Page images

Whom they refused. That is, when he first with great propriety to the assembly or multitude presented himself to them. (Exod. ii. 13, 14.) calied out of Egypt, and separated from the world. Stephen introduces and dwells upon this refusal It has not, however, of necessity our idea of a in order, perhaps, to remind them that this had church: but means the assembly, or people called been the character of their nation ; and to prepare out of Egypt, and placed under the conduct of the way for the charge which he intended to Moses. With the angel.-In this place there is bring against those whom he addressed, as being undoubted reference to the giving of the law on stiff-necked and rebellious. See ver, 51, 52, &c. | mount Sinai. Yet that was done by God himself. A ruler.-A military leader, or a governor in (Exod. xx.) It is clear, therefore, that by the civil matters. A deliverer.-A redeemer. Ive angel here, Stephen intends to designate him Tpwrijv. It properly means, one who redeems a who was God. It may be observed, however, captive or a prisoner by paying a price or ransom. that the law is represented as having been given And it is applied thus to our Lord Jesus, as hav- | by the ministry of an angel (in this place) and ing redeemed or purchased sinners by his blood by the ministry of angels, Acts vii. 53. Heb. as a price. (Titus ii. 14. 1 Pet. i. 18. Heb. ix. ii. 2. The essential idea is, that God did it by a 12.) It is used here, however, in a more general messenger, or by mediators. The character and sense to denote the deliverance, without specify- | rank of the messengers, or of the principal mes. ing the manner. Comp. Ex. vi. 5 Luke xxiv. / senger, must be learned by looking at all the 21; i. 68; ii. 38. By the hand of the angel. circumstances of the case. The lirely oracles.Under the direction and by the help of the angel. See Rom. iii. 2. The word “ oracles "here, means (Numb. xx. 16.) See on ver. 30.

commands or laws of God. The word “lively."

or "living," (fwyra,) stands in opposition to that VER. 36. He brought them out, after ' that he which is dead, or useless, and means that which had showed wonders and signs in the land of

is vigorous, efficacious; and in this place it means

that the commands were of such a nature, and Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilder

given in such circumstances, as to secure attenness forty years,

tion; to produce obedience; to excite them to

act for God-in opposition to laws which would h Exod. vii.-xi., xiv. i Exod. xvi. 35.

fall powerless, and produce no effect Wonders and signs.-Miracles, and remarkable interpositions of God. See Note, Acts ii. 22.

Ver. 39. To whom our fathers would not obey, In the land of Egypt.- By the ten plagues. (Exod.

but thrust him from them, and in their hearts iv.--xii.) In the Red sea.-Dividing it, and con turned back again into Egypt, ducting the Israelites in safety, and overthrowing the Egyptians. (Exod. xiv.) In the wilderness.

Would not obey, &c.—This refers to what they -During their forty years' journey to the pro- said of him when he was in the mount. (Exod. mised land. The wonders or miracles were, xxxii. 1. 23.) In their hearts turned, &c.- Thev providing them with manna daily; with flesh in wished to return to Egypt. They regretted that a miraculous manner; with water from the rock, they had come out of Egypt, and desired again &c. (Exod. xvi. xvii. &c.)

the things which they had there, as preferable to

what they had in the desert. (Nurnb. xi. 5.) Per i Ver. 37. This is that Moses which said iunto

| haps, however, the expression means, not that

they desired literally to return to Egypt, but the children of Israel, A prophet shall the

that their hearts inclined to the habits and morals Lord your God raise up unto you of your of the Egyptians. They forsook God, and imibrethren, * like unto me: him 'shall ye hear.

| tated the idolatries of the Egyptians. j Deut. xviii. 15, 18. Chap. iii. 22. k or, as myself.

VER. 40. Saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to Matt. xvii. 5..

go before us: for as for this Moses, which Which said, &c.-(Deut. xviii. 15, 18.) See

brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot this explained Acts iii. 22. Stephen introduced this to remind them of the promise of a Messiah;

not what is become of him. to show his faith in it; and, particularly, to

y Exod. xxxii. I. remind them of their obligation to hear and obey him.

Saying unto Aaron.—Exod. xsx. 1. Make us

onds. That is, idols. VER. 38. This " is he that was in the church in

VER. 41. And they made a calf in those days, the wilderness, with the angel " which spake and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced to him in the mount Sina, and with our

in the works of their own hands. fathers; who p received ? the lively oracles to

s Deut. ix. 16. Psa. cvi. 19, 20. give unto us :

And they made a calf. This was made of the m Heb. ii. 2.

n Isa. Ixiii. 9. Gal. iii. 19. o Exod. xix. 3, 17. p Deut. v. 27, 31. John i. 17.

12.ear-rings and ornaments which they had brought 9 Rom. iii. 2.

from Egypt. (Exod. xxxii. 2-4.) Stephen in

troduces this to remind them how prone the In the church. The word “church” means nation had been to reject God, and walk in the literally, “the people called out;" and is applied ways of sin.

