Chapter 4

  1. And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Greeks against the Hebrews because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them and said, It is not acceptable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, seek out among you seven men of honest report, full of the holy ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the holy ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas (a convert of Antioch), whom they set before the apostles. And when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. And the word of God increased, and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly, and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
  2. And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. And there arose certain of the synagogue who are called Libertines, and also Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spoke. Then they suborned men who said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God. And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him and caught him, and brought him to the council, and set up false witnesses who said, This man ceases not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law, for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us. And all that sat in the council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face as if it were the face of an angel.
  3. Then said the high priest, Are these things so? And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, listen. The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelled in Haran, and said unto him, Get yourself out of your country and from your kindred, and come into the land which I shall show you. Then he came out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelled in Haran. And from there, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land wherein you now dwell, and he gave him no inheritance in it; no, not so much as to set his foot on. Yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him — when as yet he had no child. And God spoke in this way: that his seed should sojourn in a strange land, and that they should bring them into bondage and treat them evil four hundred years. And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, said God; and after that, they shall come forth and serve me in this place. And he gave him the covenant of circumcision, and so Abraham begot Isaac and circumcised him the eighth day, and Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot the twelve patriarchs. And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt; but God was with him, and delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house.
  4. Now there came a dearth over all the land of Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction, and our fathers found no sustenance; but when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first. And at the second time, Joseph was made known to his brethren, and Joseph’s kindred were made known unto Pharaoh. Then Joseph sent and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred — seventy-five souls. So Jacob went down into Egypt and died, he and our fathers, and were carried over into Shechem, and laid in the sepulcher that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem.
  5. But when the time of the promise drew near, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt until another king arose who knew not Joseph. The same dealt subtly with our kindred and evil treated our fathers, so that they cast out their young children to the end they might not live — in which time Moses was born, and was exceedingly fair, and nourished up in his father’s house three months. And when he was cast out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him up and nourished him for her own son. And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds. And when he was fully forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him and avenged him who was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian, for he supposed his brethren would have understood that God by his hand would deliver them. But they understood not. And the next day, he showed himself unto them as they quarreled, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, you are brethren; why do you do wrong one to another? But he that did his neighbor wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? Will you kill me as you did the Egyptian yesterday? Then Moses fled at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Midian, where he begot two sons.
  6. And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush. When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight, and as he drew near to behold it, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying, I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Then Moses trembled and dared not behold. Then said the Lord to him, Put off your shoes from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning and have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you into Egypt.
  7. This Moses, whom they refused — saying, Who made you a ruler and a judge? — the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer, by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush; he brought them out after he had shown wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years. This is that Moses who said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall you hear. This is he that was in the church in the wilderness, with the angel who spoke to him in the mount Sinai and with our fathers, who received the living oracles to give unto us — whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt, saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us, for as for this Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we know not what has become of him. And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands. Then God gave them up to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets: O you house of Israel, have you offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness? Yea, you took up the tabernacle of Moloch and the star of your god Rephan, figures which you made, to worship them; and I will carry you away beyond Babylon.
  8. 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 pattern that he had seen — which also our fathers that came after brought in with Joshua, into the possession of the gentiles whom God drove out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David, who found favor before God and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. But Solomon built him a house. Nevertheless, the Most High dwells not in temples made with hands, as says the prophet: Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool; what house will you build me? — says the Lord. Or what is the place of my rest? Has not my hand made all these things?
  9. You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you do always resist the holy ghost; as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets have your fathers not persecuted? And they have slain them who showed before of the coming of the Just One, of whom you have been now the betrayers and murderers, who have received the law by the disposition of angels and have not kept it.
  10. When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart and they gnashed at him with their teeth. But he, being full of the holy ghost, looked up steadfastly into Heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the Heavens opened and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him; and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen; and he, calling upon God, said, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge! And when he had said this, he fell asleep. And Saul was consenting unto his death.