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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [1]

Stranger . This seems, on the whole, the most suitable English word by which to render the Heb. zâr , which is a participle denoting primarily one who turns aside, one who goes out of the way, i.e. for the purpose of visiting or dwelling in another country. It has frequently the meaning foreigner , in contrast to ‘Israelite,’ especially with the added notion of hostility (cf. ‘estranged’), and in antithesis to ‘Israel’ ( e.g.   Hosea 7:9;   Hosea 8:7 ,   Isaiah 1:7 ,   Ezekiel 7:21;   Ezekiel 11:9 ,   Joel 3:17 ,   Obadiah 1:11 ,   Psalms 54:3 etc.). In P [Note: Priestly Narrative.] the word takes on a technical meaning found nowhere outside the Hexateuch, and exclusively post-exilic. It means ‘layman’ (which might with advantage be substituted for EV [Note: English Version.] ‘stranger’), as opposed to a Levite (see   Numbers 1:51;   Numbers 18:7 ), or to a priest proper, or Aaronite (see   Exodus 29:33;   Exodus 30:33 ,   Numbers 3:10;   Numbers 3:38;   Numbers 18:2 ,   Leviticus 22:10;   Leviticus 22:12 f. (H [Note: Law of Holiness.] )).

The ‘strange woman’ of  Proverbs 2:16 etc. has the same technical sense as ‘foreign woman’ with which it stands in parallelism, viz. harlot .

Sojourner (sometimes tr. [Note: translate or translation.] of tôshâb , ‘settler’ [see below]) is frequently substituted by RV [Note: Revised Version.] for the AV [Note: Authorized Version.] ‘stranger,’ as tr. [Note: translate or translation.] of gçr . The ger was originally a man who transferred himself from one tribe or people to another, seeking, and usually obtaining, some of the rights of natives. A whole clan or tribe might be gçrîm in Israel, as e.g. the Gibeonites (  Joshua 9:1-27 ), the Beerothites (  2 Samuel 4:2 ). The Israelites are themselves often spoken of as ‘sojourners’ in the land of Egypt (see   Genesis 15:13 ,   Exodus 22:21;   Exodus 23:9 ,   Leviticus 19:24 (H [Note: Law of Holiness.] ),   Deuteronomy 10:19;   Deuteronomy 23:7 etc.). In the oldest Israelitish code (the Book of the Covenant,   Exodus 21:1 to   Exodus 23:13 ), the gçr is protected against injustice and violence (  Exodus 21:20 ,   Exodus 23:9 ). The D [Note: Deuteronomist.] code ( c [Note: circa, about.] . b.c. 620) goes much further, for, besides making more explicit and urgent the duty of defending, helping, and even loving the ‘sojourner’ (  Deuteronomy 10:18;   Deuteronomy 14:29;   Deuteronomy 24:14;   Deuteronomy 24:19 ), and also securing to him his rights (  Deuteronomy 24:17 ,   Deuteronomy 27:1-9 ), the gçr was to be allowed to participate in the three great annual feasts (  Deuteronomy 16:11 ff; cf.   Deuteronomy 5:14 and   Exodus 23:12 ). He is not, however, compelled, though allowed, to follow his protector’s religion (  Deuteronomy 14:29 ,   1 Kings 11:7 ). That he occupies a status inferior to that of the born Israelite is indicated by the fact that he is classed with the widow and orphan as needing special consideration (  Deuteronomy 10:18 ,   Deuteronomy 14:29 ,   Deuteronomy 29:14;   Deuteronomy 29:19 ), and that the right of intermarrying is denied him (  Deuteronomy 7:1 ff.,   Deuteronomy 23:4 ). When, however, we come to P [Note: Priestly Narrative.] and to other parts of the OT which belong to the same stage of history and religion, we find the ‘sojourner’ almost on an equal footing with the native Israelite, he is fast becoming, and is almost become, the proselyte of NT and Rabbinical times. His position has now religious rather than political significance. He is expected to keep the Sabbath and to observe the Day of Atonement, as well as the three great feasts (  Leviticus 16:29 ). He is to eat unleavened bread during Passover week (  Exodus 12:19; Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are now blended), and, if circumcised (not otherwise), to keep the full Passover itself. But the gçr is not even yet the full equal of the Israelite, for he is not compelled to be circumcised, and no one can belong to the congregation who has not submitted to that rite (  Exodus 12:47 ff.,   Numbers 9:14 ); he has not yet received the right of intermarriage (  Genesis 34:14 ), and is prohibited from keeping Jewish slaves (  Leviticus 25:47 ff.).

