Summary: “The time of the promise” refers to the passage of four hundred years from the day God gave the promise to Abraham until he delivered the seed of Abraham from their affliction and servitude in Egypt, and later brought them into the the land of Canaan....

January 15, 2014

By: Tom Lowe

Title: Stephen’s Sermon (7:1-53)

Part 2: verses 15-36


15 So Jacob went down into Egypt, and died, he, and our fathers,

So Jacob went down into Egypt.

He went into Egypt at the invitation of his son Joseph, traveling on the carts which he had provided for them.

And died, he, and our fathers.

Jacob and his twelve sons died in Egypt, though we have no account of the death of any of them, except for Jacob (Genesis 49:33[1]) and Joseph (Genesis 50:26[2]), though it does say in Exodus 1:6: “Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died.” The Israelites remained in Egypt for 215 years, so all the sons of Jacob died there before the Jews left there for the land of Canaan.

16 And were carried over into Sychem, and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem.

And were carried over into Sychem.

The bones of the fathers, the twelve patriarchs plus Jacob, were carried out of Egypt by the children of Israel when they left there to begin their forty year journey to the Promised Land. There is no doubt that Joseph was buried in Sychem, since it is expressly stated in Joshua 24:32[3]. Syshem was a town or village near Samaria. It was also called Sichar, Sychar (John 4:5[4]), "Shechem," and "Sychem." It is now called "Naplous" or "Napolose," and is ten miles from Shiloh, and about forty from Jerusalem, toward the north.

No mention is made in the Old Testament of the Israelites taking the bones of any of the other patriarchs with them, but it is highly probable they did. If the descendants of Joseph carried his bones, it would naturally occur to them to also take the bones of each of the patriarchs, and give them an honorable sepulcher together in the land of promise. Josephus stated that "the posterity and sons of these men (of the brethren of Joseph), after some time, carried their bodies and buried them in Hebron; but as to the bones of Joseph, they carried them into the land of Canaan afterward, when the Hebrews went out of Egypt." This is in accordance with the common opinion of the Jewish writers, that they were buried in Hebron. Yet the tradition is not uniform. Some of the Jews say that they were buried in Sychem. There is no concrete evidence either way for where they were buried, but Sychem appears to be the logical place, based upon the following:

1. The Jewish writers never mentioned anyone buried in the cave of Machpelah at Hebron other than these four couples; Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Leah; from which Hebron was called Kirjath Arba, the city of four.

2. It is natural to suppose, that the children of Israel brought the bones of all the patriarchs out of Egypt, along with Joseph's; and since they buried the bones of Joseph in Sichem, it is most reasonable to believe, that the rest were buried there too.

3. Since the books of the Old Testament say nothing about this, the endorsement of Stephen (or of Luke here) for their being buried in Sychem is at least as good as that of Josephus for their being buried in Hebron."

4. There is one circumstance of strong probability that suggests that Stephen was correct. At the time when this defense was delivered, "Sychem" was in the hands of the Samaritans, and there was a violent history between them and the Jews. Of course, the Jews would not be willing to concede that the Samaritans had the bones of their ancestors, and perhaps for that reason, they maintained the opinion that they were buried in Hebron.

As for Jacob, we will see that he was not buried in Sichem, but in the cave of Machpelah.

And laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Emmor, the father of Sichem.

This clause has created a great deal of confusion among Bible scholars by raising the question: “How can the sepulcher in which the fathers were laid at Sichem be said to be bought by Abraham from the sons of Emmor, when what Abraham bought was the field and cave of Machpelah; and it was purchased from the sons of Heth, and Ephron, the son of Zohar the Hitrite (Genesis 23:16-18[5]), not from the sons of Emmor.” As for the parcel of ground in Sichem, it was purchased by Jacob from the sons of Emmor, the founder of Sichem (Genesis 33:19[6]). There are several ways to reconcile this seeming discrepancy:

1. Some think the word Abraham is an interpolation, and that it should be read, “Which he (Jacob) bought”; but this explanation is not supported by any copies of scripture discovered thus far.

2. Others say that it may be read, “Which he bought for Abraham”; that is, which Jacob bought for Abraham and his seed, as a pledge of the inheritance of the whole land, promised unto him.

3. Another opinion is that by Abraham is meant a son of Abraham, that is, Jacob, since children are sometimes called by their father's name; for example, the Messiah is called David.

4. But the best explanation, which also seems to resolve the confusion over this point is that the words refer to both places and both purchases; to the field of Machpelah bought by Abraham, and to the plot of field at Sichem bought by Jacob from the sons of Emmor. This is the meaning obtained by repeating the phrase, "in the sepulcher", for then the clause would read thus; "and were laid in the sepulchre, that Abraham bought for a sum of money", and in the sepulcher (bought by Jacob) "of the sons of Emmor", the father of Sichem. Or the words may be stated thus, "they were carried over into Sichem, and laid in the sepulcher which Abraham bought for a sum of money, besides" that "of the sons of Emmor", the father "of Sichem"; specifically, which Jacob bought, and in which Joseph was laid, Genesis 33:196. And this agrees with Stephen's account in the preceding verse; he observes, that Jacob and all the twelve patriarchs died in Egypt, and here he tells us how they were disposed of, and where they were buried, both Jacob and his sons; they were removed from Egypt, and brought into the land of Canaan; Jacob was laid in the cave of Machpelah, in the sepulcher Abraham bought from the children of Heth; and Joseph and his brethren were laid in the sepulcher at Sichem, which Jacob bought from the sons of Emmor. From this explanation, the charge brought against Stephen by the Jews, that his speech contained several errors, appears to be groundless.

17 But when the time of the promise drew nigh , which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt,

But when the time of the promise drew nigh.

“The time of the promise” refers to the passage of four hundred years from the day God gave the promise to Abraham until he delivered the seed of Abraham from their affliction and servitude in Egypt (Genesis 15:13-14[7]), and later brought them into the land of Canaan to inherit it.

Which God had sworn to Abraham.

“Which God had sworn” means “solemnly promised.” There is no explicit mention made of an oath, however, there is a most solemn pronouncement (Genesis 15:137), which is equivalent to one.

The people grew and multiplied in Egypt.

