Acts 7:16
And were carried over into Sychem, and laid in the sepulcher that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) And were carried over into Sychem.—The words appear to include Jacob, who was buried not at Sychem, but Machpelah (Genesis 1:13). If we limit the verb to the patriarchs, which is in itself a tenable limitation, we are met by the fresh difficulty that the Old Testament contains no record of the burial of any of the Twelve Patriarchs, with the exception of Joseph, whose bones were laid, on the occupation of Canaan, in Shechem (Joshua 24:32); and Josephus states (Ant. iv. 8, § 2) that they were buried at Hebron. This, however, only represents, at the best, a local tradition. In the time of Jerome (Ep. 86) the tombs of the Twelve Patriarchs were shown at Shechem, and this in its turn witnesses to a Samaritan tradition which continues to the present day (Palestine Exploration Report, Dec., 1877), and which Stephen, it may be, followed in preference to that of Judæa. Looking to the probabilities of the case, it was likely that the example set by Joseph would be followed by the other tribes, and that as Shechem was far more prominent than Hebron, as the centre of the civil and religious life of Israel in the time of Joshua, that should have been chosen as the burial-place of his brethren rather than Machpelah. Looking, again, to the fact that one of Stephen’s companions, immediately after his death, goes to Samaria as a preacher, and that there are good grounds for believing that both had been previously connected with it (see Note on Acts 6:5), we may probably trace to this influence his adoption of the Samaritan version of the history. The hated Sychar (Ecclesiasticus 1:26; see Note on John 4:5) had, from Stephen’s point of view, a claim on the reverence of all true Israelites, and his assertion of that claim may well have been one of the causes of the bitterness with which his hearers listened to him.

That Abraham bought for a sum of money.—Here we seem to come across a direct contradiction to the narrative of Genesis. The only recorded transaction in which Abraham appears as a buyer, was his purchase of the cave of Machpelah from Ephron the Hittite (Genesis 23:16). The only recorded transaction in which the sons of Emmor, or Hamor, appear as sellers, was in Jacob’s purchase of the field at Shechem (Genesis 33:19; Joshua 24:32). What we have seen above, however, prepares us for there having been a Samaritan tradition carrying the associations of Shechem to a remoter past. And, assuming such a tradition, there are significant facts in the patriarchal history of which it furnishes an explanation. (1) Jacob gives as a special inheritance to Joseph, “one portion” (in the Hebrew, “one Shechem;” in the LXX., Sikima) above his brethren, which he had taken “out of the hands of the Amorites with his sword and his bow.” Of that conquest—as it is clear that the words cannot refer to the massacre connected with the story of Dinah, which Jacob had severely condemned (Genesis 34:30)—the history contains no record, and to interpret the words as prophetic of future conquests is to strain them to a non-natural interpretation which they will hardly bear. Jacob did not come as an invader, nor had the time for thus taking possession of the whole land as yet arrived. The facts of the case suggest a special right claimed and asserted in regard to this one possession, and that right presupposes a previous purchase by some ancestor of Jacob’s—i.e., by Abraham. This being done and the right asserted, to make the portion larger, and perhaps as a measure of conciliation, there followed the subsequent purchase of Genesis 33:19. (2) Shechem was the earliest settlement of Abraham on his entrance into Canaan, and there he built an altar (Genesis 12:7). But the feeling of reverence for holy places, always strong in the Hebrew race, as seen, e.g., in the case of David and Araunah, would hardly permit a man of Abraham’s wealth and princely nobleness to offer burnt-offerings to the Lord of that which had cost him nothing (2Samuel 24:24); nor would a devout worshipper be content to see the altar so consecrated in the possession of another, and so exposed to desecration. The building of an altar involved, almost of necessity, as in the case just cited, the purchase of the ground on which it stood. (3) The Samaritans had an immemorial tradition (adopted by Dean Stanley, Ffouikes, Grove, and others) that the sacrifice of Isaac took place on the mountain of Moriah (Genesis 22:2), or Gerizim, which commands the plain of Moreh (Genesis 12:6), or Shechem; and, without now discussing the evidence for or against the tradition, it almost involved of necessity the assumption that Abraham had already an altar there, and with it a consecrated field which he could call his own. (4) Another Samaritan tradition, it may be noted, connected Shechem with the sacrifice offered by Melchizedek. This is enough to show the extent of the claims which were made by the Samaritans on behalf of their sacred places, and, taken together with the statement referred to in the previous Note as to the tombs of the Patriarchs, leads us to the conclusion that Stephen, more or less influenced by his recent associations with them, adopted their traditions. This seems, at any rate, the most probable solution of the difficulty which the statement at first sight presents. To do this in Jerusalem, before the very Sanhedrin, the members of which had reviled our Lord as a Samaritan (John 8:48), required a martyr’s boldness, and, claiming as it did, a brotherhood for the hated Samaritans, the hereditary foes of Judah, had, we may believe, much to do with causing the fury that ended in his actual martyrdom. It may be added (1) that the manifest familiarity of St. Luke with Samaria and the Samaritans would dispose him to accept such a tradition without correction (see Introduction to St. Luke’s Gospel); (2) that the Twelve, some of whom had sojourned for three days at Sychar (John 4:43), were likely to have become acquainted with it, and to have been ignorant of the Hebron traditions; (3) that the well-known substitution of Gerizim for Ebal in Deuteronomy 27:4, in the Samaritan Pentateuch, not less than their addition of a commandment to build an altar on Gerizim to the ten great laws of Exodus 20, shows a tendency to deal freely with the text and the facts of the Pentateuch, so as to support their own traditions as to their sacred places.

