But the stranger that dwells with you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)But the stranger that dwelleth.—Better, The stranger that sojourneth. The word “but” is not in the original, and its insertion mars the flow of the passage, whilst the expression rendered in the Authorised Version by “dwelleth” is the same which is translated “sojourn in the preceding verse. This stranger is in every respect to be treated as any other member of the commonwealth, and as a native.
Shalt love him as thyself.—He is not simply to be treated with consideration and courtesy because he is a foreigner, and enjoy the rights and receive the justice due to every human being, but he is to be put on a perfect equality with the ordinary Israelite. Hence the precept laid down in Leviticus 19:18, “thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” is here enacted with regard to the stranger. It was this humane law which attracted so many strangers to Palestine. Hence we find that in the days of Solomon there were 153,600 strangers in the Holy Land.
For ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.—To enforce these kindly sentiments towards strangers, which was so contrary to the practice of the surrounding nations, who had an inveterate hatred of all foreigners, the lawgiver appeals to their own bitter experience. They knew with what inhumanity they were treated in Egypt because they were strangers, how they had been humiliated and reduced to slavery. The very thought of this will not only soften their hearts, but will enable them to see that the safety of all classes consists in basing our legislation upon the principle of equal rights to all inhabitants. This pathetic appeal is to be found three times more in the Pentateuch to enforce this precept (Exodus 22:20; Exodus 23:9; Deuteronomy 10:19).Leviticus 19:34. As one born among you — Either, 1st, As to the matters of common right, so it reached to all strangers. Or, 2d, As to church privileges, so concerned only those who were proselytes. Ye were strangers — And therefore are sensible of the fears, distresses, and miseries of such; which call for your pity, and you ought to do to them, as you desired others should do to you, when you were such.Leviticus 16:29 note; Exodus 23:9. As one born among you; either,
1. As to the matters of common right, as it here follows: so it reacheth to all strangers. Or,
2. As to church privileges: so it concerns only those who were proselytes of righteousness.
For ye were strangers; and therefore are sensible of the fears, distresses, and miseries of such, which call for your pity, and you ought to do to them as you would that others should do to you when you were such. Exodus 12:49,
and thou shalt love him as thyself; and show it by doing all the good things for him they would have done for themselves in like circumstances:
for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: and therefore knew what hardships such were exposed unto; and it became them to put on bowels of compassion, and show pity to those in a like condition, and particularly consider, as Jarchi suggests, that they were idolaters there also, and therefore ought not to upbraid strangers with their former idolatry:But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Leviticus 21:11; Numbers 6:6, or מת, Deuteronomy 14:1; so again in Leviticus 22:4; Numbers 5:2; Numbers 9:6-7, Numbers 9:10), nor make engraven (or branded) writing upon yourselves." Two prohibitions of an unnatural disfigurement of the body. The first refers to passionate outbursts of mourning, common among the excitable nations of the East, particularly in the southern parts, and to the custom of scratching the arms, hands, and face (Deuteronomy 14:1), which is said to have prevailed among the Babylonians and Armenians (Cyrop. iii. 1, 13, iii. 3, 67), the Scythians (Herod. 4, 71), and even the ancient Romans (cf. M. Geier de Ebraeor. luctu, c. 10), and to be still practised by the Arabs (Arvieux Beduinen, p. 153), the Persians (Morier Zweite Reise, p. 189), and the Abyssinians of the present day, and which apparently held its ground among the Israelites notwithstanding the prohibition (cf. Jeremiah 16:6; Jeremiah 41:5; Jeremiah 47:5), - as well as to the custom, which is also forbidden in Leviticus 21:5 and Deuteronomy 14:1, of cutting off the hair of the head and beard (cf. Isaiah 3:24; Isaiah 22:12; Micah. Lev 1:16; Amos 8:10; Ezekiel 7:18). It cannot be inferred from the words of Plutarch, quoted by Spencer, δοκοῦντες χαρίζεσθαι τοῖς τετελευκηκόσιν, that the heathen associated with this custom the idea of making an expiation to the dead. The prohibition of קעקע כּתבת, scriptio stigmatis, writing corroded or branded (see Ges. thes. pp. 1207-8), i.e., of tattooing, - a custom not only very common among the savage tribes, but still met with in Arabia (Arvieux Beduinen, p. 155; Burckhardt Beduinen, pp. 40, 41) and in Egypt among both men and women of the lower orders (Lane, Manners and Customs i. pp. 25, 35, iii. p. 169), - had no reference to idolatrous usages, but was intended to inculcate upon the Israelites a proper reverence for God's creation.
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