[ocr errors]

VER. 42. Then God turned, and gave them. Such images the Jews seem to have borne with up to worship the host of heaven: as it is

in them. Moloch.- This word comes from the He

, brew word signifying “king.” This was a god written in the book of the prophets, O ye of the Ammonites, to whom human sacrifices house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain were offered. Moses in several places forbids beasts, and sacrifices, by the space of forty the Israelites, under penalty of death, to dedicate

their children to Moloch, by making them pass years in the wilderness ?

through the fire. (Lev. xviii. 21; xx. 2-5.) Psa. Ixxxi. 12. u Deut. iv, 19. 2 Kings xvii. 16.

There is great probability that the Hebrews were Jer. xix. 13.. ~ Amos v. 25, 26.

addicted to the worship of this deity after they

| entered the land of Canaan. Solomon built a Thon God turned. That is, turned away from temple to Moloch on the mount of Olives, (1 them; abandoned them to their own desires. Kings xi. 7 ;) and Manasseh made his son pass ! The host of hearen._ The stars, or heavenly through the fire in honour of this idol. (2 Kings

bodies. The word "host" means armies. It is xxi. 3, 6.) The image of this idol was made of applied to the heavenly bodies because they are brass, and his arms extended so as to embrace very numerous, and appear to be marshalled or any one; and when they offered children to him, arrayed in military order. It is from this, that they heated the statue, and when it was burning God is called Jehovah of hosts, as being the ruler hot, they placed the child in his arms, where it

of these well arranged heavenly bodies. (Isa. i. was soon destroyed by heat. It is not certain | 9.) The proof that they did this, Stephen pro- what this god was supposed to represent. Some

ceeds to allege by a quotation from the prophets. suppose it was in honour of the planet Saturn; In the book of the prophets.-(Amos v. 25, 26.) others, the sun ; others, Mercury, Venus, &c. The twelve minor prophets were commonly What particular god it was, is not material. It written in one volume, and were called the Book was the most cutting reproof that could be made of the Prophets; the book containing these seve- to the Jews, that their fathers had been guilty of ral prophecies, Daniel, Hosea, Micah, &c. They worshipping this idol. And the star.The Hewere small tracts separately, and were bound up brew in this place is, “ Chiun your images, the together to preserve them from being lost. This star of your god.” The expression here used passage is not quoted literally ; it is evidently leads us to suppose that this was a star which made from memory; and though in its main was worshipped, but what star it is not easy to spirit it coincides with the passage in Amos, yet ascertain ; nor is it easy to determine why it is in some important respects it varies from it. 0 called both Chiun and Remphan. Stephen quotes yt house of Israel.--Ye people of Israel. Have from the LXX. They have rendered the word ye offered, &c.—That is, ye have not offered. “Chiun” by the word “ Raiphan" or "Rephan," The interrogative form is often an emphatic way easily changed into “Remphan.” Why the LXX of saying that the thing had not been done. But adopted this, is not known. It was probably, it is certain that the Jews did offer sacrifices to however, from one of two causes. (1.) Either God in the wilderness, though it is also certain because the word “Chiun" in Hebrew meant the that they did not do it with a pure and upright same as “Remphan” in the language of Egypt, beart. They kept up the form of worship gene- where the translation was made; or, (2.) Because rally, but they frequently forsook God, and the object of worship called “ Chiun" in Hebrew, offered worship to idols. Through the continu- was called “Remphan" in the language of Egypt. ons space of forty years, they did not honour It is generally agreed that the object of their God, but often deparied from him, and worship- worship was the planet Saturn, or Mars, both of ped idols.

which planets were worshipped as gods of evil

influence. In Arabic, the word Chevân denotes VER. 43. Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Mo

the planet Saturn. Probably “Rephan” or “Rem

phan," is the Coptic name for the same planet, loch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures

and the Septuagint adopted this because their which ye made to worship them: and I will |

translation was made in Egypt, where the Coptic carry you away beyond Babylon.

language was spoken. Figures which we made.

Images of the god which they made. See the Yea, ye took up. That is, you bore, or you article “ Chiun” in Robinson's Calmet. And I carried with you, for purposes of idolatrous wor- will carry you away, &c.— This is simply exship. The tabernacle. - This word properly means pressing in a few words what is stated at greater a tent; but it is also applied to the small tent or length in Amos v, 27. In Hebrew it is Damashouse in which was contained the image of the cus; but this evidently denotes the eastern region, god: the house, box, or tent, in which the idol | in which also Babylon was situated. vas placed. It is customary for idolatrous nations to bear their idols about with them, enclosed | VER. 44. Our fathers had the tabernacle of witin cases or boxes of various sizes, usually very ness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, small, as their idols are commonly small. Probably they were made in the shape of small

w speaking unto Moses, that ' he should make ter ples or tabernacles; and such appear to have

it according to the fashion that he had seen. been the silver shrines for Diana, made at EpheSUS. (Acts xix. 24.)

u or, who spake. Exod. xxv. 40; xxvi. 30. These shrines, or images,

Heb. viii. 5. were borne with them as a species of amulet, or charm, or talisman, to defend them from evil. The tabernacle of witness.- The tent or taber

