Then the high priest asked Stephen, “Are these accusations true?”
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.
God told him, ‘Leave your native land and your relatives, and come into the land that I will show you.’
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.
“But God gave him no inheritance here, not even one square foot of land. God did promise, however, that eventually the whole land would belong to Abraham and his descendants—even though he had no children yet.
God also told him that his descendants would live in a foreign land, where they would be oppressed as slaves for 400 years.
‘But I will punish the nation that enslaves them,’ God said, ‘and in the end they will come out and worship me here in this place.’
“God also gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision at that time. So when Abraham became the father of Isaac, he circumcised him on the eighth day. And the practice was continued when Isaac became the father of Jacob, and when Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs of the Israelite nation.
“These patriarchs were jealous of their brother Joseph, and they sold him to be a slave in Egypt. But God was with him
and rescued him from all his troubles. 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 the palace.
“But a famine came upon Egypt and Canaan. There was great misery, and our ancestors ran out of food.
Jacob heard that there was still grain in Egypt, so he sent his sons—our ancestors—to buy some.
The second time they went, Joseph revealed his identity to his brothers, and they were introduced to Pharaoh.
Then Joseph sent for his father, Jacob, and all his relatives to come to Egypt, seventy-five persons in all.
So Jacob went to Egypt. He died there, as did our ancestors.
Their bodies were taken to Shechem and buried in the tomb Abraham had bought for a certain price from Hamor’s sons in Shechem.
“As the time drew near when God would fulfill his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt greatly increased.
But then a new king came to the throne of Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph.
This king exploited our people and oppressed them, forcing parents to abandon their newborn babies so they would die.
“At that time Moses was born—a beautiful child in God’s eyes. His parents cared for him at home for three months.
When they had to abandon him, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and raised him as her own son.
Moses was taught all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was powerful in both speech and action.
“One day when Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his relatives, the people of Israel.
He saw an Egyptian mistreating an Israelite. So Moses came to the man’s defense and avenged him, killing the Egyptian.
Moses assumed his fellow Israelites would realize that God had sent him to rescue them, but they didn’t.
“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 fighting each other?’
“But the man in the wrong pushed Moses aside. ‘Who made you a ruler and judge over us?’ he asked.
‘Are you going to kill me as you killed that Egyptian yesterday?’
When Moses heard that, he fled the country and lived as a foreigner in the land of Midian. There his two sons were born.