Leviticus 19:34 Commentary - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)
(34)But the stranger that dwelleth.—Better, The stranger that sojourneth. The word “but” is not in the original, and its insertion mars the flow of the passage, whilst the expression rendered in the Authorised Version by “dwelleth” is the same which is translated “sojourn in the preceding verse. This stranger is in every respect to be treated as any other member of the commonwealth, and as a native.
Shalt love him as thyself.—He is not simply to be treated with consideration and courtesy because he is a foreigner, and enjoy the rights and receive the justice due to every human being, but he is to be put on a perfect equality with the ordinary Israelite. Hence the precept laid down in Lev. 19:18, “thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” is here enacted with regard to the stranger. It was this humane law which attracted so many strangers to Palestine. Hence we find that in the days of Solomon there were 153,600 strangers in the Holy Land.
For ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.—To enforce these kindly sentiments towards strangers, which was so contrary to the practice of the surrounding nations, who had an inveterate hatred of all foreigners, the lawgiver appeals to their own bitter experience. They knew with what inhumanity they were treated in Egypt because they were strangers, how they had been humiliated and reduced to slavery. The very thought of this will not only soften their hearts, but will enable them to see that the safety of all classes consists in basing our legislation upon the principle of equal rights to all inhabitants. This pathetic appeal is to be found three times more in the Pentateuch to enforce this precept (Exo. 22:20; Exo. 23:9; Deu. 10:19).
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Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)
Charles John Ellicott (1819 - 1905) was a distinguished English Christian theologian, academic and churchman. He briefly served as Dean of Exeter, then Bishop of the united see of Gloucester and Bristol.
His works include:
- An Old Testament Commentary for English Readers, 1897. (Editor)
- A New Testament Commentary for English Readers, 1878.