Parashot

Week Ending Saturday, August 4, 2018

עקב

EKEV (AS A RESULT)

 


Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25

Parashat Ekev

Adonai Desires to Bless

12 “Then it will happen, as a result of your listening to these ordinances, when you keep and do them, that Adonai your God will keep with you the covenant kindness that He swore to your fathers. 13 He will love you, bless you and multiply you. He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the produce of your soil, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock, in the land that He swore to your fathers to give you. 14 From all peoples, you will be blessed—there will not be male or female barren among you or your livestock. 15 Adonai will remove all sickness from you, and He will not inflict on you any of the terrible diseases of Egypt that you knew, but will inflict them on all who hate you.

16 “You will devour all the peoples Adonai your God gives over to you. Your eye is not to pity them. You are not to serve their gods, for that would be a snare to you. 17 Suppose you say in your heart, ‘These nations are more numerous than I—how can I drive them out?’ 18 You are not to be afraid of them. You are to be sure to remember what Adonai your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt: 19 the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs and wonders, and the mighty hand and outstretched arm[a] by which Adonai your God brought you out. So will Adonai your God do to all the peoples you fear.

20 “Moreover, Adonai your God will send the hornet against them, until the survivors and those in hiding perish before you. 21 You should not be terrified of them, since Adonai your God is in your midst—a great and awesome God. 22 Adonai your God will drive away those nations before you little by little—you will not be able to put an end to them all at once, or else the beasts of the field will multiply on you. 23 But Adonai your God will give them over to you, and He will throw them into great confusion until they are destroyed. 24 He will hand over their kings to you, and you will blot out their name from under the heavens. No man will stand up to you, until you have destroyed them all.

25 “The carved images of their gods you are to burn with fire. You are not to covet the silver or gold on them or take it for yourself—or you could be snared by it, for it is an abomination to Adonai your God. 26 You are not to bring an abomination into your house—for you, like it, will be a banned thing. You must utterly detest and utterly abhor it, for it is set apart for destruction.

Not By Bread Alone

“You are to take care to do the whole mitzvah that I am commanding you today, so that you may live and multiply and go in and possess the land that Adonai swore to your fathers. You are to remember all the way that Adonai your God has led you these 40 years in the wilderness—in order to humble you, to test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His mitzvot or not. He afflicted you and let you hunger, then He fed you manna—which neither you nor your fathers had known—in order to make you understand that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of Adonai. Neither did your clothing wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these 40 years. Now you know in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so Adonai your God disciplines you. So you are to keep the mitzvot of Adonai your God—to walk in His ways and to fear Him. For Adonai your God is bringing you into a good land—a land of wadis with water, of springs and fountains flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, vines, figs and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey, a land where you will eat bread with no poverty, where you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. 10 So you will eat and be full, and you will bless Adonai your God for the good land He has given you.

11 “Take care that you do not forget Adonai your God by not keeping His mitzvot, ordinances and statutes that I am commanding you today. 12 Otherwise, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and lived in them, 13 and when your herds and flocks multiply, and silver and gold multiplies for you and all that is yours multiplies, 14 then your heart will be haughty and you will forget Adonai your God. He brought you out from the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery. 15 He led you through the great and terrible wilderness—fiery serpents and scorpions, and thirsty ground where there was no water. He brought forth water for you from the flinty rock. 16 He fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, in order to afflict you and test you, to do you good in the end. 17 You may say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand has made me this wealth.’ 18 Rather you are to remember Adonai your God, for it is He who gives you power to make wealth, in order to establish His covenant that He swore to your fathers—as it is this day.

19 “Now if you do forget Adonai your God, and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you will certainly perish. 20 Like the nations Adonai makes perish before you, so you will perish, since you would not listen to the voice of Adonai your God.

Who Brings Down Giants?

“Hear, O Israel! You are about to cross over the Jordan today, to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourself—cities great and fortified up to the heavens. The people are great and tall, sons of the Anakim. You know them, and you yourselves have heard, “Who can stand before the sons of Anak?” But you will know today that Adonai your God is the One who is crossing over before you as a devouring fire. He will destroy them, and He will bring them down before you, so that you may drive them out and make them perish quickly, as Adonai has promised you.

“After Adonai your God has driven them out from before you, do not say in your heart, ‘It is because of my righteousness that Adonai has brought me in to possess this land.’ It is because of the wickedness of these nations that Adonai is driving them out from before you. It is not by your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you are going in to possess their land. Rather, because of the wickedness of these nations, Adonai your God is driving them out from before you, and in order to keep the word Adonai swore to your fathers—to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. So you should understand that it is not because of your righteousness that Adonai your God is giving you this good land to possess—for you are a stiff-necked people.

