1 Then the high priest asked: ‘Is this true?’
2 Stephen replied: ‘Brothers and fathers, hear what I have to say. God, who manifests himself in the glory, appeared to our ancestor Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, and before he settled in Haran, and said to him —
3 “Leave your country and your kindred, and come into the country that I will show you.”
4 And so Abraham left the country of the Chaldaeans and settled in Haran; and from there, after his father's death, God caused him to migrate into this country, in which you are now living.
5 God did not at that time give him any part of it, not even a foot of ground. But he promised to “give him possession of it and his descendants after him, though at that time he had no child.
6 God's words were these — “Abraham's descendants will live in a foreign country, where they will be enslaved and ill-treated for four hundred years.
7 But I myself will judge the nation, to which they will be enslaved,” God said, “and after that they will leave the country and worship me in this place.”
8 Then God made with Abraham the covenant of circumcision; and under it Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him when he was eight days old; and Isaac became the father of Jacob; and Jacob of the Twelve Patriarchs.
9 The Patriarchs, out of jealousy, sold Joseph into slavery in Egypt; but God was with him,
10 and delivered him out of all his troubles, and enabled him to win favour and show wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who appointed him Governor of Egypt and of his whole household.
11 Then a famine spread over the whole of Egypt and Canaan, causing great distress, and our ancestors could find no food.
12 Hearing, however, that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob sent our ancestors there on their first visit.
13 In the course of their second visit, Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, and his family became known to Pharaoh.
14 Then Joseph sent an urgent invitation to his father Jacob and to his relatives, seventy-five persons in all;
15 and so Jacob went down into Egypt. There he died, and our ancestors also,
16 and their bodies were removed to Shechem, and laid in the tomb which Abraham had bought for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.
17 As the time drew near for the fulfilment of the promise which God had made to Abraham, the people increased largely in numbers in Egypt,
18 until a new king, who knew nothing of Joseph, came to the throne.
19 This king acted deceitfully towards our people and ill-treated our ancestors, making them abandon their own infants, so that they should not be reared.
20 It was just at this time that Moses was born. He was an exceedingly beautiful child, and for three months was brought up in his own father's house;
21 and, when he was abandoned, the daughter of Pharaoh found him and brought him up as her own son.
22 So Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and proved his ability both by his words and actions.
23 When he was in his fortieth year, he resolved to visit his fellow Israelites;
24 and, seeing an Israelite ill-treated, he defended him, and avenged the man, who was being wronged, by striking down the Egyptian.
25 He thought his own people would understand that God was using him to save them; but they failed to do so.
26 The next day he again appeared on the scene, when some of them were fighting, and tried to make peace between them. “Men,” he said, “you are brothers; how is it that you are ill-treating one another?”
27 But the man who was ill-treating his fellow workman pushed Moses aside saying — “Who made you a ruler and judge over us?
28 Do you mean to make away with me as you did yesterday with that Egyptian?”
29 At these words Moses took to flight, and became an exile in Midian; and there he had two sons born to him.
30 Forty years had passed when there appeared to him, in the desert of Mount Sinai, an angel in a flame of fire in a bush.
31 When Moses saw it, he was astonished at the vision; but on his going nearer to look at it more closely, the voice of the Lord was heard to say —
32 “I am the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Moses trembled, and did not dare to look.
33 Then the Lord said to him — “Take your sandals off your feet, for the spot where you are standing is holy ground.
34 I have seen the oppression of my people who are in Egypt, and heard their groans, and I have come down to deliver them. Come now and I will send you into Egypt.”
35 This same Moses, whom they had disowned with the words — “Who made you a ruler and a judge?” was the man whom God sent to be both a ruler and a deliverer, under the guidance of the angel that had appeared to him in the bush.
36 He it was who led them out, after he had shown wonders and signs in Egypt, in the Red Sea, and in the desert during forty years.
37 This was the Moses who said to the people of Israel — “God will raise up for you, from among yourselves, a prophet, as he raised up me.”
38 He, too, it was who was present at the assembly in the desert, with the angel who talked to him on Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors, and who received living truths to impart to you.
39 Yet our ancestors refused him obedience; more than that, they rejected him, and in their hearts turned back to Egypt,
40 while they said to Aaron — “Make us Gods who will lead the way for us, since, as for this Moses who has brought us out of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”
41 That was the time when they made the calf and offered sacrifice to their idol, and held festivities in honour of their own handiwork!
42 So God turned from them and left them to the worship of the Starry Host, as is written in the book of the prophets —
“Did you offer victims and sacrifices to me, house of Israel,
All those forty years in the desert?
43 You took with you the tent where Moloch is worshipped
And the star of the god Rephan —
The images which you had made to worship.
Therefore I will exile you beyond Babylon.”
44 Our ancestors had the tent where they worshipped God in the desert, constructed, just as he who spoke to Moses had directed him to make it, after the model which he had seen.
45 This tent, which was handed down to them, was brought into this country by our ancestors who accompanied Joshua (at the conquest of the nations that God drove out before their advance), and remained here until the time of David.
46 David found favour with God, and prayed that he might provide the God of Jacob with a place to reside.
47 But it was Solomon who built a house for God.
48 Yet it is not in buildings made by hands that the Most High dwells. As the prophet says —
49 “The heavens are a throne for me,
And the earth a stool for my feet.
What manner of house will you build me, saith the Lord,
Or what place is there where I may rest?
50 Was it not my hand that made all these things?”
51 Stubborn people, heathen in heart and ears, you are for ever resisting the Holy Spirit; your ancestors did it, and you are doing it still.
52 Which of the prophets escaped persecution at their hands? They killed those who foretold the coming of the righteous one; of whom you, in your turn, have now become the betrayers and murderers —
53 You who received the Law as transmitted by angels and yet failed to keep it.’
54 As they listened to this, the Council grew frantic with rage, and gnashed their teeth at Stephen.
55 He, filled as he was with the Holy Spirit, fixed his eyes intently on the heavens, and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at God's right hand.
56 ‘Look,’ he exclaimed, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at God's right hand!’
57 At this, with a loud shout, they stopped their ears and all rushed on him, forced him outside the city,
58 and began to stone him, the witnesses laying their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.
59 And they stoned Stephen, while he cried to the Lord: ‘Lord Jesus! Receive my spirit!’
60 Falling on his knees, he called out loudly: ‘Lord! Do not charge them with this sin;’ and with these words he fell asleep.