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1The high priest said,
“Is this statement true?”
“Brothers and fathers, listen. The glorious God appeared to our forefather Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he settled in Haran, 3and he said to him, ‘Leave your country and your relatives and come to the country that I will show you.’ 4So he left the country of the Chaldeans and went to live in Haran, and from there after the death of his father, God caused him to move into this country where you now live. 5He gave him no property in it, not a single foot, but he promised to give it to him and his posterity after him permanently, though he had no children at that time. 6This was what God said: ‘His descendants will be strangers, living in a foreign land, and they will be enslaved and misused for four hundred years, 7and I will sentence the nation that has enslaved them,’ God said, ‘and afterward they will leave that country and worship me on this spot.’ 8And he made the agreement of circumcision with him, and so Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day, and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs. 9The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him into slavery in Egypt. But God was with him, 10and rescued him from all his troubles, and enabled him to win favor and to show wisdom when he stood before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he appointed him governor of Egypt and of his whole household. 11Then a famine spread all over Egypt and Canaan, and there was great suffering, and our forefathers could not find any food. 12But Jacob heard that there was food in Egypt, and he sent our forefathers on their first visit there. 13On their second visit, Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Pharaoh learned of Joseph’s parentage. 14Then Joseph sent and invited his father Jacob and all his relatives, seventy-five in all, 15and Jacob came down to Egypt. There he and our forefathers died, 16and they were carried back to Shechem, and laid in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem. 17As the time drew near for the fulfilment of the promise God had made to Abraham, the people became more and more numerous in Egypt, 18until another king, who knew nothing about Joseph, became ruler of Egypt. 19He took advantage of our people and oppressed our forefathers, making them abandon their infant children, so that they should not live. 20It was at this time that Moses was born. He was a wonderfully beautiful child, and for three months he was taken care of in his father’s house. 21When he was abandoned, the daughter of Pharaoh adopted him and brought him up as her own son. 22So Moses was educated in all the Egyptian culture; he was strong in speech and action. 23When he was forty years old, it occurred to him to visit his brothers, the descendants of Israel. 24Seeing one of them being imposed upon, he interfered and defended the man who was being ill treated, striking down the Egyptian. 25He supposed that his brothers would understand that God was using him as the means of delivering them, but they did not. 26The next day, he came across two of them fighting and tried to pacify them. He said to them, ‘You are brothers. Why should you injure each other?’ 27But the aggressor thrust him off, saying, ‘Who made you our ruler and judge? 28Do you mean to kill me as you did that Egyptian yesterday?’ 29At those words Moses fled, and went and lived for a time in Midian, and two sons were born to him there. 30When forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the desert of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning bush. 31When Moses saw it he wondered at the sight, and when he went up to see what it was, the voice of the Lord said, 32‘I am the God of your forefathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’ Moses was terrified and did not dare to look at it. 33Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off your shoes, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34I have seen all the oppression of my people in Egypt, and I have heard their groans, and I have come down to save them. So come! I will make you my messenger to Egypt!’ 35The Moses whom they had refused, saying to him, ‘Who made you our ruler and judge?’ God sent both to rule and to deliver them, with the help of the angel who had appeared to him in the bush. 36It was he who brought them out of Egypt, and did wonders and signs there, and at the Red Sea, and for forty years in the desert. 37This was the Moses who said to the descendants of Israel, ‘God will make a prophet rise from among your brothers to teach you, just as he made me rise.’ 38It was he who with the congregation in the desert went between the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai and our forefathers, and received and communicated to you utterances that still live. 39Yet our forefathers would not listen to him, but thrust him off, and their hearts turned back to Egypt, 40for they said to Aaron, ‘Make us gods to march in front of us, for as for this Moses, who brought us out of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him!’ 41They even made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice to their idol, and held a celebration over what their own hands had made. 42So God turned his back on them and left them to worship the starry host, just as the Book of the Prophets says,
“ ‘Was it victims and sacrifices that you offered to me, O house of Israel,
Those forty years in the desert?
43You offered me the tent of Moloch and the star of your god Rompha,
The images you had made to worship!
So I will deport you beyond Babylon.’
44In the desert our forefathers had the Tent of the Testimony built like the model Moses had seen, just as he who spoke to him told him to make it. 45This tent was handed down to our forefathers and they brought it here with them when under Joshua they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before them, and it existed until the time of David. 46He won the approval of God and begged to be allowed to provide a dwelling for the God of Jacob, 47and Solomon actually built a house for him. 48But the Most High does not live in buildings made by human hands. As the prophet says,
49“ ‘The sky is my throne,
And the earth a footstool for my feet.
What house can you build for me? says the Lord,
Or what place is there where I can rest?
50Was it not my hand that made it all?’
51You stubborn people, with heathen hearts and ears, you are always opposing the holy Spirit, just as your forefathers did! 52Which of the prophets did your forefathers not persecute? They killed the men who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and killed— 53you who had the Law given to you by angels, and did not obey it!”
54When they heard that, they were enraged and ground their teeth at him. 55But he, full of the holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw God’s glory and Jesus standing at God’s right hand. 56And he said,
“Look! I can see heaven open, and the Son of Man standing at God’s right hand!”
57But they uttered a great shout and stopped their ears, and they rushed upon him all together, 58and dragged him out of the city and stoned him, the witnesses throwing down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59As they stoned Stephen, he prayed,
“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!”
60Then falling on his knees, he cried out,
“Lord, do not lay this sin up against them!”
With these words he fell asleep.
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