What Happened to the Tablets?

“Remember, never forget, how you provoked Adonai your God to wrath in the wilderness. From the day you left the land of Egypt until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against Adonai. At Horeb you provoked Adonai to wrath, and Adonai was angry with you—enough to destroy you. When I went up the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant that Adonai cut with you, I stayed on the mountain 40 days and 40 nights; I did not eat bread or drink water. 10 Adonai gave me the two tablets of stone written by the finger of God. Moreover, on them were all the words that Adonai had spoken with you on the mountain from the midst of the fire, on the day of the assembly.

11 “Now at the end of 40 days and 40 nights, Adonai gave me the two tablets of stone—the tablets of the covenant. 12 Adonai said to me, ‘Get up! Go quickly down from here, for your people whom you brought out from Egypt have acted corruptly. They have quickly turned from the way I commanded them; they have made a molten image for themselves.’ 13 Furthermore Adonai spoke to me saying, ‘I have seen this people, and it is indeed a stiff-necked people. 14 Leave Me alone, so that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under the heavens. Then I will make you into a nation mightier and greater than they.’

15 “So I turned and came down from the mountain while the mountain was burning with fire. Now the two tablets of the covenant were in my two hands. 16 When I looked, you had indeed sinned against Adonai your God—you had made yourselves a metal calf. So quickly you had turned aside from the way Adonai had commanded you! 17 So I took hold of the two tablets, threw them out of my two hands, and smashed them before your eyes.

18 “Then I fell down before Adonai like the first time, for 40 days and 40 nights. I did not eat bread or drink water—because of all your sin that you committed, doing evil in Adonai’s sight, provoking Him to anger. 19 For I was afraid of the fierce wrath and fury which Adonai bore toward you—to destroy you.[b] But Adonai listened to me that time also. 20 Adonai was angry enough with Aaron to destroy him, so I prayed for Aaron also at the same time. 21 I took your sin—the calf you had made—and burned it in the fire. I crushed it, grinding it up so well that it was as fine as dust, and I threw its dust into the wadi flowing down from the mountain.

22 “Again at Taberah and Massah and Kibroth-hattaavah, you provoked Adonai to wrath. 23 When Adonai sent you from Kadesh-barnea, saying, ‘Go up and possess the land I have given you,’ then you rebelled against the commandment of Adonai your God and didn’t believe Him or listen to His voice. 24 You have been rebellious against Adonai from the day that I knew you.

25 “So I threw myself down before Adonai those 40 days and 40 nights, because Adonai had said He would destroy you. 26 I prayed to Adonai and said, ‘O Lord, Adonai, do not destroy Your people—Your inheritance that You have redeemed through Your greatness and brought out from Egypt with a mighty hand. 27 Remember Your servants, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Pay no attention to the stubbornness of this people or to their wickedness or their sin. 28 Otherwise the land from which You brought us out may say, “Because Adonai was not able to bring them into the land that He spoke of to them, and because He hated them, He has brought them out to kill them in the wilderness.” 29 Yet they are Your people—Your inheritance that You brought out by Your great power and Your outstretched arm.’

Two New Tablets

10 “At that time Adonai said to me, ‘Carve for yourself two tablets of stone like the first ones and come up to Me on the mountain. Make yourself an ark of wood. I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets that you smashed, and you are to put them in the ark.’

“So I made an ark of acacia wood, cut two tablets of stone like the first ones, and went up the mountain with the two tablets in my hand. Like the first inscription, Adonai wrote on the tablets the Ten Words He had spoken to you on the mountain from the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly, then gave them to me. Then I turned and came down from the mountain and put the tablets in the ark I had made—and there they are, just as Adonai commanded me.

“(Bnei-Yisrael traveled from the wells of the sons of Jaakan to Moserah—there Aaron died and was buried, and his son Eleazar served as kohen in his place. From there they journeyed to Gudgod, and from Gudgod to Jotbah—a land of wadis flowing with water. At that time Adonai set the tribe of Levi apart to carry the Ark of the Covenant of Adonai, to stand before Adonai to serve Him and to pronounce blessings in His Name—as is the case to this day. Therefore Levi has no portion or inheritance with his brothers—Adonai is his inheritance, just as Adonai your God had promised about him.)

