Daily Devotional

by Larry Stockstill

Solomon had a vision to build the most magnificent temple in history, and his success resulted from the blessing of the Lord. First, the Lord gave Solomon wisdom to achieve his purpose (1 Kings 5:12). He showed him how to rotate his labor force in such a way that the men could be in Lebanon one month and at home for two months. Shared responsibility, as indicated by rotating the labor force, was a wise plan from God to cover responsibilities without burning out the laborers.

Second, Solomon achieved success because he followed the plan of the Lord (1 Kings 6:12). You cannot hope to succeed at any work for God if you deviate from the revelation in the Bible. All work must follow the exact plan of the Church as given in the Gospels, Acts, and the Epistles.

Finally, Solomon succeeded because he persevered. He spent seven years building the temple (1 Kings 6:38), never wavering from his goal. Never give up when God is "building" with you. Though it may seem your work is moving at a crawl, keep doing what you know to do.

Purpose, plan, and persevere, and the Lord will build your house!

1 Kings 5:1-6:38

Preparations for Building the Temple5:1-16pp — 2Ch 2:1-18

In Hebrew texts 5:1-18 is numbered 5:15-32.When HiramS 2Sa 5:11 king of Tyre heard that Solomon had been anointed king to succeed his father David, he sent his envoys to Solomon, because he had always been on friendly terms with David.Solomon sent back this message to Hiram:

“You know that because of the wars1Ch 22:8; 28:3 waged against my father David from all sides, he could not buildS 2Sa 7:5 a temple for the Name of the Lord his God until the Lord put his enemies under his feet.2Sa 22:40; Ps 8:6; 110:1; S Mt 22:44; 1Co 15:25But now the Lord my God has given me restS Jos 14:15; 1Ch 22:9; Lk 2:14 on every side, and there is no adversary1Ki 11:14, 23 or disaster.I intend, therefore, to build a templeS Dt 12:5; 1Ch 17:12; 1Co 3:16; Rev 21:22 for the Name of the Lord my God, as the Lord told my father David, when he said, ‘Your son whom I will put on the throne in your place will build the temple for my Name.’Dt 12:5; 2Sa 7:13

“So give orders that cedars1Ch 14:1; 22:4 of Lebanon be cut for me. My men will work with yours, and I will pay you for your men whatever wages you set. You know that we have no one so skilled in felling timber as the Sidonians.”

When Hiram heard Solomon’s message, he was greatly pleased and said, “Praise be to the Lord1Ki 10:9; Isa 60:6 today, for he has given David a wise son to rule over this great nation.”

So Hiram sent word to Solomon:

“I have received the message you sent me and will do all you want in providing the cedar and juniper logs.My men will haul them down from Lebanon to the Mediterranean SeaEzr 3:7, and I will float them as rafts by sea to the place you specify. There I will separate them and you can take them away. And you are to grant my wish by providing foodver 11; Eze 27:17; Ac 12:20 for my royal household.”

10 In this way Hiram kept Solomon supplied with all the cedar and juniper logs he wanted,11 and Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand corsThat is, probably about 3,600 tons or about 3,250 metric tons of wheat as foodS ver 9 for his household, in addition to twenty thousand bathsSeptuagint (see also 2 Chron. 2:10); Hebrew twenty corsThat is, about 120,000 gallons or about 440,000 liters of pressed olive oil. Solomon continued to do this for Hiram year after year.12 The Lord gave Solomon wisdom,S 1Ki 3:12 just as he had promised him. There were peaceful relations between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made a treaty.Jos 9:7; 1Ki 15:19; Am 1:9

13 King Solomon conscripted laborersS Ge 49:15; S Lev 25:39; 1Ki 9:15 from all Israel—thirty thousand men.14 He sent them off to Lebanon in shifts of ten thousand a month, so that they spent one month in Lebanon and two months at home. AdoniramS 2Sa 20:24; 1Ki 4:6; 2Ch 10:18 was in charge of the forced labor.15 Solomon had seventy thousand carriers and eighty thousand stonecutters in the hills,16 as well as thirty-three hundredHebrew; some Septuagint manuscripts (see also 2 Chron. 2:2,18) thirty-six hundred foremen1Ki 9:23 who supervised the project and directed the workers.17 At the king’s command they removed from the quarry1Ki 6:7 large blocks of high-grade stone1Ch 22:2 to provide a foundation of dressed stone for the temple.18 The craftsmen of Solomon and HiramS 2Sa 5:11 and workers from ByblosS Jos 13:5 cut and prepared the timber and stone for the building of the temple.

