Acts 7:26 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 7:26, NIV: The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, 'Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?'

Acts 7:26, ESV: And on the following day he appeared to them as they were quarreling and tried to reconcile them, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers. Why do you wrong each other?’

Acts 7:26, KJV: And the next day he shewed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another?

Acts 7:26, NASB: And on the following day he appeared to them as they were fighting each other, and he tried to reconcile them to peace, by saying, ‘Men, you are brothers, why are you injuring each other?’

Acts 7:26, NLT: '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?'

Acts 7:26, CSB: The next day he showed up while they were fighting and tried to reconcile them peacefully, saying, 'Men, you are brothers. Why are you mistreating each other? '

What does Acts 7:26 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jews from northern Africa and modern-day Asia Minor have wrongly accused Stephen of disrespecting Moses, the Law God gave him, and the temple (Acts 6:11–14). Stephen's defense before the Sanhedrin is a short review of Jewish history which organically touches on the charges in different ways. The story of Abraham subtly points out that the Jews' greatest forefather worshiped God through circumcision, without temple, nation, or Law (Acts 7:1–8). Joseph's account shows that, far from immediately giving the Israelites the land God had promised, God first took them down to Egypt (Acts 7:9–16). Then Stephen reminds them that the great Moses started trying to rescue his people by murdering an Egyptian (Acts 7:23–24).

Now, Stephen returns to a point he also made with Joseph (Acts 7:9): the Israelites didn't respect Moses (Exodus 2:13–14). This contempt for God's prophet is a Jewish tradition, in practice if not in intent. The Israelites rejected Moses' God and asked Aaron to make them idols to worship (Acts 7:39–41). The people of the Old Testament ignored the prophets God sent—or killed them (Acts 7:52). And Stephen's audience is ignoring Moses' prophecy that God would send another prophet like him—who would be the Messiah (Acts 7:37). This prophet is Jesus, and the Sanhedrin had Him crucified (Acts 7:52).

Moses' words quoted here (Exodus 2:13) were a fitting accusation for Stephen's audience. With their access to the Old Testament prophecies, there's no reason intelligent Jews couldn't figure out how Jesus of Nazareth fit as God's promised Messiah, come to save His people. The Jews and the Jesus-followers in Jerusalem are brothers. There should be no quarreling. But Jesus came bringing a message that separates families like a sword (Matthew 10:34–36). Even Christ knew the sting of being rejected by His brothers (Mark 3:21; John 7:1–5). The Jesus-followers will have to embrace Jesus' words that the family is now anyone who obeys God (Mark 3:34–35), whether that be Jew, Samaritan, or Gentile (Acts 1:8; 8:4–13; 10).

Like Jesus' words, Stephen's prove divisive—to the point that the Sanhedrin orders the persecution of Jesus-followers (Acts 8:1–3). And like both Jesus and the Old Testament prophets, Stephen's "brothers" reject him to the point of murder (Acts 7:54–60).