10 “I stayed on the mountain like the first time—40 days and 40 nights. Adonai listened to me that time also and was not willing to destroy you. 11 Adonai said to me, ‘Rise up, go, journey ahead of the people so that they may go in and possess the land that I swore to their fathers to give to them.’

12 “So now, O Israel, what does Adonai your God require of you, but to fear Adonai your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 to keep the mitzvot of Adonai and His statutes that I am commanding you today, for your own good? 14 Behold, to Adonai your God belong the heavens and the highest of heavens, the earth and all that is in it. 15 Only on your fathers did Adonai set His affection to love them, and He chose their descendants after them—you—from all the peoples, as is the case this day.

Circumcise Your Hearts

16 “Circumcise the foreskin of your heart therefore, and do not be stiff-necked anymore. 17 For Adonai your God is God of gods and Lord of lords[c]—the great, mighty and awesome God, who does not show partiality or take a bribe. 18 He enacts justice for the orphan and widow, and loves the outsider, giving him food and clothing. 19 Therefore love the outsider, for you were outsiders in the land of Egypt. 20 Adonai your God you will fear—Him will you serve. To Him will you cling, and by His Name will you swear. 21 He is your praise and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things that your eyes have seen. 22 Your fathers went down to Egypt with 70 persons, and now Adonai your God has made you like the stars of the heavens in number.

Love and Obey with All Your Heart

11 “Therefore you are to love Adonai your God and keep His charge, His statutes, His ordinances and His mitzvot at all times. And you should know this day that it was not your children who knew or saw the discipline of Adonai your God—His greatness, His mighty hand and His outstretched arm; His signs and the deeds He did in the midst of Egypt to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to all his land; and what He did to the army of Egypt, to its horses and chariots when He made the waters of the Sea of Reeds flow over them as they chased after you, and how Adonai has destroyed them to this day; what He did for you in the wilderness until you came to this place; and what He did to Dathan and Abiram sons of Eliab son of Reuben—how the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, along with their households and tents and every living thing that followed them, in the midst of all Israel— Rather, it is your own eyes that have seen every mighty deed that Adonai has done.

“Therefore you are to keep the whole mitzvah that I am commanding you today, so that you may be strong and go in and possess the land that you are crossing over to possess, and so that you may prolong your days on the land that Adonai swore to give to your fathers and to their descendants—a land flowing with milk and honey.

10 “For the land you are going in to possess is not like the land of Egypt from which you came. There you planted your seed and watered it by foot, like a vegetable garden. 11 But the land you are crossing over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, drinking from the rain of the heavens it drinks in water. 12 It is a land that Adonai your God cares for—the eyes of Adonai your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year up to the end of the year.

13 “Now if you listen obediently to My mitzvot that I am commanding you today—to love Adonai your God and to serve Him with all your heart and soul— 14 then I will give rain for your land in its season—the early rain and the late rain[d]—so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil. 15 I will give grass in your field for your livestock, and you will eat and be satisfied. 16 Watch yourselves, so your heart is not deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them. 17 Then the anger of Adonai will be kindled against you, so He will shut up the sky so that there will be no rain and the soil will not yield its produce. Then you will perish quickly from the good land Adonai is giving you.

18 “Therefore you are to set these words of Mine in your heart and in your soul. You are to bind them as a sign on your hand, and as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You are to teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up. 20 You are to write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied on the land Adonai swore to give to your fathers, as long as the heavens are above the earth.

22 “For if you will diligently keep all this mitzvah that I am commanding you to do—to love Adonai your God, to walk in all His ways and to cling to Him— 23 then Adonai will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourselves. 24 Every place where the sole of your foot treads will be yours—from the wilderness to the Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, as far as the western sea will be your border. 25 No one will be able to stand against you—Adonai your God will put the fear and dread of you upon all the land where you tread, just as He has promised you.


Isaiah 49:14-51:3

14 But Zion said: “Adonai has forsaken me,
Adonai has forgotten me.”
15 “Can a woman forget her nursing baby
or lack compassion for a child of her womb?
Even if these forget,
I will not forget you.
16 Behold, I have engraved you
    on the palms of My hands.
Your walls are continually before Me.
17 Your children will come quickly.
Your destroyers and devastators will go away from you.
18 Lift up your eyes around and see:
all of them will gather and come to you.”
“As I live”
—it is Adonai’s declaration—
“you will wear them all as jewelry
    and bind them on like a bride.”
19 For your waste and desolate places
and your destroyed land
    will now be surely too small for the inhabitants,
and those who swallowed you up will be far away.
20 The children of your bereavement
will yet say in your ears,
“The place is too cramped for me!
Make room for me to settle in.”
21 Then you will say in your heart,
“Who has borne these for me?
Wasn’t I bereaved of my children—
    barren, an exile and wandering?
So who has raised these?
Behold, I was left alone—
    these, where were they?”

