Acts 7:17 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 7:17, NIV: As the time drew near for God to fulfill his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt had greatly increased.

Acts 7:17, ESV: “But as the time of the promise drew near, which God had granted to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt

Acts 7:17, KJV: But when the time of the promise drew nigh, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt,

Acts 7:17, NASB: 'But as the time of the promise which God had assured to Abraham was approaching, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt,

Acts 7:17, NLT: 'As the time drew near when God would fulfill his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt greatly increased.

Acts 7:17, CSB: "As the time was approaching to fulfill the promise that God had made to Abraham, the people flourished and multiplied in Egypt

What does Acts 7:17 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Stephen has already covered "the promise" in his account about Abraham (Acts 7:7). God promised Abraham that his descendants would one day inherit the land of Canaan (Genesis 15:18–21). God specifically told Abraham that he would not inherit the land. And yet still Abraham worshiped God.

It is unclear why God chose Egypt as the incubator for the nation of Israel. For three generations, the Israelites lived as nomads in Canaan, owning very little land of their own. When the Israelites came to Egypt, Joseph, by permission of the pharaoh, set them up in a separated territory, Goshen. The Egyptians hated sheep, so at the beginning, the Israelites were left alone (Genesis 46:28–34). With twelve families finally settled in a single place with sufficient resources, the clan grew quickly. So quickly, the new Egyptian administration got worried.

Stephen is reminding his audience that one of the periods of God's greatest blessing came without the Law, the temple, or even the land He had promised. It came in exile. The practices of Judaism were still important to the Jewish Jesus-followers (Acts 3:1), but neither group—Jesus-follower or traditional Jew—must confuse the worship of God with the worship of His blessings.