Assimilation

Assimilation

43 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “These are the regulations for the Passover meal:

“No foreigner may eat it. 44 Any slave you have bought may eat it after you have circumcised him, 45 but a temporary resident or a hired worker may not eat it.

46 “It must be eaten inside the house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones. 47 The whole community of Israel must celebrate it.

48 “A foreigner residing among you who wants to celebrate the Lord’s Passover must have all the males in his household circumcised; then he may take part like one born in the land. No uncircumcised male may eat it. 49 The same law applies both to the native-born and to the foreigner residing among you.”

50 All the Israelites did just what the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron. 51 And on that very day the Lord brought the Israelites out of Egypt by their divisions. Exodus 12:43-51

What seems to us like very obscure regulations regarding a festival makes total sense to the Hebrew.

What’s strongly implied in this passage (and confirmed in Exodus 12:38) is that there were foreigners among the Hebrews.

When we think of the Israelite leaving Egypt, we only consider those who are Jewish. How did the others get into the mix? Where were they from and how did they become slaves? It wasn’t just the Jews who were slaves, but many Egyptians (and other nationalities) as well. Were they intermingled with the Israelites and joined in when the Israelites fled Egypt?

Foreigners introduce other variables into the exodus mix. They have their own customs, foods, values, and religions. Here the Lord tells them the condition for the foreigners to participate in the Passover with the Hebrews. The question is, would they be able to assimilate with the Jews who were leaving Pharaoh or would they be distinct in a variety of ways?

We face the same types of problems here in the West. Some people immigrate and do not share the same values, traditions, and religions, and have no intention of doing so. Some enter the country illegally, already starting off on the wrong foot. Still others hope to flee regimes that are hostile to their way of life.

Knowing how to differentiate among them takes great wisdom and insight. The issues are as complex as the number of people involved. Unfortunately they’ve become political footballs, and truth is hard to come by when politicians and a massive bureaucracy is involved.

Our leaders needs wisdom to make the right choices and laws governing immigrants. Those fleeing hostile environments because of persecution need a safe home.

Pray that our politicians make wise and discerning choices when crafting and enforcing legislation.

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