Including the Stranger: Foreigners in the Former Prophets (New Studies In Biblical Theology Series)
The Old Testament, particularly the Former Prophets, has frequently been regarded as having a negative attitude towards foreigners. This has meant that these texts are often employed by those opposed to the Christian faith to attack the Bible; and such...
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The Old Testament, particularly the Former Prophets, has frequently been regarded as having a negative attitude towards foreigners. This has meant that these texts are often employed by those opposed to the Christian faith to attack the Bible; and such views can be echoed by Christians. While the stories of David and Goliath are cherished, other texts are seen to involve 'ethnic cleansing' or 'massacre' and are avoided. David Firth's contention is that this approach emerges from an established interpretation of the text, but not the text itself. He argues that the Former Prophets subvert the exclusivist approach in order to show that the people of God are not defined by ethnicity but rather by their willingness to commit themselves to the purposes of Yahweh. God's purposes are always wider than Israel alone, and Israel must therefore understand themselves as a people who welcome and include the foreigner. As well as addressing contemporary concerns about the ongoing significance of the OT for Christians and showing how opponents of Christianity have misunderstood the Bible in their desire to attack it, this reading of the Former Prophets has significant ethical implications for Christians today as we wrestle with the issues of migration and what it means to be the people of God.
David G. Firth (Ph.D., University of Pretoria ) is Old Testament Tutor at Cliff College. David has experience in pastoral and evangelistic ministry in his native Australia, as well as seven years with the Australian Baptist Missionary Society in Zimbabwe and South Africa. His research interests are in Old Testament ethics and mission, with a particular focus on literary issues associated with narrative and poetry.
He has written widely on these areas both in articles and in his books Hear, O Lord: A Spirituality of the Psalms (Calver: Cliff College Publishing, 2005), Surrendering Retribution in the Psalms: Responses to Violence in the Individual Complaints (Paternoster, 2005), and Interpreting the Psalms: Issues and Approaches (ed. with Philip S. Johnston) (IVPress, 2005), and 1 & 2 Samuel (Apollos Old Testament Commentary Series); The Message of Esther (The Bible Speaks Today Series), and has recently become general editor for the New Tyndale Old Testament Commentary series.
Kooorng - Editorial Review.