mighty in words] So Josephus calls Moses
admirably persuasive in haranguing multi-
tudes, but late in his course, during the
journey through the wilderness :- when the
divine Spirit, as the book of Deuteronomy
abundantly testifies, had turned his 'slow-
ness of speech' into the most fervid elo-
quence. That he was so thus early, during
his Egyptian course, was probably reported
by tradition, but hardly seems to agree
with Exod. iv. 10-16. 23. full forty
years old] The text of Exod. ii. 11 has
only "when Moses was grown." The exact
age was traditional. 24.] the Egyptian,
from the history being so universally known,
that the agent of the wrong would be
readily supplied. 25.] Here we have
again the resistance to the Holy Spirit
hinted: see ver. 51, and note on ver. 2.


26.] unto them, two of them, taken as re-
presenting his brethren the children of
Israel. Not, "he would have set them at
peace," as our A. V.: this explanation is
not needed:-the act, on Moses' part, was
complete; but, he set them at peace.
27.] The further progress of resistance to
the Spirit on the part of Israel.
Madian (or am)] Winer supposes this
Madian to have been a nomad detachment
of the more settled Midianites, which at
that time was encamped in the neighbour-
hood of Sinai and Horeb. For Jethro,
Moses' father-in-law, is not found there
in Exod. xviii. 1 ff., but comes to visit
Moses from a distance. See also Num. x.
29 ff. two sons] Exod. ii. 22; iv. 20;
xviii. 3. 30. when forty years were
expired] This follows from the tradi-
tion of ver. 23, combined with Exod. vii.
7. The Rabbinical books said that " Moses
lived in Pharaoh's palace forty years, and
in Midian forty years, and then ministered
to Israel forty years." mount Sina]
Horeb, Exod. iii. 1. But both were points
of the same mountain range, and the
names were convertibly used. In Exod.,
Levit., and Num., the law is said to have
been given from Sinai; in Deut. from
Horeb. The desert of Mount Sina' is the
desert in which Mt. S. is situated. So
Z z

flame of fire in a bush. 31 When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight: and as he drew near to behold it, the voice of the m Matt. xxii. Lord came unto him, 32 saying, m I am the God of thy fathers,

32. Heb.


the God of Abraham, and [the God of] Isaac, and [e the God of] Jacob. Then Moses trembled, and durst not behold.

Josh. v. 15.

n Exod. iii. 5. 33 n Then said the Lord to him, Put off thy shoes from thy for the place where thou standest is holy ground. o Exod. iii. 7. 34 I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people



which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send thee into Egypt. 35 This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send [h to be] a ruler and a deliverer P by the hand 36 af He

p Exod. xiv. 19. Num.

xx. 16.

q Exod. xii. 41: of the angel which appeared to him in the bush.

xxxiii. 1.

r Exod. vii.

brought them out, i after that he had

shewed wonders and

signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in



viii. ix. x. xi. xiv. Ps. cv. 27.

s Exod. xiv. 21,

27, 28, 29. the wilderness forty years. 37 This is that Moses, which

t Exod. xvi. 1,

children of Israel, "A prophet shall the

Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like

38 y This is he, that

DEUT. xviii. said unto the

15, 18. ch.

iii. 22.

x Matt. xvii 5:

y Exod. xix. 3, unto me [; 1 him shall ye hear].



e omit.

8 read, hath God sent.
i render, shewing.

better, This Moses.

not in the original.
render, sons.


the Peak of Derbyshire,' originally no doubt some single hill, has come to mean the whole district in which that hill is situated. an angel] Here, as continually in the Old Testament, the angel bears the authority and presence of God Himself: which angel, since God giveth not His glory to another, must have been the great Angel of the covenant, the "Angel of the Face" of Isa. lxiii. 9, "the Angel of His Presence," the SON OF GOD. See below ver. 53. Stier remarks, that this second appearance of God, to Moses (see ver. 2), introduces the legal dispensation, as the first, to Abraham, the patriarchal. 32.] The order of Exod. iii. 6, is here somewhat varied. The command to put off the shoe was given on the approach of Moses, and before these words were spoken. 33.] See Josh. v. 15. Putting off the sandals was a mark of reverence. The priests performed all their ministra tions barefooted. The Arabs to this day continue the practice: they always enter their mosques barefooted. 34. I have seen, I have seen (literally, seeing I saw)]



1 omitted by many ancient authorities.

