1 Said the high priest, "Is this true?"
2 "Listen, brothers and fathers," said Stephen. "The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was still in Mesopotamia, before ever he stayed in Haran, 3 and said to him, 'Leave your land and your countrymen and come to whatever land I show you.'
4 Then he left the land of the Chaldeans and stayed in Haran. From Haran God shifted him, after his father's death, to this land which you now inhabit. 5 But he did not give him any inheritance in it, not even a foot of the land. All be did was to promise that he would give it as a possession to him and to his offspring after him (he at the time being childless). 6 What God said was this: 'His offspring will sojourn in a foreign land, where they will be enslaved and oppressed for four hundred years. 7 But,' said God, 'I will pass sentence on the nation that has made them slaves, and then they will get away to worship me in this Place.'
8 God also gave him the covenant of circumcision. So Abraham became the father of Isaac, whom he circumcised on the eighth day, Isaac was the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.
9 Out of jealousy the patriarchs sold Joseph into Egypt; but God was with him, 10 rescuing him from all his troubles and allowing him to find favour for his wisdom with Pharaoh king of Egypt, who appointed him viceroy over Egypt and over all his own household. 11 Now a famine came over the whole of Egypt and Canaan, attended with great misery, so that our ancestors could not find provender. 12 But, hearing there was food in Egypt, Jacob sent our ancestors on their first visit to that country; 13 at their second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Pharaoh was informed of Joseph's lineage. 14 Then Joseph sent for his father Jacob and all his kinsfolk, amounting to seventy-five souls; 15 and Jacob went south to Egypt. When he and our ancestors died, 16 they were carried across 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 approached for the promise God had made to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt, 18 till another king arose to rule Egypt who knew nothing of Joseph. 19 He took a cunning method with our race; he oppressed our ancestors by forcing them to expose their infants, to prevent them from surviving. 20 It was at this period that Moses was born, a divinely beautiful child. For three months he was brought up in his father's house; 21 then he was exposed, but Pharaoh's daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son. 22 So Moses was educated in all the culture of the Egyptians; he was a strong man in speech and action.
23 When he had completed his fortieth year, it occurred to him to visit his brothers, the sons of Israel. 24 He saw one of them being badly treated, so he defended him, struck down the Egyptian, and thus avenged the man who had been wronged. 25 (He thought his brothers would understand God was going to bring them deliverance by means of him, but they did not understand.) 26 Next day he came upon two of them fighting and tried to pacify them. "You are brothers!" he said, "why injure one another?"
27 But the man who was injuring his neighbour pushed him aside. "Who made you ruler and umpire over us?" he asked. 28 "Do you want to kill me, as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?"
29 At that Moses fled; he became a sojourner in the land of Midian, where he had two sons born to him. 30 At the close of forty years an angel [of the Lord] appeared to him in the flames of a burning thorn-bush, in the desert of mount Sinai. 31 When Moses saw this, he marvelled at the sight; and as he went up to look at it, the voice of the Lord said, 32 'I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.' Moses was so terrified that he did not dare to look at the bush.
33 But the Lord said to him, 'Take the sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is sacred ground. 34 I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt, I have heard their groans, and I have come down to rescue them. Come now, I will send you back to Egypt.'
35 The Moses they refused, when they said, 'Who made you ruler and umpire?' ??that was the very man whom God sent to rule and to redeem them, by aid of the angel who had appeared to him in the bush. 36 He it was who led them forth, performing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, at the Red Sea, and in the desert during forty years.
37 (This was the Moses who told the sons of Israel, 'God will raise up a prophet for you from among your brotherhood, as he raised me.') 38 This was the man who at the assembly in the desert intervened between the angel who spoke to him on mount Sinai and our fathers; he received living Words to be given to us. 39 But our fathers would not submit to him; they pushed him aside and hankered secretly after Egypt. 40 They told Aaron, 'Make gods that will march in front of us! As for this Moses who led us out of Egypt, we don't know what has happened to him!'
41 They actually made a calf in those days, offered sacrifice to this idol, and grew festive over what their own hands had manufactured. 42 So God turned from them, abandoning them to the worship of the starry Host ??as it is written in the book of the prophets, Did you offer me victims and sacrifices during the forty years in the desert, O house of Israel? 43 No, it was the tent of Moloch and the star-symbol of Rephan your god that you carried, figures that you manufactured for worship. So now I will transport you beyond Babylon!
44 In the desert our fathers had the tent of witness as arranged by Him who told Moses to make it after the pattern he had seen. 45 It was passed on and borne in by our fathers as with Joshua they took possession of the territory of the nations whom God drove out before our fathers. So it remained down to the days of David. 46 He found favour with God and asked permission to devise a dwelling for the God of Jacob. 47 It was Solomon, however, who built him a house. 48 And yet the most High does not dwell in houses made by hands. As the prophet says,
49 Heaven is my throne, the earth is a footstool for my feet! What house would you build me? saith the Lord. On what spot could I settle? 50 Did not my hand make all this?
51 Stiff-necked, uncircumcised in heart and ear, you are always resisting the holy Spirit! As with your fathers, so with you! 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers fail to persecute? They killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Just One. And here you have betrayed him, murdered him! ??53 you who got the Law that angels transmitted, and have not obeyed it!"
54 When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 He, full of the holy Spirit, gazed up at heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at God's right hand. 56 "Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of man standing at God's right hand!"
57 With a loud shriek they shut their ears and rushed at him like one man. 58 Putting him outside the city, they proceeded to stone him (the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a youth called Saul). 59 So they stoned Stephen, who called on the Lord, saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!" 60 Then he knelt down and cried aloud, "Lord, let not this sin stand against them!" With these words he slept the sleep of death.