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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
The Gentiles were far less sharply differentiated from the Israelites in Old Testament than in New Testament times. Under Old Testament regulations they were simply non-Israelites, not from the stock of Abraham, but they were not hated or despised for that reason, and were to be treated almost on a plane of equality, except certain tribes in Canaan with regard to whom there were special regulations of non-intercourse. The Gentile stranger enjoyed the hospitality of the Israelite who was commanded to love him (Deuteronomy 10:19 ), to sympathize with him, "For ye know the heart of the stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt" (Exodus 23:9 the King James Version). The Kenites were treated almost as brethren, especially the children of Rechab ( Judges 1:16; Judges 5:24; Jer 35). Uriah the Hittite was a trusted warrior of David (2 Sam 11); Ittai the Gittite was captain of David's guard (2 Samuel 18:2 ); Araunah the Jebusite was a respected resident of Jerusalem. The Gentiles had the right of asylum in the cities of refuge, the same as the Israelites (Numbers 35:15 ). They might even possess Israelite slaves (Leviticus 25:47 ), and a Gentile servant must not be defrauded of his wage (Deuteronomy 24:15 ). They could inherit in Israel even as late as the exile (Ezekiel 47:22 , Ezekiel 47:23 ). They were allowed to offer sacrifices in the temple at Jerusalem, as is distinctly affirmed by Josephus (BJ , II, xvii, 2-4; Ant , XI, viii, 5;
If we inquire what the reason of this change was we shall find it in the conditions of the exiled Jews, who suffered the bitterest treatment at the hands of their Gentile captors and who, after their return and establishment in Judea, were in constant conflict with neighboring tribes and especially with the Greek rulers of Syria. The fierce persecution of Antiochus IV, who attempted to blot out their religion and Hellenize the Jews, and the desperate struggle for independence, created in them a burning patriotism and zeal for their faith which culminated in the rigid exclusiveness we see in later times.
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Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Gentiles'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/isb/g/gentiles.html. 1915.
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26