Ex 22:21 Thou shalt neither vex [Hebrew: deport] a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
God passes judgment, in these verses, on any law that deports people just for being "undocumented" or "unadmitted". God judges any classification of people as "illegals", meaning as being here "illegally".
That is, unless God is confused about U.S. immigration policy, or about the immigration problems we face today. If you think that is the case, talk with Him about it. He will listen. Maybe in His second edition of the Bible He can get it corrected.
There are three ways to confirm that "deport" is the correct translation of the Hebrew word (yaw-NAW) which the King James Version translates "vex": the widely used Strong's Concordance, the widely available Online Bible, a free program, and a study of all the verses using the Hebrew word (yaw-NAW), to see how the contexts use the word.
STRONG'S CONCORDANCE is the most widely used dictionary of Hebrew and Greek, the languages in which the Old and New Testaments of the Bible were written, because of its numbering system that allows laymen who can't read the Hebrew or Greek letters to look up words. It is available in book form in any Christian book store. The numbering system is friendly not only to semi-literate English speakers, but to computers, so it is used by every Bible program. If you click on the word "vex" in these two verses, or look up the word "vex" in a book copy and look for these two verses, you will find that Strong's has assigned the Hebrew word the number 3238. In the paper version you have to turn to the back of the book and look up that number, for the definition. The computer program has the definition pop up. There are five parts to the definition. First, the number assigned to the word. Second, the pronunciation of the word using English letters. (The word is given in Hebrew letters in the book version, and in some programs.) Third, a comment about the background of the word. Fourth, the literal and figurative definition. Fifth, after the colon and double dashes, the English words which the King James version has used to translate the word. Here is Strong's definition:
[Heb. 3238] yanah (yaw-naw') a primitive root; to rage or be violent: by implication, to suppress, to maltreat:--destroy, (thrust out by) oppress(-ing, -ion, -or), proud, vex, do violence.
"Deport" is a modern way to say "thrust out by oppression", one of Strong's definitions. Or, to "oppress", in some way that includes deporting.
(Don't read this paragraph unless you like really technical stuff. James Strong did two unusual things in this definition, which violate his own rules in his introduction to this dictionary. First, he put words after the :-- which do not appear in the King James Version. Neither "do violence" nor "violence" appear in the KJV near the Hebrew yaw-NAW. Second, he put words in parenthesis (after the :--) which are not in the KJV. "thrust out" does not appear in the KJV in association with yaw-NAW. Then why did he include these words? Even though Strong's introduction does not give the space after :-- as the place for definitions, "thrust out by" appears to explain the sense in which the Hebrew means "oppress". If we take this for the purpose of the phrase, do we assume too much? As it turns out, the following context study of the other verses using yaw-NAW shows this is exactly the word's primary meaning: to deport, in an oppressive way -- just like we do, where deportation usually involves extreme loss of property and assets, if not imprisonment, and in every case it means loss of liberty. )
ONLINE BIBLE. The stem of yaw-NAW, we learn, is "Hiphel", meaning to cause. In other words, not "don't deport", but "don't cause to be deported." This it is not only the USCIS agent that physically deports an "illegal" falls under God's judgment, but also the hot-tempered complaints about "illegals" on the lips of average Americans which cause their politicians to so act.The mood of yaw-NAW is "imperfect", meaning it describes not only what you did, but how you did it. This explains that "deport", alone, is only part of the definition: the rest of the definition is the rights-denying manner in which deportation occurs.
(More technical stuff:The definition of yaw-NAW, itself, unexpectedly violates its own rules just as Strong's does. The Online Bible definition says "AV-oppress 11, vex 4, destroy 1, oppressor 1, proud 1, do wrong 1, oppression 1, thrust out; 21". This means that in the King James Version, known as the "Authorized Version" or "AV", yaw-NAW is translated "oppress" 11 times, "vex" 4 times, etc., for a total of 21 times. The problem is that "thrust out" is not given a number, nor does it appear in the KJV in connection with yaw-NAW! So why was it added to this list? It's as if the dictionary editor knew he needed to say "deport" somewhere, but just wasn't sure where to stick it. )
WORD CONTEXT STUDY: The most direct way to learn the meaning of a word is the way dictionary authors use, and the way toddlers use as they first learn the meanings of words: from how words are used in different contexts. By seeing how several different verses uses yaw-NAW, we can learn more about what the word means.
