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Dictionary of Bible Themes – 7530 foreigners
7530 foreigners

7530 foreigners

Foreigners played a major role in the life of Israel. They surrounded her, and lived within her borders. In order to fulfil her mission as the bearer of God’s law, Israel had to distinguish herself from foreign nations and individuals, especially with regard to their religious beliefs. A clear distinction is made between foreign nations and foreign individuals, who are to be allowed to live freely among Israelites within the land.

The origins of foreign nations

Ge 9:19 See also Ge 11:1-9

The foreign nations of Ammon and Moab Ge 19:30-38

The relation of Israel and Edom Ge 25:21-34

Israel’s relationship with foreign nations

Israel’s captivity in Egypt Ex 6:6 See also Am 1:3,6,9,11,13; Isa 10:24-25 God’s judgment on Assyria; Isa 47:6 the fall of Babylon prophesied; Eze 25:3,8,12,15; Eze 26:2; Na 1:14 Nineveh’s destruction foretold

Foreign nations as a threat to Israel Dt 7:1-4 See also Ge 9:25; Ge 15:16 “Amorites” and “Canaanites” are both terms used to describe generically the races expelled by Israel from the land of promise, a fate brought on themselves by flagrant sin; Lev 18:25; Lev 20:23; Dt 18:12

The need for Israel to keep separate from foreign nations Lev 20:26 See also Nu 23:9; Dt 7:4; Jos 23:7; Jdg 2:2; 1Ki 11:1-2; 1Ki 16:31; Ezr 4:3; Ezr 6:21; Ezr 9:12; Ezr 10:11; Ne 10:30; Ne 13:3 Foreign religious beliefs and practices were seen as a constant threat to faith in the Lord. The command that Israel keep apart from foreign nations partly reflects a concern that Israel might adopt religious beliefs which compromise her commitment to the Lord.

Foreign nations are described as uncircumcised Isa 52:1 Circumcision was a sign of being within God’s covenant. But some foreigners were also circumcised (Jer 9:25-26). See also Ge 34:14; Ex 12:48; Jdg 14:3; Jdg 15:18; 1Sa 14:6; 1Sa 17:26; 2Sa 1:20; Eze 28:10; Eze 32:26

Israel’s relation with foreigners within her boundaries

Foreigners are to be treated graciously Lev 19:34 See also Lev 19:10; Lev 23:22; Dt 10:19; Dt 14:29; Dt 24:19-21; Dt 26:12-13

Foreigners must not be oppressed Lev 19:33 See also Ex 22:21; Ex 23:9; Dt 24:14,17; Dt 27:19; Ps 146:9; Jer 7:6; Jer 22:3; Zec 7:10

Foreigners have a positive role to play in Israel Isa 14:1

The rights of foreigners within Israel

Foreigners are to share in Sabbath-rest See also Ex 20:10 pp Dt 5:14; Ex 23:12

Foreigners are to receive a fair trial Dt 1:16

Foreigners are to participate in festivals and ceremonies Dt 16:11,14; Dt 26:11; Dt 29:10-11; Dt 31:12; 2Ch 30:25

Ultimately inheritance rights were envisaged for foreigners Eze 47:22-23

The obligations of foreigners are similar to those of native Israelites Nu 9:14 See also Ex 12:19,48-49; Lev 16:29; Lev 17:8,12-13,15; Lev 18:26; Lev 20:2; Lev 22:18; Lev 24:16 The penalties for blasphemy apply to Israelite and foreigner alike; Lev 24:22; Nu 15:14-16 The rules on the presentation of offerings are to be the same for both the Israelites and the foreigner; Nu 19:10; Nu 35:15; Eze 14:7

Occasional distinctions made for foreigners Lev 25:47-48; Dt 14:21; Dt 28:43

See also

5711marriage, restrictions
7447slavery, in OT

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