Old Testament Mission to the Foreigners

Christian anti-Semitisim has created the myth of the wandering Jew, perpetual stranger unable to take root anywhere. To a certain extend it is true that, in the Bible, wandering characterizes the people of God. What was wrong was to view this wandering as a sign of punishment. In fact, in the Bible, wandering is a sign of election, the sign of the people of God as such, as consecrated to a God who is always beyond settled situations and who always calls to meet Him there beyond.

Deuteronomy made of the sojourners[1] a central theme of the Bible[2] (Deut 10,18-19); they are a pointer to God’s love (“God loves the sojourner”), the touchstone of the real biblical justice[3] (“love the sojourner”) and this is because they constitute a standing reminder of a fundamental feature of Israel’s history (“you were sojourners”). The stranger is situated at the focal point of the theodicy, ethic and history of the people of God.

[1] Cf. J. S. Kaminsky, “Loving One’s (Israelite) Neighbour: Election and Commandment in Leviticus 19,” Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology, Vol. 62, no. 2, Union Theological Seminary, Virginia, (2008), 123-132, 123-127.

[2] Cf. L. Legrand, Unity and Plurality: Mission in the Bible, (E. Tr. R. R. Barr), Ishvani Publication, Pune, (1992), 33.

[3] Cf. F. Crusemann, “‘You Know the Heart of a Stranger’ (Exodus 23.9): A Recollection of the Torah in the Face of New Nationalism and Xenophobia,” Concilium: Migrants and Refugees, Vol.4, SCM Press, London, (1993), 95-109, 97-98.

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