Acts 7:34 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 7:34, NIV: I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.'

Acts 7:34, ESV: I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt.’

Acts 7:34, KJV: I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send thee into Egypt.

Acts 7:34, NASB: I HAVE CERTAINLY SEEN THE OPPRESSION OF MY PEOPLE WHO ARE IN EGYPT, AND HAVE HEARD THEIR GROANING, AND I HAVE COME DOWN TO RESCUE THEM; AND NOW COME, I WILL SEND YOU TO EGYPT.’

Acts 7:34, NLT: I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groans and have come down to rescue them. Now go, for I am sending you back to Egypt.'

Acts 7:34, CSB: I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt; I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. And now, come, I will send you to Egypt.

What does Acts 7:34 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Stephen has been accused of disrespecting Moses, among other things (Acts 6:11–14). In his quick history of Israel, Stephen shows how the Israelites have a long tradition of rejecting Moses and the other prophets God has sent.

Stephen sets the stage here. Four hundred and thirty years before God called Moses, Joseph, son of Jacob, was second-in-command of Egypt and was able to settle his father's large family in a good land during a terrible famine. Thirty years later, after Joseph and the Pharaoh he served had died, a new Pharaoh arrived and saw the fertile Israelites as a threat. He enslaved them, hoping to control their population. When that didn't work, another Pharaoh demanded all the baby boys be killed (Exodus 1). At this point in Stephen's story, God had determined it was time for Moses to free his people from slavery and lead them to the land God had promised Abraham (Exodus 2:23–25).

Forty years before, Moses had taken it upon himself to kill an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew. The next day, Moses confronted two Israelites who were fighting with each other. The aggressor rejected his intervention and any authority over them, asking Moses if he was going to kill him, as well. Realizing that if these men knew he had killed the Egyptian Pharaoh would know, too, Moses fled to Midian (Acts 7:25–29).

Forty years later, God told Moses to return to Egypt and save his people. This verse glosses over Exodus 3:7–4:17. The confidence Moses had when he came to his people's aid the first time was shattered. He gave excuse after excuse as to why he wasn't worthy. God gave encouragement, signs, and finally an angry concession before Moses agreed to move.

The Israelites didn't have any more confidence in Moses than he did. They spent the next forty years rebelling against his direction. God's signs had little effect on their attitude (Acts 7:35–41). This continued beyond Moses. Stephen points out how the Israelites abused and killed God's other prophets, up to and including the Prophet (the Messiah) Moses promised would follow him—Jesus (Acts 7:51–53). The Jews accuse Stephen of rejecting Moses. Stephen shows how they reject God.