What does Acts 7:18 mean?
ESV: until there arose over Egypt another king who did not know Joseph.
NIV: Then 'a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt.'
NASB: until ANOTHER KING AROSE OVER EGYPT WHO DID NOT KNOW JOSEPH.
CSB: until a different king who did not know Joseph ruled over Egypt.
NLT: But then a new king came to the throne of Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph.
KJV: Till another king arose, which knew not Joseph.
NKJV: till another king arose who did not know Joseph.
Verse Commentary:
Despite his accusers' claims, Stephen and other Jewish Jesus-followers hold the Mosaic law, the temple, and Moses in the highest respect. But they hold an even higher view of how God has worked in the people of Israel. God's prophets didn't start with Moses. His blessing didn't start with the Law. And His worship certainly didn't start with the construction of the temple. The Jews first worshiped God and received His blessings through His first prophet, Abraham.

Stephen has already reminded his audience how Joseph's rejection by his brothers led the Israelites to Egypt where Joseph was able to provide for their needs (Acts 7:9–16). He has also reminded them how that stability and protection led to a population boom in the families of the twelve brothers (Acts 7:17). But both Joseph and the pharaoh he served died, and the new pharaoh merely saw the Israelites as a threat, not as the family of the man who rescued Egypt from famine (Exodus 1:6–10).

God revealed to Abraham some of these details of the Israelites' time in Egypt. He said, "Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years" (Genesis 15:13). God didn't always use Moses, the Law, or the temple to bless His people. Some of His greatest blessings occurred in Egypt while His people suffered in slavery for four hundred years.
Verse Context:
Acts 7:17–22 continues Stephen's defense against charges that he speaks against Moses, the Mosaic law, and the temple (Acts 6:11–14). In this part, he subtly shows that God's work is not confined to a building, city, or even nation. God used a hostile foreign government to prepare the greatest prophet of the Old Testament and the bringer of the Law that made the Israelites a nation. Solomon admitted during the dedication of the temple that even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain God, much less a building made by human hands (2 Chronicles 6:18). The truth is, neither can a single nation, or even the world.
Chapter Summary:
Stephen is a Greek-speaking Jewish Christian and one of the first deacons in the church in Jerusalem (Acts 6:1–7). He's also a skilled apologist and has been debating Jews from outside Judea about the proper place of the Mosaic law and the temple (Acts 6:8–15). His opponents cannot counter his arguments so they resort to lies. They tell the Sanhedrin that Stephen wants to destroy the temple and repeal the Mosaic law. Stephen counters that his accusers don't respect Moses or the Law, and the temple isn't necessary to worship God. This enrages the mob, and Stephen is stoned, becoming the first Christian martyr.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 7 is one of the pivot points of the book of Acts. Until recently, the early church has seen favor from the people and indifference from the Sanhedrin. Now, the Sanhedrin has beaten the apostles and ordered them not to preach about Jesus (Acts 5:40), and the people are starting to realize how different Christianity is. In Jerusalem, a Hellenist Jewish Jesus-follower named Stephen has been in a debate with other foreign Jews who finally accuse him of wishing to destroy the temple, like Jesus (Acts 6:8–15). This is Stephen's defense, which leads to his death and the introduction of Paul.
Book Summary:
The summary of the book of Acts is provided in Jesus' words in Acts 1:8: ''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'' In Acts 2:1–13, the Christ-followers receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:14—7:60 describes the rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem. Chapters 8—12 find Jewish persecution inadvertently spreading the gospel throughout Judea and Samaria. And in chapters 13—28, Paul and his companions spread the good news throughout the Roman Empire.
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