The closing of the ranks of Judaism, helped by the Exile, by the reforms of Ezra and Nehemiah, by the Samaritan schism, and consummated by the Maccabæan wars, led to the complete absorption of the ‘sojourner.’ The word prosçlytos (representing the Heb. gçr ), common in classical Greek for one who has come to a place (Lat. advena ), acquired in Hellenistic Greek the meaning which meets us often in the NT (  Matthew 23:15 ,   Acts 2:6 etc.). See Proselyte.

The indiscriminate use of ‘stranger’ with the meaning of ‘sojourner,’ and of ‘alien’ and ‘foreigner’ is very confusing. ‘Foreigner’ is the proper rendering of Heb. nokri . The Heb. tôshâb (lit. ‘dweller’) is a post-exilic substitute for gçr (‘sojourner’) in the original non-religeous sense of the latter. For the sake of distinction it might be uniformly rendered ‘ settler ’ (EV [Note: English Version.] ‘sojourner,’ ‘stranger,’ ‘foreigner’). See, for the relations of Israel to foreigners proper, art. Nations.

T. Witton Davies.

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [2]

STRANGER. —The Authorized Version has only the one rendering—‘stranger’—for five different words in the Greek. It is the natural translation of the term which has the most general signification—ξένος ( Matthew 25:35;  Matthew 25:43;  Matthew 27:7 etc.); and there is no other word in English to express the exact force of ἀλλότριος ( Matthew 17:25-26,  John 10:5; cf.  John 10:12—the ἀλλότριος is the one ‘whose own the sheep are not’). For ἀλλογενής the proper equivalent is ‘alien,’ as in  Luke 17:18 ((Revised Version margin)). For πάροικος and παρεπίδημος Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 rightly uses ‘sojourner’ ( Acts 7:29,  1 Peter 2:11; cf.  Luke 24:18,  1 Peter 1:1,  Hebrews 11:13). These words indicate a sentiment which is (1) racial or national ( Matthew 17:25-26 the kings of the earth take tribute from ‘strangers,’ not from sons), (2) humanitarian ( Matthew 25:35 ‘I was a stranger, and ye took me in’), and (3) religious ( 1 Peter 2:11 ‘I beseech you as sojourners and pilgrims to abstain,’ etc.).

Generally, however, it may be said that the connexion in which the words occur in NT is illustrative of the difference between the current Jewish conception of the stranger in the time of Christ, and that which is suggested by the Gospel. Jesus found His countrymen steeped in the idea that all foreigners were ‘dogs,’ that ‘the peoples’ was a term almost synonymous with ‘the heathen,’ and that only under rigid conditions and upon sufferance might a non-Jew obtain any of the privileges considered to be the Divine right of a Jew. He left His followers possessed of the thought, however unconscious they might be of all that it involved, that to Him the Samaritan and the Gentile, the man outside the pale and the man of no caste, were as much the objects of His mission as the favoured son of Abraham. ‘Stranger,’ to the average Jew, was the name for one with whom he might have commercial dealings and certain social or political relations, but with whom religious affinity or fellowship was practically impossible; to Jesus it meant one who had a special claim upon Him and His ( Matthew 25:35 ff.). The impression which He created was not merely that Christianity meant a deepening and extending of that sense of the sacred duty of hospitality and kindness which already existed in the Jewish mind, as it does throughout the East ( Exodus 23:9;  Exodus 22:21,  Luke 19:35,  Deuteronomy 10:18-19,  Jeremiah 7:6 etc.; cf. the practice existing among the Essenes, Josephus BJ ii. viii. 4, 5), but that it involved a complete change of the attitude which assumed that a different treatment was to be meted out to the stranger from that which was naturally shown to one’s own kith and kin ( Matthew 5:43-48 etc.). See, further, artt. Cosmopolitanism, Hospitality, Gentiles, Universalism.

It is further to be noticed that Christianity gave a new signification to the word ‘stranger.’ The way had been prepared by the use of the Hebrew word ‘Ger’ (LXX Septuagint. πάροικος, see artt. ‘Ger’ in DB [Note: Dictionary of the Bible.] and ‘Stranger’ in Encyc. Bibl. ), which designated the sojourner who dwelt within the gates of Israel, and who, while having a certain status there and a temporary home, belonged to another country. The fact also that the Jews themselves had from the time of Abraham so often been sojourners in a land not their own ( Acts 7:6;  Acts 7:29,  Hebrews 11:9), and the lessons taught by the dispersion in postexilic times, led to that metaphorical use of the term which has entered so largely into religious speech and poetry. The follower of Christ saw in it a description of himself as of one who was absent from his proper country, and whose citizenship was in heaven ( Philippians 3:20). When St. Peter writes to the ‘sojourners of the Dispersion’ ( 1 Peter 1:1), and beseeches them ‘as sojourners and pilgrims’ to abstain from fleshly lusts ( 1 Peter 2:11), he is diverting the term from a geographical to a spiritual sense (cf.  1 Peter 1:17). The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews has the same thought, ‘For we have not here an abiding city, but we seek after the city which is to come’ ( Hebrews 13:14; cf.  Hebrews 11:13-16).

Literature.—Uhlhorn, Chr. Charily in the Ancient Ch .; Brace, Gesta Christi , ch. xvi.; Seeley, Ecce Homo , chs. xiv. xvii.

J. Ross Murray.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [3]

A — 1: Ξένος (Strong'S #3581 — Adjective — xenos — xen'-os )

"strange" (see No. 1 above), denotes "a stranger, foreigner,"  Matthew 25:35,38,43,44;  27:7;  Acts 17:21;  Ephesians 2:12,19;  Hebrews 11:13;  3—John 1:5 .

A — 2: Ἀλλότριος (Strong'S #245 — Adjective — allotrios — al-lot'-ree-os )

"strangers,"  Matthew 17:25,26;  John 10:5 (twice): see No. 2, above.

A — 3: Ἀλλογενής (Strong'S #241 — Adjective — allogenes — al-log-en-ace' )

(allos, "another," genos, "a race") occurs in  Luke 17:18 , of a Samaritan. Moulton and Milligan illustrate the use of the word by the inscription on the Temple barrier, "let no foreigner enter within the screen and enclosure surrounding the sanctuary;" according to Mommsen this inscription was cut by the Romans: cp. Partition

SojournPilgrim.  1—Corinthians 14:21

B — 1: Ξενοδοχέω (Strong'S #3580 — Verb — xenodocheo — xen-od-okh-eh'-o )

"to receive strangers" (xenos, No. 1, above, and dechomai, "to receive"), occurs in  1—Timothy 5:10 , RV, "(if) she hath used hospitality to strangers," AV, "(if) she have lodged strangers."


C — 1: Φιλοξενία (Strong'S #5381 — Noun Feminine — philoxenia — fil-on-ex-ee'-ah )

"love of strangers," occurs in  Romans 12:13 , "hospitality," and  Hebrews 13:2 , RV, "to show love unto strangers," AV, "to entertain strangers." See Entertain , Note.