Solomon Builds the Temple6:1-29pp — 2Ch 3:1-14

In the four hundred and eightiethHebrew; Septuagint four hundred and fortieth year after the Israelites came out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, the second month,Ezr 3:8 he began to build the temple of the Lord.Ezr 5:11

The templeEx 26:1 that King Solomon built for the Lord was sixty cubits long, twenty wide and thirty high.That is, about 90 feet long, 30 feet wide and 45 feet high or about 27 meters long, 9 meters wide and 14 meters highThe porticoEze 40:49 at the front of the main hall of the temple extended the width of the temple, that is twenty cubits,That is, about 30 feet or about 9 meters; also in verses 16 and 20 and projected ten cubitsThat is, about 15 feet or about 4.5 meters; also in verses 23-26 from the front of the temple.He made narrow windowsEze 41:16 high up in the temple walls.Against the walls of the main hall and inner sanctuary he built a structure around the building, in which there were side rooms.Jer 35:2; Eze 41:5-6The lowest floor was five cubitsThat is, about 7 1/2 feet or about 2.3 meters; also in verses 10 and 24 wide, the middle floor six cubitsThat is, about 9 feet or about 2.7 meters and the third floor seven.That is, about 11 feet or about 3.2 meters He made offset ledges around the outside of the temple so that nothing would be inserted into the temple walls.

In building the temple, only blocks dressedS Ex 20:25 at the quarry were used, and no hammer, chisel or any other iron toolS Dt 27:5 was heard at the temple site while it was being built.

The entrance to the lowestSeptuagint; Hebrew middle floor was on the south side of the temple; a stairway led up to the middle level and from there to the third.So he built the temple and completed it, roofing it with beams and cedarSS 1:17 planks.10 And he built the side rooms all along the temple. The height of each was five cubits, and they were attached to the temple by beams of cedar.

11 The word of the Lord came1Ki 12:22; 13:20; 16:1, 7; 17:2; 21:17; Jer 40:1 to Solomon:12 “As for this temple you are building, if you follow my decrees, observe my laws and keep all my commands1Ki 11:10 and obey them, I will fulfill through you the promise2Sa 7:12-16; 1Ki 9:5 I gave to David your father.13 And I will live among the Israelites and will not abandonS Lev 26:11; S Dt 31:6; Jn 14:18; Heb 13:5 my people Israel.”

14 So SolomonAc 7:47 built the temple and completed1Ch 28:20; 2Ch 5:1 it.15 He lined its interior walls with cedar boards, paneling them from the floor of the temple to the ceiling,1Ki 7:7 and covered the floor of the temple with planks of juniper.Eze 41:15-1616 He partitioned off twenty cubits at the rear of the temple with cedar boards from floor to ceiling to form within the temple an inner sanctuary, the Most Holy Place.S Ex 26:3317 The main hall in front of this room was forty cubitsThat is, about 60 feet or about 18 meters long.18 The inside of the temple was cedar,ver 29; Ps 74:6; Eze 41:18 carved with gourds and open flowers. Everything was cedar; no stone was to be seen.

19 He prepared the inner sanctuary1Ki 8:6 within the temple to set the ark of the covenantS Ex 25:10; S 1Sa 3:3 of the Lord there.20 The inner sanctuaryEze 41:3-4 was twenty cubits long, twenty wide and twenty high. He overlaid the inside with pure gold, and he also overlaid the altar of cedar.S Ex 30:121 Solomon covered the inside of the temple with pure gold, and he extended gold chains across the front of the inner sanctuary, which was overlaid with gold.22 So he overlaid the whole interior with gold. He also overlaid with gold the altar that belonged to the inner sanctuary.

