A Pattern for Treating Refugees
IN THE Law that Jehovah God gave to the nation of Israel, the Israelites were reminded of their situation as refugees in Egypt. (Exodus 22:21; 23:9; Deuteronomy 10:19) So they were instructed to treat the alien residents among them kindly, indeed as brothers.
God’s Law stated: “In case an alien resident [who often was a refugee] resides with you as an alien in your land, you must not mistreat him. The alien resident who resides as an alien with you should become to you like a native of yours; and you must love him as yourself, for you became alien residents in the land of Egypt.”—Leviticus 19:33, 34.
Recognizing that alien residents were often vulnerable and insecure, Jehovah gave specific laws for their welfare and protection. Consider the following rights guaranteed to them.
THE RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL: “One judicial decision should hold good for you. The alien resident should prove to be the same as the native.” “You must not pervert the judgment of the alien resident.”—Leviticus 24:22; Deuteronomy 24:17.
THE RIGHT TO A SHARE IN THE TITHE: “At the end of three years you will bring out the entire tenth part of your produce in that year, and you must deposit it inside your gates. And the Levite, because he has no share or inheritance with you, and the alien resident and the fatherless boy and the widow, who are inside your gates, must come, and they must eat and satisfy themselves.”—Deuteronomy 14:28, 29.
THE RIGHT TO FAIR WAGES: “You must not defraud a hired laborer who is in trouble and poor, whether of your brothers or of your alien residents who are in your land, within your gates.”—Deuteronomy 24:14.
THE RIGHT TO ASYLUM FOR AN UNINTENTIONAL MANSLAYER: “For the sons of Israel and for the alien resident and for the settler in the midst of them these six cities will serve as a refuge, for anyone to flee there that fatally strikes a soul unintentionally.”—Numbers 35:15.
THE RIGHT TO GLEAN: “When you people reap the harvest of your land, you must not reap the edge of your field completely, and the gleaning of your harvest you must not pick up. Also, you must not gather the leftovers of your vineyard, and you must not pick up the scattered grapes of your vineyard. For the afflicted one and the alien resident you should leave them. I am Jehovah your God.”—Leviticus 19:9, 10.
Surely, our Creator, Jehovah God, has compassion for refugees, and he must be pleased when we do also. “Become imitators of God,” the Christian apostle Paul wrote, “and go on walking in love.”—Ephesians 5:1, 2.
[Picture Credit Line on page 9]
Boy on left: UN PHOTO 159243/J. Isaac