Ancient Israelite thought – represented by biblical Hebrew terminology
– is aware of the difference between a non-assimilated stranger (רָכֵנ /
legal Theּ). תֹושָׁ ב ;גֵּר) stranger assimilated-semi a of that and) זָר ;נָכְ רִ י
traditions of the OT are rather static and categorical regarding the
differentiation of these types of strangers; they minimize the relationship
with the ְְכָיםנִ ר ,but provide protection and ensure provisions for the יםִ רֵג .
In addition, the law codes are almost exclusively silent about the
possibility of a certain stranger’s transition from one category to the
other. Contrary to this, the narrative accounts of the OT are especially
rich in representations of distinct strategies of stranger inclusion. Thus,
it is evident that the ancient Israelite thought and everyday practice did
not exclude the possibility of transitioning and transforming complete
strangers into community members. In fact, the narrative
representations of the treatment of strangers in the Books of Joshua and
Judges encapsulate authentic ancient Israelite mentalities, cultural
conventions, and social mechanisms – in a quite dynamic manner (cf.
Rahab’s inclusion in Josh 2 and 6; the Kenites’ status in Judg 4–5; the
Gibeonites’ inclusion in Josh 9).
The present study is an edited and reworked version of the paper presented in the
EABS unit, “Anthropology and the Bible”, at the 2017 international SBL/EABS joint
meeting, Berlin, Humboldt University, August 7–11, 2017.