23 For the inner sanctuary he made a pair of cherubimS Ex 37:1-9 out of olive wood, each ten cubits high.24 One wing of the first cherub was five cubits long, and the other wing five cubits—ten cubits from wing tip to wing tip.25 The second cherub also measured ten cubits, for the two cherubim were identical in size and shape.26 The height of each cherub was ten cubits.27 He placed the cherubimS Ge 3:24; S Ex 25:18 inside the innermost room of the temple, with their wings spread out. The wing of one cherub touched one wall, while the wing of the other touched the other wall, and their wings touched each other in the middle of the room.28 He overlaid the cherubim with gold.

29 On the wallsS ver 18 all around the temple, in both the inner and outer rooms, he carved cherubim,ver 32, 35; Eze 41:18, 25 palm trees and open flowers.30 He also covered the floors of both the inner and outer rooms of the temple with gold.

31 For the entrance to the inner sanctuary he made doors out of olive wood that were one fifth of the width of the sanctuary.32 And on the two olive-wood doorsEze 41:23 he carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers, and overlaid the cherubim and palm trees with hammered gold.33 In the same way, for the entrance to the main hall he made doorframes out of olive wood that were one fourth of the width of the hall.34 He also made two doors out of juniper wood, each having two leaves that turned in sockets.35 He carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers on them and overlaid them with gold hammered evenly over the carvings.

36 And he built the inner courtyard2Ch 4:9 of three courses1Ki 7:12; Ezr 6:4 of dressed stone and one course of trimmed cedar beams.

37 The foundation of the temple of the Lord was laid in the fourth year, in the month of Ziv.38 In the eleventh year in the month of Bul, the eighth month, the temple was finished in all its details1Ch 28:19 according to its specifications.Ex 25:9; Heb 8:5 He had spent seven years building it.

Preparations for Building the Temple

Verses 5:1-18 are numbered 5:15-32 in Hebrew text.King Hiram of Tyre had always been a loyal friend of David. When Hiram learned that David’s son Solomon was the new king of Israel, he sent ambassadors to congratulate him.

Then Solomon sent this message back to Hiram:

“You know that my father, David, was not able to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord his God because of the many wars waged against him by surrounding nations. He could not build until the Lord gave him victory over all his enemies.But now the Lord my God has given me peace on every side; I have no enemies, and all is well.So I am planning to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord my God, just as he had instructed my father, David. For the Lord told him, ‘Your son, whom I will place on your throne, will build the Temple to honor my name.’

“Therefore, please command that cedars from Lebanon be cut for me. Let my men work alongside yours, and I will pay your men whatever wages you ask. As you know, there is no one among us who can cut timber like you Sidonians!”

When Hiram received Solomon’s message, he was very pleased and said, “Praise the Lord today for giving David a wise son to be king of the great nation of Israel.”Then he sent this reply to Solomon:

“I have received your message, and I will supply all the cedar and cypress timber you need.My servants will bring the logs from the Lebanon mountains to the Mediterranean SeaHebrew the sea. and make them into rafts and float them along the coast to whatever place you choose. Then we will break the rafts apart so you can carry the logs away. You can pay me by supplying me with food for my household.”

10 So Hiram supplied as much cedar and cypress timber as Solomon desired.11 In return, Solomon sent him an annual payment of 100,000 bushelsHebrew 20,000 cors [4,400 kiloliters]. of wheat for his household and 110,000 gallonsAs in Greek version, which reads 20,000 baths [420 kiloliters] (see also 2 Chr 2:10); Hebrew reads 20 cors, about 1,000 gallons or 4.4 kiloliters in volume. of pure olive oil.12 So the Lord gave wisdom to Solomon, just as he had promised. And Hiram and Solomon made a formal alliance of peace.

13 Then King Solomon conscripted a labor force of 30,000 men from all Israel.14 He sent them to Lebanon in shifts, 10,000 every month, so that each man would be one month in Lebanon and two months at home. Adoniram was in charge of this labor force.15 Solomon also had 70,000 common laborers, 80,000 quarry workers in the hill country,16 and 3,600As in some Greek manuscripts (see also 2 Chr 2:2, 18); Hebrew reads 3,300. foremen to supervise the work.17 At the king’s command, they quarried large blocks of high-quality stone and shaped them to make the foundation of the Temple.18 Men from the city of Gebal helped Solomon’s and Hiram’s builders prepare the timber and stone for the Temple.

