Biblical References to Refugees


Old Testament

Ecclesiastics 4: 8-9   “To the poor man lend and ear, and return his greetings courteously.  Save the oppressed from the hand of the oppressor, and do not be mean-spirited in your judgments.”

Exodus 23: 9    “You must not oppress the stranger; you know how a stranger feels, for you lived as strangers in the land of Egypt.”

Isaiah 10: 1-2   “Woe to the legislators of infamous laws, to those who issue tyrannical decrees, who reduce justice to the unfortunate and cheat the poor among my people of their rights, who make widows their prey, and rob the orphan”

Isaiah 61: 1-2    “The spirit of the Lord Yahweh has been given to me, for Yahweh has anointed me.  He has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to bind up hearts that are broken; to proclaim liberty to the captives, freedom to those in prison: to proclaim a year of favor with Yahweh.”

Jeremiah 22: 3-4   “Yahweh says this: Practice honesty and integrity; rescue the man who has been wronged from the hands of his oppressor; do not exploit the stranger, the orphan, the widow; do no violence, shed no innocent blood in this place.”

Leviticus 19: 32-34   “If a stranger lives with you in your land, do not molest him.  You must count him as one of your own countrymen and love him as yourself – for you were once strangers yourselves in Egypt.  I am Yahweh your God.”

Micah 6:8   “What is good has been explained to you; this is what Yahweh asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with your God.”

Psalm 82: 2-4   “No more mockery of justice,

no more favoring of the wicked!

Let the weak and the orphan have justice,

be fair to the wretched and the destitute;

Rescue the weak and needy,

save them from the clutches of the wicked!”

Psalm 103: 6    “Yahweh, who does what is right,

is always on the side of the oppressed.”

Proverbs 31: 6   “Speak, yourself, on behalf of the dumb,

on behalf of the unwanted;

speak, yourself, pronounce a just verdict,

uphold the rights of the poor, of the needy.”

Tobit 4: 7-8   “Set aside part of your goods for almsgiving.  Never turn your face from any poor man and God will never turn his from you.”

Zechariah 7: 8-11  (The word of Yahweh was addressed to Zechariah as follows: )  He said: Apply the law fairly, and practice kindness and compassion toward each other.  Do not oppress the widow and the orphan, the settler and the poor man, and do not secretly plan evil against one another.”

New Testament

Colossians 3: 12-13   “You are God’s chosen race, his saints; he loves you, and you should be clothed in sincere compassion, in kindness and humility, gentleness and patience.”

Galatians 3: 28   “….there are no more distinctions between Hew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, but all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”

1 John 4: 19-21   “Anyone who says, ‘I love God.’ and hates his brother, is a liar, since a man who does not love the brother that he can see cannot love God, whom he has never seen.  So this is the commandment that he has given us, that anyone who loves God must also love his brother.”

Luke 4: 18-19   “The spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for he has anointed me.  He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free, to proclaim the Lord’s year of favor.”

Mark 12: 30-31   “This is the first [commandment] must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all you soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You must love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no commandment greater than these.”

Matthew 25: 35-40   “For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me; sick and you visited me; in prison and you came to see me. …. I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.”

Philippians 2: 5-8   “In your minds you must be the same as Christ Jesus; His state is divine, yet he did not cling to his equality with God but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave, and became as men are; and being as all men are, he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross.”