stranger

stranger (Sojourner” or “alien” in some translations)

One who is not a member of a particular social group. Abraham is a stranger among the Hittites (Gen 23:4), as is Moses in Midian (Exod 2:22). After the settlement in Canaan, the term not only designated a temporary guest, but also acquired the more specialized meaning of a resident alien who lived permanently within Israel. The Israelites developed specific laws governing the treatment of strangers (Exod 22:21; Exod 23:9; Deut 10:19). Strangers were to be treated with kindness and generosity (Lev 19:10, Lev 19:33-34; Lev 23:22; Deut 14:29). They were included in the Israelite legal system (Lev 24:16; Lev 24:22; Num 35:15; Deut 1:16) and, so, were subject to most of the religious requirements (Exod 20:8-10; Lev 16:29; Lev 17:8-13; but cf. Deut 14:29). The idea of dwelling in a land owned by someone else is also applied theologically to the people Israel, since the land belonged to God and they were the strangers in it (Lev 25:23). In the NT “stranger” usually means simply someone who is not known (Matt 25:34-40; John 10:5) or, in some older translations, a foreigner (Luke 17:18; Acts 17:21). Gentiles are no longer aliens and strangers in the new Christian community (Eph 2:11-21), but, on another level, Christians are citizens of the heavenly kingdom and, so, strangers in this world (1Pet 1:1, 1Pet 1:17; 1Pet 2:11; Heb 11:13).

Gen 23:4

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Exod 2:22

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Exod 22:21

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Exod 23:9

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Deut 10:19

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Lev 19:10

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Lev 19:33-34

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Lev 23:22

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Deut 14:29

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Lev 24:16

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Lev 24:22

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Num 35:15

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Deut 1:16

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Exod 20:8-10

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Lev 16:29

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Lev 17:8-13

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Deut 14:29

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Lev 25:23

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Matt 25:34-40

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John 10:5

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Luke 17:18

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Acts 17:21

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Eph 2:11-21

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1Pet 1:1

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1Pet 1:17

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1Pet 2:11

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Heb 11:13

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