Acts 7:2
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
To this he replied: "Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Harran.

New Living Translation
This was Stephen's reply: "Brothers and fathers, listen to me. Our glorious God appeared to our ancestor Abraham in Mesopotamia before he settled in Haran.

English Standard Version
And Stephen said: “Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran,

Berean Study Bible
And Stephen declared: "Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran,

Berean Literal Bible
And he began to speak: "Men, brothers, and fathers, listen! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham, being in Mesopotamia, before his dwelling in Haran,

New American Standard Bible
And he said, "Hear me, brethren and fathers! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran,

King James Bible
And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran,

Holman Christian Standard Bible
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,

International Standard Version
Stephen replied: "Listen, brothers and fathers! "The glorious God appeared to our ancestor Abraham while he was in Mesopotamia before he settled in Haran.

NET Bible
So he replied, "Brothers and fathers, listen to me. The God of glory appeared to our forefather Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he settled in Haran,

New Heart English Bible
He said, "Brothers and fathers, listen. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran,

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
But he said, “Men, brothers and fathers, listen; The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Bayth-Nahrayn, when he had not come to dwell in Haran,

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Stephen answered, "Brothers and fathers, listen to me. The God who reveals his glory appeared to our ancestor Abraham in Mesopotamia. This happened before Abraham lived in Haran.

New American Standard 1977
And he said, “Hear me, brethren and fathers! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran,

Jubilee Bible 2000
And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken. The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran,

King James 2000 Bible
And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran,

American King James Version
And he said, Men, brothers, and fathers, listen; The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelled in Charran,

American Standard Version
And he said, Brethren and fathers, hearken: The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran,

Douay-Rheims Bible
Who said: Ye men, brethren, and fathers, hear. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charan.

Darby Bible Translation
And he said, Brethren and fathers, hearken. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran,

English Revised Version
And he said, Brethren and fathers, hearken. The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran,

Webster's Bible Translation
And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran,

Weymouth New Testament
The reply of Stephen was, "Sirs--brethren and fathers--listen to me. God Most Glorious appeared to our forefather Abraham when he was living in Mesopotamia, before he settled in Haran,

World English Bible
He said, "Brothers and fathers, listen. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran,

Young's Literal Translation
and he said, 'Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken: The God of the glory did appear to our father Abraham, being in Mesopotamia, before his dwelling in Haran,
Study Bible
Stephen's Address to the Sanhedrin
1Then the high priest asked Stephen, “Are these charges true?” 2And Stephen declared: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, 3and told him, ‘Leave your country and your kindred and go to the land I will show you.’…
Cross References
Genesis 11:31
Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife; and they went out together from Ur of the Chaldeans in order to enter the land of Canaan; and they went as far as Haran, and settled there.

Genesis 15:7
And He said to him, "I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it."

Psalm 24:7
Lift up your heads, O gates, And be lifted up, O ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in!

Psalm 29:3
The voice of the LORD is upon the waters; The God of glory thunders, The LORD is over many waters.

Isaiah 37:12
Did the gods of those nations which my fathers have destroyed deliver them, even Gozan and Haran and Rezeph and the sons of Eden who were in Telassar?

Acts 7:1
Then the high priest asked Stephen, "Are these charges true?"

Acts 22:1
"Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense before you."

1 Corinthians 2:8
None of the rulers of this age understood it. For if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

Ephesians 1:17
and asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in your knowledge of Him.

Hebrews 11:8
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, without knowing where he was going.
Treasury of Scripture

And he said, Men, brothers, and fathers, listen; The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelled in Charran,

Men.

Acts 22:1 Men, brothers, and fathers, hear you my defense which I make now to you.

Acts 23:7 And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees …

The God.

Psalm 24:7,10 Lift up your heads, O you gates; and be you lift up, you everlasting …

Psalm 29:3 The voice of the LORD is on the waters: the God of glory thunders: …

Isaiah 6:3 And one cried to another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD …

Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For your …

Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld his glory…

John 12:41 These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spoke of him.

2 Corinthians 4:4-6 In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which …

Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the …

Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his …

Revelation 4:11 You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for …

Revelation 5:12,13 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive …

appeared.

Genesis 12:1 Now the LORD had said to Abram, Get you out of your country, and …

Nehemiah 9:7 You are the LORD the God, who did choose Abram, and brought him forth …

Isaiah 51:2 Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah that bore you: for I called …

when.

Joshua 24:2 And Joshua said to all the people, Thus said the LORD God of Israel, …

Charran.

Genesis 11:31 And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's …

Genesis 12:5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all …

Genesis 29:4 And Jacob said to them, My brothers, from where be you? And they …

Haran.

