Acts 7:27 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 7:27, NIV: But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, 'Who made you ruler and judge over us?

Acts 7:27, ESV: But the man who was wronging his neighbor thrust him aside, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us?

Acts 7:27, KJV: But he that did his neighbour wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us?

Acts 7:27, NASB: But the one who was injuring his neighbor pushed him away, saying, ‘WHO MADE YOU A RULER AND JUDGE OVER US?

Acts 7:27, NLT: 'But the man in the wrong pushed Moses aside. 'Who made you a ruler and judge over us?' he asked.

Acts 7:27, CSB: "But the one who was mistreating his neighbor pushed Moses aside, saying: Who appointed you a ruler and a judge over us?

What does Acts 7:27 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jews visiting Jerusalem have accused Stephen of several crimes, including "speak[ing] blasphemous words against Moses" (Acts 6:11). In this part of Stephen's defense, he points out that 1. Moses was a murderer (Acts 7:24), and 2. Moses' contemporaries didn't respect him (Acts 7:28, 38–41). During his first attempt to rescue his people from persecution, Moses killed a violent Egyptian. Instead of being thankful, the Israelite slaves rejected him (Exodus 2:11–14).

This charge against Moses is particularly ironic. Moses had spent forty years being raised as an Egyptian official (Acts 7:22). He probably did look like a "ruler." God would make him a true ruler and judge. God would give him the Law, and Moses would lead the Israelites spiritually and politically for forty years. After God rescued the Israelites from Egypt, while Moses was on Mount Sinai communicating with God, the people grew tired of waiting and asked Aaron to make gods for them. They gave gold to Aaron, who formed a statue of a golden calf that the people worshipped. God suggested He would consume the people and make a great nation out of Moses instead, but Moses interceded for the people (Exodus 32). Later, after the men who had been sent to spy out the land of Canaan returned with a good report of the land and a frightening report of the inhabitants (Numbers 13), the people rebelled against Moses and Aaron, proposing they find a new leader and return to Egypt. They even wanted to stone their leaders. God again suggested He would kill and disinherit the people and make Moses a great nation, but Moses, again, interceded for the people (Numbers 14). Not only did Moses function as a ruler over the people, he was a judge between them—so much so that his father-in-law advised him to appoint other judges for smaller matters (Exodus 18).

And yet, time after time, the people rejected Moses. They complained they should have stayed in Egypt or just died when they ran short of water (Exodus 17:1–4). They said they should have stayed in slavery since at least then they had cucumbers, melons, onions, and garlic (Numbers 11:5). They insisted they should have died in the wilderness when they ran out of figs and pomegranates (Numbers 20:3–5). They complained they had no food (Exodus 16:3). When God sent manna, they complained they had no meat (Numbers 11:4). Then they complained about "this worthless food" (Numbers 21:5). They even refused to go into the Promised Land when God prepared it for them (Numbers 14:1–4).

Stephen is one of many spreading stories of how Jesus was crucified and raised again and how belief in Him brings forgiveness from God. To devout Jews, this sounds like a rejection of the Law Moses gave them. But Moses prophesied that Jesus would come (Acts 7:37). It is not Stephen and the other Jesus-followers who blaspheme Moses, it's those who don't listen to him.