Of the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem.—The insertion of the word “father” instead of “son,” which would be (as in Matthew 10:3; Luke 3:23) the natural rendering of the Greek construction, must be looked on as betraying a wish on the part of the translators to meet the difficulty presented by the statement in Genesis 34:2, that Shechem was the son of Hamor the Hivite. It may be noted that it is the only English version that thus tampers with the text—Tyndale giving “at Sychem;” Wiclif, Cranmer, Geneva, and the Rhemish giving “son of Sychem.” A possible explanation of the apparent discrepancy may be found in the very probable assumption that Shechem may have been a quasi-hereditary name appearing in alternate generations. In this instance, however, textual criticism comes in to cut the knot. Many of the better MSS., including the Vatican and the Sinaitic, give the reading “in Sychem,” and so make the name apply to the place and not to a person.

With the exception of Acts 7:43, we have now come to the last of the difficulties, chronological, historical, or numerical, presented by St. Stephen’s speech. They have been approached by writers of different schools of thought in ways singularly, sometimes almost painfully, characteristic. On the one hand, there has been something like the eagerness of a partisan mustering all objections and anxious to secure an adverse verdict; on the other, there has been an almost hysterical alarm and indignation that such questions should be ever raised. Here the effort has, at least, been made to deal with each on its own merits, and not to force facts this way or that to meet a foregone conclusion. Should there be errors of transcription, of report, or even of memory in the record of St. Stephen’s speech, they need not shake the faith of those who have learnt to take a higher view of inspiration than that which depends upon the registers of genealogies or chronological tables. But it may be well also not to assume too hastily that men of average culture and information would be altogether ignorant of the facts which they narrate, and the sacred writings which have been the object of their continual study. And it may be urged that the appearance of seeming inaccuracies, which a moment’s reference to the Book of Genesis would have enabled the writer to correct, is, at any rate, evidence of faithfulness in his report of the speech which he thus reproduces.

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.And died - Genesis 49:33.

He and our fathers - The time which the Israelites remained in Egypt was 215 years, so that all the sons of Jacob were deceased before the Jews went out to go to the land of Canaan.

And were carried over - Jacob himself was buried in the field of Macpelah by Joseph and his brethren, Genesis 1, 13. It is expressly said that the bones of Joseph were carried by the Israelites when they went into the land of Canaan, and buried in Shechem, Joshua 24:32; compare Genesis 50:25. No mention is made in the Old Testament of their carrying the bones of any of the other patriarchs, but the thing is highly probable in itself. If the descendants of Joseph carried his bones, it would naturally occur to them to take also the bones of each of the patriarchs, and give them an honorable sepulchre together in the land of promise. Josephus (Antiq., book 2, chapter 8, section 2) says 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 affirm that they were buried in Sychem (Kuinoel). As the Scriptures do not anywhere deny that the patriarchs were buried in Sychem, it cannot be proved that Stephen was in error. There is one circumstance of strong probability to show that he was correct. At the time when this defense was delivered, "Sychem" was in the hands of the Samaritans, between whom and the Jews there was a violent hostility. Of course, the Jews would not be willing to concede that the Samaritans had the bones of their ancestors, and hence, perhaps the opinion had been maintained that they were buried in Hebron.

Into Sychem - This was a town or village near to Samaria. It was called Sichar (see the notes on John 4:5), "Shechem," and "Sychem." It is now called "Naplous" or "Napolose," and is ten miles from Shiloh, and about forty from Jerusalem, toward the north.

That Abraham bought - The word "Abraham" here has given rise to considerable perplexity, and it is now pretty generally conceded that it is a mistake. It is certain, from Genesis 33:19 and Joshua 24:32, that this piece of land was bought, not by Abraham, but by "Jacob," of the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. The land which "Abraham" purchased was the cave of Macpelah, of the sons of Heth, in Hebron, Genesis 23. Various solutions have been proposed of this difficulty, which it is not necessary to detail. It may be remarked, however:

(1) That as the text now stands, it is an evident error. This is clear from the passages cited from the Old Testament above.

(2) it is not at all probable that either Stephen or Luke would have committed such an error. Every consideration must lead us to the conclusion that they were too well acquainted with such prominent points of the Jewish history to commit an error like this.

(3) the "probability," therefore, is, that the error has arisen since; but how, is not known, nor is there any way of ascertaining. All the ancient versions agree in reading "Abraham." Only one manuscript reads "Abraham our father." Some have supposed, therefore, that it was written "which our father bought," and that some early transcriber inserted the name of Abraham. Others, that the name was omitted entirely by Stephen; and then the antecedent to the verb "bought" will be "Jacob," in verse 15, according with the fact. Other modes have been proposed also, but none are entirely satisfactory. If there was positive proof of Stephen's inspiration, or if it were necessary to make that out, the difficulty would be much greater. But it has already been remarked that there is no decisive evidence of that, and it is not necessary to make out that point to defend the Scriptures. All that can be demanded of the historian is, that he should give a fair account of the defense as it was delivered; and though the probability is that Stephen would not commit Such an error, yet, admitting that he did, it by no means proves that "Luke" was not inspired, or that Luke has committed any error in recording "what was actually said."

Of the sons of Emmor - In the Hebrew Gen 33:19, "the children of Hamor" - but different ways of rendering the same word.