22 Thus says Adonai Elohim:
“Look, I will lift My hand to the nations,
and raise My banner to the peoples!
They will bring your sons on their chest,
and carry your daughters on their shoulders.
23 Kings will be your guardians,
their princesses your nurses.
They will bow down to you with their face to the ground,
    and lick the dust of your feet.
Then you will know that I am Adonai
those hoping in Me will not be ashamed.”

24 Can plunder be taken from the mighty,
or captives of the righteous freed?
25 For thus says Adonai:
“Yes, captives of the mighty will be taken
and the prey of the tyrant will be freed.
For I will oppose your adversary.
I will save your children.
26 I will feed your oppressors their flesh.
They will be drunk with their blood as with sweet wine.
Then all flesh will know
    that I, Adonai, am your Savior
    and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”

50 Thus says Adonai:

“Where is the divorce certificate,
    by which I sent your mother away?
Or to whom of My creditors did I sell you?
See, you were sold for your iniquities,
    and for your transgressions your mother was sent away.
Why was no one there when I came?
Why was there no one to answer when I called?
Is My hand too short to redeem?
Or have I no power to deliver?
Behold, I dry up the sea at My rebuke,
I make rivers a wilderness—
    their fish stink for lack of water
    and die of thirst.
I clothe the heavens with blackness
and make sackcloth their covering.”

Third Servant Song: Face Like Flint

Adonai Elohim has given Me the tongue of the learned,[a]
that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.
He awakens Me morning by morning.
He awakens My ear to give heed as a disciple.
Adonai Elohim has opened My ear,
and I was not rebellious,
nor did I turn back.
I gave My back to those who strike,
and My cheeks to those pulling out My beard;
I did not hide My face
    from humiliation and spitting.[b]
For Adonai Elohim will help Me.
Therefore I have not been disgraced.
Therefore I set My face like flint,
and I know that I will not be ashamed.
The One who vindicates Me is near.
Who will accuse Me?
Let us stand up to each other.
Who is My adversary?
Let him confront Me.
See, Adonai Elohim will help Me.
Who is he who would condemn Me?
See, they all wear out like a garment.
A moth will eat them up.
10 Who among you fears Adonai?
Who hears the voice of His servant?
Who walks in darkness and has no light?
Let him trust in the Name of Adonai
and lean on his God.

11 “Behold, all you who kindle a fire,
encircling yourselves with firebrands.
Walk in the light of your fire
    and among the brands you have lit.
This you will have from My hand:
    you will lie down in torment.”

Comfort Zion With Justice

51 “Listen to Me, you who pursue justice,
    you who seek Adonai.
Look to the rock from which you were hewn,
and to the quarry from which you were dug.
Look to Abraham your father
and to Sarah who bore you.
For when I called him, he was but one,
then I blessed him and multiplied him.”

For Adonai will comfort Zion.
He will comfort all her waste places.
He will make her wilderness like Eden,
her desert like the garden of Adonai.
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
    thanksgiving and a sound of melody.


Hebrews 11:8-13

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place he was to receive as an inheritance. He went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he migrated to the land of promise as if it were foreign, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob—fellow heirs of the same promise. 10 For he was waiting for the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

11 By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive[a] when she was barren and past the age, since she considered the One who had made the promise to be faithful. 12 So from one—and him as good as dead—were fathered offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven, and as uncountable as the sand on the seashore.[b]

13 These all died in faith without receiving the things promised—but they saw them and welcomed them from afar, and they confessed that they were strangers and sojourners on the earth.


Acts 5-7

Ananias and Sapphira Lie to the Ruach

On the other hand, a man named Ananias together with his wife, Sapphira, sold a property. He kept back some of the proceeds, with his wife’s full knowledge, and brought part of it and set it at the feet of the emissaries.

But Peter said, “Ananias, why has satan filled your heart to lie to the Ruach ha-Kodesh and keep back part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, it was your own, wasn’t it? And after it was sold, wasn’t it at your disposal? How did this deed get into your heart? You haven’t lied to men but to God.”

As soon as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and died. Great fear came upon all who heard about it. The young men got up and wrapped him in a shroud, then carried him out and buried him.

After an interval of about three hours, his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter responded to her, “Tell me if you sold the land for this much.”

She said, “Yes, for that much.”

Then Peter said to her, “How did you agree to test the Ruach Adonai? Look, the feet of those who buried your husband are at the door—they will carry you out, too!”

10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and died. When the young men came back in, they found her dead and carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear came over the whole community and all who heard these things.

Signs and Wonders, Angelic Jailbreak, and Bold Witness

12 Meanwhile, through the hands of the emissaries many signs and wonders were happening among the people. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. 13 But no one else dared to join them, though the people continued to think highly of them. 14 Yet more than ever those trusting in the Lord were added—large numbers of men and women. 15 They even carried the sick into the streets and laid them on stretchers and cots, so that when Peter passed by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. 16 Crowds were also gathering from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing those who were sick or tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all being healed.

17 But the kohen gadol rose up, and all those with him (that is, the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy. 18 They grabbed the emissaries and put them in a public jail. 19 But during the night an angel of Adonai opened the prison doors, and leading them out he said, 20 “Go, stand in the Temple and speak to the people the whole message about this Life.” 21 Now when they heard that, they entered the Temple at daybreak and began teaching.

When the kohen gadol and those with him arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin, even the council of elders of Bnei-Yisrael, and sent to the prison to have the prisoners brought in. 22 But when the officers came, they did not find them in the prison. So they returned and reported, 23 saying, “We found the prison locked with maximum security and the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened up, we found no one inside.”

24 When the captain of the Temple and the ruling kohanim heard these words, they were perplexed about them, wondering where this would lead. 25 But someone came and reported to them, “The men you put in prison are standing in the Temple and teaching the people!” 26 Then the captain went off with the officers and brought the emissaries—but not with force, because they feared they might be stoned by the people.

27 When they had brought them, they placed them before the Sanhedrin. The kohen gadol questioned them, 28 saying, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name—and look, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring on us the blood of this Man!”

29 Peter and the emissaries replied, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Yeshua, whom you seized and had crucified. [a] 31 This One God exalted at His right hand as Leader and Savior,[b] to give repentance to Israel and removal of sins. 32 And we are witnesses of these events—as is the Ruach ha-Kodesh, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

33 Now when they heard this, they became enraged and wanted to kill them. 34 But a certain Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Torah respected by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while. 35 Then he said to them, “Men of Israel, be careful what you are about to do with these men. 36 For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody; and a number of men, maybe four hundred, joined up with him. He was killed, and all who followed him were scattered and came to nothing. 37 After this fellow, Judah the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and got people to follow him. He also perished, and all who followed him were scattered. 38 So now I tell you, stay away from these men and leave them alone. For if this plan or undertaking is of men, it will come to an end; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to stop them. You might even be found fighting against God.” They took his advice, 40 called in the emissaries, flogged them, ordered them not to continue speaking in the name of Yeshua, and let them go.

41 So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they were considered worthy to be dishonored on account of His name. [c] 42 And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming Yeshua as the Messiah.

Appointed for Service

Now in those days, when the disciples were multiplying, grumbling arose[d] among the Hellenists against the Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily support. So the Twelve called together the whole group of the disciples and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. So, brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the service of the Word.”

The statement pleased the whole group; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Ruach ha-Kodesh, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch. They placed these men before the emissaries; and after praying, they laid hands on them.[e]

The word of God kept on spreading, and the number of disciples in Jerusalem greatly multiplied; even a great number of the kohanim were becoming obedient to the faith.

Stephen’s Testimony and Martyrdom

Now Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen—both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, as well as some from Cilicia and Asia[f]—stood up and began arguing with Stephen. 10 But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Ruach by whom he was speaking.

11 Then they secretly instigated men into saying, “We have heard him speaking blasphemous words against Moses and against God!” 12 They also incited the people, the elders, and the Torah scholars; and they rushed at Stephen, seized him, and led him away to the Sanhedrin. 13 They set up false witnesses who said, “This man never stops speaking words against this holy place and the Torah. 14 For we have heard him saying that this Yeshua ha-Natzrati will destroy this place and change the customs that Moses handed down to us.” 15 Watching him intently, everyone who was sitting in the Sanhedrin saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

Then the kohen gadol said, “Are these things so?”

Stephen declared, “Brothers and fathers, listen. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran. He said to him, ‘Leave your country and your relatives, and come here to the land that I will show you.’ Then he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. From there, after his father died, God moved him to this land where you now live. He gave him no inheritance in it—not even a foothold—yet He promised ‘to give it to him as a possession to him and to his descendants after him,’ even though he had no child.