[merged small][merged small][graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

nacle which Moses was commanded to make. It who found favour, &c.—That is, God granted was called a tabernacle of witness, or of testi- him great prosperity, and delivered him from his mony, because it was the visible witness or proof enemies. To find a tabernacle.To prepare a of God's presence with them ; the evidence that permanent dwelling-place for the ark, and for the he to whom it was devoted was their protector visible symbols of the divine presence. Hitherto and guide. The name is given either to the tent, the ark had been kept in the tabernacle, and had or to the two tables of stone, or to the ark; all been borne about from place to place. David of which were witnesses, or evidences of God's sought to build an house that should be permarelation to them as their lawgiver and guide. nent, where the ark might be deposited. (2 Sam. (Exod. xvi. 34 ; xxv. 16, 21; xxvii. 21 ; xxx. 6, vii. 1 Chron. xxii. 7.) 36 ; xxxi. 18, &c. Numb. i. 50, 53.) The two charges against Stephen were that he had spoken blasphemy against Moses or his law, and against

VER. 47. But Solomon - built him an house. the temple. (Chap. vi. 13, 14.) In the previous

d 1 Kings vi. 1, &c.; viii. 20. part of this defence he had shown his respect for Moses and his law. He now proceeds to show

But Solomon, &c.-Built the temple. David that he did not design to speak with disrespect of the temple, or the holy places of their worship.

was not permitted to do it because he had been a

man of war. (1 Chron. xxii. 8.) He therefore expresses his belief in the divine

David pre

pared the principal materials for the temple, but appointment of both the tabernacle (ver. 45-46)

Solomon built it. (1 Chron. xxii. Comp. 1 and of the temple, (ver, 47.) According to the

Kings vi.) fashion, &c.- According to the pattern that was shown to him, by which it was to be made. (Exod. xxv. 9, 49; xxvi. 30.) As God showed

| VER. 48. How beit, the Most High dwelleth pot him a pattern, it proved that the tabernacle had in temples made with hands; as saith the his sanction. Against that Stephen did not in

prophet, tend to speak.

e 1 Kings viii. 27. Chap. xvii. 24. Ver. 45. Which y also our fathers ? that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession

Houbeit.-- But, Why Stephen added this, is

very clear. He was charged with speaking of the Gentiles, whom a God drove out before

against the temple. He had now shown that he the face of our fathers, unto the days of David, had due veneration for it, by his declaring that

it had been built by the command of God. But y Josh. ii. 14.

z or, having received. a Neh. ix. 24.' Psa, xliv. 8; lxxviii. 55.

he now adds, that God does not need such a tem

ple. Heaven is his throne; the universe his Our fathers that came after.- None of the dwelling place; and therefore this temple might generation that came out of Egypt were per be destroyed. A new, glorious truth was to be mitted to enter into the land of Canaan on ac revealed to mankind, that God was not confined count of their rebellion, except Caleb and Joshua.

in his worship to any age, or people, or nation. (Num. xiv. 22—24; xxxi. 11, 12.) Hence it

In entire consistency, therefore, with all proper is said that their fathers who came after, i.e. | respect for the temple at Jerusalem, it might be after the generation when the tabernacle was

maintained that the time would come when that built. The Greek, however, here means, pro- | temple would be destroyed

temple would be destroyed, and when God might perly," which also our fathers, having received,

be worshipped by all nations. The Most High. brought," &c. The sense is not materially dif

God. This sentiment was expressed by Solomon ferent. Stephen means that it was not brought when the temple was dedicated. (1 Kings viji. in by that generation, but by the next. With 27.) As saith the prophet.-- Isa. lxvi. 1, 2. The Jesus.- This should have been rendered “ with place is not literally quoted, but the sense is Joshua.” Jesus is the Greek mode of writing given. the name Joshua. But the Hebrew name should by all means have been retained here, as also in Ver. 49. Heaven / is my throne, and earth is Heb. iv. 8. Into the possession of the Gentiles.

my footstool : what house will ye build me? Into the land possessed by the Gentiles, that is, into the promised land then occupied by the

saith the Lord: or what is the place of my Canaanites, &c. Whom God, &c.— That is, he rest ? continued to drive them out until the time of

s Isa, lxvi. 1, 2. David, when they were completely expelled. Or it may mean that the tabernacle was in the pos

Heaven is my throne. -See Note, Matt. v. 34. ; session of the Jews, and was the appointed place | Earth is my footstool.-Note, Matt. v. 35. Whul of worship, until the time of David, who desired

house, &c.-- What house or temple can be large to build him a temple. The Greek is ambignous.

or magnificent enough for the dwelling of Him The connexion favours the latter interpretation.

who made all things ? The place of my rest.--

My home, my abode, my fixed seat or habitation. VER. 46. Who found favour 3 before God, and

| Comp. Psa. xcv. 11. desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob.

Vyr. 50. Hath not my hand made all these bi Sam. xvi 1. c1 Chron. xxii. 7.


« PreviousContinue »