Solomon Builds the Temple

It was in midspring, in the month of Ziv,Hebrew It was in the month of Ziv, which is the second month. This month of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar usually occurs within the months of April and May. during the fourth year of Solomon’s reign, that he began to construct the Temple of the Lord. This was 480 years after the people of Israel were rescued from their slavery in the land of Egypt.

The Temple that King Solomon built for the Lord was 90 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 45 feet high.Hebrew 60 cubits [27.6 meters] long, 20 cubits [9.2 meters] wide, and 30 cubits [13.8 meters] high.The entry room at the front of the Temple was 30 feetHebrew 20 cubits [9.2 meters]; also in 6:16, 20. wide, running across the entire width of the Temple. It projected outward 15 feetHebrew 10 cubits [4.6 meters]. from the front of the Temple.Solomon also made narrow recessed windows throughout the Temple.

He built a complex of rooms against the outer walls of the Temple, all the way around the sides and rear of the building.The complex was three stories high, the bottom floor being 7 1⁄2 feet wide, the second floor 9 feet wide, and the top floor 10 1⁄2 feet wide.Hebrew the bottom floor being 5 cubits [2.3 meters] wide, the second floor 6 cubits [2.8 meters] wide, and the top floor 7 cubits [3.2 meters] wide. The rooms were connected to the walls of the Temple by beams resting on ledges built out from the wall. So the beams were not inserted into the walls themselves.

The stones used in the construction of the Temple were finished at the quarry, so there was no sound of hammer, ax, or any other iron tool at the building site.

The entrance to the bottom floorAs in Greek version; Hebrew reads middle floor. was on the south side of the Temple. There were winding stairs going up to the second floor, and another flight of stairs between the second and third floors.After completing the Temple structure, Solomon put in a ceiling made of cedar beams and planks.10 As already stated, he built a complex of rooms along the sides of the building, attached to the Temple walls by cedar timbers. Each story of the complex was 7 1⁄2 feetHebrew 5 cubits [2.3 meters]. high.

11 Then the Lord gave this message to Solomon:12 “Concerning this Temple you are building, if you keep all my decrees and regulations and obey all my commands, I will fulfill through you the promise I made to your father, David.13 I will live among the Israelites and will never abandon my people Israel.”

The Temple’s Interior

14 So Solomon finished building the Temple.15 The entire inside, from floor to ceiling, was paneled with wood. He paneled the walls and ceilings with cedar, and he used planks of cypress for the floors.16 He partitioned off an inner sanctuary—the Most Holy Place—at the far end of the Temple. It was 30 feet deep and was paneled with cedar from floor to ceiling.17 The main room of the Temple, outside the Most Holy Place, was 60 feetHebrew 40 cubits [18.4 meters]. long.18 Cedar paneling completely covered the stone walls throughout the Temple, and the paneling was decorated with carvings of gourds and open flowers.

19 He prepared the inner sanctuary at the far end of the Temple, where the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant would be placed.20 This inner sanctuary was 30 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 30 feet high. He overlaid the inside with solid gold. He also overlaid the altar made of cedar.Or overlaid the altar with cedar. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.21 Then Solomon overlaid the rest of the Temple’s interior with solid gold, and he made gold chains to protect the entranceOr to draw curtains across. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain. to the Most Holy Place.22 So he finished overlaying the entire Temple with gold, including the altar that belonged to the Most Holy Place.

23 He made two cherubim of wild oliveOr pine; Hebrew reads oil tree; also in 6:31, 33. wood, each 15 feetHebrew 10 cubits [4.6 meters]; also in 6:24, 26. tall, and placed them in the inner sanctuary.24 The wingspan of each of the cherubim was 15 feet, each wing being 7 1⁄2 feetHebrew 5 cubits [2.3 meters]. long.25 The two cherubim were identical in shape and size;26 each was 15 feet tall.27 He placed them side by side in the inner sanctuary of the Temple. Their outspread wings reached from wall to wall, while their inner wings touched at the center of the room.28 He overlaid the two cherubim with gold.