Deuteronomy 23:15 uses the same Hebrew word, yaw-NAW, to mean to send an escaped slave back into his former slavery, away from his liberty with you, on land near you which he has chosen: Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee: 16 He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress [yaw-NAW] him.
This verse, applied to us today, says if an immigrant flees from bad conditions to your town, don't force him back. Let him live in your town. Let him buy property wherever he likes. Here Matthew Henry comments on the verse:
Matthew Henry commentary: I. The land of Israel is here made a sanctuary, or city of refuge, for servants that were wronged and abused by their masters, and fled thither for shelter from the neighbouring countries, De 23:15,16. We cannot suppose that they were hereby obliged to give entertainment to all the unprincipled men that ran from service; Israel needed not (as Rome at first did) to be thus peopled. But, 1. They must not deliver up the trembling servant to his enraged master, till upon trial it appeared that the servant has wronged his master and was justly liable to punishment. Note, It is an honourable thing to shelter and protect the weak, provided they be not wicked. God allows his people to patronise the oppressed. The angel bid Hagar return to her mistress, and Paul sent Onesimus back to his master Philemon, because they had neither of them any cause to go away, nor was either of them exposed to any danger in returning. (Ed. Actually Paul sent Onesimus back with a letter certain to secure his freedom permanently and officially, and Hagar was not sent back to abuse in a place she never wanted to see again, but was sent away from frightening dangers she wanted to leave, to the home she loved where God had promised conditions would be better. Moreover Hagar was not innocent, but her attitude had precipitated her bad treatment. So God told her to be subject to Sarah, advice which, followed, would remove the problems.) But the servant here is supposed to escape, that is, to run for his life, to the people of Israel, of whom he had heard (as Benhadad of the kings of Israel, 1Ki 20:31) that they were a merciful people, to save himself from the fury of a tyrant; and in that case to deliver him up is to throw a lamb into the mouth of a lion. 2. If it appeared that the servant was abused, they must not only protect him, but, supposing him willing to embrace their religion, they must give him all the encouragement that might be to settle among them. Care is taken both that he should not be imposed up on in the place of his settlement--let it be that which he shall choose and where it liketh him best, and that he should not exchange one hard master for many--thou shalt not oppress him. Thus would he soon find a comfortable difference between the land of Israel and other lands, and would choose it to be his rest for ever. Note, Proselytes and converts to the truth should be treated with particular tenderness, that they may have no temptation to return.
Isaiah 49:24 uses yaw-NAW to describe a conqueror taking his captives away from their homes, where they had enjoyed liberty, into slavery: Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? 25 But thus
saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be
delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children. 26 And I
will feed them that oppress [ yaw-NAW] thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as
with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of
Ezekiel 45:8 uses yaw-NAW to describe government confiscation of private property, leaving homeowners
homeless, deprived of the liberty to return to their own homes where they had enjoyed peace and safety -- the previous several verses gave the maximum amount of land which the federal government could take: Eze 45:8
In the land shall be his possession in Israel: and my princes shall no more oppress
[ yaw-NAW] my people; and the rest of the land shall they give to the house of Israel
according to their tribes.
9 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Let it suffice you, O princes of Israel: remove violence and spoil, and execute
judgment and justice, take away your exactions from my people, saith the Lord GOD.
Jeremiah 25:38 uses yaw-NAW to describe conquerors as "deporters" who came and marched away all the inhabitants captive, away from their homes and liberties, leaving the land desolate: He hath forsaken his covert, as the lion: for their land is desolate because of the fierceness of the oppressor, [ yaw-NAW] and because of his fierce anger.
Psalm 74:8 uses yaw-NAW to describe burning the Temple and its satellite synagogues - as if to describe forcibly removing buildings from their assigned land. They said in their hearts, Let us destroy [ yaw-NAW] them together: they have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land.
Eze 22:7, 29 uses yaw-NAW to describe oppression of "the fatherless and the widow" which presumably meant shun, or "thrust out" of society and all its benefits, including advice, information, and help.: 7 In thee have they set light by father and mother: in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have they vexed [ yaw-NAW] the fatherless and the widow. ...:29 The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed [ yaw-NAW] the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully. It is reasonable to translate the same word as "shun", in the context of widows and orphans, which we translate "deport" in the context of immigrants, because the Scripture does not specify what was done, but everyday experience teaches us that discrimination against widows and orphans takes the form of shunning, while discrimination against immigrants takes the form of a combination of shunning and deporting.
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