14. threescore and fifteen souls—according to the Septuagint version of Ge 46:27, which Stephen follows, including the five children and grandchildren of Joseph's two sons. That they carried Joseph to bury him in Canaan, according to the oath he made them take, Genesis 1:25, is certain; and that this was desired to be done for him out of faith, Hebrews 11:22; but is not so certain (unless this place be so understood) that the rest of the patriarchs were so translated after their death: yet it is very likely; for, first: They had as much reason to desire it as Joseph had; they believed the same promises, and had an interest in that land as well as he. Secondly: Their posterity bore the same respect unto them that Joseph’s family did to him. Thirdly: It seems alike reasonable, that none of those twelve heirs to the land of Canaan should be left in the land of bondage. This place is acknowledged to be most difficult, and the difficulties are better not to be mentioned than ill solved, which the nature of these notes (not to mention other reasons) might occasion: whosoever will consider the intended shortness of the story, with the usual idioms of the Hebrew language, from which it was deduced, may take this as a paraphrase upon the whole verse: And Jacob and our fathers died, and were removed to Sychem, and were laid in sepulchres, in that which Abraham bought for money, and in that which was bought of the sons of Emmor, the father of Sychem. Dr. Lightfoot, in locum. And were carried over into Sichem,.... The Syriac version reads in the singular number, "and he was translated into Sichem, and laid", &c. as if this was said of Jacob only, whereas he is not spoken of at all, only the fathers, the twelve patriarchs; for Jacob, though he was carried out of Egypt, he was not buried in Sichem, but in the cave of Machpelah, Genesis 50:13. But Joseph and the rest of the patriarchs, who died in Egypt, when the children of Israel came out from thence, they brought their bones along with them, and buried them in Sichem: of the burial of Joseph there, there is no doubt, since it is expressly affirmed in Joshua 24:32 and that the rest of the patriarchs were buried there, and not in Hebron, as Josephus asserts (x), may be concluded from hence; because in the cave of Machpelah at Hebron, there are never mentioned more in Jewish writers (y), than these four couple; Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Leah; from whence, they say, Hebron was called Kirjath Arba, the city of four; as also, because it is the general consent of the Jews; and if they had not agreed in it, or said nothing about it, the thing is natural to suppose, that the children of Israel brought the bones of all the patriarchs out of Egypt, along with Joseph's (z); and since they buried the bones of Joseph in Sichem, it is most reasonable to believe, that the rest were buried there likewise; though it must be owned, that there is an entire silence about them, even when the sepulchre of Joseph is taken notice of: so R. Benjamin speaking of the Samaritans says (a),

"among them is the sepulchre of Joseph the righteous, the son of Jacob our father, on whom be peace, as it is said, Joshua 24:32.''

And says another of their writers (b),

"from Sichem about a sabbath day's journey, in a village, called Belata, there Joseph the just was buried;''

but of the rest, no mention is made:

and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Emmor, the father of Sichem; the last clause, the father "of Sichem", is left out in the Syriac version; and the Alexandrian copy reads it, "in Sichem"; as if it was the name of a place, and not of a man: the Vulgate Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions read, "the son of Sichem"; whereas it is certain, that Sichem was the son of Emmor, or Hamor, Genesis 33:19 unless it can be thought there were two Sichems, one that was the father of Emmor, and another that was his son: but the great difficulty is, how the sepulchre in which the fathers were laid at Sichem, can be said to be bought by Abraham of the sons of Emmor, when what Abraham bought was the field and cave of Machpelah; and that not of the sons of Emmor, but of the sons of Heth, and of Ephron, the son of Zohar the Hitrite, Genesis 23:16. Whereas the parcel of ground in Sichem, bought of the sons of Emmor, the father of Sichem, was bought by Jacob, Genesis 33:19. Various things are suggested, to reconcile this; some think the word Abraham is an interpolation, and that it should be read, which he (Jacob) bought; but to support this, no copy can be produced: others observe, 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; others think that by Abraham is meant a son of Abraham, that is, Jacob; as children are sometimes called by their father's name; as the Messiah is called David, and the like; but what best seems to remove the difficulty is, that the words refer to both places and purchases; to the field of Machpelah bought by Abraham, and to the parcel of field is Sichem bought by Jacob, of the sons of Emmor; for the words with the repetition of the phrase, "in the sepulchre", may be read thus; "and were laid in the sepulchre, that Abraham bought for a sum of money", and in the sepulchre (bought by Jacob) "of the sons of Emmor", the father of Sichem; or the words may be rendered thus, "they were carried over into Sichem, and laid in the sepulchre which Abraham bought for a sum of money, besides" that "of the sons of Emmor", the father "of Sichem"; namely, which Jacob bought, and in which Joseph was laid, Genesis 33:19. And this agrees with Stephen's account and design, in the preceding verse; he observes, that Jacob died in Egypt, and all the twelve patriarchs; 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, he was laid in the cave of Machpelah, in the sepulchre Abraham bought of the children of Heth; and Joseph and his brethren, they were laid in the sepulchre at Sichem, which Jacob bought of the sons of Emmor: upon the whole, the charge of several errors brought by the (c) Jew against Stephen appears to be groundless; the sum this sepulchre was bought for was an hundred pieces of money, Genesis 33:19.