The family of Jacob numbered seventy when they went into Egypt, and though the Egyptians used various methods to decrease their numbers (Exodus 1:7-11[8]), in little more than two hundred years, their number was increased to 603,550 men, which did not include old men, women, and children, and 22,000 Levites, Numbers 1:46. And it seems that they increased more rapidly as the time for their promised delivery drew nearer. It was also the case that the intensity of their affliction increased at the same time (Exodus 1:12[9]). The increase of the Israelites far exceeded what would be normal population growth for people living under such horrible conditions and over a span of 215 years. Moses pointed this out to show that it was a special gift of God and not the result natural reproduction. But, on the other hand, God seemed to take all hope away from the Jews, because Pharaoh grievously afflicted them, and their bondage grew harder to bear every day. Their lives became so bitter that you would think they would have wished to be childless; and yet they married, because they believed that God would rescue them at the proper time; and God blessed them, because they honored Him—times of Suffering have often been growing times for the church.

18 Till another king arose, which knew not Joseph.

Till another king arose.

“Till another king arose” is quoted from Exodus 1:8[10]. The "name" of this king is not known. The "common" name of all the kings of Egypt was "Pharaoh," just as "Caesar" became the common name of the emperors of Rome after the time of Julius Caesar: that’s why we say, Augustus Caesar, Tiberius Caesar, etc. So, who was this king who did not know Joseph? There are several theories:

1. The most commonly held opinion seems to be that this king was the renowned Rameses, the sixth king of the eighteenth dynasty, and it is supposed that he became king about 1559 years before the Christian era. One of the treasure cities built for him seems to have been named in honor of him (Exodus 1:11[11]). The Jews call him Talma.

2. Another notion is that his name was Mandonei, whose reign began in 1585 b.c., and ended 1565 years before Christ.

3. There is also the theory that he was Amosis, or Ames, the "first" king of the eighteenth dynasty.

The present knowledge of Egyptian history is too imperfect to enable us to determine his identity with any assurance of accuracy.

Which knew not Joseph.

“Which knew not Joseph” has also been interpreted in several ways; some of which are noted here:

1. There is the opinion that this king did not know about the great things Joseph had done, which were so advantageous to the Egyptian nation.

2. He was acquainted with him through recorded history, but he did not have the regard for the Hebrew people that the other Pharaoh had.

3. Josephus says the kingdom was transferred to another family, which might be the reason why he was not known, and why those who did know and admire Joseph were not taken notice of. Another historian says, he was not of the royal family; therefore it is written, "and there arose". He came to power in an unusual way, and did not have the right to the title, so he was a stranger, and it is no wonder that he would not know Joseph.

4. Jarchi writes, “It can hardly be supposed that he would be ignorant of the name and deeds of Joseph; and this expression, therefore, probably means that he did not favor the policies of Joseph; he did not remember the benefits which he had conferred on the nation. He made it seem that he did not know about Joseph, he pretended ignorance of him, because he would show no respect unto his people.”

5. He was not merely a successor, but a monarch of a different character, who did not know about Joseph—That is, did not approve of him, of his method of governing the kingdom, or of his people, or of his God.

19 The same dealt subtilly with our kindred, and evil entreated our fathers, so that they cast out their young children, to the end they might not live .

The same dealt subtilly with our kindred.

“Subtilly” means with “with cunning and deceit.”

“Our kindred” refers to “our nation,” or “our ancestors.”

Stephen means to say that the king of Egypt used underhanded methods and wicked deception (Exodus 1:10[12]) to lay heavier and heavier burdens upon the Hebrew people, which is something almost all tyrants do. No doubt, Pharaoh didn’t reveal his real reasons for the hardships he laid upon them; that they were sojourners and didn’t deserve to have a home in his realm for nothing, or to be free from all burdens, especially since they lacked worldly goods and influence. Therefore, he deceitfully made them despicable bondslaves of Egyptian men and the Egyptian nation. He used cunning, and yet cruel methods, to diminish the children of Israel, and to humble them; weakening their strength by strenuous labor, so that they might not be able to produce children; ordering the Hebrew midwives to kill all the males that were born (Exodus 1:22[13]); and ordering all his people to drown all male children that escape the hands of the midwives.

When Stephen said that this tyrant did not know Joseph, it shows how soon men forget those good things done for them when those who benefitted them pass out of this world. We may all detest unthankfulness, but there is not a vice that is more common today.

And evil entreated our fathers.

The king’s treatment of the Jews is described here as “evil.” He forced them into hard labor, mostly involving the use of mortar and brick as building materials. He made their lives bitter and harsh; employing them in building cities, pyramids, walls, and towers; digging ditches and trenches, cutting waterways, and rerouting rivers; and he set taskmasters over them, to punish them for every real and imagined misunderstanding or fault.

So that they cast out their young children.

This refers to Pharaoh’s orders to his officers and people, to throw the male children of the Israelites into the rivers; and not to the parents of the children, which this clause seems to say. Moses's mother, after she had hid him for three months, put him into an ark of bulrushes, and put him among the flags by the river's bank, but she did it in order to save his life: while the reason Pharaoh had for casting out of these young children was to increase the suffering of the Hebrews, reduce their number, keep them in subjection, and to maintain their status as slave labor.

To the end they might not live.

All male children were to be killed, so that the population of the Hebrew nation would decline. Pharaoh was concerned that they might become too many to control; there was also the thought that they might join an invading army that might come against Egypt. This could be prevented if the male children did not grow up to be men.

Stephen does not bring up all their evil treatment of his people, but he does give this one example of extreme cruelty, so that we might comprehend how near the whole seed of Abraham was to destruction. If the midwives and the people had obeyed Pharaoh’s edict, he would have essentially murdered them all with one stroke of his pen. But such violent barbarism cannot win when it is opposed by the incredible power of God; because when Pharaoh has, by all means within his power, striven against God, it is all in vain.

20 In which time Moses was born, and was exceeding fair, and nourished up in his father's house three months:

In which time Moses was born.

“In which time” refers to the state of the Hebrews at the time of Moses’ birth; which was a time of severe hardships and oppression, and to make matters even worse, Pharaoh commanded his people to kill all the male Hebrew children.

“Moses was born” is an important announcement, since he was the destined deliverer of the Hebrews.

