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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Strict isolation did by no means, as some suppose, form the leading principle in the system of theocracy as laid down by Moses, since even non-Israelites not only were allowed to reside in Palestine, but had the fullest protection of the law, equally with the descendants of Abraham (; ; ; ; ; ; the law of usury, , made, however, an exception), and were besides recommended in general terms by Moses to humanity and charity (; ; ; ; comp. ; ), as well as to a participation in certain prerogatives granted to the poor of the land, such as a share in the tithe and feast-offering, and the harvest in the Jubilee-year (; ; ; ; ). In return, it was required on the part of non-Israelites not to commit acts by which the religious feelings of the people might be hurt (; ; ; ; ; . The eating of an animal which had died a natural death, , seems to have been the sole exception). The advantage the Jew had over the Gentile was thus strictly spiritual, in his being a citizen, a member of the theocracy, of the community of God, on whom positive laws were enjoined. But even to this spiritual privilege Gentiles were admitted under certain restrictions (). The only nations that were altogether excluded from the citizenship of the theocracy by especial command of the Lord, were the Ammonites and Moabites, from a feeling of vengeance against them: and in the same situation were all castrated persons, and bastards, from a feeling of disgrace and shame (). In the time of Solomon, no less than 153,600 strangers were resident in Palestine (). Roman citizenship (), was granted in the times of the Emperors to whole provinces and cities, as also to single individuals, for some service rendered to the state or the imperial family, or even for a certain sum of money (). The Apostle Paul was a Roman citizen by family (), and hence his protesting against corporal or capital punishment.





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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Citizenship'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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