Acts 7:7
And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, said God: and after that shall they come forth, and serve me in this place.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) And after that shall they come forth.—The verse combines the promise to Abraham in Genesis 15:17 with a free rendering of the sign given to Moses (Exodus 3:12), which referred not to Canaan but to Horeb. What St. Stephen does is to substitute with the natural freedom of a narrative given from memory the words “they shall serve me” for the simpler phrase, “they shall come hither again,” of Genesis. The whole context is at variance with the assumption that St. Stephen meant the last words of the verse to be taken as applying to the mount of God.

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 the nation ... - Referring particularly to the Egyptians.

Will I judge - The word "judge," in the Bible, often means to "execute judgment" as well as to pronounce it; that is, "to punish." See John 18:31; John 3:17; John 8:50; John 12:47; Acts 24:6; 1 Corinthians 5:13, etc. It has this meaning here. God regarded their oppressive acts as deserving His indignation, and He evinced it in the plagues with which He visited upon them, and in their overthrow at the Red Sea.

Shall serve me - Shall worship me, or be regarded as my people.

In this place - That is, in the place where God made this promise to Abraham. These words are not found in Genesis, but similar words are found in Exodus 3:12, and it was a practice, in making quotations, to quote the sense only, or to connect two or more promises having relation to the same thing.

7. after that shall they come forth, and serve me in this place—Here the promise to Abraham (Ge 15:16), and that to Moses (Ex 3:12), are combined; Stephen's object being merely to give a rapid summary of the leading facts. Will I judge, or punish; and so the Egyptians were punished, not by human means, but by Divine power, and with God’s own immediate hand, and that in the fulness of time, the very night in which God’s promise was to take effect: and therefore it is a night to be much observed, Exodus 12:42, as showing, that the sabbath of his people, and the destruction of his enemies, slumber not, 2 Peter 2:3.

Serve me in this place; in Mount Horeb. The reason why God delivers his people is, that they may serve him, as Luke 1:74,75; and so long as God hath any work for them to do in this world, he will preserve and deliver them. And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage,.... At the end of the four hundred years, and which was the Egyptian nation:

I will judge, said God; that is, condemn and punish them, as he did, by inflicting the ten plagues upon them:

and after that they shall come forth; out of the land of Egypt, and their hard bondage there; and which was brought about by the judgments executed upon the Egyptians:

and serve me in this place; in the land of Canaan; though these words are not to be found in Genesis 15:13 what comes nearest them is in Exodus 3:12. "Ye shall serve God upon this mountain"; meaning Mount Horeb, where Moses then was, and from whence the law was afterwards given.

And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, said God: and after that shall they come forth, and serve me in this place.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 7:7. The oratio recta is introduced by the words εἶπεν ὁ Θεόςκρινῶ ἐγώ emphatic, cf. Romans 12:19. In this verse the quotation is a free rendering of Genesis 15:14, the words ὧδε μετὰ ἀποσκευῆς πολλῆς being omitted after and the latter part of the verse being apparently introduced from Exodus 3:12. And so at length, after so long a time, God appointed for Himself a “holy place,” cf. Acts 6:13 (Blass).—ᾧ ἐὰν δουλεύσωσι, cf. LXX, Genesis 15:14, and see critical note above, cf. also Burton, N. T. Moods and Tenses, p. 123.7. after that shall they come forth] The first prophecy (Genesis 15:14) of this Exodus adds “with great substance.”

and serve me in this place] These words are not in the promise given to Abraham, but are taken from Exodus 3:12, where the original promise is repeated and sent to the Israelites through Moses, and the place meant in that verse is Sinai, called there Horeb, the mountain of God. Stephen in his speech combines the two that he may describe the promise in its fulness, and he mentions the worship of God in that place, because the one great object of his address is to demonstrate that what is laid to his charge concerning the highest worship of God being no longer restricted to the Temple and Jerusalem, is nothing more than they were taught by a study of their own history.Acts 7:7. Καὶ λατρεύσουσί μοι ἐν τῷ τόπῳ τούτῳ) Exodus 3:12, LXX., καὶ λατρεύσετε τῷ Θεῷ ἐν τῷ ὄρει τούτῳ. These words spoken to him Moses records of the place, Horeb, not excluding the land of Canaan: Ibid. Acts 7:8. For if service (worship) on Horeb was a sign of Moses’ mission, Exodus 3:12, much more service in the land of Canaan was a sign. Therefore Stephen has woven together the oracles given to Abraham and Moses, in this sense; “They shall go forth from the land of bondage (this was said to both Abraham and Moses), and shall come to Horeb, and shall serve the Lord in this place; and shall come thence into the land of Canaan, and shall serve the Lord.” In thus weaving together these things, he shows in a strong way, (1) that what was said to Moses as to the worship of Israel towards GOD, was already in the time of Abraham divinely intended and meant: (2) that they were taught in Horeb to serve GOD for this purpose, that they might worship Him perpetually in the land of Canaan, Acts 7:44 : (3) that the worship in Horeb was very much curtailed by the people [owing to their idolatry of the calf], Acts 7:40-41, and was rather rendered at length when they entered into the land of Canaan; Acts 7:45, “They shall serve Me,” is the expression used; they shall not, as previously, serve the Egyptians; they shall serve in freedom, as Priests.Verse 7. - Which for whom, A.V. And serve me in this place. These words are not in Genesis 15, from which the preceding words are quoted. Instead of καὶ λατρεύσουσι μοί ἐν τῷ τόπῳ τούτῳ, the LXX, following the Hebrew, have μετὰ ἀποσκεύης πολλῆς, "with great substance." The words "serve me in this place," seem certainly to have been suggested by Exodus 3:12, "Ye shall serve God upon this mountain;" but they give a perfectly correct account of what happened in this case.
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