The word Moses, came from the Hebrew word, which signifies "to draw" (Psalm 18:16); Pharaoh's daughter explains why she gave him this name in Exodus 2:10[14] ; “She named him Moses, saying, ‘I drew him out of the water.’” Several noted Bible scholars disagree with this theory, because they insist that Moses is an Egyptian name; they say the Egyptians call water "Mo", and those who are saved from water are "yses", and when the two words are compounded the word formed sounds a lot like Moses. At least one Jewish scholar maintains that his name in the Egyptian language was Monios, and they offer this explanation—“For ‘Mo’, in the Egyptian language, signifies ‘water’, and ‘Ni’ is ‘out’; and so both together signify, ‘out of the water’”, which agrees with the Hebrew etymology of his name.

A Jewish chronologer states: “Moses had many names; “Pharaoh's daughter called his name Moses; his father called him Chabar, or Heber; his mother called him Jekuthiel; and his sister called him Jether (perhaps Jared, since this was one of his names); and his brethren called him Abizanoah; and Kohath called him Abi Socos; and the Israelites called him Shemaiah ben Nathaneel, and sometimes Tobiah, sometimes Shemaiah, and sometimes Sopher; but the Egyptians called him Monios.”

Moses was born during the time that Pharaoh ordered all the male children of the Israelites thrown into the rivers, to drown them. His parents were Amram and Jochebed, of the tribe of Levi. According to the Jews, he was born on the seventh day of Adar, or February.

And was exceeding fair.

As a child, he “was exceeding fair” or “fair to God”; divinely fair and beautiful—he was sanctified from the womb, and this made him beautiful in God’s eyes. God gave him a unique beauty, partly to inspire his parents to do everything they could to preserve his life, and partly to foster feelings of affection within Pharaoh's daughter when she saw him.

And nourished up in his father's house three months.

Moses was hidden by his mother, Jochebed, for the first three months of his life (Exodus 2:2[15]), to prevent his death at the hands of the Egyptians, who would have thrown him into the river. She showed great faith by hiding him, since there must have been some punishment for disobeying Pharaoh’s orders. But after three months, his parents placed him in the river to save their own lives; only they put him into a little ark made of reeds so he would not perish immediately.

21 And when he was cast out, Pharaoh's daughter took him up, and nourished him for her own son.

And when he was cast out.

This makes it seem like his parents threw him into the river (Nile), which would be hard to even imagine. Actually, the Bible has all the details: his mother realizing she couldn’t keep him any longer without someone seeing him or hearing him cry, made an ark of bulrushes, daubed with slime and pitch, and placed him in it; and then she laid it in the flags, by the river's bank, and told his sister Miriam to watch from a distance until she could report what happened to him (Exodus 2:3[16]).

Pharaoh's daughter took him up.

This princess had come down to the river to wash; as she and her maidens were walking along the river bank, she saw the ark in which the baby was laid, lying among the flags. She ordered one of her maids to bring it to her; and he was saved by her orders, his rescue is attributed to her. When she opened the ark, she was struck at once with the loveliness of the babe, and being filled immediately with compassion for him, she took him to raise as her own. Her name, according to Josephus, was “Thermuthis,” but she is commonly called “Bithiah” by the Jews.

And nourished him for her own son.

You would think she would take the child to the king's palace, but that’s not the case, and again the Bible has the details. Miriam, Moses’ sister, saw the whole thing, and realizing that Pharaoh's daughter wanted to take care of the child, she offered to find a Hebrew nurse, to nurse the child for her; to which she agreed. Then Miriam brought her own and the child's mother to the princes, who agreed to nurse him for a wage. She nursed him for her; and when he was grown, she brought Moses to her, and she adopted him for her son (Exodus 2:6-10[17]). Hebrews 11:24 appears to confirm that she did adopt him: “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter.” It is implied in this that he was educated by her. An adopted son in the family of Pharaoh would be favored with all the advantages which the land could furnish for an education.

22 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.

And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians.

He was brought up as the son of Pharaoh's daughter (Hebrews 11:24[18]) and as a member of the royal family he would have the best education money could buy. We know from the research done by the Egyptologists that in Moses’ day there were great universities for the education of all who were expected to engage in public employment. The passage does not express the fact that Moses was distinguished for "learning," but only that he was thoroughly "educated," or that pains were taken to make him so.

“In all the wisdom,” suggests that his education was diverse and included all the areas of study offered at the time; but the learning of the Egyptians, who were, at that time the most intelligent and best educated people in the universe, was confined chiefly to astrology, the interpretation of dreams, medicine, philosophy, hieroglyphics, arithmetic, geometry, and every branch of music, the Assyrian language, and their sacred science or traditional doctrines of religion. Since Moses received his education at Pharaoh’s court, he had the opportunity of improving himself with the best books, tutors, and conversation, in all the arts and sciences. Their learning is mentioned frequently in the Scriptures (1 Kings 4:30[19]; Isaiah 19:11-12[20]). Their knowledge is equally celebrated in the pagan world. It is known that science was carried from Egypt to Phoenicia, and from there to Greece; and many of the Grecian philosophers traveled to Egypt in pursuit of knowledge. Herodotus himself frankly concedes that the Greeks derived very much of their knowledge from Egypt.

Although he stammered and couldn’t speak clearly, he spoke good sense, and everything he said commanded agreement, and carried its own evidence and force of reason along with it.

And was mighty in words.

“And was mighty,” suggests he was powerful, or distinguished. This means that he was an important and well-known person in Egypt before he brought the children of Israel out of Egypt. It may also indicate that in addition to his learning, he was blessed with a commanding personality, and that he was apt to attempt influencing others in great and weighty matters. He had a command of language, and a large vocabulary, and could speak properly and could speak on any subject. His one fault seems to be that he was slow of speech (Exodus 4:10[21]), and might have stuttered when speaking, yet he had good diction, and a masculine style of delivery.

When it is said that he was “mighty in words,” it may mean that he was mighty in his communications to Pharaoh, though his words were spoken by his brother Aaron. Aaron took his place, and "Moses" addressed Pharaoh through him, when he delivered the message recorded in Exodus 4:11-16[22].

And in deeds.

“And in deeds” probably refers to unrecorded events in his early life. Josephus tells of an incident involving Moses as the general of an Egyptian army, when he defeated the Ethiopians, who had invaded Egypt, driving them back into their own country, and taking Saba their capital. But this, like many other tales of the historian, lacks tangible evidence. Deeds may also refer to the miracles recorded in Exodus 7, which had to be performed before Pharaoh allowed the children of Israel to leave Egypt.

23 And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel.

And when he was full forty years old.

