Acts 7:24

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Saturday, 30 April 2022

And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended and avenged him who was oppressed, and struck down the Egyptian. Acts 7:24

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

Stephen previously spoke of Moses being forty years old and how at that time “it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel.” Now Stephen’s words continue with words that are active and alive, using participles. A better rendering of the entire set of words than that of the NKJV would be –

“And having seen a certain one being wronged, he defended and did avenge him being oppressed, having struck down the Egyptian” (CG).

As for the words, the NKJV begins with, “And seeing one of them suffer wrong.” That is recorded in Exodus 2 –

“Now it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out to his brethren and looked at their burdens. And he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren.” Exodus 2:11

It was already made clear from the context of the previous verse that it is an Israelite that is being mistreated. Further, the previous verse noted that it had come into Moses’ heart (literally: it arose upon his heart) to visit his brethren. As such, the desire to be with his true kin was impelling him to join with them. As this is so, he now perceives the injustice against this Israelite. With that, Stephen says, “he defended and avenged him who was oppressed.”

The Greek words used are carefully chosen. The word translated as “defended” is only found here. Vincent’s Word Studies notes that “The word means originally to ward off from one’s self, with a collateral notion of requital or revenge.” Also, the word translated as “avenged” is found in the parable of the unjust judge of Luke 18 –

“Then the Lord said, ‘Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?’” Luke 186-8

Moses is there to avenge this Israelite in the same manner that God will avenge those who call upon Him. But, as will be seen, Israel failed to see Moses’ intent. For now, Stephen concludes with, “and struck down the Egyptian.” That is seen in the continuing Exodus narrative –

“So he looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.” Exodus 2:12

Stephen gives the main details that sufficiently connect Moses’ actions on behalf of Israel to hopefully wake up his audience to Jesus’ parallel actions on behalf of Israel.

Life application: Moses killed another man who was doing him no personal harm. It is a fact of the story. The Bible doesn’t hide such things or try to sugarcoat them. It simply gives the facts and allows the narrative to continue. David did something like this when he had Uriah the Hittite killed after first committing adultery with Uriah’s wife.

Despite these things, they are both considered great men before God, even champions of the biblical narrative. The reason this is so is that their hearts were right toward and before the Lord. They both failed at key points in their lives, but they didn’t allow their failures to define who they were as people. Rather, they acknowledged their actions and pressed on in humility and faithfulness to the Lord.

The Lord understands our failings, He knows our every imperfection, and because of Jesus, our sins are forgiven. Let us be grateful for this, mindful of our need to correct our deficiencies, and let us do our best to live faithfully before the Lord all our days. When we fail, our hearts should be convicted and remorseful, but they should also be determined to glorify God for His abundant and merciful faithfulness to us through the giving of Christ Jesus.

How blessed we are for what You have done for us in Christ, O God. We have failed You; we have been as enemies toward You, and yet You gave Your Son to reconcile us to Yourself. What is it that would prompt such an offer of grace and mercy? We are reconciled! Praise God! You have reconciled us through the shed blood of Jesus! Hallelujah and Amen.