|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:8-15 When they could not answer Stephen's arguments as a disputant, they prosecuted him as a criminal, and brought false witnesses against him. And it is next to a miracle of providence, that no greater number of religious persons have been murdered in the world, by the way of perjury and pretence of law, when so many thousands hate them, who make no conscience of false oaths. Wisdom and holiness make a man's face to shine, yet will not secure men from being treated badly. What shall we say of man, a rational being, yet attempting to uphold a religious system by false witness and murder! And this has been done in numberless instances. But the blame rests not so much upon the understanding, as upon the heart of a fallen creature, which is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Yet the servant of the Lord, possessing a clear conscience, cheerful hope, and Divine consolations, may smile in the midst of danger and death.
Verse 14. - Unto us for us, A.V. We have heard him say, etc. These false witnesses, like those who distorted our Lord's words (Matthew 26:61; John 2:19), doubtless based their accusation upon some semblance of truth. If Stephen had said anything like what Jesus said to the woman of Samaria (John 4:21) or to his disciples (Mark 13:2), or what the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews wrote (8. 13), or what St. Paul wrote to the Colossians (Colossians 2:16, 17), his words might easily be misrepresented by false witnesses, whose purpose it was to swear away his life. This Jesus of Nazareth. The phrase is most contemptuous. This (οῦτος), so often rendered in the A.V. "this fellow" (Matthew 26:61, 71; John 9:29, etc.), is of itself an opprobrious expression (comp. Acts 7:40), and the ὁ Ναζωραῖος, the Nazarene, is intended to be still more so.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For we have heard him say,.... The Ethiopic version adds, "besides"; but rather these words are a reason, giving evidence to, and supporting the general charge:
that this Jesus of Nazareth; Stephen spoke of, and whom they so called by way of contempt:
shall destroy this place; meaning the temple, as the Ethiopic version renders it; and is the same charge, the false witnesses at Christ's examination brought against him:
and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us; that is, the rites, ceremonies, institutions, and appointments of the Mosaic dispensation; and yet this is no other, than what the Jews themselves say will be done, in the times of the Messiah; for they assert (p), that
"awbl dytel, "in time to come" (i.e. in the days of the Messiah) all sacrifices shall cease, but the sacrifice of thanksgiving.''
(p) Vajikra Rabba, sect. 9. fol. 153. 1. & sect. 27. fol. 168. 4.
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