“But God spoke in this way, that his ‘descendants would be foreigners in a land belonging to others, and they would enslave and mistreat them for four hundred years. But I will judge the nation they serve as slaves,’ God said, ‘and afterward they shall come out and serve Me in this place.’[g]

“Then God gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision.[h] So he became the father of Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day, and so Isaac with Jacob, and Jacob with the twelve patriarchs. The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt. Yet God was with him. 10 He rescued him out of all his troubles and granted him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him governor over Egypt and all his household.

11 “Famine and great suffering came over all Egypt and Canaan, and our fathers could find no food. 12 But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers there the first time. 13 On the second visit, Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and his family became known to Pharaoh. 14 So Joseph sent and called for Jacob and all his relatives—seventy-five persons. 15 Jacob went down to Egypt and died, he and our fathers. 16 They were carried to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.

17 “But as the time drew near for the promise God had sworn to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt— 18 until ‘there arose another king over Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph.’ [i] 19 Dealing with our people with cruel cunning, this king mistreated our fathers and forced them to abandon their infants so they would not survive.

20 “At this time Moses was born—extraordinary before God. For three months he was nurtured in his father’s house. 21 And when he was set outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and raised him as her own son. 22 Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was powerful in his words and deeds.

23 “When he was approaching forty years of age, it came into his heart to visit his brothers, Bnei-Yisrael. 24 When he saw one of them being treated unjustly, he went to the defense of the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian. 25 He was assuming that his brothers understood that by his hand God was delivering them, but they did not understand. 26 So on the next day he appeared to them as they were fighting. He tried to reconcile them in shalom, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers. Why do you wrong one another?’

27 “But the one doing wrong to his neighbor pushed him away, saying, ‘Who appointed you ruler and judge over us? 28 You don’t want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday, do you?’ [j] 29 At this remark, Moses fled and became an exile in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.

30 “When forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai in the flame of a burning bush. 31 When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight. But when he came up to look, there came the voice of Adonai: 32 ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.’[k]

“Moses trembled in fear and did not dare to look. 33 But Adonai said to him, ‘Take the sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have surely seen the oppression of my people in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to deliver them. Now come—let Me send you to Egypt.’

35 “This Moses—whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who appointed you as ruler and judge?’—is the one whom God sent as both ruler and redeemer, by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36 This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness for forty years. 37 This is the Moses who said to Bnei-Yisrael, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers.’[l]

38 “This is the one who was in the community in the wilderness, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers. He received living words to pass on to us. 39 Our fathers did not want to be obedient to him, but shoved him aside. And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt, 40 saying to Aaron, ‘Make gods for us who will go before us. For this Moses who led us out of the land of Egypt—we have no idea what has happened to him.’[m]

41 “And they made a calf in those days, offered a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands. 42 But God turned and gave them over to serve the host of heaven, just as it is written in the book of the Prophets:

‘It was not to Me that you brought sacrifices and offerings
    for forty years in the wilderness, was it, O House of Israel?
43 You also took up the tent of Moloch
    and the star of your god Rephan,
    the images you made to worship.
And I will deport you beyond Babylon.’[n]

44 “Our fathers had the Tent of Witness in the wilderness—just as the One speaking to Moses had directed him to make it according to the design he had seen. 45 Our fathers received it in turn and brought it in with Joshua when they took possession of the land of the nations that God drove out before our fathers. So it remained until the days of David, 46 who found favor in God’s sight. He asked to find a dwelling place for the God[o] of Jacob. 47 But Solomon built a house for Him. 48 However, Elyon does not dwell in man-made houses. As the prophet says,

49 ‘Heaven is My throne,
    and the earth is the footstool of My feet.
What kind of house will you build for Me, says Adonai,
    or what is the place of My rest?
50 Did not My Hand make all these things?’[p]

51 “O you stiff-necked people! You uncircumcised of heart and ears! You always resist the Ruach ha-Kodesh; just as your fathers did, you do as well. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed the ones who foretold the coming of the Righteous One. Now you have become His betrayers and murderers— 53 you who received the Torah by direction of angels and did not keep it!”

54 When they heard these things, they became enraged and began gnashing their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Ruach ha-Kodesh, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God—and Yeshua standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”

57 But they covered their ears; and crying out with a loud voice, they rushed at him with one impulse. 58 Driving him out of the city, they began stoning him, and the witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 They went on stoning Stephen as he was calling out, “Lord Yeshua, receive my spirit!” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” After he said this, he died.[q]