This is the emphatic way of expression in
the Hebrew. 35.] The words, this
Moses, are repeated emphatically again and
again, to impress on them God's choice of
one whom they rejected. whom they
refused, ver 27. The rejecter of Moses
there is regarded as the representative of
the nation: see note on ver. 26. In this
express mention of the rejection of Moses
by the Jews, and his election and mission
by God, the parallel of Jesus Christ is no
doubt in Stephen's mind, and the inference
intended to be drawn, that it does not
follow that GOD REJECTS those whom THEY
REJECTED. The difficulty of hath God
sent has caused it to be altered into the
historic tense, "did God send." But the
perfect tense sets forth not only the fact
of God's sending Moses then, but the en-
durance of his mission till now-him hath
God sent: with a closer reference than
before, to Him whom God had now exalted
as the true Ruler and Deliverer, see ch.
v. 31.
37.] See ch. iii. 22, notes.
Our text has probably been altered to agree
verbally with the former citation.

Gal. iii. 19.
Heb. ii. 2.

was in the church in the wilderness with the angel z In. xiii. 9.
which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our
fathers : a who received the lively "oracles to give unto a Exod. xxi. 1.


Deut. v. 27, 31 xxxiii. 4. John i. 17. b Rom. iii. 2.




39 to whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt, 40 saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go Exod. xxxii. before us for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. 41 d And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands. 42 Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of Deut. iv. 19; the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices [° by the space of] forty years in Aos v. 25, n render, living.

Deut. ix. 16. Ezek. xx. 25

Ps. cvi. 19.

39. Rom. i.' 24. 2 Thess. ii. 11.

xvii. 3.

2 Kings xvii.
16: xxi. 3.
Jer. xix. 13.



m literally, assembly.

38.] That Moses conversed vith both the
Angel of the covenant and our fathers,
implies that he was the mediator between
them, as indeed the words, who received
the living oracles, more plainly declare.
the word rendered the church
means, probably, the assembly held (Exod.
xix.) for the promulgation of the law at
Mt. Sinai, not the Church' generally.
Dr. Wordsworth observes on the meaning
which the words "the Church in the wilder-
ness carry for the student of Christian
prophecy, Rev. xii. 1-6. living
oracles, see reff. not life-giving:' still less
to be understood given viva voce.'
39.] Another instance, brought home
again by the words our fathers, of rejection
of God's appointed messenger and servant.
they turned back in their hearts to
Egypt: not they wished to return to
Egypt,' of which in Exod. xxxii. there is no
trace (but later, in Num. xiv. 4), and which
would hardly suit the term to go before
us; but they apostatized in heart
to the Egyptian idolatries.' The very
title by which Aaron proclaims his idol, is,
These be thy gods, O Israel, which
brought thee up out of the land of Egypt,'
Exod. xxxii. 4. See also Neh. ix. 18.
40. gods to go before us] As God had done
in the pillar of the cloud and fire. The
plural is not put for the singular, but is
used categorically: not perhaps without
implying also, that the only two religions
were, the worship of Jehovah, and that of
idols, a multitude. The plural is used by
Aaron, see above. In the opprobrious
term, this Moses, may be implied, as Meyer


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• not in the original.

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suggests, who was the strong opponent
of idolatry.' 41. they made a calf]
apparently in imitation of Apis, a bull
worshipped at Memphis as the living
symbol of Osiris. The or was a common
symbolic form of idols in the East; it was
one of the cherubic forms, Ezek. i. 10; and
the most recent discoveries at Nineveh
have brought to light colossal bulls. Sir
Gardiner Wilkinson thinks the golden
calves of Israel to have been imitations of
Mnevis, a bull kept at Heliopolis as a
living symbol of the sun. Jeroboam after-
wards set up golden calves at Bethel and
Dan, and with the same proclamation: see
1 Kings xii. 28. 42. God turned] i. e.
God, who had hitherto watched over them
for good, now provoked by their rebellion,
changed, and delivered them up to their
gave them up-not
'suffered them:' all these explainings away
of the strong expressions of Scripture be-
long to the rationalistic school of interpre-
ters (which is not modern merely; even
Chrysostom has here "He permitted
them"): it was a judicial delivering up,
not a mere letting alone, see Rom. i. 24,
26, 28.
to worship the host of
heaven] This fact is not mentioned in the
Pentateuch, but may refer to the worship
of Baal. In after-times we have frequent
traces of star worship: see 2 Kings xvii.
16; xxi. 3, 5; xxiii. 4, 5; Jer. xix. 13;
Zeph. i. 5. See also Deut. iv. 19; xvii. 3;
Job xxxi. 26. The book of the pro-
phets, regarded as a whole, contained this
prophecy. The citation is from the LXX.
I should take the question here as a re-

