Acts 7:15 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 7:15, NIV: Then Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our ancestors died.

Acts 7:15, ESV: And Jacob went down into Egypt, and he died, he and our fathers,

Acts 7:15, KJV: So Jacob went down into Egypt, and died, he, and our fathers,

Acts 7:15, NASB: And Jacob went down to Egypt, and he and our fathers died there.

Acts 7:15, NLT: So Jacob went to Egypt. He died there, as did our ancestors.

Acts 7:15, CSB: and Jacob went down to Egypt. He and our ancestors died there,

What does Acts 7:15 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jews from Egypt, Libya, and modern-day Asia Minor have accused Stephen, a Jewish Jesus-follower, of disrespecting Moses, the Mosaic law, and the temple (Acts 6:11–14). In his trial before the Sanhedrin, he uses the history of Israel to weave together a defense of those three charges and show the hypocrisy of his accusers and the Jewish people as a whole.

He starts by showing that Abraham worshiped God long before the Mosaic law or the temple—in fact, he worshiped God outside the confines of what came to be Israel (Acts 7:1–8). It was circumcision, not the Law or temple that set the Jews apart.

Next, Stephen uses the story of Joseph to show that far from revering God's prophets, the Israelites started their tradition of persecuting God's messengers very early on (Acts 7:9–14). He will later tie in the fact that Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery with the Israelite's rejection of Moses, other prophets, and Jesus (Acts 7:35, 39–40, 51–52).

Now, in preparation of his story of Moses, Stephen returns to the idea of place. God promised Abraham that his descendants would inherit the land of Canaan. Far from it, Abraham's great-grandson and his twelve sons all die in Egypt. They are no less God's people because they are on another continent. Jerusalem and the temple are important to Stephen and to the other Jesus-followers. But those locations mean nothing without the God, and His Son, who give them significance.