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‘We Are Strangers Before You and Sojourners, As All Our Fathers Were’ (1 Chr 29:15). The Old Testament’s Contribution to the Ethical Issue of Migration
Mackerle Adam
The paper discusses the Old Testament’s witness on the issue of migration. It provides an overview of the most basic relevant texts and divides them into two groups: the witness of Israel as a migrant and the witness of Israel as a host. Without claiming completeness, the paper attempts to summarise in what sense texts can contribute to contemporary ethical discourse on the topic of migration. From the social-economic point of view the refugees are a category of people who are to be helped, but who at the same time pose a threat to the religious integrity of Israel. In a social-cultural and religious sense the Old Testament therefore requires and at the same time assumes the assimilation of the migrants, albeit with the principal exception that neither a migrant nor a host may endanger Israel’s right to its relationship with God. However, all texts agree that theological reasoning referring to Israel’s own past as a migrant and to a lesser extent to the present state of the migrant before God is always decisive/determining. Precisely this rigorous theological reasoning of both attitudes (welcoming and reserved) is the main constant element and at the same time a challenge to the contemporary reader.

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