Scripture is silent about the age of Moses at this time; it only says, “It came to pass in those days when Moses was grown” (Exodus 2:11); but Steven simply states the view point of Jewish tradition. In verses 23, 30, and 36 of this chapter the life of Moses is represented as embracing three periods, of forty years each—"forty" years in the palace of Pharaoh, forty years in Midian, and he served Israel for forty years. The Jewish writers say the same; and his age at death of one hundred twenty years (Deuteronomy 34:7[23]), also agrees with it.

It came into his heart to visit his brethren.

It is very likely that Moses knew the children of Israel were his brethren, partly because it was common knowledge in Pharaoh's court, and partly from the sign of circumcision, but chiefly from divine revelation. For years he had lived a courtly and military life as a prince of Egypt, and had taken no notice of the oppression of the Israelites; but now the Lord placed in his heart a burning desire to visit them, and observe their circumstances; and though he could not openly exercise his authority on their behalf, yet Philo the Jew says that he urged the officers to be lenient with them. And he comforted and encouraged the Israelites to bear their burdens with patience and faithfulness, and not give up hope; suggesting, that things would turn around, and would change for the better in time. It appears from verse 25 that he had in mind delivering them from their oppressive bondage, which increased his desire to know his brethren better. This desire seems to have been infused early into his mind by the Spirit of God; and the effect of this desire was manifested in his refusing to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter (Hebrews 11:2418), and thereby renouncing all right to the Egyptian crown, choosing rather to endure hardship with the people of God rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.

24 And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian:

And seeing one of them suffer wrong.

“One of them” refers to "one of his brethren" or another Hebrew, as it is reported in Exodus 2:11—“One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people.” The wrong or injury was that the Egyptian, probably one of the taskmasters, was smiting the Hebrew. Moses didn’t come upon this scene by chance, but since God had appointed him to be the deliverer of his people, He may have caused this conflict in order to give him a demonstration of Egyptian persecution and to make a beginning of his deliverance.

He defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed.

He was moved with compassion for the poor man who was vainly attempting to shield himself from the blows of the officer, and with just indignation at the wrong-doer “He defended him,” which implies that he took his part, and shielded him from the insults and blows of the officer, and “avenged” or retaliated for the hurt done to the Hebrew.

Stephen makes it clear that Moses did not react recklessly, but did that which seemed to come natural to him as the appointed deliverer of his people, knowing he was called for that purpose.

And smote the Egyptian.

“And smote the Egyptian” means that he killed him; whether he used his fists or his sword is unknown. Exodus 2:12 says, “Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.” The fact that he looked around to see if there were any witnesses and saw no one indicates that he thought he would get away with it. It would be unlawful for Moses to slay the Egyptian, regardless of how wicked he had been, if the Lord had not put the sword in his hand, according to the merit of his calling. With this incident, Stephen meant to show that Moses was even then the minister of deliverance of his people, according to the covenant made with Abraham.

25 For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not.

For he supposed his brethren would have understood him.

Moses may have thought that since the Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he was chosen to be their deliverer, that the same Spirit would have enlightened his brethren in a similar way. He may also have felt that the act of justice which he had just performed in behalf of his oppressed countryman would be enough to show them that he was now ready to lead them and deliver them from Egyptian cruelty.

How that God by his hand would deliver them.

The Hebrews knew that God had promised to visit them in their affliction and deliver them, therefore Moses didn’t believe his brethren would report that he killed the Egyptian, but instead look upon it as the beginning of God’s fulfilling His pledge to deliver them, and that he would be the instrument their deliverance.

But they understood not.

Either they did not understand him, or they did not understand that he was to be their deliverer, or that his killing of the Egyptian was a sign that their deliverance was near. This furnishes Stephen with another example of Israel's slowness to see God at work in their lives and to respond in obedience to His acts of love.

26 And the next day he shewed himself unto them as they strove , and would have set them at one again, saying , Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another?

And the next day he showed himself to them, as they strove.

“And the next day” means that this particular incident occurred the day after he killed the Egyptian (Exodus 2:13-15[24]). Stephen explains that Moses returned to the Hebrew camp, where he saw two Hebrew men in a heated argument with one another. He was upset by the spectacle, so he approached the men in hope of mediating the matter, and let them know who he was.

And would have set them at one again.

He wanted to resolve the matter and make peace between them, which meant he must first determine who was in the wrong, and next convince that one to see things as they really are. Then hopefully they would make peace and be good friends again.

Saying, sirs, ye are brethren.

This is very much like what Abraham said to Lot, when there was a conflict between their herdsmen (Genesis 13:8[25]). The two men were brethren both by belonging to the same nation and by professing the same religion. Perhaps Moses put on an air of majesty and authority, which he could legitimately do as a prince of Egypt, in order to determine the nature of their squabble—“Ye are brethren”—You belong not only to the same nation, but you are brethren and companions in hardship, and should not, therefore, argue with each other. One of the saddest scenes in the world is where those who are poor, and suffering, and oppressed, add to all their other misfortunes quarrels and fighting among themselves. Yet it is from this group that disputes and lawsuits usually arise. The scolding (or, lecture) which Moses directs to the contending Jews might be applied to the whole human family considering the disputes and wars of today’s nations: "Ye are ‘brethren,’ and members of the same great family, and why do you contend with each other?" It is very difficult to regain a friend that you have offended (Proverbs 18:19[26]).

Why do ye wrong one to another?

Why do you call each other insulting names, or assault one another; or make threats, and raise your hand as if to strike a blow. Moses may have observed that (as in most conflicts) there was fault on both sides; and therefore, in order to make peace and restore their friendship, there must be a mutual reduction of hostilities and arrogance.

When Moses was Israel’s deliverer out of Egypt, he slew the Egyptians at the Red Sea, and delivered Israel out of their hands; but, when he was Israel’s judge and lawgiver, he ruled them with the golden scepter, not the iron rod; he did not kill them when they fought with one another, but gave them excellent laws and statutes, and fairly decided their complaints and the appeals made to him (Ex. 18:16[27]).

27 But he that did his neighbour wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us?

But he that did his neighbour wrong.

The Jews say the man who spoke was the same person whom Moses had defended the day before. He appears to have been filled with rage and emotion, and that he rejected all interference, and all attempts at making peace. It is usually the man who is in the wrong that is unwilling to be reconciled; moreover, when we find a man that regards the pleas of his friends as offensive interference, when he becomes increasingly angry when we urge him to make peace, it is usually a strong indication that he is aware that he has been at fault. If we wish to reconcile the parties, we should go first to the man that has been injured. In the controversy between God and man, it is the "sinner" who has done the wrong that is unwilling to be reconciled, and not God.

