Author Topic: Amnestiers: The Bible Doesn’t Say Strangers, It Says Resident Aliens  (Read 128 times)

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Amnestiers: The Bible Doesn’t Say Strangers, It Says Resident Aliens

Posted By Daniel Greenfield On July 20, 2014 @ 11:37 am In The Point | 15 Comments

So this keeps happening a lot. I don’t want to bring theology into it, but here’s the verse.

“And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not do him wrong.” Leviticus 19:33

That’s the most common translation. It also happens to be misleading. The word used in Hebrew is “Ger”.

Ger does not mean stranger. It means resident. One who lives there. You can see that’s true because the same verse uses a variation of the word twice, as is common in the Bible.

In Hebrew that verse reads as   וְכִי-יָגוּר אִתְּךָ גֵּר, בְּאַרְצְכֶם–לֹא תוֹנוּ, אֹתוֹ

Phonetically the second, third and fourth words are, Yogur Itha Ger which are translated as “a stranger sojourn with thee”. Yogur and Ger are variations of the same word. Translating one as “sojourn” and the other as “stranger” is clearly wrong.

A consistent translation is “If a sojourner sojourns with you”. Sojourner is not quite right either, but it captures some variations of the term. Within Jewish tradition, the most common usage is Ger Toshav, or Resident Alien. Ger, without any elaboration, is used to refer to converts. (Within Jewish tradition, that verse is generally held to be referring to converts.)

Of course that’s just part of the picture. The full context in the next refers to “for ye were sojourners in the land of Egypt”.

The Jews had entered Egypt with the permission of Pharaoh. They were then abused once they had been legally living there for a long time. They were resident aliens temporarily living in Egypt.

And they said unto Pharaoh: ‘To sojourn in the land are we come; for there is no pasture for thy servants’ flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan. Now therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen.’

Genesis 47:4

The word used for sojourn, again is Logur.

The Bible is not stating that you have to accommodate people who invade your country. It is stating that once you do take in people and they act in good faith, you have to treat them decently. You can’t act like Pharaoh and turn them into slaves or prevent them from leaving.

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Exodus 2:22

And she bore a son, and he called his name Gershom; for he said: 'I have been a stranger in a strange land.'
- Jewish Publication Society Bible

Wesley's commentary:

2:22 Gershom - That is, A stranger there. Now this settlement of Moses in Midian was designed by Providence. To shelter him for the present; God will find hiding places for his people in the day of their distress. It was also designed to prepare him for the services he was farther designed to. His manner of life in Midian, where he kept the flock of his father - in - law would be of use to him, to inure him to hardship and poverty; and to inure him to contemplation and devotion. Egypt accomplished him for a scholar, a gentleman, a statesman, a soldier, all which accomplishments would be afterwards of use to him; but yet lacketh he one thing, in which the court of Egypt could not befriend him. He that was to do all by divine revelation must know, what it was to live a life of communion with God, and in this he would be greatly furthered by the retirement of a shepherd's life in Midian. By the former he was prepared to rule in Jeshurun, but by the latter he was prepared to converse with God in mount Horeb. Those that know what it is to be alone with God, are acquainted with better delights than ever Moses tasted in the court of Pharaoh.

The bible says strangers. Foreigners. Ones not like you.
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