Shortly after redeeming the Israelites from Egypt, God commanded them, “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Ex. 22:21) He stated: “The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” (Lev. 19:34) “There is to be one law and one ordinance for you and for the alien who sojourns with you.” (Num. 15:16)
All the children of Abraham are to look upon strangers with kindness, for they themselves were once strangers. Abraham lived as a “stranger and a sojourner” even in the land of Canaan, which God had promised to give him. After his wife Sarah died, “Abraham rose from before his dead, and spoke to the sons of Heth, saying, ‘I am a stranger and a sojourner among you; give me a possession of a grave among you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.’ ” (Gen. 23:2-4)
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did not, in their lifetimes, inherit the land God had promised to them and their descendants. (Gen. 17:8; 17:19, 21; 28:4, 13-15; Dt. 7:3) “They were only a few men in number, very few, and strangers in it. And they wandered about from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people.” (Ps. 105:12-13)
Before all Israel entered the land of Canaan, God said, “The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are aliens and sojourners with Me.” (Lev. 25:23) The writer of Psalm 119 prayed, “I am a stranger in the earth; Do not hide Thy commandments from me. . . . Thy statutes are my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.” (Ps. 119:19, 54)
In this age, the children of Abraham are pilgrims and strangers. Therefore, they must take care not to abuse any strangers within their midst. The letter to the Hebrews urges, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Heb. 13:2)
All the children of Abraham are to show kindness to strangers, because they know what it is to be a stranger, even in the land of their inheritance.