Thrust him away.

The man who was most in the wrong, pushed him away, because he could not bear the scolding, even though it was a just and gentle on.,

From them.

When he made a move to part them.

Saying, who made thee a ruler and a judge over us?

If the man who spoke was the same man Moses had rescued from the Egyptian the day before, he was being very disrespectful, since Moses did not attempt to judge him, but only to encourage him to make peace with his brother Jew. Essentially, he said to Moses, “What right do you have to interfere in this matter?” This is not an unusual response, when a man attempts to prevent quarrels.

28 Wilt thou kill me, as thou diddest the Egyptian yesterday?

Moses thought that no one had seen him kill the Egyptian, but when he heard him say, “Are you going to kill me as you did the Egyptian,” he knew he was mistaken (Exodus 2:12[28]); that is, unless this was the same man he had defended or that man had made the incident public. But how he knew Moses did it is not revealed, so we can only speculate. The words were very viciously flung at Moses, as if he purposely intended to publish the affair, and to put Moses’ life in danger. It must have caused Moses to fear for his life, since he immediately fled into the land of Midian, and made no further attempts to deliver Israel until forty years later.

29 Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Madian, where he begat two sons.

Then fled Moses at this saying.

The incident was soon carried to Pharaoh’s court, and when it was told to Pharaoh he wanted to kill Moses (Exodus 2:15[29]). The Jews tell a very wonderful story about what happened next. They say, “Moses was arrested and put in prison, and delivered into the hands of an executioner to be put to death; but God wrought a miracle for him; he made his neck as hard as a pillar of marble, and the sword upon striking Moses’ neck ricocheted and cut the neck of the executioner, and he died; and God sent Michael, the prince, in the likeness of the executioner, who took Moses by the hand, and led him out of Egypt, and left him at the borders of it, the distance of three days' journey.” But the truth of the matter is just as Stephen relates; he fled as soon as he heard the above words, because he knew his life was in great danger.

And was a stranger in the land of Madian.

“Was a stranger” implies he became a sojourner; one who had a temporary dwelling in the land and did not expect to make that his permanent dwelling. The location of Madian (Midian) is unknown, but several sites have been proposed for it, such as:

1. Josephus says, “It lay near the Red sea, and took its name from one of the sons of Abraham by Keturah.”

2. Philo the Jew says, “It was on the borders of Arabia.”

3. Jerom says, “It was near Arnon and Areopolis, the ruins of which only were shown in his days.”

4. "This would seem," says Gesenius, "to have been a tract of country extending from the eastern shore of the Elanitic Gulf to the region of Moab on the one hand, and to the vicinity of Mount Sinai on the other. The people were nomadic in their habits, and moved often from place to place."

“The land of Madian” was most likely a part of Arabia. This was to a great extent a desert region, an unknown land, and Moses expected to be safe from Pharaoh there. Here he sojourned for many years with Jethro the priest of that place.

Where he begat two sons.

While living in Madian, two sons were born to him by Zipporah, Jethro’s daughter; their names were Gershom and Eliezer (Exodus 18:1-3[30]).

30 And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush.

Stephen continues with his abbreviated story of Moses; let those proud men of the Sanhedrin judge whether these are the words of a man that was a blasphemer of Moses or not; nothing could be spoken more honorably of him than what is said here.

And when forty years were expired.

“Forty years were expired” (or, had passed), since Moses had fled from Pharaoh’s wrath. He spent those years shepherding Jethro’s flock in Midian. According to the Jewish writers, and tradition, “he was forty years in Pharaoh's court, and forty years in Midian; so that he was now four score years of age (80 years).” His age is not specifically mentioned by Moses; it is said, however, to have been after the king of Egypt had died (Exodus 2:23[31]); and this tradition is not improbable.

There appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai.

There appears to be some disagreement concerning the name of this mountain, which I wish to share with you:

1. Here Stephen calls it Mount Sinai. Josephus calls this mountain by the same name as Stephen does, when he is reciting the same history.

2. Jerom made this comment: "Horeb is the Mount of God in the land of Midian, by Mount Sinai, above Arabia, in the desert, to which is joined the mountain and desert of the Saracenes, called Pharan: but to me it seems, that the same mountain was called by two names, sometimes Sinai, and sometimes Horeb.

3. Some think the same mountain had two peaks, and one peak went by one name, and the other peak by another name; or one side of the mountain was called Horeb, due to its being dry and desolate; and the other Sinai, because of the bushes and brambles which grew upon it. Some say the stones of this mountain, when broken, had the resemblance of bramble bushes in them.

4. R. Eliezer says “From the day the heavens and the earth were created, the name of this mountain was called Horeb; but after the holy blessed God appeared to Moses out of the midst of the bush, from the name of the bush "(Seneh)", Horeb was called Sinai.''

In Exodus 3:1[32] it says that this incident occurred at Mount "Horeb." But there is no contradiction; Horeb and Sinai are different peaks or elevations of the same mountain. They are represented as springing from the same base, and branching out in different elevations. The mountains, according to Burckhardt, are a prodigious pile, comprehending many peaks, and about thirty miles in diameter. From the part of this mountain called Sinai, the Law was given to the children of Israel. This is the highest mountain in that country.

Moses, at this time was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, in the desert adjacent to Mount Sinai, where there was good pasture; but none of the other shepherds dared to go there, because it was commonly believed the Divine Being dwelt there.

An angel of the Lord.

