1 Then the high priest asked Stephen, "Are these accusations true?"
2 This was Stephen's reply: "Brothers and honorable fathers, listen to me. Our glorious God appeared to our ancestor Abraham in Mesopotamia before he moved to Haran.*1
3 God told him, `Leave your native land and your relatives, and come to the land that I will show you.'*2
4 So Abraham left the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran until his father died. Then God brought him here to the land where you now live.
5 But God gave him no inheritance here, not even one square foot of land. God did promise, however, that eventually the whole country would belong to Abraham and his descendants--though he had no children yet.3
6 But God also told him that his descendants would live in a foreign country where they would be mistreated as slaves for four hundred years.4
7 `But I will punish the nation that enslaves them,' God told him, `and in the end they will come out and worship me in this place.'*5
8 God also gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision at that time. And so Isaac, Abraham's son, was circumcised when he was eight days old. Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob was the father of the twelve patriarchs of the Jewish nation.
9 "These sons of Jacob were very jealous of their brother Joseph, and they sold him to be a slave in Egypt. But God was with him
10 and delivered him from his anguish. And God gave him favor before Pharaoh, king of Egypt. God also gave Joseph unusual wisdom, so that Pharaoh appointed him governor over all of Egypt and put him in charge of all the affairs of the palace.
11 "But a famine came upon Egypt and Canaan. There was great misery for our ancestors, as they ran out of food.
12 Jacob heard that there was still grain in Egypt, so he sent his sons* to buy some.6
13 The second time they went, Joseph revealed his identity to his brothers, and they were introduced to Pharaoh.
14 Then Joseph sent for his father, Jacob, and all his relatives to come to Egypt, seventy-five persons in all.
15 So Jacob went to Egypt. He died there, as did all his sons.
16 All of them were taken to Shechem and buried in the tomb Abraham had bought from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.
17 "As the time drew near when God would fulfill his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt greatly increased.
18 But then a new king came to the throne of Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph.
19 This king plotted against our people and forced parents to abandon their newborn babies so they would die.
20 "At that time Moses was born--a beautiful child in God's eyes. His parents cared for him at home for three months.
21 When at last they had to abandon him, Pharaoh's daughter found him and raised him as her own son.
22 Moses was taught all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he became mighty in both speech and action.
23 "One day when he was forty years old, he decided to visit his relatives, the people of Israel.
24 During this visit, he saw an Egyptian mistreating a man of Israel. So Moses came to his defense and avenged him, killing the Egyptian.
25 Moses assumed his brothers would realize that God had sent him to rescue them, but they didn't.
26 "The next day he visited them again and saw two men of Israel fighting. He tried to be a peacemaker. `Men,' he said, `you are brothers. Why are you hurting each other?'
27 "But the man in the wrong pushed Moses aside and told him to mind his own business. `Who made you a ruler and judge over us?' he asked.
28 `Are you going to kill me as you killed that Egyptian yesterday?'
29 When Moses heard that, he fled the country and lived as a foreigner in the land of Midian, where his two sons were born.
30 "Forty years later, in the desert near Mount Sinai, an angel appeared to Moses in the flame of a burning bush.
31 Moses saw it and wondered what it was. As he went to see, the voice of the Lord called out to him,7