“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,”
King James Version (KJV)
7:2 And he said - St. Stephen had been accused of blasphemy against Moses, and even against God; and of speaking against the temple and the law, threatening that Jesus would destroy the one, and change the other. In answer to this accusation, rehearsing as it were the articles of his historical creed, he speaks of God with high reverence, and a grateful sense of a long series of acts of goodness to the Israelites, and of Moses with great respect, on account of his important and honourable employments under God: of the temple with regard, as being built to the honour of God; yet not with such superstition as the Jews; putting them in mind, that no temple could comprehend God. And he was going on, no doubt, when he was interrupted by their clamour, to speak to the last point, the destruction of the temple, and the change of the law by Christ. Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken - The sum of his discourse is this: I acknowledge the glory of God revealed to the fathers, ver. 2; #Ac 7:2 the calling of Moses|, ver. 34, #7:34 |&c; the dignity of the law, verses 8,38,44 #Ac 7:8|,38,44; the holiness of this place, verses 7,45,47. #Ac 7:7|,45,47 And indeed the law is more ancient than the temple; the promise more ancient than the law. For God showed himself the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their children freely, ver. 2, &c; 9, &c; 17,&c; 32,34,35; #Ac 7:2|,9,17,32,34,35 and they showed faith and obedience to God, ver. 4, 20, &c, 23, #Ac 7:4|,20,23 particularly by their regard for the law, ver. 8, #Ac 7:8| and the promised land, ver. 16. #7:16| Meantime, God never confined his presence to this one place or to the observers of the law. For he hath been acceptably worshipped before the law was given, or the temple built, and out of this land, ver. 2, 9, 33, 44. #Ac 7:2|,9,33,44 And that our fathers and their posterity were not tied down to this land, their various sojournings, ver. 4, &c; 14, 29, 44, #Ac 7:4|,14,29,44 and exile, ver. 43, show. #Ac 7:43| But you and your fathers have always been evil, ver. 9; #Ac 7:9| have withstood Moses, ver. 25, &c, 39, &c; #Ac 7:25|,39 have despised the land, ver. 39, #Ac 7:39| forsaken God, ver. 40, &c, #Ac 7:40| superstitiously honoured the temple, ver. 48, #Ac 7:48| resisted God and his Spirit, ver 50, #Ac 7:50| killed the prophets and the Messiah himself, ver. 51, #Ac 7:51| and kept not the law for which ye contend, ver. 53. #Ac 7:53| Therefore God is not bound to you; much less to you alone. And truly this solemn testimony of Stephen is most worthy of his character, as a man full of the Holy Ghost, and of faith and power: in which, though he does not advance so many regular propositions, contradictory to those of his adversaries, yet he closely and nervously answers them all. Nor can we doubt but he would, from these premises, have drawn inferences touching the destruction of the temple, the abrogation of the Mosaic law, the punishment of that rebellious people; and above all, touching Jesus of Nazareth, the true Messiah, had not his discourse been interrupted by the clamours of the multitude, stopping their ears, and rushing upon him. Men, brethren, and fathers - All who are here present, whether ye are my equals in years, or of more advanced age. The word which in this and in many other places is rendered men is a mere expletive. The God of glory - The glorious God, appeared to Abraham before he dwelt in Haran - Therefore Abraham knew God, long before he was in this land. #Gen 12:1|.
Ac 7:2 Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken. In order to make his defense, to unveil the fact that his accusers were fighting God, and to preach Christ, Stephen rapidly outlines Jewish history. Every fact cited has a point. Note (1) that Abraham was called in uncircumcision, and the Christ promised through his seed before he was circumcised; (2) that Joseph, the type of Christ, was rejected by his brethren, and afterwards saves them; (3) that Moses is also rejected and despised, but that God makes choice of him to save Israel; (4) that the Israelites went whoring after false gods and were carried into captivity; (5) that God had the tabernacle and temple built, but was particular to assure Israel that he dwelt not in temples made with human hands; (6) that their Moses, rejected, whom the people refused to obey, predicted a prophet like unto himself, and (7) that in the rejection of Christ they showed just the same spirit as their fathers who had rejected and slain the prophets who predicted Christ's coming. The speech is pointed, logical, and powerful, not intended to conciliate, but to show the Jews their own sins. The God of glory appeared unto . . . Abraham . . . in Mesopotamia. Abraham's childhood home was at Ur of the Chaldees in Mesopotamia, the country between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. Ge 12:1 gives a second call at Haran, or Charran (the same), but Stephen declares that the family had gone from Ur to Charran, because of an earlier call (Ac 7:4). Charran was on the route to Canaan, and Abraham made a stop there of five years, until his father died (Ge 11:31,32).