own ways.

h Exod. xxv.

40XXVI. 30. 1 Josh. ii. 14.

Heb. viii. 5.


k Neh. ix. 24.

Ps. xliv. 2:

lxxviii. 55.

the wilderness? 43 Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of P your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon. Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he [had] appointed, speaking unto Moses, " that he should make it according



to the fashion that he had seen. 45 i Which also our

ch. xiii. 19.

11 Sam. xvi. 1. fathers that came after brought in with Jesus" into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before

2 Sam. vii. 1.


Ps. lxxxix.



m 1 Kings viii. the face of our fathers, unto the days of David; 46 1 who

xxii. 7. Ps. found favour before God, and mx desired to find a taber

4, 5.

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proach, implying that God does not receive as offered to Him, sacrifices in which He has been made to share with idols:-it is not true that ye offered to Me (but no stress on Me) sacrifices, &c., I regard it as never having happened.' 43.] The answer by God himself: Yea, ye took up, i. e. carried about with you, (not My tabernacle as your sole or chief holy place, but) the tabernacle (literally the portable tent for the image. We read of the sacred tent in the Carthaginian camp) of Moloch &c. Stephen was not the sole dishonourer, if a dishonourer, of the holy place-their fathers had done it before. Moloch] So the LXX: the Heb. has Malchem, of your king?' Moloch was the Phoenician Saturn: his image was of brass with the head of an ox, and outstretched arms of a man, hollow; and human sacrifices (of children) were offered, by laying them in these arms and heating the image by fire kindled within. The rigid prohibitions of the worship of Moloch (Lev. xviii. 21; xx. 2-5) were openly transgressed by Ahaz, 2 Kings xvi. 3; by Manasseh, ib. xxi. 6; see also xxiii. 10; Jer. vii. 31; xxxii. 35. In the kingdom of Israel this abomination had been long practised, see 2 Kings xvii. 17; Ezek. xxiii. 37. We find traces of it at Carthage among the Phoenicians, among the Cretans and Rhodians, and the Assyrian colonists at Sepharvaim, 2 Kings xvii. 31. the star of your god Remphan] For this word, Rephan or Remphan the Hebrew has "Chiun" but what the meaning of either this or Remphan (the word is very variously read in our MSS. Rempham, Rompha, Rofa, Reffa, Rephan, &c.) is, we

rrender, who spake. trender, Joshua.


have nothing but conjecture to inform us. The most likely opinion has been that of Kircher, who maintains it to be a Coptic word, signifying the planet Saturn, and answering to the Arabic Kewan.' The prophecy, both in the LXX and Hebrew, has Damascus. But the fulfilment of the prophecy would make it very natural to substitute that name which had become inseparably associated with the captivity.

44. the tabernacle of witness] In opposition to the tabernacle just mentioned: but also in pursuance of one of the great aims of the speech, to shew that holiness is not confined to locality or building. This part of his subject Stephen now enters on more particularly.-The words, "the tabernacle of witness," are the LXX rendering of the word in Num. xvi. 18, 19 &c., which the A.V. renders the tabernacle of the assembly,' or 'congregation.' the fashion] This is another contrast: it is the same word as that rendered "figures" in ver. 43. 45.] inheriting, succeeding to its custody and privileges. at (or ‘in ') their taking possession] The term is used of that final and settled possession which Israel took of the land, not of that transitory possession from which the Gentiles or nations were driven out. The martyr combines rapidly a considerable period, during which this taking possession and this expulsion was taking place (for it was not complete till the time of David) in order to arrive at the next great event of his history, the substitution of the temple of Solomon for the tabernacle. 46. asked permission] See 2 Sam. vii. 2 ff., in which this resquest is made through Nathan the Prophet, and

viii. 20.