(x) Antiqu. l. 2. c. 8. sect. 2.((y) T. Bab. Sota, fol. 13. 1. Cippi Heb. p. 4. R. Benjamin. Itinerar. p. 48, 49. (z) T. Bab. Sota, fol. 13. Bava Kama, fol. 92. 1. Maccot fol. 11. 1. & Gloss. in ib. Bereshit, fol. 89. 1. Sepher Jasher apud Gaulmin. not. in Vita Mosis, l. 2. c. 2. p. 287. (a) ltinerar. p. 39. (b) Cippi Heb. p. 34. (c) R. Isaac Chizzuk Emuna, par. 2. c. 63. p. 450, 451.

And were {h} 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.

(h) The patriarchs who were the sons of Jacob, though only Joseph is mentioned; Jos 24:32.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 7:16. Μετετέθησαν] namely, αὐτὸς κ. οἱ πατέρες ἡμῶν. Incorrectly Kuinoel and Olshausen refer it only to the πατέρες;[202] whereas ΑὐΤῸς ΚΑῚ ΟἹ ΠΑΤΈΡΕς ἩΜῶΝ are named as the persons belonging to the same category, of whom the being dead is affirmed. Certainly Genesis 49:30 (comp. Joseph. Antt. ii. 8. 7), according to which Jacob was buried in the cave of Machpelah at Hebron (Genesis 23), is at variance with the statement μετετέθ. εἰς Συχέμ. But Stephen—from whose memory in the hurry of an extemporary speech this statement escaped, and not the statement, that Joseph’s body was buried at Sychem (Joshua 24:33, comp. Genesis 50:25)—transfers the locality of the burial of Joseph not merely to his brethren (of whose burial-place the O. T. gives no information), but also to Jacob himself, in unconscious deviation, as respects the latter, from Genesis 49:30. Perhaps the Rabbinical tradition, that all the brethren of Joseph were also buried at Sychem (Lightf. and Wetst. in loc.) was even then current, and thus more easily suggested to Stephen the error with respect to Jacob. It is, however, certain that Stephen has not followed an account deviating from this (Joseph. Antt. ii. 8. 2), which transfers the burial of all the patriarchs to Hebron, although no special motive can be pointed out in the matter; and it is entirely arbitrary, with Kuinoel, to assume that he had wished thereby to convey the idea that the Samaritans, to whom, in his time, Sychem belonged, could not, as the possessors of the graves of the patriarchs, have been rejected by God.

ᾧ ὠνήσατο Ἀβρ.] which (formerly) Abraham bought. But according to Genesis 33:19, it was not Abraham, but Jacob, who purchased a piece of land from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. On the other hand, Abraham purchased from Ephron the field and burial-cave at Hebron (Genesis 23). Consequently, Stephen has here evidently fallen into a mistake, and asserted of Abraham what historically applied to Jacob, being led into error by the fact that something similar was recorded of Abraham. If expositors had candidly admitted the mistake so easily possible in the hurry of the moment, they would have been relieved from all strange and forced expedients of an exegetical and critical nature, and would neither have assumed a purchase not mentioned at all in the O. T., nor (Flacius, Bengel, comp. Luger) a combining of two purchases (Genesis 23, 33) and two burials (Genesis 50; Joshua 24); nor (Beza, Bochart, Bauer in Philol. Thuc. Paul. p. 167, Valckenaer, Kuinoel), against all external and internal critical evidence, have asserted the obnoxious Ἀβρ. to be spurious (comp. Calvin), either supplying ἸΑΚΏΒ as the subject to ὨΝΉΣΑΤΟ (Beza, Bochart), or taking ὨΝΉΣΑΤΟ as impersonal (“quod emtum erat,” Kuinoel); nor would ἈΒΡ., with unprecedented arbitrariness, have been explained as used in a patronymic sense for Abrahamides, i.e. Jacobus (Glass, Fessel, Surenhusius, Krebs). Conjectural emendations are: Ἰακώβ (Clericus); Ὁ ΤΟῦ ἈΒΡΑΆΜ (Cappellus). Other forced attempts at reconciliation may be seen in Grotius and Calovius.