29 He decorated all the walls of the inner sanctuary and the main room with carvings of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers.30 He overlaid the floor in both rooms with gold.

31 For the entrance to the inner sanctuary, he made double doors of wild olive wood with five-sided doorposts.The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.32 These double doors were decorated with carvings of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers. The doors, including the decorations of cherubim and palm trees, were overlaid with gold.

33 Then he made four-sided doorposts of wild olive wood for the entrance to the Temple.34 There were two folding doors of cypress wood, and each door was hinged to fold back upon itself.35 These doors were decorated with carvings of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers—all overlaid evenly with gold.

36 The walls of the inner courtyard were built so that there was one layer of cedar beams between every three layers of finished stone.

37 The foundation of the Lord’s Temple was laid in midspring, in the month of Ziv,Hebrew was laid in the month of Ziv. This month of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar usually occurs within the months of April and May. during the fourth year of Solomon’s reign.38 The entire building was completed in every detail by midautumn, in the month of Bul,Hebrew by the month of Bul, which is the eighth month. This month of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar usually occurs within the months of October and November. during the eleventh year of his reign. So it took seven years to build the Temple.

And Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants unto Solomon; for he had heard that they had anointed him king in the room of his father: for Hiram was ever a lover of David.

And Solomon sent to Hiram, saying,

Thou knowest how that David my father could not build an house unto the name of the Lord his God for the wars which were about him on every side, until the Lord put them under the soles of his feet.

But now the Lord my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent.

And, behold, I purpose to build an house unto the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spake unto David my father, saying, Thy son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build an house unto my name.

Now therefore command thou that they hew me cedar trees out of Lebanon; and my servants shall be with thy servants: and unto thee will I give hire for thy servants according to all that thou shalt appoint: for thou knowest that there is not among us any that can skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians.

And it came to pass, when Hiram heard the words of Solomon, that he rejoiced greatly, and said, Blessed be the Lord this day, which hath given unto David a wise son over this great people.

And Hiram sent to Solomon, saying, I have considered the things which thou sentest to me for: and I will do all thy desire concerning timber of cedar, and concerning timber of fir.

My servants shall bring them down from Lebanon unto the sea: and I will convey them by sea in floats unto the place that thou shalt appoint me, and will cause them to be discharged there, and thou shalt receive them: and thou shalt accomplish my desire, in giving food for my household.

10 So Hiram gave Solomon cedar trees and fir trees according to all his desire.

11 And Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand measures of wheat for food to his household, and twenty measures of pure oil: thus gave Solomon to Hiram year by year.

12 And the Lord gave Solomon wisdom, as he promised him: and there was peace between Hiram and Solomon; and they two made a league together.

13 And king Solomon raised a levy out of all Israel; and the levy was thirty thousand men.

14 And he sent them to Lebanon, ten thousand a month by courses: a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home: and Adoniram was over the levy.

15 And Solomon had threescore and ten thousand that bare burdens, and fourscore thousand hewers in the mountains;

16 Beside the chief of Solomon's officers which were over the work, three thousand and three hundred, which ruled over the people that wrought in the work.

17 And the king commanded, and they brought great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones, to lay the foundation of the house.

18 And Solomon's builders and Hiram's builders did hew them, and the stonesquarers: so they prepared timber and stones to build the house.

And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord.

And the house which king Solomon built for the Lord, the length thereof was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits.

And the porch before the temple of the house, twenty cubits was the length thereof, according to the breadth of the house; and ten cubits was the breadth thereof before the house.

And for the house he made windows of narrow lights.

And against the wall of the house he built chambers round about, against the walls of the house round about, both of the temple and of the oracle: and he made chambers round about:

The nethermost chamber was five cubits broad, and the middle was six cubits broad, and the third was seven cubits broad: for without in the wall of the house he made narrowed rests round about, that the beams should not be fastened in the walls of the house.

And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building.