 Acts 13:17Sojourn

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [4]

A foreigner settled among the covenant people, without Israelite citizenship, but subject to Israel's laws, and having a claim to kindness and justice ( Exodus 12:49;  Leviticus 24:22;  Leviticus 19:34;  Leviticus 25:6;  Deuteronomy 1:16;  Deuteronomy 24:17-18;  Deuteronomy 24:19;  Deuteronomy 10:18-19;  Deuteronomy 16:11;  Deuteronomy 16:14;  Deuteronomy 26:11). (See Proselytes .) In contrast to one "born in the land," not transplanted, " Ezrach ." Geer , Toshab ; Geer implies the stranger viewed in respect to his foreign origin, literally, one turned aside to "another people"; Toshab implies his permanent residence in the hind of hision. Distinguished from the "foreigner," Nakri , who made no stay in Israel. The stranger included the "mixed multitude" from Egypt ( Exodus 12:38); the Canaanites still remaining in Palestine and their descendants, as Uriah the Hittite and Araunah the Jebusite, Doeg the Edomite, Ittai the Gittite; captives in war, fugitives, and merchants, amounting under Solomon to 153,600 males ( 2 Chronicles 2:17), one tenth of the population.

Strictly, the stranger had no share in the land. It is to be a peculiarity of restored Israel that the stranger shall inherit along with the native born ( Ezekiel 47:22). Still anomalies may have been tolerated of necessity, as that of Canaanites (On Conversion To The Law) retaining land from which Israel had been unable to eject their forefathers. Strangers were excluded from kingship. Though tolerated they must not violate the fundamental laws by blaspheming Jehovah, breaking the sabbath by work, eating leavened bread at the Passover, infringing the marriage laws, worshipping Moloch, or eating blood ( Leviticus 24:16;  Leviticus 18:26;  Leviticus 20:2;  Leviticus 17:10;  Leviticus 17:15;  Exodus 20:10;  Exodus 12:19). If the stranger were a bondservant he had to be circumcised ( Exodus 12:44). If free he was exempt, but if not circumcised was excluded from the Passover ( Exodus 12:48); he might eat foods ( Deuteronomy 14:21) which the circumcised stranger might not eat ( Leviticus 17:10;  Leviticus 17:15).

The liberal spirit of the law contrasts with the exclusiveness of Judaism after the return from Babylon. This narrowness was at first needed, in order to keep the holy seed separate from foreign admixture (Nehemiah 9; 10; 13; Ezra 10). But its degeneracy into proud, morose isolation and misanthropy our Lord rebukes in His large definition of "neighbour" in the parable of the good Samaritan ( Luke 10:36). The law kept Israel a people separate from the nations, yet exercising a benignant influence on them. It secured a body of 600,000 yeomen ready to defend their own land, but unfit for invading other lands, as their force was ordained to be of infantry alone. Interest front a fellow citizen was forbidden, but from a stranger was allowed, subject to strict regard to equity. The hireling was generally taken from strangers, the law guarded his rights with tender considerateness ( Deuteronomy 24:14-15). (See Nethinim ; Solomon'S Servants )

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [5]

