1 The high priest asked, "Are these statements true?"
2 He answered: "Listen, brothers and fathers. The glorious God appeared to our forefather Abraham while he was in Mesopotamia before he ever made his home in Haran, 3 and said to him, 'Leave your country and your kinsmen and come to Whatever country I may show you.'
4 So he left the country of the Chaldeans and for a time made his home in Haran. Then after the death of his father, God had him move to this country in which you now live. 5 He gave him no property in it, not even a foot of land, and yet He promised to give it to him and his descendants after him, as a permanent possession, although he had no child at that time. 6 This is what God promised: 'His descendants will be strangers living in a foreign land, and its people will enslave and oppress them for four hundred years.' 7 But God further promised: 'I will pass sentence on the nation that enslaves them, and after that they will leave that country and worship me on this very spot.'
8 And with Abraham He made the sacred compact of circumcision, and he 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.
9 And the patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him 10 and delivered him from all his troubles, and allowed him to win favor and to show wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and so he appointed Joseph governor of Egypt and of his whole household. 11 Then a famine spread all over Egypt and Canaan, and with it great suffering, and our forefathers could not find the simplest food. 12 But Jacob heard that there was food in Egypt and sent our forefathers on their first visit down there. 13 On their second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and thus Joseph's race was revealed to Pharaoh. 14 Then Joseph sent and invited his father Jacob and all his kinsmen, seventy-five in all; 15 and Jacob came down to Egypt. There he and our forefathers died 16 and were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb which Abraham had bought with a sum of money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.
17 As the time approached for realizing the promise which God had made to Abraham, the people multiplied and became more numerous in Egypt, 18 until another king, who knew nothing about Joseph, ascended the throne. 19 By taking a cunning advantage of our race he oppressed our forefathers by forcing them to expose their infants so that they should not live. 20 At this time Moses was born. He was a divinely beautiful child. For three months he was cared for in his father's house. 21 When he was exposed, Pharaoh's daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son. Thus 22 Moses was educated in all the culture of the Egyptians, and was a mighty man in speech and action.
23 As he was rounding out his fortieth year, it occurred to him to visit his brothers, the descendants of Israel. 24 Because he saw one of them being mistreated, he defended and avenged the man who was suffering ill-treatment by striking down the Egyptian. 25 He supposed that his brothers would understand that God through his instrumentality was going to deliver them, but they did not. 26 The next day he showed himself to two of them engaged in a fight, and he tried to get them to make friends, saying, 'You are brothers, why should you harm each other?'
27 But the man who was harming his brother pushed him aside, saying, 'Who made you our ruler and referee? 28 Do you want to kill me as you did the Egyptian yesterday?'
29 At this statement Moses fled, and went and lived in the land of Midian, and became the father of two sons. 30 When forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the desert of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning bush. 31 When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight, and when he went up to look at it, the voice of the Lord said to him, 32 'I am the God of your forefathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.' Moses was so terrified that he did not dare to look at the bush.
33 Then the Lord said to him, 'Take your shoes off your feet, for the place where you are standing is sacred ground. 34 Because I have seen the oppression of my people in Egypt and heard their groans, I have come down to deliver them. So come! I will send you back to Egypt as my messenger.'
35 That very Moses whom they refused, saying, 'Who made you our ruler and referee?' was the man whom God sent to be both their ruler and deliverer, by the help of the angel who had appeared to him in the bush. 36 It was he who brought them out of Egypt by performing wonders and signs there and at the Red Sea -- as he did also in the desert for forty years.
37 It was this Moses who said to the descendants of Israel, 'God will raise up a prophet for you from among you, just as He did me.' 38 This is the one who in the congregation in the desert went between the angel, who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and our forefathers, who also received, to be handed down to you, utterances that still live. 39 But our forefathers would not listen to him, but pushed him aside, and in their hearts they hankered after Egypt; 40 and they said to Aaron, 'Make us gods to march in front of us, for as for this Moses, who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him!'
41 In those days they even made a calf, and offered sacrifice to their idol, and held a celebration over the works of their own hands. 42 So God turned away from them and gave them over to worship the starry host, as it is written in the Book of the Prophets: 'Did you really offer me victims and sacrifices those forty years in the desert, O house of Israel? 43 No, you offered me the tent of Moloch and the star of your god Rompha, the images you had made to worship! So I will now remove you beyond Babylon.'
44 "In the desert our forefathers had the tent of the testimony, like the model Moses had seen, as God who spoke to him ordered him to make it. 45 This tent our forefathers brought in and passed on when under Joshua they dispossessed the nations which God drove out before them, and it remained until the time of David. 46 He found favor with God and begged to design a dwelling for the God of Jacob, 47 but it was Solomon who came to build a house for Him. 48 But the Most High does not live in buildings built by human hands. As the prophet says:
49 '"Heaven is my throne, and earth a footstool for my feet. What house can you build for me?" says the Lord; "Or what place is there in which I can rest? 50 Was it not my hand that made them all?"'
51 "You people, stubborn in will, heathenish in hearts and ears, you are always resisting the Holy Spirit, as your forefathers did, too. 52 Which of the prophets did your forefathers fail to persecute? They killed the prophets who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, and now you have betrayed and murdered Him, 53 you who received the law by order of the angels, and yet you did not obey it!"
54 As they continued to listen to this address, they were becoming infuriated and began to grind their teeth at him. 55 But since he was full of the Holy Spirit, he looked right into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at God's right hand. 56 So he said, "Look! I see heaven open, and the Son of Man standing at God's right hand."
57 But they raised a great shout and held their ears, and all together rushed upon him, 58 and dragged him out of the city and continued stoning him. The witnesses, in the meantime, laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 They continued stoning Stephen as he continued praying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!" 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not charge this sin on the book against them!" On saying this he fell asleep in death.