Old Testament perspectives on migration and responsibility for the refugee

Stephen J. McKinney, Robert J. Hill and Honor Hania

This article highlights the scale and complexity of contemporary migration and some of the challenges faced by migrants, particularly those who are the victims of forcible displacement. It examines two aspects of migration in the Old Testament: the motif of migration to the self-understanding of the Jewish people, and the mandate to the Jewish people to love and care for the stranger. Stephen J. McKinney and Honor Hania are from the University of Glasgow, Robert J. Hill is parish priest of St Matthew?s, Bishopbriggs.

On a daily basis, the newspapers and the media report on the efforts of refugees who are fleeing from situations of warfare or persecution and seeking to gain access to a ?safe? country or territory. Recent examples include accounts of those who are fleeing from Syria to Lebanon, Jordan and Italy. These reports provide examples of forcible displacement, which is a phenomenon that affects the lives of around 51.2 million people.

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