1 Chron.
xvii. 12.
2Chron. iii. 1.

Kings vill.

27. 2 Chron.


nacle for the God of Jacob. 47 But Solomon built him n1 Kings vi.1: an house. 48 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, of 49 P Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord or what is the place of my rest? 50 a Hath not my hand made all these things? 51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. 52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and mur

q Exod. xxxii.

in: xxxii. 3.

Isa. xlviii. 4. r Lev. xxvi. 41. Deut. x. 16.


Jer. iv. 4:
vi. 10: ix. 26.
Ezek. xliv. 9.


xxxvi. 16. Matt. xxi.

5: xxiii. 34,

37. 1 Thess. ii. 15.

y read, things.
a render, Did not my hand make.
brender, did not your fathers persecute.

at first conceded by Nathan, though afterwards, on a revelation made from God, denied:-not desired,' as A. V. The vow (a species of prayer) here referred to, is defined by the expression “find a tabernacle," to be that mentioned Ps. cxxxii.


48.] But, though Solomon built Him an
house, we are not to suppose, for all that,
that He is confined to earthly spots.
as saith the prophet] We have in substance
the same declaration by Solomon himself
at the dedication of his temple, 1 Kings
viii. 27 see also the beautiful prayer of
David, 1 Chron. xxix. 10-19. The cita-
tion is freely from the LXX.-The student
will not fail to be interested in observing
the apparent reference to this declaration
in Stephen's apology, by St. Paul, ch. xvii.
24. 51.] I do not think there is any
occasion to suppose an interruption from
the audience to have occasioned this out-
break of holy indignation. At each sepa-
rate recital (vv. 9, 25, 35, 39 ff.) he has
dwelt, with continually increasing fervour,
on the rebellions against and rejections of
God by His people. He has now brought
down the history to the establishment of
the temple worship. From Solomon's time
to his own, he saw but a succession of
apostasies, idolatries, rejection of God's
prophets :-a
-a dark and loathsome cata-
logue, terminated by the betrayal and
murder of the Just One Himself. It is
not at all beyond probability, to believe
that the zeal of his fervent spirit was, by
the view of this, the filling up of the mea-
sure of their iniquities, kindled into a flame
of inspired invective. I find that this is
also Neander's view, in opposition to the
generality of Commentators, as also that of

i. 18.

ch. xvii. 24.

Matt. v. 86,

35: xxiii. 22.


Z literally, the footstool of my feet.

t ch. iii. 14.

C render, slew.


Prof. Hackett, in his commentary on the
Acts and I cannot but think it far the
most probable. Henceforward he is borne
along by vehemence in his discourse. His
approaching death gave him great boldness
of speech for of this I believe him to have
been fully aware." Chrysostom.
stiffnecked and uncircumcised] Words and
figures familiar to the prophets in speaking
of the rebellious Israel: see besides the
references, Deut. ix. 6, 13; Neh. ix. 16:-
Deut. x. 16; xxx. 6. See also Rom. ii.
and ears] I should hardly
think of any allusion to Ps. xl. 6,--because
the LXX have rendered mine ears hast
thou opened' by "a body hast thou pre-
pared me." ye do always resist the
Holy Ghost] Apparently a reference to Isa.
lxiii. 10. The instances as yet had been
confined to their fathers: now he has
arrived at their own times. The two are
taken up again in the next verse.
52. Which of the prophets] See Matt. xxiii.
34 ff.: 2 Chron. xxxvi. 16: where the same
general expressions are used of their perse-
cuting the prophets. Such sayings are not
to be pressed to the letter, but represent
the uniform attitude of disobedience and
hostility which they assumed to the mes-
sengers of God. See also the parable,

Matt. xxi. 35.
them which shewed
before of the coming of the Just One] The
office of all the prophets, see ch. iii. 18.
The assertion is repeated, to connect them,
by this title, with Him, whom they an-
nounced. the Just One] This name
was used by the Jews to designate the
Messiah. See note on James v. 6.
betrayers] by Judas's treachery, of which
the Sanhedrists had been the accomplices;

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