ΤΟῦ ΣΥΧΈΜ] the father of Sychem.[203] The relationship is presupposed as well known.

ὠνήσατο] is later Greek; Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 137 f.

τιμῆς ἀργυρ.] the genitive of price: for a purchase-money consisting of silver. The LXX. (Genesis 33:19) has ἑκατὸν ἀμνῶν (probably the name of a coin, see Bochart, Hieroz. I. p. 473 ff.; Gesenius, Thes. iii. p. 1241, s.v. קְשִׂיטָח), for which Stephen has adopted a general expression, because the precise one was probably not present to his recollection.

[202] See also Hackett.

[203] Not the son of Sychem, as the Vulgate, Erasmus, Castalio, and others have it. See Genesis 33:19. Lachmann reads τοῦ ἐν Σ., in accord doubtless with important witnesses, of which several have only ἐν Σ., but evidently an alteration arising from the opinion that Συχέμ was the city. The circumstance that in no other passage of the N. T. the genitive of relationship is to be explained by πατήρ, must be regarded as purely accidental. Entirely similar are the passages where with female names μήτηρ is to be supplied, as Luke 24:10. See generally, Winer, p. 178 f. [E. T. 237]. If filii were to be supplied, this would yield a fresh historical error; and not that quite another Hamor is meant than at Gen. l.c. (in opposition to Beelen).16. and were carried over into Sychem, &c.] This Sychem is the Old Test. Shechem. The oldest authorities give for the latter part of the verse “of the sons of Emmor in Shechem.”

The statement in this verse appears incapable of being reconciled with the record of the Old Testament There we find (Genesis 49:30) that Abraham bought the field and cave of Machpelah, which is before Mamre (i.e. Hebron), from Ephron the Hittite. This is there spoken of as the general burial-place of the family; there were buried Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob’s wife Leah. And of Jacob we read (Genesis 33:19), “he bought a parcel of a field where he had spread his tent, at the Hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem’s father.” We are not told that this was for a burial-place, and it is rather to be judged that it was not so, because it is added “he erected there an altar.” Moreover it is in Machpelah that Jacob desires to be buried (Genesis 47:30; Genesis 49:30) and is buried (Genesis 50:13). We have seen (note on Genesis 50:5) that “the place of Shechem” was one of the resting-places of Abraham when he came first into Canaan, and that probably he bought a possession there, for he built an altar. The bones of Joseph were laid in Shechem (Joshua 24:32). There were two burial-places connected with the patriarchal families. In the report of Stephen’s speech we find that Abraham is said to have bought what Jacob really purchased, but there may also have been land purchased by Abraham “in the place of Shechem.” We have only to suppose that in his speech Stephen, speaking of the burial of the whole family, mentioned, in accordance with the tradition of Josephus, the burial of the fathers in Hebron, which Abraham bought, and noticed the laying of Joseph’s bones at Shechem which Jacob bought, and that into the report of what he said a confusion has been introduced by the insertion of Abraham’s name for Jacob’s in the abbreviated narrative. We have pointed out in several places that the speeches recorded can be no more than abstracts of what was said, and the degree of inaccuracy here apparent might readily be imported in the formation of such an abstract, and yet the original speech have correctly reported all the traditions.