“An angel of the Lord” signifies a "messenger,” and is applied to the invisible spirits in heaven, to people, to the winds, to the pestilence, or to whatever is appointed as a messenger "to make known" or to execute the will of God. The word “angel,” therefore, denotes nothing about the "nature" of the messenger. That "title" might be applied to any messenger, even an inanimate object. The nature and character of this messenger are to be determined by other considerations. The word may denote that the "bush on fire" was the messenger. But a comparison with the other places where this occurs will show that it was a heavenly messenger, and perhaps that it was the Messiah who was yet to come, appearing to take the people of Israel under his own care and guidance. Observe, in John 1:11[33], the Jews are called "his own." In Exodus 3:2[34], it is said that the angel of the Lord appeared in a flame of fire; in Exodus 3:4[35] it is said that Yahweh spake to him out of the midst of the bush; language which implies that God was there, and which is strong evidence in support of the doctrine that the angel was Yahweh. In Exodus, God says, “For mine Angel shall go before thee. . . . Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee. . . and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite” (Exodus 23:23; 32:34; 33:2). This angel is depicted as an extraordinary messenger sent to conduct them to the land of Canaan. After Luke called him an angel, he related that He said: “I am the God of Abraham,” etc. (v. 32). His words signify that He is the eternal God, who alone is, and in whom all things have their being. We must, therefore, consider that this was the essence of God; it could not have been an angel. All these circumstances seem to point to the conclusion that this was none other than the future deliverer of the world, the second person in the Trinity, the Son of God, the angel of the divine presence, and of the covenant, who came then to take his people under his own guidance and care. The angel of the Lord who appeared to Moses beside the mountain was the Son of God. Paul, in the 10th chapter of First Corinthians (1 Corinthians 10:4[36]) affirmed that Christ was that guide.

In a flame of fire in a bush.

“In a flame of fire,” or as some say, what appeared to be a flame of fire. The "bush" seemed to be on fire, or to be illuminated with a special splendor. God is often represented as covered with this splendor, or glory (Luke 2:9[37]; also see Matthew 17:1-5; Acts 9:3; Acts 12:7.).

At this point there is something that needs to be clarified: that there was never since the beginning any communication between God and men, except by Christ; because we can have nothing to do with God, unless the Mediator is present to purchase His favor for us. It is undeniable, that God never did appear to men as he really is, but under the guise of some shape agreeable to their comprehension of Him. There is another reason why Christ is the presence in the bush; because he was appointed by the eternal counsel of God to be the minister of salvation for men, and He appeared to Moses in order to save His people, Israel. This agrees with that which is written in the 2nd chapter to the Hebrews (Hebrews 2:16[38]), that Christ never took the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham; because, although he took upon Him the shape of an angel for a time, yet he never took the nature of angels, as He did take upon Himself or was made very man.

31 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,

When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight.

It would not be an extraordinary sight to see a bush on fire, and it probably would not be enough to cause Moses to leave his sheep to investigate. But, here was something he had never seen before, a bush that burned, but was not consumed. And what was even more wonderful, was that an angel of the Lord, or the Lord himself appeared in it and spoke to him, though this part had not yet happened, only the former part.

The scene struck him with wonder, and excited his curiosity, since it was a phenomenon which all his Egyptian learning could not explain. Until the Lord spoke, he may have thought that Satan was behind it, since he is a master of deception going about to see whom he can destroy. He takes on many strange forms, even pretending to be God, and he fools many good men; in olden times he deluded the nations. Today, he uses cults, faith healers, name it and claim it preachers, modernism, progressivism, etc., and he has been very successful.


And as he drew near to behold it.

He wanted to satisfy his curiosity; to find out the reason why a bush that was on fire was not burnt. As he got closer, the Lord may have touched him with a feeling of His presence, which is something that Satan cannot imitate. There is no doubt that the Holy Spirit imprints on our minds certain marks and tokens of God’s presence.

He had the curiosity at first to look into it; but the closer he got the more he was struck with amazement; and he trembled, and dared not look at it, because he soon became aware that it was not a fiery meteor, but the angel of the Lord; and none other than the Angel of the covenant, the Son of God himself. This made him tremble, as it would anyone who sees an angel. Stephen was accused for blaspheming Moses and God (Acts 6:11[39]), as if Moses had been a little god; but from this it appears that he was a man, subject to the same feelings as we are, and particularly that feeling of fear that comes upon a man at any appearance of the divine majesty and glory.

The voice of the Lord came unto him.

The Lord spoke to him from the midst of the bush. He did not see him. He merely heard a voice.

God’s appearance to Moses at the burning bush is important to Stephen, because it shows that God’s presence is not limited to the temple. God is bigger than the temple, and Moses did not need the temple to be close to God.

32 Saying, I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Then Moses trembled , and durst not behold .

Saying, I am the God of thy fathers.

“I am the God of thy fathers,” who made a covenant with them, promised the land of Canaan to them and to their posterity, and to bring the children of Israel out of their servitude and bondage, and into the possession of the Promised Land. Now we see the purpose of the vision given to Moses; namely, so that the word of God might have his [its] authority. Visions alone would do little good, unless they are accompanied by doctrine; since doctrine is the cause and purpose of all visions.

The God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.

There may be a couple of reasons for why He called himself “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” First, He gives himself titles which enhance our comprehension of him and bring His word to our remembrance. Second, He is called the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because he committed unto them the doctrine of salvation, and that through them and their descendents He might be known to the world. But God had in mind the present circumstance of his people when he spoke to Moses on this occasion, since both this vision, and the hope of the delivery of the people, and the commandment which he was about to give to Moses, depend upon the covenant which he had made in the past with the fathers.

Then Moses trembled.

Moses was afraid. This might seem to be ridiculous, that a voice full of consolation terrifies Moses instead of making him glad; but it was proper for Moses to be terrified in the presence of God, since that might create within him an attitude of great reverence. It wasn’t only the voice of God that assailed his mind, but his majesty, which he saw in the sign of the burning bush. And would it really be peculiar for a man to be afraid when he sees God; and especially, let’s remember that men's minds are prepared for fear and reverence by miracles, signs and wonders as in Exodus 20:22[40]. In Hebrews we are given the account of Moses trembling and quaking at the same mount, when the law was given (Hebrews 12:21[41]).

But someone will ask, “Why is Moses so afraid now, when he was not afraid to draw near before?” I would answer, that the nearer we draw unto God, the more of his glory will appear, and the more afraid we become, and rightly so. And God made Moses afraid so that he would be obedient to him. This fear was a preparation for the great boldness Moses would need for what came next: “Put off thy shoes from thy feet”; he is told to do this as a sign of reverence prior to him receiving the command of God (Exodus 3:6[42]).

And durst not behold.

The Lord orders Moses not to look at either "the sight" of the burning bush, or Him; that is, God.

33 Then said the Lord to him, Put off thy shoes from thy feet: for the place where thou standest is holy ground.

Then said the Lord to him.

