Acts 7:6-10
Acts 7:6 (KJB)
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.
(Gen 15:13 KJV) And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; Stephen then continues on his historical pilgrimage by mentioning the prophecy made by God that the nation of Israel would be in bondage in Egypt for four hundred years. It will be from this period of bondage that the nation of Israel will grow to over two million. By using the number four hundred, God is assuring that when the fulness of time does come, there will be an end to the bondage and they will be freed. God was also assuring Abraham, in a different manner, that he would have a descendant in God’s timing because if he did not have one then there could be no nation.
Acts 7:7 (KJB)
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.
Stephen now refers to the ten plagues God sent on Egypt resulting in Egypt being reduced from a major power to a permanent status of a mediocre nation. God had destroyed the entire Egyptian army along with Pharaoh who had attempted to challenge God with his meager power. The result was that God had delivered Israel from bondage and brought them into the wilderness but their unbelief had caused them to turn an eleven day journey into a forty year trek. The place where they were to serve God was in the Promised Land which was Canaan, which they eventually entered under Joshua.
Acts 7:8 (KJB)
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.
(Gen 17:24-25 KJV) And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. {25} And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. Stephen now mentions the covenant of circumcision because this is what the Jews speak of as separating themselves from the Gentile population. Abraham was circumcised at 99 years old and when Isaac was 13, he was circumcised. From that time on, all males were to be circumcised on the eighth day after birth. This showed the wisdom of God because the clotting factor in the blood does not appear until the eighth day. Circumcision on the seventh day would have meant the baby would bleed to death. Then the patriarchal blood line was begun. Isaac had given birth to Jacob and Jacob gave birth to the twelve sons which became patriarchs of the twelve tribes. It was from the lineage of Judah that the Lord Jesus Christ came through. It must be noted that Abraham had faith in God first and then it was later on when circumcision was given to him. His salvation came by grace and not by circumcision which is a work.
Acts 7:9 (KJB)
And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him,
Joseph had become Jacob’s favorite and his brothers envied him especially since Jacob gave him a multi colored coat and Joseph‘s dream that the ten brothers plus his mother and father would bow to him. The ten brothers had sold Joseph to a Midianite caravan going to Egypt. At this point, Benjamin was very young and did not go out with the ten brothers. So even though the brothers had sold Joseph, God was preparing him to do a tremendous work later on but for now he had to undergo a time of preparation. God was with Joseph as He gave him favor in the eyes of Potiphar and the prison warden. Stephen also emphasized this portion of the story because it described the Jews, as they had been moved with envy and had Jesus crucified by the Romans, yet God was with Him.
Acts 7:10 (KJB)
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.
After thirteen years of preparation, Joseph had passed every test and was now ready to take on the ministry that God had prepared him for. Joseph had interpreted the dreams of the butler and the baker while in prison and his interpretation had come true. When Pharaoh had two dreams of similar meaning and all the wise men in Egypt failed to interpret the dream, Joseph was summoned to Pharaoh and interpreted the dream correctly. In responding to the wisdom of Joseph, Pharaoh had made him Governor of Egypt and also entrusted him to run the house of Pharaoh as he did the house of Potiphar. If you also notice that this verse speaks of God giving Joseph favor in the eyes of Pharaoh. As God hardened the heart of the Pharaoh of the exodus, God can also soften the heart of any ruler and give His children favor in their sight. Joseph went from prisoner and slave to Governor in one day by the plan of God.