Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Acts 7:4

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

When his father was dead - See the note on Genesis 11:26.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Land of the Chaldeans - From Ur of the Chaldees, Genesis 11:31.

When his father was dead - This passage has given rise to no small difficulty in the interpretation. The difficulty is this: From Genesis 11:26, it would seem that Abraham was born when Terah was 70 years of age. “And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.” From Genesis 12:4, it seems that Abraham was 75 years of age when he departed from Haran to Canaan. The age of Terah was therefore but 145 years. Yet in Genesis 11:32, it is said that Terah was 205 old when he died, thus leaving 60 years of Terah‘s life beyond the time when Abraham left Haran. Various modes have been proposed of explaining this difficulty:

(1) Errors in “numbers” are more likely to occur than any other. In the “Samaritan” copy of the Pentateuch, it is said that Terah died in Haran at the age of 105 years, which would suppose that his death occurred 40 years before Abraham left Haran. But the Hebrew, Latin, Vulgate, Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic read it as 205 years.

(2) it is not affirmed that Abraham was born just at the time when Terah was 70 years of age. All that the passage in Genesis 11:26 proves, according to the usual meaning of similar expressions, is, that Terah was 70 years old before he had any sons, and that the three were born subsequently to that. But which was born first or what intervals intervened between their birth does not appear. Assuredly, it does not mean that all were born precisely at the time when Terah was 70 years of age. Neither does it appear that Abraham was the oldest of the three. The sons of Noah are said to have been Shem, Ham, and Japheth Genesis 5:32; yet Japheth, though mentioned last, was the oldest, Genesis 10:21. As Abraham afterward became much the most distinguished, and as he was the father of the Jewish people, of whom Moses was writing, it was natural that he should be mentioned first if it cannot be proveD that Abraham was the oldest, as assuredly it cannot be, then there is no improbability in supposing that his birth might have occurred many years after Terah was 70 years of age.

(3) the Jews unanimously affirm that Terah relapsed into idolatry before Abraham left Haran; and this they denominate “death,” or a moral death (Kuinoel). It is certain, therefore, that, from some cause, they were accustomed to speak of Terah as “dead” before Abraham left him. Stephen only used language which was customary among the Jews, and would employ it, doubtless, correctly, though we may not be able to see precisely how it can be reconciled with the account in Genesis.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Stephen was charged as a blasphemer of God, and an apostate from the church; therefore he shows that he is a son of Abraham, and values himself on it. The slow steps by which the promise made to Abraham advanced toward performance, plainly show that it had a spiritual meaning, and that the land intended was the heavenly. God owned Joseph in his troubles, and was with him by the power of his Spirit, both on his own mind by giving him comfort, and on those he was concerned with, by giving him favour in their eyes. Stephen reminds the Jews of their mean beginning as a check to priding themselves in the glories of that nation. Likewise of the wickedness of the patriarchs of their tribes, in envying their brother Joseph; and the same spirit was still working in them toward Christ and his ministers. The faith of the patriarchs, in desiring to be buried in the land of Canaan, plainly showed they had regard to the heavenly country. It is well to recur to the first rise of usages, or sentiments, which have been perverted. Would we know the nature and effects of justifying faith, we should study the character of the father of the faithful. His calling shows the power and freeness of Divine grace, and the nature of conversion. Here also we see that outward forms and distinctions are as nothing, compared with separation from the world, and devotedness to God.
Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 168-9

In how wide contrast to the life of Abraham was that of Lot! Once they had been companions, worshiping at one altar, dwelling side by side in their pilgrim tents; but how widely separated now! Lot had chosen Sodom for its pleasure and profit. Leaving Abraham's altar and its daily sacrifice to the living God, he had permitted his children to mingle with a corrupt and idolatrous people; yet he had retained in his heart the fear of God, for he is declared in the Scriptures to have been a “just” man; his righteous soul was vexed with the vile conversation that greeted his ears daily and the violence and crime he was powerless to prevent. He was saved at last as “a brand plucked out of the fire” (Zechariah 3:2), yet stripped of his possessions, bereaved of his wife and children, dwelling in caves, like the wild beasts, covered with infamy in his old age; and he gave to the world, not a race of righteous men, but two idolatrous nations, at enmity with God and warring upon His people, until, their cup of iniquity being full, they were appointed to destruction. How terrible were the results that followed one unwise step! PP 168.1

Says the wise man, “Labor not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.” “He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.” Proverbs 23:4; 15:27. And the apostle Paul declares, “They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.” 1 Timothy 6:9. PP 168.2

When Lot entered Sodom he fully intended to keep himself free from iniquity and to command his household after him. But he signally failed. The corrupting influences about him had an effect upon his own faith, and his children's connection with the inhabitants of Sodom bound up his interest in a measure with theirs. The result is before us. PP 168.3

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Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 221

This chapter is based on Acts 17:1-10.

After leaving Philippi, Paul and Silas made their way to Thessalonica. Here they were given the privilege of addressing large congregations in the Jewish synagogue. Their appearance bore evidence of the shameful treatment they had recently received, and necessitated an explanation of what had taken place. This they made without exalting themselves, but magnified the One who had wrought their deliverance. AA 221.1

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Expansion of the Early Church in Palestine