Moses inculcated and enforced by numerous and by powerful considerations, as well as by various examples of benevolent hospitality, mentioned in the book of Genesis, the exhibition of kindness and humanity to strangers. There were two classes of persons who, in reference to this subject, were denominated strangers, נרים . One class were those who, whether Hebrews or foreigners, were destitute of a home, in Hebrew תושבים . The others were persons who, though not natives, had a home in Palestine; the latter were נרום , strangers or foreigners, in the strict sense of the word. Both of these classes, according to the civil code of Moses, were to be treated with kindness, and were to enjoy the same rights with other citizens,   Leviticus 19:33-34;  Leviticus 24:16;  Leviticus 24:22;  Numbers 9:14;  Numbers 15:14;  Deuteronomy 10:18;  Deuteronomy 23:7;  Deuteronomy 24:17;  Deuteronomy 27:19 . In the earlier periods of the Hebrew state, persons who were natives of another country, but who had come, either from choice or from necessity to take up their residence among the Hebrews, appear to have been placed in favourable circumstances. At a latter period, namely, in the reigns of David and Solomon, they were compelled to labour on the religious edifices which were erected by those princes; as we may learn from such passages as these: "And Solomon numbered all the strangers that were in the land of Israel, after the numbering wherewith David his father had numbered them; and they were found a hundred and fifty thousand and three thousand and six hundred; and he set three score and ten thousand of them to be bearers of burdens," &c,  1 Chronicles 22:2;  2 Chronicles 2:1;  2 Chronicles 2:16-17 . The exaction of such laborious services from foreigners was probably limited to those who had been taken prisoners in war; and who, according to the rights of war, as they were understood at that period, could be justly employed in any offices, however low and however laborious, which the conqueror thought proper to impose. In the time of Christ, the degenerate Jews did not find it convenient to render to the strangers from a foreign country those deeds of kindness and humanity which were not only their due, but which were demanded in their behalf by the laws of Moses. They were in the habit of understanding by the word רע , neighbour, their friends merely, and accordingly restricted the exercise of their benevolence by the same narrow limits that bounded in this case their interpretations; contrary as both were to the spirit of those passages which have been adduced above,   Leviticus 19:18 .

Smith's Bible Dictionary [6]

Stranger. A "stranger," in the technical sense of the term, may be defined to be a person of foreign, that is, non-Israelitish, extraction resident within the limits of the Promised Land. He was distinct from the proper "foreigner," inasmuch as, the latter still belonged to another country, and would only visit Palestine as a traveller: he was still more distinct from the "nations," or non-Israelite peoples. The term may be compared with our expression "Naturalized Foreigner".

The terms applied to the "stranger" have special reference to the fact of residing in the land. The existence of such a class of persons among the Israelites is easily accounted for the "mixed multitude" that accompanied them out of Egypt,  Exodus 12:38 formed one element the Canaanitish Population, which was never wholly extirpated from their native soil, formed another and a still more important one, and the captives taken in war formed a third; fugitives, hired servants, merchants, etc., formed a fourth.

With the exception of the Moabites and Ammonites,  Deuteronomy 23:3, all nations were admissible to the rights of citizenship under certain conditions. The stranger appears to have been eligible to all civil offices, that of king excepted.  Deuteronomy 17:15. In regard to religion, it was absolutely necessary that the stranger should not infringe any of the fundamental laws of the Israelitish state. If he were a bondman, he was obliged to submit to circumcision,  Exodus 12:44, if he were independent, it was optional with him, but if he remained uncircumcised, he was prohibited from partaking of the Passover ,  Exodus 12:48, and could not be regarded as a full citizen.

Liberty was also given to an uncircumcised stranger in regard to the use of prohibited food. Assuming, however, that the stranger was circumcised, no distinction existed in regard to legal rights had between the stranger and the Israelite; to the Israelite is enjoined to treat him as a brother.  Leviticus 19:34;  Deuteronomy 10:19.

It also appears that the "stranger" formed the class, whence the hirelings were drawn; the terms being coupled together in  Exodus 12:45;  Leviticus 22:10;  Leviticus 25:6;  Leviticus 26:40. The liberal spirit of the Mosaic regulations respecting strangers presents a strong contrast to the rigid exclusiveness of the Jews, at the commencement of the Christian era. The growth of this spirit dates from the time of the Babylonish captivity.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [7]

Is sometimes used in a special sense, easily understood from the context. It usually denotes a foreigner, who is not a native of the land in which he resides,  Genesis 23:4 . The Mosaic Law enjoined a generous hospitality towards foreign residents, saying, "Thou shalt love him as thyself,"  Leviticus 19:33,34   Deuteronomy 10:18,19   24:17   27:19 . They were subject to the law,  Exodus 20:10   Leviticus 16:20 , and were admitted to many of the privileges of the chosen people of God,  Numbers 9:14   15:14 .

