“But as the time of the promise drew near, which God had granted to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt until there arose over Egypt another king who did not know Joseph. He dealt shrewdly with our race and forced our fathers to expose their infants, so that they would not be kept alive. At this time Moses was born; and he was beautiful in God’s sight. And he was brought up for three months in his father’s house, and when he was exposed, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son. And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds.
“When he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brothers, the children of Israel. And seeing one of them being wronged, he defended the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian.
Comment: His listening judges would have clearly understood that Stephen was now coming to the time when God would lead the descendants of Abraham and his descendant Jacob out of slavery in Egypt into the ‘promised land’. A land earlier promised to both Abraham and Jacob and the land where this trial was being held. He deals with the steep decline from the glory days of Joseph’s saving the nation of Egypt from famine into slavery of the Hebrew descendants. This covers about 400 years, Then he passes over the Pharaoh’s infanticide and comes to the birth and preservation of Moses. Moses grew up in Pharaoh’s house as the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He, when aged 40, visited the enslaved Hebrews and showed his relationship to the slaves by defending one from an evil attack by an Egyptian. He murdered one of the Egyptian officials to protect one of his own original birth people. It is easy for us to see that this has created a situation that will be difficult for Moses to deal with, although he seems to have treated it lightly by going back to his normal way of living in the palace.
Prayer: Thank you that the gospel story is firmly based in well recorded history.