The door for the middle chamber was in the right side of the house: and they went up with winding stairs into the middle chamber, and out of the middle into the third.

So he built the house, and finished it; and covered the house with beams and boards of cedar.

10 And then he built chambers against all the house, five cubits high: and they rested on the house with timber of cedar.

11 And the word of the Lord came to Solomon, saying,

12 Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep all my commandments to walk in them; then will I perform my word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father:

13 And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my people Israel.

14 So Solomon built the house, and finished it.

15 And he built the walls of the house within with boards of cedar, both the floor of the house, and the walls of the ceiling: and he covered them on the inside with wood, and covered the floor of the house with planks of fir.

16 And he built twenty cubits on the sides of the house, both the floor and the walls with boards of cedar: he even built them for it within, even for the oracle, even for the most holy place.

17 And the house, that is, the temple before it, was forty cubits long.

18 And the cedar of the house within was carved with knops and open flowers: all was cedar; there was no stone seen.

19 And the oracle he prepared in the house within, to set there the ark of the covenant of the Lord.

20 And the oracle in the forepart was twenty cubits in length, and twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty cubits in the height thereof: and he overlaid it with pure gold; and so covered the altar which was of cedar.

21 So Solomon overlaid the house within with pure gold: and he made a partition by the chains of gold before the oracle; and he overlaid it with gold.

22 And the whole house he overlaid with gold, until he had finished all the house: also the whole altar that was by the oracle he overlaid with gold.

23 And within the oracle he made two cherubims of olive tree, each ten cubits high.

24 And five cubits was the one wing of the cherub, and five cubits the other wing of the cherub: from the uttermost part of the one wing unto the uttermost part of the other were ten cubits.

25 And the other cherub was ten cubits: both the cherubims were of one measure and one size.

26 The height of the one cherub was ten cubits, and so was it of the other cherub.

27 And he set the cherubims within the inner house: and they stretched forth the wings of the cherubims, so that the wing of the one touched the one wall, and the wing of the other cherub touched the other wall; and their wings touched one another in the midst of the house.

28 And he overlaid the cherubims with gold.

29 And he carved all the walls of the house round about with carved figures of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, within and without.

30 And the floors of the house he overlaid with gold, within and without.

31 And for the entering of the oracle he made doors of olive tree: the lintel and side posts were a fifth part of the wall.

32 The two doors also were of olive tree; and he carved upon them carvings of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold, and spread gold upon the cherubims, and upon the palm trees.

33 So also made he for the door of the temple posts of olive tree, a fourth part of the wall.

34 And the two doors were of fir tree: the two leaves of the one door were folding, and the two leaves of the other door were folding.

35 And he carved thereon cherubims and palm trees and open flowers: and covered them with gold fitted upon the carved work.

36 And he built the inner court with three rows of hewed stone, and a row of cedar beams.

37 In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the Lord laid, in the month Zif:

38 And in the eleventh year, in the month Bul, which is the eighth month, was the house finished throughout all the parts thereof, and according to all the fashion of it. So was he seven years in building it.

Acts 7:1-29

Stephen’s Speech to the Sanhedrin

Then the high priest asked Stephen, “Are these charges true?”

To this he replied: “Brothers and fathers,Ac 22:1 listen to me! The God of gloryPs 29:3 appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Harran.Ge 11:31; 15:7‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.’Gen. 12:1Ge 12:1

“So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Harran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living.Ge 12:5He gave him no inheritance here,Heb 11:13 not even enough ground to set his foot on. But God promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess the land,Ge 12:7; 17:8; 26:3 even though at that time Abraham had no child.God spoke to him in this way: ‘For four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated.Ex 1:8-11; 12:40But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves,’ God said, ‘and afterward they will come out of that country and worship me in this place.’Gen. 15:13,14Ge 15:13, 14; Ex 3:12Then he gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision.Ge 17:9-14 And Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him eight days after his birth.Ge 21:2-4 Later Isaac became the father of Jacob,Ge 25:26 and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs.Ge 29:31-35; 30:5-13, 17-24; 35:16-18, 22-26

“Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph,Ge 37:4, 11 they sold him as a slave into Egypt.Ge 37:28; Ps 105:17 But God was with himGe 39:2, 21, 23; Hag 2:410 and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt. So Pharaoh made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace.Ge 41:37-43; Ps 105:20-22

11 “Then a famine struck all Egypt and Canaan, bringing great suffering, and our ancestors could not find food.Ge 41:5412 When Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our forefathers on their first visit.Ge 42:1, 213 On their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was,Ge 45:1-4 and Pharaoh learned about Joseph’s family.Ge 45:1614 After this, Joseph sent for his father Jacob and his whole family,Ge 45:9, 10 seventy-five in all.Ge 46:26, 27; Ex 1:5; Dt 10:2215 Then Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our ancestors died.Ge 46:5-7; 49:33; Ex 1:616 Their bodies were brought back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought from the sons of Hamor at Shechem for a certain sum of money.Ge 23:16-20; 33:18, 19; 50:13; Jos 24:32

17 “As the time drew near for God to fulfill his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt had greatly increased.Ex 1:7; Ps 105:2418 Then ‘a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt.’Exodus 1:8Ex 1:819 He dealt treacherously with our people and oppressed our ancestors by forcing them to throw out their newborn babies so that they would die.Ex 1:10-22

20 “At that time Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child.Or was fair in the sight of God For three months he was cared for by his family.Ex 2:2; Heb 11:2321 When he was placed outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son.Ex 2:3-1022 Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians1Ki 4:30; Isa 19:11 and was powerful in speech and action.

23 “When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his own people, the Israelites.24 He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian.25 Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not.26 The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?’

27 “But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, ‘Who made you ruler and judge over us?Ge 19:9; Nu 16:1328 Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’Exodus 2:1429 When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he settled as a foreigner and had two sons.Ex 2:11-15

Stephen Addresses the Council

Then the high priest asked Stephen, “Are these accusations true?”

This was Stephen’s reply: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me. Our glorious God appeared to our ancestor Abraham in Mesopotamia before he settled in Haran.Mesopotamia was the region now called Iraq. Haran was a city in what is now called Syria.God told him, ‘Leave your native land and your relatives, and come into the land that I will show you.’Gen 12:1.So Abraham left the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran until his father died. Then God brought him here to the land where you now live.

“But God gave him no inheritance here, not even one square foot of land. God did promise, however, that eventually the whole land would belong to Abraham and his descendants—even though he had no children yet.God also told him that his descendants would live in a foreign land, where they would be oppressed as slaves for 400 years.‘But I will punish the nation that enslaves them,’ God said, ‘and in the end they will come out and worship me here in this place.’Gen 12:7; 15:13-14; Exod 3:12.

“God also gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision at that time. So when Abraham became the father of Isaac, he circumcised him on the eighth day. And the practice was continued when Isaac became the father of Jacob, and when Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs of the Israelite nation.

“These patriarchs were jealous of their brother Joseph, and they sold him to be a slave in Egypt. But God was with him10 and rescued him from all his troubles. And God gave him favor before Pharaoh, king of Egypt. God also gave Joseph unusual wisdom, so that Pharaoh appointed him governor over all of Egypt and put him in charge of the palace.

11 “But a famine came upon Egypt and Canaan. There was great misery, and our ancestors ran out of food.12 Jacob heard that there was still grain in Egypt, so he sent his sons—our ancestors—to buy some.13 The second time they went, Joseph revealed his identity to his brothers,Other manuscripts read Joseph was recognized by his brothers. and they were introduced to Pharaoh.14 Then Joseph sent for his father, Jacob, and all his relatives to come to Egypt, seventy-five persons in all.15 So Jacob went to Egypt. He died there, as did our ancestors.16 Their bodies were taken to Shechem and buried in the tomb Abraham had bought for a certain price from Hamor’s sons in Shechem.

17 “As the time drew near when God would fulfill his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt greatly increased.18 But then a new king came to the throne of Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph.19 This king exploited our people and oppressed them, forcing parents to abandon their newborn babies so they would die.

