I have written an e-book, Does the Bible Really Say That?, which is free to anyone. To download that book, in several formats, go here.
Creative Commons License
The posts in this blog are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. In other words, you can copy and use this material, as long as you aren't making money from it, and as long as you give me credit.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

How to treat strangers, foreigners and aliens

(This brief study is in response to the prophet Jonah, who did not want to go to preach repentance to the people of Ninevah, because he was afraid that they would, indeed, repent, and not be destroyed. The ESV, and perhaps other versions, use the word, "aliens." The World English Bible, which is quoted below, doesn't use this word.)

Foreigners, strangers and aliens
The Old Testament warns about keeping separate from the gods of other nations. But that’s not the whole story. The Israelites were also warned to treat non-Israelites well, and there were prophecies that God would be the God of all peoples:

Genesis 22:18 All the nations of the earth will be blessed by your offspring, because you have obeyed my voice. (God to Abraham. 26:4 is similar)

Leviticus 19:33 If a stranger lives as a foreigner with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. 34 The stranger who lives as a foreigner with you shall be to you as the native-born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you lived as foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am Yahweh your God.

Numbers 15:15 For the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the stranger who lives as a foreigner, a statute forever throughout your generations. As you are, so the foreigner shall be before Yahweh. 16 One law and one ordinance shall be for you and for the stranger who lives as a foreigner with you.

Jeremiah 22:3a Yahweh says: “Execute justice and righteousness, and deliver him who is robbed out of the hand of the oppressor. Do no wrong. Do no violence to the foreigner, the fatherless, or the widow. (See also Deuteronomy. 1:16)

Micah 4:2 Many nations will go and say,
“Come! Let’s go up to the mountain of Yahweh,
and to the house of the God of Jacob;
and he will teach us of his ways,
and we will walk in his paths.”
For the law will go out of Zion,
and Yahweh’s word from Jerusalem;

Zephaniah 3:9 For then I will purify the lips of the peoples, that they may all call on Yahweh’s name, to serve him shoulder to shoulder.

Zechariah 2:1a Many nations shall join themselves to Yahweh in that day, and shall be my people; and I will dwell among you . . .

Malachi 1:11 For from the rising of the sun even to its going down, my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering: for my name is great among the nations,” says Yahweh of Armies.

Non-Israelite women were ancestors of important Israelites: Joseph’s wife, the daughter of an Egyptian pagan priest, (Genesis 41) was the mother of Ephraim and Manasseh, founders of two of the tribes; Rahab from Jericho was an ancestor of King David’s line; and so was Ruth, from Moab. There may have been more such.

Thanks for reading!

Added January 8, 2016: Two recent articles are pertinent: Relevant has posted "A Biblical Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis," which mentions a few Old Testament verses not given above, and Christianity Today published a "Christian Declaration on Caring for Refugees: An Evangelical Response," a policy document which was drafted by leaders from several denominations and agencies.

No comments: