Acts 7:28

ESV Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’
NIV Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?'
CSB Do you want to kill me, the same way you killed the Egyptian yesterday?
NLT β€˜Are you going to kill me as you killed that Egyptian yesterday?’
KJV Wilt thou kill me, as thou diddest the Egyptian yesterday?

What does Acts 7:28 mean?

Devout Jews visiting Jerusalem from northern Africa and modern-day Asia Minor have accused Stephen of blasphemy against Moses and God and speaking words against the temple and the Mosaic law (Acts 6:8–14). Stephen is defending himself in front of a crowd and the Sanhedrin by applying a short history of Israel to the accusations.

In the middle of his testimony, Stephen reminds his audience that before Moses was a spiritual giant who provided the Law and rescued the Israelites, he neither received nor deserved respect. He knew he would be responsible for bringing the Israelites out of slavery, but he acted too soon and under his own power. When he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave, Moses secretly killed and buried the Egyptian. But the next day, when he saw two Israelites fighting, the aggressor revealed that Moses had been seen. The Israelites were right to distance themselves from him; as soon as Pharaoh learned what Moses had done, he tried to kill him (Exodus 2:11–15).

Evidence would suggest that the quarreling Israelites didn't reject Moses because he killed their oppressor. They rejected Moses because they didn't trust he was in a position to get them what they wanted. Moses fled after this altercation and returned after forty years with miraculous evidence from God that he would rescue his people. But even after Moses led them out of Egypt and Pharaoh's oppression, and even with multiple miracles of protection and provision from God, the people rejected Moses, insisting they were better off in slavery in Egypt with leeks and pomegranates than traveling through the wilderness to a place full of milk and honey where they could be free (Numbers 14; 20:3–13).

Stephen's audience is acting the same way. They would rather remain slaves to their sin and the Mosaic law than follow Jesus: the Prophet Moses promised—the Messiah (Acts 7:37). They would rather remain in Jerusalem with their sacrifices and temple than be freed from geographical restraints and the mediation of priests that separate them from a more personal relationship with their God. Stephen's defense here is exquisite and complex: he may not revere Moses like his accusers, but Moses wasn't always worthy of being revered. And regarding Moses' greatest prophecy, they are in complete rebellion while Stephen is about to lay down his life because he believes.
What is the Gospel?
Download the app: