I’m working on a summary of the biblical teachings on “foreignness.” Here are some initial thoughts. I’d really like your feedback:
The theme of aliens and strangers courses throughout the biblical narrative. Many of God’s people lived as aliens. Some emigrated to other countries for economic reasons (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob); some were taken forcibly (Joseph, Daniel, Ezekiel, Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah); some moved from a desire to form part of God’s people (Rahab, Ruth); others went seeking refuge from violence (Moses, David, Jesus’ family). The willingness to live as an alien is a praiseworthy trait in the Bible (Hebrews 11:13–16). In fact, all Christians are called to live in such a manner (1 Peter 2:11).
In the same way, the Bible praises those who welcome strangers. To this day, nomadic cultures value highly the norm of hospitality, the receiving of guests. People like Abraham, Rahab, Boaz (edited 9:47 a.m.) and Abigail show the value God places on treating strangers well. The Law forbids the mistreatment of aliens (Exodus 22:21; 23:9) and actually demands that God’s people love aliens (Leviticus 25:23; Deuteronomy 10:19). The alien was to be cared for and provided for (Deuteronomy14:29; 16:11, 14; 26:11).
Jesus mentioned the treatment of aliens as one of the points of judgment applied to the “sheep and the goats” (Matthew 25:35, 43). The concept of “hospitality” in the New Testament is related to the receiving of strangers, both linguistically (xenodocheo, philoxenia) and by example (Hebrews 13:2).