20 “At that time Moses was born—a beautiful child in God’s eyes. His parents cared for him at home for three months.21 When they had to abandon him, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and raised him as her own son.22 Moses was taught all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was powerful in both speech and action.

23 “One day when Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his relatives, the people of Israel.24 He saw an Egyptian mistreating an Israelite. So Moses came to the man’s defense and avenged him, killing the Egyptian.25 Moses assumed his fellow Israelites would realize that God had sent him to rescue them, but they didn’t.

26 “The next day he visited them again and saw two men of Israel fighting. He tried to be a peacemaker. ‘Men,’ he said, ‘you are brothers. Why are you fighting each other?’

27 “But the man in the wrong pushed Moses aside. ‘Who made you a ruler and judge over us?’ he asked.28 ‘Are you going to kill me as you killed that Egyptian yesterday?’29 When Moses heard that, he fled the country and lived as a foreigner in the land of Midian. There his two sons were born.

Then said the high priest, Are these things so?

And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran,

And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee.

Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell.

And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child.

And God spake on this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years.

And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, said God: and after that shall they come forth, and serve me in this place.

And he gave him the covenant of circumcision: and so Abraham begat Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs.

And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him,

10 And delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favour and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house.

11 Now there came a dearth over all the land of Egypt and Chanaan, and great affliction: and our fathers found no sustenance.

12 But when Jacob heard that there was corn in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first.

13 And at the second time Joseph was made known to his brethren; and Joseph's kindred was made known unto Pharaoh.

14 Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls.

15 So Jacob went down into Egypt, and died, he, and our fathers,

16 And were carried over into Sychem, and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem.

17 But when the time of the promise drew nigh, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt,

18 Till another king arose, which knew not Joseph.

19 The same dealt subtilly with our kindred, and evil entreated our fathers, so that they cast out their young children, to the end they might not live.

20 In which time Moses was born, and was exceeding fair, and nourished up in his father's house three months:

21 And when he was cast out, Pharaoh's daughter took him up, and nourished him for her own son.

22 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.

23 And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel.

24 And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian:

25 For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not.

26 And the next day he shewed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another?

27 But he that did his neighbour wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us?

28 Wilt thou kill me, as thou diddest the Egyptian yesterday?

29 Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Madian, where he begat two sons.

Psalm 127:1-5

Psalm 127

A song of ascents. Of Solomon.

Unless the Lord buildsPs 78:69 the house,

the builders labor in vain.

Unless the Lord watchesPs 121:4 over the city,

the guards stand watch in vain.

In vain you rise early

and stay up late,

toiling for foodS Ge 3:17 to eat—

for he grants sleepS Nu 6:26; S Job 11:18 toOr eat— / for while they sleep he provides for those he loves.S Dt 33:12; Ecc 2:25

Children are a heritage from the Lord,

offspring a rewardS Ge 1:28 from him.

Like arrowsPs 112:2 in the hands of a warrior

are children born in one’s youth.

Blessed is the man

whose quiver is full of them.Ps 128:2-3

They will not be put to shame

when they contend with their opponentsS Ge 24:60 in court.S Ge 23:10

Psalm 127

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. A psalm of Solomon.

Unless the Lord builds a house,

the work of the builders is wasted.

Unless the Lord protects a city,

guarding it with sentries will do no good.

It is useless for you to work so hard

from early morning until late at night,

anxiously working for food to eat;

for God gives rest to his loved ones.

Children are a gift from the Lord;

they are a reward from him.

Children born to a young man

are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.

How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!

He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.

127 Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.

Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.

Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

Proverbs 16:28-30

28 A perverse person stirs up conflict,S Pr 14:17

and a gossip separates close friends.Pr 17:9

29 A violent person entices their neighbor

and leads them down a path that is not good.S Pr 1:10; 12:26

30 Whoever winksS Pr 6:13 with their eye is plotting perversity;

whoever purses their lips is bent on evil.

28 A troublemaker plants seeds of strife;

gossip separates the best of friends.

29 Violent people mislead their companions,

leading them down a harmful path.

30 With narrowed eyes, people plot evil;

with a smirk, they plan their mischief.

28 A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.

29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good.

30 He shutteth his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass.

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