Stephen dwells on “Shechem” in the same way as before he had dwelt on “Egypt,” to mark that in the ancient days other places were held in reverence by the chosen people, and they served God there, though at the time when he was speaking Shechem was the home of their enemies the Samaritans.Acts 7:16. Καὶ, and) We may give this paraphrase of the passage: “Jacob died and our fathers (namely, Joseph); and (because, after the example of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, they wished to rest in the land of promise, Genesis 50:13; Genesis 50:25, for this reason) they were carried over into Sychem or Shechem (and into the sepulchre of Hebron, Genesis 23:19), and were laid (in “the parcel of ground” at Shechem [Joshua 24:32], and) in the sepulchre (of Hebron), which Abraham had bought (and Jacob) for a price in money (and a hundred lambs) from the sons of Emmor, (the father) of Sichem or Shechem” (and from Ephron). For two most well known histories are intertwined with one another, having reference to a double purchase (examine well Genesis 23, 33), and to a double burial: Genesis 50 and Joshua 24. In this passage both histories require the omitted parts, by the force of the relatives, to be supplied mutually one from the other. The brevity which was best suited to the ardour of the Spirit gave Stephen just occasion, in the case of a fact so well known, to compress these details in the way he has done. Moreover there is to be added the consideration that, as Jacob was buried in the sepulchre of Hebron, and Joseph in the land of Shechem, so the rest of the fathers who died in Egypt, or (at least) some of them, are said to have been gathered to both of them. For Josephus, lib. ii. Ant. ch. iv., writes, that they were entombed at Hebron; Jerome, in Ep. ad Pammach. de opt. gen. int., informs us that their sepulchres existed even in his age at Shechem, and were wont to be visited by strangers. From which Franc. Junius, lib. i. Parall. 92, infers that some of them were buried in the one place, some in the other, according as seemed convenient to their posterity. Pererius, in Gen. fol. 672, thinks that they were carried over from Shechem to Hebron. And as it would have been too long for Stephen to have recounted these several details, he with admirable compendiousness has indicated the whole. Therefore the reading Ἀβραὰμ remains intact: nor is there need of the conjecture Ἰακώβ. Flaccius admirably observes on this passage: “Stephen has no time, in going cursorily through so many histories, to narrate each in distinct detail: therefore he compresses into one two different sepulchres, places, and purchases, in such a way that, in the case of the former history, indeed, he names the true purchaser, omitting the seller: on the other hand, in the later history, he names the true seller, omitting the purchaser; as it were by a diameter joining two out of those four contracting parties [two buyers, Abraham and Jacob, and two sellers, Ephron and Emmor or Hamor. Stephen takes and joins Abraham, the first of the first pair, and Emmor of the second]. However much, therefore, the name of the purchaser may be emended, yet still it would not be true that Jacob was buried in Shechem. Abraham bought a place of sepulture from the sons of Heth, Genesis 23; Jacob was buried there, Genesis 49, 50 : Jacob purchased a field from the sons of Emmor or Hamor, Genesis 33; Joseph was buried there, Joshua 24. Here you have a type of those contracts, and may see how Stephen contracted the two purchases into one.” So says the Illyrian (Illyricus). See also Glassius in respect to Ellipsis. In a similar way the same Stephen, a little before, in Acts 7:7, contracted two prophecies, viz. that to Abraham and that to Moses, into one: Exodus 3:12; Genesis 15:16 : and in Acts 7:9 he condensed into one word the selling of Joseph and his removal into Egypt: and below, in Acts 7:43, he joins a saying of Amos and the departure to Babylon, out of Jeremiah. So in Acts 7:24, “A certain one (an Israelite) suffering wrong;—an Egyptian” (inflicting the wrong) [τινα ἀδικούμενοντὸν Αἰγύπτιον]. A Semiduplex [That kind of abbreviated expression, when the relation of two members of a sentence is such that they need mutually to be supplied, one from the other. See Append.] sentence of this kind, though to us for the most part it seems strange and unusual, did not seem so to the Hebrews. We shall observe an example exactly like this one, below at Hebrews 12:20. In writing, hiatuses of this kind are usually marked by the pen: but they have place also in speaking, when, in the case of a fact most well-known, and vividly present to the mind of both speaker and hearers, there is said only what is needed, and the other things, which would interrupt the flow of the language, must be supposed to have been said.