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1"Is this true?" the high priest asked.

2"Brothers and fathers," he said, "listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he settled in Haran,

3and said to him: Get out of your country and away from your relatives, and come to the land that I will show you.

4"Then he came out of the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. And from there, after his father died, God had him move to this land in which you now live.

5He didn't give him an inheritance in it, not even a foot of ground, but He promised to give it to him as a possession, and to his descendants after him, even though he was childless.

6God spoke in this way: His descendants would be strangers in a foreign country, and they would enslave and oppress them for 400 years.

7I will judge the nation that they will serve as slaves, God said. After this, they will come out and worship Me in this place.

8Then He gave him the covenant of circumcision. This being so, he fathered Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day; Isaac did the same with Jacob, and Jacob with the 12 patriarchs.

9"The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt, but God was with him

10and rescued him out of all his troubles. He gave him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who appointed him governor over Egypt and over his whole household.

11Then a famine came over all of Egypt and Canaan, with great suffering, and our forefathers could find no food.

12When Jacob heard there was grain in Egypt, he sent our forefathers the first time.

13The second time, Joseph was revealed to his brothers, and Joseph's family became known to Pharaoh.

14Joseph then invited his father Jacob and all his relatives, 75 people in all,

15and Jacob went down to Egypt. He and our forefathers died there,

16were carried back to Shechem, and were placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of silver from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.

17"As the time was drawing near to fulfill the promise that God had made to Abraham, the people flourished and multiplied in Egypt

18until a different king ruled over Egypt who did not know Joseph.

19He dealt deceitfully with our race and oppressed our forefathers by making them leave their infants outside so they wouldn't survive.

20At this time Moses was born, and he was beautiful before God. He was nursed in his father's home three months,

21and when he was left outside, Pharaoh's daughter adopted and raised him as her own son.

22So Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was powerful in his speech and actions.

23"As he was approaching the age of 40, he decided to visit his brothers, the sons of Israel.

24When he saw one of them being mistreated, he came to his rescue and avenged the oppressed man by striking down the Egyptian.

25He assumed his brothers would understand that God would give them deliverance through him, but they did not understand.

26The next day he showed up while they were fighting and tried to reconcile them peacefully, saying, 'Men, you are brothers. Why are you mistreating each other?'

27"But the one who was mistreating his neighbor pushed him away, saying: Who appointed you a ruler and a judge over us?

28Do you want to kill me, the same way you killed the Egyptian yesterday?

29"At this disclosure, Moses fled and became an exile in the land of Midian, where he fathered two sons.

30After 40 years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the desert of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning bush.

31When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight. As he was approaching to look at it, the voice of the Lord came:

32I am the God of your forefathers--the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. So Moses began to tremble and did not dare to look.

33"Then the Lord said to him: Take the sandals off your feet, because the place where you are standing is holy ground.

34I have certainly seen the oppression of My people in Egypt; I have heard their groaning and have come down to rescue them. And now, come, I will send you to Egypt.

35"This Moses, whom they rejected when they said, Who appointed you a ruler and a judge? --this one God sent as a ruler and a redeemer by means of the angel who appeared to him in the bush.

36This man led them out and performed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, at the Red Sea, and in the desert for 40 years.

37"This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel, God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your brothers.

38He is the one who was in the congregation in the desert together with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our forefathers. He received living oracles to give to us.

39Our forefathers were unwilling to obey him, but pushed him away, and in their hearts turned back to Egypt.

40They told Aaron: Make us gods who will go before us. As for this Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we don't know what's become of him.

41They even made a calf in those days, offered sacrifice to the idol, and were celebrating what their hands had made.

42Then God turned away and gave them up to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets: Did you bring Me offerings and sacrifices for 40 years in the desert, O house of Israel?

43No, you took up the tent of Moloch and the star of your god Rephan, the images that you made to worship. So I will deport you beyond Babylon!

44"Our forefathers had the tabernacle of the testimony in the desert, just as He who spoke to Moses commanded him to make it according to the pattern he had seen.

45Our forefathers in turn received it and with Joshua brought it in when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before our fathers, until the days of David.

46He found favor in God's sight and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob.

47But it was Solomon who built Him a house.

48However, the Most High does not dwell in sanctuaries made with hands, as the prophet says:

49Heaven is My throne, and earth My footstool. What sort of house will you build for Me? says the Lord, or what is My resting place?

50Did not My hand make all these things?

51"You stiff-necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are always resisting the Holy Spirit; as your forefathers did, so do you.

52Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They even killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become.

53You received the law under the direction of angels and yet have not kept it."

54When they heard these things, they were enraged in their hearts and gnashed their teeth at him.

55But Stephen, filled by the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven. He saw God's glory, with Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said,

56"Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!"

57Then they screamed at the top of their voices, stopped their ears, and rushed together against him.

58They threw him out of the city and began to stone him. And the witnesses laid their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul.

59They were stoning Stephen as he called out: "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!"

60Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin!" And saying this, he fell asleep.


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