“Then said the Lord to him,” that is, to Moses, who through curiosity had come to close to the burning bush and the presence of God. In Exodus 3 this is presented in a different order than it is here; it is said “before” God said, "I am the God," etc. (Exodus 3:5-6[43]).

Put off thy shoes from thy feet.

“To put off the shoes”; or sandals, was an act of reverence, humility, and obedience (Joshua 5:15[44]). The ancients were not permitted to enter a temple or holy place with their shoes on. It was customary for the Jews to remove their shoes whenever they entered any house as a mere matter of civility. "The same custom, growing out of the same feeling," says Prof. Hackett, "is observed among the Eastern nations at the present day.” The Arabs and Turks never enter the mosques without taking off their shoes. They demand compliance with this rule from those of a different faith who visit these sacred places. Though, until recently, the Muslims excluded Christians entirely from the mosques, they now permit foreigners to enter some of them, provided they leave their shoes at the door, or exchange them for others which have not been defiled by common use.

For the place where thou standest is holy ground.

The place itself wasn’t really holy, but was made holy by the divine presence in it, and it would remain holy only as long as that presence remained. I believe we should enter the sanctuary, the place set apart for divine worship, not only with reverence in our hearts, but with every "external" indication of veneration and adoration. Solemn awe and deep seriousness enhance the sense of worship in the place set apart for the service of God (Ecclesiastes 5:1[45]).

The Lord said, “For the place where thou standest is holy ground” in order to lift up the mind of Moses into heaven, and so that he might not think upon any earthly thing, but listen to and understand what God says to him. So, the place is called holy for Moses' sake only, that he may appropriately address God, fear God, and obey Him. Considering that God does now show himself to us everywhere in Christ, and that in no vague and ambiguous way, but in the full light of perfect truth, we must not only put off our shoes from our feet, but strip ourselves stark-naked of all pride and worldly desires.

34 I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send thee into Egypt.

I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people.

The repetition of the phrase “I have seen” is a Hebraism denoting the certainty of it, and in this instance it refers to the perfect and exact knowledge the Lord acquired of the affliction of his people, and how much his heart was affected by it.

Which is in Egypt.

Moses had left his people in Egypt and fled to Midian, where he was living out his life as a shepherd and never expected God would speak to him or use him to lead his people, since he was now an old man

I have heard their groaning.

“Their groaning” refers to their crying out to God, because they were miserable due to the various oppressions and burdens placed upon them, and the cruel treatment of their taskmasters. God has a compassionate regard for the troubles of His church, and the cries of His persecuted people; and their deliverance arises out of His pity and love.

And am come down to deliver them.

“Am come down” are words meant to comply with human comprehension. It means that God was about to deliver them. It does not mean that God is going to move or change His location; God being omnipresent, and He fills all places at all times; but He intends to deliver His people by the effects of His grace and power. For a long time He did not deliver His people from their affliction, so He might seem to them to be far away, and busy in heaven with something more pressing. Now he declares that the Israelites will recognize that He is close at hand.

And now come, I will send thee into Egypt.

“I will send thee into Egypt,” that is, to Pharaoh, the king Egypt (Exodus 3:10[46]) to command him to let the children of Israel go, and to release them from their bondage. This is a simple summary of what is expressed in much greater detail in Exodus 3:7-10. God knows that once Moses understands that this is His will he will follow Him, accept His guidance, and boldly undertake the deliverance of the people.

35 This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush.

This Moses, whom they refused.

It was forty years ago that they refused Moses, therefore, it was probably not “they,” but their fathers who did it; but God attributes it to them—God frequently ascribes the sins of the fathers to those of their children who are of the same spirit. Note: God puts honor upon those whom they put contempt upon.

“Whom they refused” refers to the first time he presented himself to them (Exodus 2:13-14), “saying, who made thee a ruler and a judge.” Here, again, is a case of "the stone which the builders refused is made the head of the corner" (Psalm 118:22). Stephen may have mentioned this refusal in order to remind them that this was the character of their nation at that time, and to prepare them for the charge which he was about to bring against those whom he addressed—that they were stiff-necked and rebellious (See Acts 7:51-52). Or he may have said it in order that they might understand that the fathers were not delivered because of their godliness, but though they were entirely unworthy of this blessing it was given to them anyway.

Saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge?

“A ruler” refers to a military leader, or a governor.

Stephen, with great oratorical skill, and with his narration of God's marvelous revelation of Himself to Moses has captured their attention, and now he takes them off their guard by showing that their fathers treated Moses just as they had treated Jesus Christ; and how God in the case of Moses had chosen and magnified the very man whom they had scornfully rejected, just as they had exalted Jesus Christ to be a Prince and a Savior, but then turned against Him and crucified Him (Matthew 20:28[47]).

The same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer.

“A deliverer” is also a Redeemer—it means one who redeems a captive or a prisoner by paying a "price" or "ransom." It is applied in that respect to the Lord Jesus, who has redeemed or purchased sinners by the price of His blood (Titus 2:14[48]; Also see 1 Peter 1:18; Hebrews 9:12). It is used here, however, in a more "general" sense to denote "the deliverance," without specifying the manner (Exodus 6:6[49]; Also see Luke 24:21; Luke 1:68; Luke 2:38). Moses was an eminent type of the Messiah; and the redemption of the people of Israel out of the Egyptian bondage, by him, was symbolic of redemption from the bondage of sin, Satan, and the Law by Jesus Christ; and just as Moses had his mission and commission from God, so did Jesus Christ, as Mediator; and just as Moses was despised by his brethren, and yet was made the ruler and deliverer of them, so was Jesus despised by the Jews, yet he was made both Lord and Christ, and exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour.

Some irony is discernible in this verse, since the Jews would have obeyed Moses if he had been a tyrant appointed by Pharaoh to be a judge over them, but they disrespectfully refused him, after he was appointed by God to be their deliverer; therefore, they were wicked; and by rejecting grace, they were unthankful.

Moses did deliver his people and was given the honorable title of “deliverer,” but God does not give to man that honor which is owed to Him, nor does He lose any of His authority by when He does it. No doubt, Moses was called a redeemer or deliverer only because he was the minister of God. And therefore, the honor and glory accorded the whole work of deliverance belongs entirely to God. It is often the case that men are given the titles which belong to God, but God himself is not robbed of His honor; but because the work is done by their hands, their reward is the praise of men.

By the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush.