The strangers whom David collected to aid in building the temple,  1 Chronicles 22:2 , probably comprised many of the remnants of the Canaanite tribes,  1 Kings 9:20,21 . Hospitality to strangers, including all travellers, was the duty of all good citizens,  Job 31:32   Hebrews 13:2 .

Morrish Bible Dictionary [8]

1. This term was applied to any sojourning among the Israelites, who were not descendants of Israel. The law gave injunctions against the oppression of such.  Numbers 15:14-30 .

2. Gentiles are also called 'strangers' from the covenants of promise (  Ephesians 2:12 ), showing that the covenants made with Israel did in no wise embrace the Gentiles, though God's grace at all times extended to them.

3. Those called strangers in   1 Peter 1:1 were Jews away from their own land: sojourners of the dispersion.

4. Both the O.T. and the N.T. saints were and are strangers upon earth. David said, "I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were."   Psalm 39:12 . They "confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth."  Hebrews 11:13 . The same is true of the saints now.  1 Peter 2:11 . Their citizenship is in heaven, and this earth is no longer their home or their rest.

Webster's Dictionary [9]

(1): ( n.) One who is strange, foreign, or unknown.

(2): ( n.) One who comes from a foreign land; a foreigner.

(3): ( n.) One whose home is at a distance from the place where he is, but in the same country.

(4): ( n.) One who is unknown or unacquainted; as, the gentleman is a stranger to me; hence, one not admitted to communication, fellowship, or acquaintance.

(5): ( n.) One not belonging to the family or household; a guest; a visitor.

(6): ( n.) One not privy or party an act, contract, or title; a mere intruder or intermeddler; one who interferes without right; as, actual possession of land gives a good title against a stranger having no title; as to strangers, a mortgage is considered merely as a pledge; a mere stranger to the levy.

(7): ( v. t.) To estrange; to alienate.

King James Dictionary [10]


1. A foreigner one who belongs to another country. Paris and London are visited by strangers from all the countries of Europe. 2. One of another town, city, state or province in the same country. The Commencements in American colleges are frequented by multitudes of strangers from the neighboring towns and states. 3. One unknown. The gentleman is a stranger to me. 4. One unacquainted.

My child is yet a stranger to the world.

I was no stranger to the original.

5. A guest a visitor. 6. One not admitted to any communication or fellowship.

Melons on beds of ice are taught to bear, and strangers to the sun yet ripen here.

7. In law, one not privy or party to an act.

STRANGER, To estrange to alienate. Not in use.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [11]

 Deuteronomy 23:3 24:14-21 25:5 26:10-13 Genesis 23:4  Exodus 23:9 Numbers 3:10 Psalm 69:8 Leviticus 25:44,45 Deuteronomy 23:20

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [12]

See Foreigner

Holman Bible Dictionary [13]


Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [14]

(prop. גֵּר , Ger, or תּשָׁב , Toshab ) . These two Heb. terms appear to describe, not two different classes of strangers, but the stranger under two different aspects - Ger rather implying his foreign origin, or the fact of his having Turned Aside to abide with another people, Toshab implying his permanent Residence in the land of his adoption. Winer ( Realwb. s.v. "Fremde") regards the latter as equivalent to hireling. Jahn ( Archoeol. 1 , 11, § 181) explains Toshab of one who, whether Hebrew or foreigner, was destitute of a home. We see no evidence for either of these opinions. In the Sept. these terms are most frequently rendered by Πάροικος , the Alexandrian substitute for the classical Μέτοικος . Sometimes Προσήλυτος is used, and in two passages ( Exodus 12:19;  Isaiah 14:1) Γειώρας , as representing the Chaldee form of the word Ger. A "stranger," in the technical Hebrew sense of the term, may be defined to be a person of foreign, i.e. non-Israelitish, extraction, resident within the limits of the promised land. He was distinct from the proper "foreigner" ( נָכְרַי , Nokri ), inasmuch as the latter still belonged to another country, and would only visit Palestine as a traveler; he was still more distinct from the "nations" ( גּוֹיַם , Yoyim, usually rendered "heathen"), or non-Israelitish peoples, who held no relationship with the chosen people of God. The term answers most nearly to the Greek Μέτοικος , and may be compared with our expression "naturalized foreigner," in so far as this implies a certain political status in the country where the foreigner resides; it is opposed to one "born in the land" ( אֶזְרָח , Ezrach ) , or, as the term more properly means, "not transplanted," in the same way that a naturalized foreigner is opposed to a Native. The terms applied to the "stranger" have special reference to the fact of his Residing ( גּוּר , יָשִׁב ) in the land. (See Foreigner).

The existence of such a class of persons among the Israelites is easily accounted for the "mixed multitude" that accompanied them out of Egypt ( Exodus 12:38) formed one element; the Canaanitish population, which was never wholly extirpated from their native soil, formed another and a still more important one; captives taken in war formed a third; fugitives, hired servants, merchants, etc., formed a fourth. The number from these various sources must have been at all times very considerable; the census of them in Solomon's time gave a return of 153,600 males ( 2 Chronicles 2:17), which was equal to about a tenth of the whole population. The enactments of the Mosaic law, which regulated the political and social position of resident strangers, were conceived in a spirit of great liberality. With the exception of the Moabites and Ammonites ( Deuteronomy 23:3), all nations were admissible to the rights of citizenship under certain conditions. It would appear, indeed, to be a consequence of the prohibition of intermarriage with the Canaanites ( Deuteronomy 7:3), that these would be excluded from the rights of citizenship; but the Rabbinical view that this exclusion was superseded in the case of proselytes seems highly probable, as we find Doeg the Edomite ( 1 Samuel 21:7;  1 Samuel 22:9), Uriah the Hittite ( 2 Samuel 11:6), and Araunah the Jebusite ( 2 Samuel 24:18) enjoying, to all appearance, the full rights of citizenship. Whether a stranger could ever become legally a land owner is a question about which there may be doubt. Theoretically the whole of the soil was portioned out among the twelve tribes; and Ezekiel notices it as a peculiarity of the division which he witnessed in vision that the strangers were to share the inheritance with the Israelites, and should thus become as those "born in the country" (Ezekiel 42:22). Indeed, the term "stranger" is more than once applied in a pointed manner to signify one who was not a land owner ( Genesis 23:4;  Leviticus 25:23); while, on the other hand, Ezrach (A.V. "born in the land") may have reference to the possession of the soil, as it is borrowed from the image of a tree Not Transplanted, and so occupying its native soil. The Israelites, however, never succeeded in obtaining possession of the whole, and it is possible that the Canaanitish occupants may in course of time have been recognized as "strangers," and had the right of retaining their land conceded to them. There was of course nothing to prevent a Canaanite from becoming the mortgagee in possession of a plot, but this would not constitute him a proper land owner, inasmuch as he would lose all interest in the property when the year of jubilee came round. That they possessed land in one of these two capacities is clear from the case of Araunah above cited.

The stranger appears to have been eligible to all civil offices, that of king excepted ( Deuteronomy 17:15). In regard to religion, it was absolutely necessary that the stranger should not infringe any of the fundamental laws of the Israelitish State he was forbidden to blaspheme the name of Jehovah ( Leviticus 24:16), to work on the Sabbath ( Exodus 20:10), to eat leavened bread at the time of the Passover ( Exodus 12:19), to commit any breach of the marriage laws ( Leviticus 18:26). to worship Molech ( Leviticus 20:2), or to eat blood or the flesh of any animal that had died otherwise than by the hand of man ( Leviticus 17:10;  Leviticus 17:15). He was required to release a Hebrew servant in the year of jubilee ( Leviticus 25:47-54), to observe the Day of Atonement ( Leviticus 16:29), to perform the rites of purification when necessary ( Leviticus 17:15;  Numbers 19:10), and to offer sin offerings after sins of ignorance ( Numbers 15:29). If the stranger was a bondman, he was obliged to submit to circumcision ( Exodus 12:44); if he was independent, it was optional with him; but if he remained uncircumcised, he was prohibited from partaking of the Passover ( Exodus 12:48), and could not be regarded as a full citizen. Liberty was also given in regard to the use of prohibited food to an uncircumcised stranger; for on this ground alone can we harmonize the statements in  Deuteronomy 14:21 and  Leviticus 17:10;  Leviticus 17:15.

