Amnestiers: The Bible Doesn’t Say Strangers, It Says Resident Aliens


So this keeps happening a lot. I don’t want to bring theology into it, but here’s the verse.

“And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not do him wrong.” Leviticus 19:33

That’s the most common translation. It also happens to be misleading. The word used in Hebrew is “Ger”.

Ger does not mean stranger. It means resident. One who lives there. You can see that’s true because the same verse uses a variation of the word twice, as is common in the Bible.

In Hebrew that verse reads as   וְכִי-יָגוּר אִתְּךָ גֵּר, בְּאַרְצְכֶם–לֹא תוֹנוּ, אֹתוֹ

Phonetically the second, third and fourth words are, Yogur Itha Ger which are translated as “a stranger sojourn with thee”. Yogur and Ger are variations of the same word. Translating one as “sojourn” and the other as “stranger” is clearly wrong.

A consistent translation is “If a sojourner sojourns with you”. Sojourner is not quite right either, but it captures some variations of the term. Within Jewish tradition, the most common usage is Ger Toshav, or Resident Alien. Ger, without any elaboration, is used to refer to converts. (Within Jewish tradition, that verse is generally held to be referring to converts.)

Of course that’s just part of the picture. The full context in the next refers to “for ye were sojourners in the land of Egypt”.

The Jews had entered Egypt with the permission of Pharaoh. They were then abused once they had been legally living there for a long time. They were resident aliens temporarily living in Egypt.

And they said unto Pharaoh: ‘To sojourn in the land are we come; for there is no pasture for thy servants’ flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan. Now therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen.’

Genesis 47:4

The word used for sojourn, again is Logur.

The Bible is not stating that you have to accommodate people who invade your country. It is stating that once you do take in people and they act in good faith, you have to treat them decently. You can’t act like Pharaoh and turn them into slaves or prevent them from leaving.

  • reyol

    Illegal immigration is theft. The illegal immigrant steals the place and resources set aside for the legal immigrants and the native work force. The Left is trying to sucker the Christians into being compassionate and supporting illegals by twisting the meaning of bible verses.

  • DB1954

    To return them immediately to their country of origin is no wrong. What wrong has been done them by immediate repatriation? We would pay for their repatriation. THEY are doing US wrong in coming here.

    • hooneybee

      Absolutely, what wrong is being done, their housed, fed, vaccinated at our be haft. Now return them home better off then they arrived.

      • StillWatching2

        Hahaha! You think they are getting vaccinated! That takes time,,,

  • GSR

    This is collusion between the US, Mexico and Central American governments. Obama & Co. orchestrated this movement of “children” (really mostly older teen-aged boys, some in the 20’s). Obama is sending them to “purple” districts in order to turn the districts “blue” in another 5-10 years when they’ll be voting, if they are not deported soon.

  • Noahson

    Thanks, Daniel. This clarification is long overdue. Eric Joffe, among many others, willfully misrepresents this passage. (Even Reform leaders are not that ignorant.) The “sojourners” in the passage are not mortal enemies who want to kill your children. They are, as you say, resident aliens who abide at Jewish sufferance and accept Jewish sovereignty.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      They’re leftists. I don’t think they know a great deal beyond cherry picking some quotes from past essays.

  • Uncle Jay

    Here’s an idea. All those who think these illegal immigrants should be welcomed into the United States should welcome them in their homes. Put up or shut up.

    • cxt

      Or at least–as has already been suggested—the States whose leadership support it should step up and take them into their States.

  • cxt

    Isn’t it odd that same people whom would freak out if somebody quoted the Bible to justify….say….opposition to gay marriage….are the first people to try and use the Bible when they can find an out of context passage they can bend to serve their political ends.

    BTW–the gentlemen holding the sign needs to read it more carefully–it means “travel together”……..not sure it really applies if you are either not “together” in the sense the passage means nor if you are not “travelling.”

    • Daniel Greenfield

      the left only quotes scripture out of context

  • michaelvonwilsongmailcom

    I’ve been saying this same thing for years but the etymology really helps for future reference. Thanks!

    • CaoMoo

      most modern english translations Ive seen read resident alien, Daniel is very correct. Part of peoples biblical ignorance is they insist on reading it in english they can’t understand for some reason.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    Now they want theocracy?

    Um…OK, but it’s a package deal.

    • DB1954

      Those on the religious left are some of the most hypocritical, self-righteous, and sanctimonious people I’ve ever encountered. The moral preening is repulsive beyond belief.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    If a horse from Troy shows up at your door…

    • CaoMoo

      sadly the muslims in europre and the illegals we have here didnt even need to build a horse or pinata or anything.

  • DB1954

    These people don’t speak for me. As far as i’m concerned, they aren’t real Christians unless one wants to include in the definition of “Christian” those who believe in and promote heretical doctrines. There’s nothing Christian going on here.

  • carpe diem36

    there is another, a different meaning to the word Ger, it means the convert, the one who joins your religion and abandons his own. It says you should not discriminate against him nor should you torture him. This is how I understand the Hebrew text.

  • Rurik

    And the Hitler Jugend SS Division were also clearly “Youths” … byt still dangerous invaders.

  • joan

    Liberals love to misquote the Bible to suit their purposes to make it say things it doesn’t say and deny what it actually teaches.

  • Marylou

    Daniel, thanks for pointing this out. And, incidentally, Strong’s (Christian) Interlinear Bible accessed at backs you up 100%.