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Bible Dictionaries

Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Stranger

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A foreigner settled among the covenant people, without Israelite citizenship, but subject to Israel's laws, and having a claim to kindness and justice (Exodus 12:49; Leviticus 24:22; Leviticus 19:34; Leviticus 25:6; Deuteronomy 1:16; Deuteronomy 24:17-18; Deuteronomy 24:19; Deuteronomy 10:18-19; Deuteronomy 16:11; Deuteronomy 16:14; Deuteronomy 26:11). (See PROSELYTES.) In contrast to one "born in the land," not transplanted, "ezrach ." Geer , toshab; geer implies the stranger viewed in respect to his foreign origin, literally, one turned aside to "another people"; toshab implies his permanent residence in the hind of hision. Distinguished from the "foreigner," nakri , who made no stay in Israel. The stranger included the "mixed multitude" from Egypt (Exodus 12:38); the Canaanites still remaining in Palestine and their descendants, as Uriah the Hittite and Araunah the Jebusite, Doeg the Edomite, Ittai the Gittite; captives in war, fugitives, and merchants, amounting under Solomon to 153,600 males (2 Chronicles 2:17), one tenth of the population.

Strictly, the stranger had no share in the land. It is to be a peculiarity of restored Israel that the stranger shall inherit along with the native born (Ezekiel 47:22). Still anomalies may have been tolerated of necessity, as that of Canaanites (on conversion to the law) retaining land from which Israel had been unable to eject their forefathers. Strangers were excluded from kingship. Though tolerated they must not violate the fundamental laws by blaspheming Jehovah, breaking the sabbath by work, eating leavened bread at the Passover, infringing the marriage laws, worshipping Moloch, or eating blood (Leviticus 24:16; Leviticus 18:26; Leviticus 20:2; Leviticus 17:10; Leviticus 17:15; Exodus 20:10; Exodus 12:19). If the stranger were a bondservant he had to be circumcised (Exodus 12:44). If free he was exempt, but if not circumcised was excluded from the Passover (Exodus 12:48); he might eat foods (Deuteronomy 14:21) which the circumcised stranger might not eat (Leviticus 17:10; Leviticus 17:15).

The liberal spirit of the law contrasts with the exclusiveness of Judaism after the return from Babylon. This narrowness was at first needed, in order to keep the holy seed separate from foreign admixture (Nehemiah 9; 10; 13; Ezra 10). But its degeneracy into proud, morose isolation and misanthropy our Lord rebukes in His large definition of "neighbour" in the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:36). The law kept Israel a people separate from the nations, yet exercising a benignant influence on them. It secured a body of 600,000 yeomen ready to defend their own land, but unfit for invading other lands, as their force was ordained to be of infantry alone. Interest front a fellow citizen was forbidden, but from a stranger was allowed, subject to strict regard to equity. The hireling was generally taken from strangers, the law guarded his rights with tender considerateness (Deuteronomy 24:14-15). (See NETHINIM; SOLOMON'S SERVANTS.)

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Stranger'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/fbd/s/stranger.html. 1949.

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