(2) Men, brethren, and fathers.--The discourse which follows presents many aspects, each of special interest. (1) It is clearly an unfinished fragment, interrupted by the clamours of the by-standers (Acts 7:51)--the torso, as it were, of a great apologia. Its very incompleteness, the difficulty of tracing the argument as far as it goes, because we do not see how far it was meant to go, are indirect proofs that we have a true, though not necessarily a verbatim, report. A later writer, composing a speech after the manner of Herodotus and Thucydides, would have made it a much more direct answer to the charges in the indictment. And this, in its turn, supplies a reasonable presumption in favour of other speeches reported by the same author. (2) Looking to the relations between St. Luke and St. Paul, and to the prominence of the latter among the accusers of Stephen, there is a strong probability that the report was derived from him. This is confirmed by some instances of remarkable parallelism between the speech and his later teaching. (Comp. Acts 7:53, Galatians 3:19; Acts 7:48, Acts 17:24). (3) The speech is the first great survey of the history of Israel as a process of divine education--the first development from the lips of a human teacher of principles that had before been latent. As such, it contains the germs which were, in their turn, to be afterwards developed, on the one hand, by St. Paul in the Epistles known to be his, on the other hand by Apollos, or whoever was the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews. (4) The speech is also remarkable as bringing together within a comparatively small compass a considerable number of real or seeming inaccuracies in the details of the history which is commented on. Whether they are real or apparent will be discussed as we deal with each of them. It is obvious that the results thus arrived at will form something like a crucial test of theories which men have formed as to the nature and limits of inspiration. (5) As Stephen was a Hellenistic or Greek-speaking Jew, it is probable that the speech was delivered in Greek, and so far it confirms the inference which has been drawn from the Aramaic words specially recorded in our Lord's teaching--"Ephphatha," "Talitha cumi," and the cry upon the cross--that He habitually used the former language, and that this was the medium of intercourse between the priests and Pilate. (See Notes on Mark 5:41; Mark 7:34.)

The God of glory.--The opening words are an implied answer to the charge of blaspheming God. The name contained an allusive reference to the Shechinah, or cloud of glory, which was the symbol of the Presence of Jehovah. That was the "glory of the Lord." He, in like manner, was the "Lord of glory." (Comp. James 2:1.)

Before he dwelt in Charran.--We come, at the very outset, on one of the difficulties above referred to. Here the call of Abraham is spoken of as before he sojourned in Haran, or Charran, west of the Euphrates. In Genesis 12:1 it is first mentioned after Abraham's removal thither. On the other hand, Genesis 15:7 speaks of God as bringing him "from Ur of the Chaldees"--i.e., from Mesopotamia, or the east of the Euphrates; and this is confirmed by Joshua 24:3, Nehemiah 9:7. The language of writers contemporary with Stephen (Philo, De Abrah.; Jos. Ant. i. 7, 1) lays stress, as he does, on the first call as well as the second. Here, accordingly, it cannot be said that the statement is at variance with the Old Testament narrative. The word Mesopotamia was used by the LXX., and has thence passed into later versions, for the Hebrew Aram-Naharaim, "Syria of the two rivers" (Genesis 24:10; Deuteronomy 23:4; Judges 3:8), and, less accurately, for Padan-Aram in Genesis 25:20; Genesis 28:2; Genesis 28:5-6; where our version retains the Hebrew name.

Verse 2. - Brethren and fathers for men, brethren, and fathers, A.V. Haran for Charran, A.V. Brethren and fathers. The Greek is ἄνδρες ἀδελφοὶ (i.e. "men who are also my brethren") καὶ πατέρες. He adds "and fathers" out of respect to the elder and more dignified portion of the Sanhedrim. It seems probable that Stephen, as a Hellenist Jew, spoke in Greek, which is borne out by the quotations being from the LXX. (see Alford), though Meyer and others think he spoke in Hebrew. Greek was generally understood at this time by all educated persons (see Roberts, 'Discussions on Gospels,' Acts 2. - 7.). The speech itself is almost universally admitted to bear strong internal marks of genuineness and originality. But different estimates have been formed of its excellence, and different explanations given of its scope and object. Difficult but striking; long and prolix;" "at first sight absurd and out of place;" "wonderful but difficult;" "of inestimable value;" "a speech containing many things which don't seem much to the point;" "a powerful speech;" a speech combining "the address of the advocate and the boldness of the martyr;" - are some of the estimates that have been formed of it by modern commentators. As regards its scope and object, the two main clues to it are the accusation which Stephen rose to rebut, and the application with which he ended in vers. 51-53. If we keep these two things steadily in view, we shall not be very far wrong if we say that Stephen sought to clear himself by showing,

(1) by his historical summary, what a true and thorough Israelite he was in heart and feeling and fellowship with the fathers of his race, and therefore how unlikely to speak blasphemous words against either Moses or the temple;

(2) how Moses himself had foretold the coming of Christ as a prophet like himself, to enunciate some new doctrines;

(3) how at every stage of their history their fathers had resisted those who were sent to them by God, and that now his judges were playing the same part. Perhaps it may be further true, as Chrysostom explains it (Hom. 15, 16, 17.), that his intention in the early part of the speech was to show "that the promise was made before the place, before circumcision, before sacrifice, before the temple," in accordance with St. Paul's argument (Galatians 3:16-18); and that therefore the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant could not be dependent upon the Law or the temple. The God of glory. This unusual phrase identifies God, of whom Stephen speaks, with the God whose visible glory was seen by the patriarchs (Genesis 12:7; Genesis 18:1; Genesis 26:2; Genesis 28:12, 13; Genesis 35:9; Exodus 24:16, 17; Numbers 16:19; Isaiah 6; John 12:41). St. Paul uses a similar phrase, "The Lord of glory '(1 Corinthians 2:8). Our father. He thus identifies himself with his judges, whom he had just called "brethren." In Mesopotamia, which would be in Hebrew "Aram of the two rivers." The exact place, as we learn from Genesis 11:31, was "Ur of the Chaldees;" whence the Israelites were taught to say (Deuteronomy 26:5), "An Aramcan ready to perish was my father." That this appearance was in Ur, before he dwelt in Haran, is manifest from Genesis 11:31, because it is there said that they went forth from Ur "to go into the land of Canaan," which makes it quite certain that the appearance of God to Abraham had preceded their leaving Ur, and was the cause of it. And this is confirmed by Genesis 15:7; Nehemiah 9:7; and Josephus ('Ant.,' 1. 7:1). Moreover, the very language of the call shows plainly that it came to him when he was living in his native country, among his kindred, and in his father's house, i.e. at Ur, not in Haran, where they were only sojourners. There is nothing the least unusual, in Hebrew narrative, in the writer going back to any point in the preceding narrative with which the subsequent narrative is connected. Genesis 12. I precedes in point of time Genesis 11:31; similar examples are Genesis 37:5, 6; Judges 20, passim; 1 Samuel 16:21 compared with 1 Samuel 17:28; 1 Samuel 22:20, 21, compared with 1 Samuel 23:6; and many more. It is, however, of course possible that a fresh call may have been given after Terah's death, though it is by no means necessary to suppose it. Another imaginary difficulty arises from the statement in Genesis 12:4 that Abraham was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran, that Terah lived seventy years and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran, and that Terah died at the age of two hundred and five; and from the statement in ver. 4 of this chapter that Abram did not leave Haran till Terah's death. From which it is concluded that Terah must have lived sixty years after Abram's departure (70 + 75 + 60 = 205). But the whole difficulty arises from the gratuitous supposition that Abram was Terah's firstborn because he is named first. If Terah were a hundred and thirty at the birth of Abram, he would be two hundred and five when Abram was seventy-five. Now, there is absolutely nothing to forbid the supposition that such was his age. It does not follow that because Abram is named first he was the eldest. He might be named first as being by far the most illustrious of the three, he might be named first because the subsequent genealogies - Isaac, Jacob, and the twelve Patriarchs - were deduced from him. There may, too, have been other sons of Terah, not named here because nothing was going to be said about them. Nahor is mentioned because Rebekah was his granddaughter (Genesis 24:15, 24) and Rachel his great-granddaughter. And Haran is mentioned because he was the father of Lot. Others, whether sons or daughters, would not be mentioned. If Terah, therefore, began to have children when he was seventy, it is quite probable that Abram may not have been born till he was a hundred and thirty. That the son named first need not necessarily be the eldest is clear from the order in which Shem, Ham, and Japheth are named, whereas it appears from Genesis 9:24 that Ham was the youngest, and from Genesis 10:2, 21 (according to the A.V. and the LXX., Symmachus, the Targum of Onkelos, and the old Jewish commentators), that Japheth was the eldest. In Joshua 24:4 God says, "I gave unto Isaac Jacob and Esau," though Esau was the elder; and so Hebrews 11:20. So again in Exodus 5:20 we read, "Moses and Aaron" (see also Exodus 40:31; Numbers 16:43; Joshua 24:5; 1 Samuel 12:6; etc.), though it appears from 1 Chronicles 6:3 that Aaron was the eldest. So again we read in Genesis 48:5, "Thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh," and in ver. 20, "God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh," though in ver. I of the same chapter they are named according to the true order of birth - "Manasseh and Ephraim." It is, therefore, an unwarrantable inference that Abram was the eldest son because he is named first; and with the removal of this inference the difficulty vanishes; and Stephen was quite accurate when he said that God appeared to Abraham in Ur, before he dwelt in Haran, and that he did not move from Haran till the death of Terah. Haran. Charran in A.V. marks the difference between Haran (הָרָן), Lot's father, and the name of the place (הָרָן). It is called "the city of Nahor" (Genesis 24:10 compared with Genesis 47:43). It still exists as an Arab village, with the name of Harran (see 'Dictionary of Bible'). And he said,.... Stephen replied, in answer to the high priest's question, and addressed himself to the whole sanhedrim, saying:

men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; to the following oration and defence; he calls them men, brethren, by an usual Hebraism, that is, "brethren"; and that, because they were of the same nation; for it was common with the Jews to call those of their own country and religion, brethren; and he calls them "fathers", because of their age and dignity, being the great council of the nation, and chosen out of the senior and wiser part of the people:

the God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham; he calls God "the God of glory", because he is glorious in himself, in all his persons, perfections, and works, and is to be glorified by his people; and his glory is to be sought by all his creatures, and to be the end of all their actions; and the rather he makes use of this epithet of him, to remove the calumny against him, that he had spoke blasphemous things against God; and because God appeared in a glorious manner to Abraham, either in a vision, or by an angel, or in some glorious form, or another; and it is observable, that when the Jews speak of Abraham's deliverance out of the fiery furnace, for so they interpret Ur of the Chaldees, they give to God much such a title; they say (r).

""the King of glory" stretched out his right hand, and delivered him out of the fiery furnace, according to Genesis 15:7.''

Stephen uses a like epithet; and he calls Abraham "our father", he being a Jew, and according to the common usage of the nation: and this appearance of God to Abraham was "when he was in Mesopotamia"; a country that lay between the two rivers Tigris and Euphrates, from whence it had its name; and is the same with Aram Naharaim, the Scriptures speak of; See Gill on Acts 2:9. Of this appearance of God to Abraham, mentioned by Stephen, the Scriptures are silent; but the Jewish writers seem to hint at it, when they say (s),

"thus said the holy blessed God to Abraham, as thou hast enlightened for me Mesopotamia and its companions, come and give light before me in the land of Israel.''

And again, mentioning those words in Isaiah 41:8 "the seed of Abraham my friend, whom I have taken from the ends of the earth"; add by way of explanation, from Mesopotamia and its companions (t): and this was

before he dwelt in Charan; or Haran; see Genesis 11:31 where the Septuagint call it "Charan", as here; and by Herodish (u) it is called where Antoninus was killed; and by Pliny (w), "Carra"; and by Ptolomy (x), "Carroe"; it was famous for the slaughter of M. Crassus, by the Parthians (y). R. Benjamin gives this account of it in his time (z);

"in two days I came to ancient Haran, and in it were about twenty Jews, and there was as it were a synagogue of Ezra; but in the place where was the house of Abraham our father, there was no building upon it; but the Ishmaelites (or Mahometans) honour that place, and come thither to pray.''

Stephanus (a) says it was a city of Mesopotamia, so called from "Carra", a river in Syria.

(r) Pirke Eliezer, c. 26. (s) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 30. fol. 25. 1((t) lb. sect. 44. fol. 38. 3.((u) L. 4. sect. 24. (w) L. 5. c. 24. (x) L. 5. c. 18. (y) ----Miserando funere Crassus Assyrias Latio maculavit sanguine Carrhas. Lucan. Pharsal. l. 1. v. 105. (z) Itinerar. p. 60. (a) De Urbibus. 2-5. The God of glory—A magnificent appellation, fitted at the very outset to rivet the devout attention of his audience; denoting not that visible glory which attended many of the divine manifestations, but the glory of those manifestations themselves, of which this was regarded by every Jew as the fundamental one. It is the glory of absolutely free grace.

appeared unto our father Abraham before he dwelt in Charran, and said, etc.—Though this first call is not expressly recorded in Genesis, it is clearly implied in Ge 15:7 and Ne 9:7; and the Jewish writers speak the same language.7:1-16 Stephen was charged as a blasphemer of God, and an apostate from the church; therefore he shows that he is a son of Abraham, and values himself on it. The slow steps by which the promise made to Abraham advanced toward performance, plainly show that it had a spiritual meaning, and that the land intended was the heavenly. God owned Joseph in his troubles, and was with him by the power of his Spirit, both on his own mind by giving him comfort, and on those he was concerned with, by giving him favour in their eyes. Stephen reminds the Jews of their mean beginning as a check to priding themselves in the glories of that nation. Likewise of the wickedness of the patriarchs of their tribes, in envying their brother Joseph; and the same spirit was still working in them toward Christ and his ministers. The faith of the patriarchs, in desiring to be buried in the land of Canaan, plainly showed they had regard to the heavenly country. It is well to recur to the first rise of usages, or sentiments, which have been perverted. Would we know the nature and effects of justifying faith, we should study the character of the father of the faithful. His calling shows the power and freeness of Divine grace, and the nature of conversion. Here also we see that outward forms and distinctions are as nothing, compared with separation from the world, and devotedness to God.
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