Assuming, however, that the stranger was circumcised, no distinction existed in regard to legal rights between the stranger and the Israelite. "One law" for both classes is a principle affirmed in respect to religious observances ( Exodus 12:49;  Numbers 15:16) and to legal proceedings ( Leviticus 24:22), and the judges are strictly warned against any partiality in their decisions ( Deuteronomy 1:16;  Deuteronomy 24:17-18). The Israelite is also enjoined to treat him as a brother ( Leviticus 19:34;  Deuteronomy 10:19), and the precept is enforced in each case by a reference to his own state in the land of Egypt. Such precepts were needed in order to counteract the natural tendency to treat persons in the position of strangers with rigor. For, though there was the possibility of a stranger acquiring wealth and becoming the owner of Hebrew slaves ( Leviticus 25:47), yet his normal state was one of poverty, as implied in the numerous passages where he is coupled with the fatherless and the widow (e.g.  Exodus 22:21-23;  Deuteronomy 10:18;  Deuteronomy 24:17), and in the special directions respecting his having a share in the feasts that accompanied certain religious festivals ( Leviticus 16:11;  Leviticus 16:14;  Leviticus 26:11), in the leasing of the corn field, the vineyard, and the olive yard ( Leviticus 19:10;  Leviticus 23:22;  Deuteronomy 24:20), in the produce of the triennial tithe ( Leviticus 14:28-29), in the forgotten sheaf ( Leviticus 24:19), and in the spontaneous production of the soil in the sabbatical year ( Leviticus 25:6). It also appears that the "stranger" formed the class whence the hirelings were drawn the terms being coupled together in  Exodus 12:45;  Leviticus 22:10;  Leviticus 25:6;  Leviticus 25:40.

Such laborers were engaged either by the day ( Leviticus 19:13;  Deuteronomy 24:15) or by the year ( Leviticus 25:53), and appear to have been considerately treated, for the condition of the Hebrew slave is favorably compared with that of the hired servant and the sojourner in contradistinction to the bondman ( Leviticus 25:39-40). A less fortunate class of strangers, probably captives in war or for debt, were reduced to slavery, and were subject to be bought and sold ( Leviticus 25:45), as well as to be put to task work, as was the case with the Gibeonites ( Joshua 9:21) and with those whom Solomon employed in the building of the Temple ( 2 Chronicles 2:18). The liberal spirit of the Mosaic regulations respecting strangers presents a strong contrast to the rigid exclusiveness of the Jews at the commencement of the Christian era. The growth of this spirit dates from the time of the Babylonian captivity, and originated partly in the outrages which the Jews suffered at the hands of foreigners, and partly through a fear lest their nationality should be swamped by constant admixture with foreigners the latter motive appears to have dictated the stringent measures adopted by Nehemiah ( Nehemiah 9:2;  Nehemiah 13:3). Our Lord condemns this exclusive spirit in the parable of the good Samaritan, where he defines the term "neighbor" in a sense new to his hearers ( Luke 10:36). It should be observed, however, that the proselyte ( Προσήλυτος in the Sept. = גֵּר . in  Exodus 12:19;  Exodus 20:10;  Exodus 22:21;  Exodus 23:9) of the New Test. is the true representative of the stranger of the Old Test., and towards this class a cordial feeling was manifested. (See Proselyte). The term "stranger" ( Ξένος ) is generally used in the New Test. in the general sense Of Foreigner, and occasionally in its more technical sense as opposed to a citizen ( Ephesians 2:19). (See Hospitality). For the זָרָה , Zaarh, or "strange woman," (See Harlot).