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Stephen, the first martyr, asks a question in Acts 7:51-52 (ESV):

"You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered...."

I saw this claim challenged in this comic:

Comic challenging Stephen's claim

What is Stephen referring to? Is his claim accurate? It seems from this comic at least that this is not the case.

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Prophets tend to get mistreated because the recipients don't like the message. What's written in the Bible is primarily about the Jews, but they weren't the only ones who (tried to) abused God's prophets (2 Ki 6:8-23). –  mojo Jan 11 at 6:38
    
Did you look up any of the prophets listed in that comic? Did you find any evidence that they were persecuted/killed as Stephen claimed? –  Gone Quiet Jan 12 at 4:22
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Possible stump-the-chumps question –  maj nem ɪz dæn Jan 12 at 4:38
    
Perhaps a better questions would be list of prophets and their prosecution. –  Jim Thio Jan 12 at 9:18
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@JimThio perhaps, but 'general reference' questions that can be answered by doing a simple Google search are usually not good fits here. Be sure to put forth some minimal research effort prior to asking a question here. Here is a list of prophets and how they died. –  maj nem ɪz dæn Jan 13 at 1:43

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

FIRST The comic claims that Elijah, Elisha, Samuel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Amos, Habakkuk, Micah, Zechariah, Malachi, Haggai, Zephiniah, Joel, Jonah, and Nahum were not persecuted. Besides the fact that Zephaniah is misspelled and that Elijah, Elisha, Samuel, Isaiah, Ezekiel and Amos were persecuted, we do not know whether the rest were persecuted or not - it simply doesn't say.

SECOND Stephen's point is that the majority of the prophets were persecuted. And Mark's point when he says that "all of Judea came down to be baptized by John" is that there was a major movement of people being baptized. Language is to be understood according to authorial intent.

THUS The comic would do better to make fun of the fact that Stephen thought that ears could be uncircumcised. How stupid Stephen must have been to have such a ridiculous misunderstanding of basic anatomy! Or would that make it too obvious that it's misunderstanding the Bible on purpose?

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I like this answer better. More to the point. –  Jim Thio Feb 19 at 6:22
    
But it simply doesn't say. Which doesn't say? Samuel has high standing in israel society. If there is any persecution against him, like parking tickets, it seems to be minor. –  Jim Thio Feb 19 at 6:23

The Brick Testament is very antagonistic and chooses the worst possible interpretation of nearly any passage it attempts to illustrate. The charge of inaccuracy may be legitimate, but that misses the point.

Emotional speech is meant to drive to the heart of the matter. Steven is imprecating these religious leaders for their rejection of God's ultimate messenger (Jesus), and to make his point, he alludes to the typical persecution that came to the prophets of the past (Matthew 23:37/Luke 13:34).

Was Stephen attempting to say that every last prophet of old was persecuted by the ancestors of these people? I don't think so. I think he was pointing out that it was the typical lot of the prophet to face rejection and persecution from the recipients of the message, and that these people are the "sons" (in the common Biblical metaphorical sense, a la John 8:44, Matthew 5:9, or Galatians 3:26) of those in the past who rejected God by persecuting his messengers.

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What do you mean worse? Most politically incorrect? Most unliteral? Most inaccurate? –  Jim Thio Feb 19 at 6:20
    
Rejected does not mean prosecuted. –  Jim Thio Feb 19 at 6:21
    
@JimThio When I say "worst" I mean that the illustrator seems to prefer to focus on seeming contradictions in the text or in simplistic Christian ideas. Here's a good example. There could perhaps be "worse interpretations," but the intent seems to be to suggest that the Bible and/or Christianity is illogical or self-contradictory. –  mojo Feb 19 at 12:51
    
@JimThio I don't understand your point about rejection and persecution. –  mojo Feb 19 at 12:54
    
Simply because someone don't believe in a prophet doesn't mean the prophet is prosecuted. –  Jim Thio Feb 19 at 13:09

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