—μνήματι, the sepulchre) As they were pilgrims, the first land which they bought was land for a sepulchre; for they were seeking after the heavenly land, their true native country.—τοῦ Συχὲμ) τοῦ, viz. πατρός. The son was more celebrated than the father; wherefore the latter takes his designation from the former. Emmor was the father of Shechem.Verse 16. - And they were for and were, A.V.; unto Shechem for into Sychem, A.V., i.e. the Hebrew for the Greek form of the name (Genesis 34:2); tomb for sepulcher, A.V.; a price in silver for a sum of money, A.V.; Hamor for Erect, A.V. (Hebrew for Greek form); in Shechem for the father of Sychem, A.V. and T.R. As regards the statement in the text, two distinct transactions seem at first sight to be mixed up. One, that Abraham bought the field of Machpelah of Ephron the Hittite for a burial-place, where he and Sarah, and Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob and Leah, were buried (Genesis 24:16, 17, 19; Genesis 25:9, 10; Genesis 35:27-29; Genesis 49:29-31); the other, that Jacob "bought a parcel of a field..., at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for an hundred pieces of money," where the bones of Joseph were buried by Joshua (Genesis 33:19; Genesis 50:25; Joshua 24:32), and where, according to a tradition still surviving in the days of St. Jerome, the other patriarchs were also buried ('Epistol.'86," She came to Sichem, now called Neapolis (or Nablous), and from thence visited the tombs of the twelve patriarchs"). See also Jerome, 'De Optimo Genere Interpretandi. All Jewish writers, however, are wholly silent" about this tradition, perhaps from jealousy of the Samaritans (Lightfoot, vol. 8. p. 423). And Josephus affirms that all but Joseph were buried at Hebron ('Ant. Jud.,'2. 8:2); and that their beautiful marble monuments were to be seen at Hebron in his day. In the cave of Machpelah, however, there is no tomb of any of the twelve patriarchs except Joseph; and his so-called tomb is of a different character and situation from the genuine ones (Stanley's 'Lectures on Jewish Church,' 1st series, pp. 498-500. See also 'Sermons in the East': 'The Mosque of Hebron'). But on looking closer at the text it appears pretty certain that only Shechem was in Stephen's mind. For first he speaks of Shechem at once, And were carried over unto Shechem. And adds and were laid in the tomb that Abraham bought for a price in silver of the sons of Hamor in Shechem. Except the one word "Abraham," the whole sentence points to Shechem. What he says of Shechem is exactly in accordance with Genesis 33:18, 19. And what he says of their fathers being carried over and buried at Shechem is exactly true of Joseph's bones, as related in Joshua 24:32. So that the one difficulty is the word "Abraham." It seems much more probable that this word should have been interpolated by some early transcriber, who saw no nominative case to ὠνήσατο, and who had in his mind a confused recollection of Abraham's purchase, than that Stephen, who shows such thorough knowledge of the Bible history, should have made a gross mistake in such a well-known and famous circumstance as the purchase of the field of Machpelah, or that Luke should have perpetuated it had he made it in the hurry of speech. It cannot be affirmed with certainty that Stephen confirms the story of the other patriarchs being buried at Shechem, though possibly he alludes to the tradition. The plural, "they were carried," etc., might be put generally, though only Joseph was meant (as Matthew 27:44; Matthew 26:8 compared with Luke 23:39; John 12:4), or "the bones of Joseph" might possibly be the subject, though not expressed. Lightfoot - followed by Bishop Wordsworth, who thinks that Abraham really did buy a field of Ephron in Sychem, when he was there (Genesis 12:6)-would thus be right in supposing that the point of Stephen's remark was that the patriarchs were buried in Shechem.
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