“By the hand” means “by the power.” Moses was sent "by the power of the angel, which appeared to him in the bush"; and the One said here to be an angel was the second person in the Godhead; the Father sent him by the Son, not as an instrument, but having power and authority over him, to govern, direct, and assist him. In other words, God sent Moses along with Christ to be used by Him to deliver the people of Israel. By this means Moses is made subject to Christ, so that under His control and direction he may obey God. “By the hand of the angel” means to show how very close and intimate that guidance was, since “hand” is used here for “principality.” God used the service of Moses in this way—that the power of Christ directed and empowered him. He is doing the same thing today—He uses the ministry of men to whom He gives direction and help.

36 He brought them out, after that he had shewed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years.

He brought them out.

The person they had rejected [Moses whom they refused, saying, “Who made thee a ruler and a judge, etc.—Here, again, "the stone which the builders refused is made the head of the corner" (Ps 118:22).], and, virtually, delivered into the hands of Pharaoh to be killed, was the person who redeemed them from their Egyptian bondage. Stephen will use this example of Moses so that he can openly say to the council, that the very person, Jesus Christ, whom they had rejected and delivered into the hands of Pilate to be crucified, was the only person by whom they could be delivered out of their spiritual bondage, and made partakers of the heavenly inheritance which comes to all Christ’s saints. No doubt they felt that this was the gist of his speech. Stephen made his application with great force. If his hearers failed to see the point, Acts 7:37 makes it clear.

After that he had shown wonders and signs in the land of Egypt.

He brought them out of Egypt after he had wrought wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, the very last of which convinced Pharaoh to let them go. It was the most severe, taking the life of all the first born in the land. Afterwards “wonders and signs” continued at the Red Sea and for forty years of wandering in the wilderness, whenever they were needed to protect or sustain the children of God. It is clear from this and what he said before that their charge that he blasphemed Moses was groundless. He was so far from that that he appears to admire him as a glorious instrument in the hand of God for the forming of the Old-Testament church. And it doesn’t at all detract from his dignity and honor to say that he was only an instrument, and that he is surpassed by Jesus (Acts 2:22[50]), whom he encourages these Jews to accept for who He truly is, and receive from Him redemption from sin, just as the people of Israel were delivered by Moses, though they had refused him at first.

Moses did many signs and wonders, such as turning his rod into a serpent, and his rod swallowing up the rods of the Egyptians, and the ten plagues, which were inflicted on Pharaoh, and his people, and the destruction of the Egyptian army by drowning in the Red Sea.

And in the Red sea.

The destruction of Pharaoh and his army is an incident that anyone who ever attended a Sunday School class has heard about and may know the story, since it is popular with children, along with the stories of Noah’s ark, Samson killing the lion, David and Goliath, etc. If you are a little fuzzy on the Red Sea deliverance, I will remind you that God caused the water to divide, so that the people of Israel went through it as if they were walking on dry ground, but when Pharaoh and his army attempted to do the same thing they were drowned. [The story is found in Exodus 14.] This sea is called the Red sea, not from the natural color of the water, which is the same as other seas; nor from the way it appears when seen through the rays of the sun, or the shade of the nearby red mountains. The name comes from Erythrus, to whom it formerly belonged, and whose name signifies red. It is called “Suph” in the Hebrew tongue on account of the weeds that grew in it.

And in the wilderness forty years.

There were wonders and miracles wrought in the wilderness for the people, such as providing food for them—manna came daily (except on the Sabbath) along with flesh, in a miraculous manner; water came from a rock; they were preserved from their enemies, when at last they were brought out of the wilderness and into the land of Canaan, by Joshua (See Exodus 16 and 17).

End of Part 2

[1] When Jacob had finished giving instructions to his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.

[2]So Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten. And after they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin in Egypt.

[3] And Joseph's bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. This became the inheritance of Joseph's descendants.

[4] So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph.

[5] Abraham agreed to Ephron's terms and weighed out for him the price he had named in the hearing of the Hittites: four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weight current among the merchants. So Ephron's field in Machpelah near Mamre—both the field and the cave in it, and all the trees within the borders of the field—was deeded to Abraham as his property in the presence of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of the city.

[6] For a hundred pieces of silver, he bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem, the plot of ground where he pitched his tent.

[7] Then the LORD said to him, "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions.”

[8] But the Israelites were fruitful and multiplied greatly and became exceedingly numerous, so that the land was filled with them. Then a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt. "Look," he said to his people, "the Israelites have become much too numerous for us. Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country." So they put slave masters over them to oppress them. . .”

[9] But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites

[10] Then a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt.

[11] So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh.

[12] Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country."

[13] Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: "Every boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live."

[14] When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh's daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, "I drew him out of the water."

[15] And she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months.

[16] But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile.

[17] She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. "This is one of the Hebrew babies," she said. Then his sister asked Pharaoh's daughter, "Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?" "Yes, go," she answered. And the girl went and got the baby's mother. Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you." So the woman took the baby and nursed him. When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh's daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, "I drew him out of the water."

[18] By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter.

[19] Solomon's wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the men of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt.

[20] The officials of Zoan are nothing but fools; the wise counselors of Pharaoh give senseless advice. How can you say to Pharaoh, "I am one of the wise men, a disciple of the ancient kings"? Where are your wise men now? Let them show you and make known what the LORD Almighty has planned against Egypt.

[21] Moses said to the LORD, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue."

[22] The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say." But Moses said, "O Lord, please send someone else to do it." Then the LORD's anger burned against Moses and he said, "What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and his heart will be glad when he sees you. You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him.

[23] Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone.

[24] The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, "Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?" The man said, "Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?" Then Moses was afraid and thought, "What I did must have become known." When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well.

[25] And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.

[26] A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.

[27] When they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws.

[28] And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.

[29] Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well.

[30] When Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses' father in law, heard of all that God had done for Moses, and for Israel his people, and that the LORD had brought Israel out of Egypt; Then Jethro, Moses' father in law , took Zipporah, Moses' wife, after he had sent her back, And her two sons; of which the name of the one was Gershom; for he said, I have been an alien in a strange land:

[31] And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage.

[32] Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.

[33] He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

[34] And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

[35] And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.

[36] And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

[37] And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

[38] For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.

[39] Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.

[40] And the LORD said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.

[41] And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake.

[42] Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

[43] And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

[44] And the captain of the LORD'S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so

[45] Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.

[46] So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.

[47] Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

[48] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

[49] Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments.

[50] Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.