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Prohibiting Oppression of the Disadvantaged and the Aliens in Society by the Deuteronomic Reform-Movement

Han, Dong-Gu 1

1평택대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The present article studies the social reform, a part of the deuteronomic reform-movement which was taken place in the 8th-7th centuries BCE and was particularly concerned with the oppression of the socially disadvantaged and the aliens. The economic growth of the 8th century had brought about enormous changes in the Israelite society, the very cause of widened gap between the rich and the poor. The majority of the Judaean cities expanded around the time of late 8th century, which had resulted in the three times larger residential area of Jerusalem by the time of 7th century. The massive immigration of the refugees from the northern kingdom was the main cause of the expansion, alongside that of the farmers from the rural regions. Israel as a state charged its people tax and corvee, to which tributes to Assyria were added. The prolonged state of war left the farmland deserted with the reduced agricultural products. Because of the economic hardship, the rural farmers fell into debt to the rich, who took advantage of the situation to increase their wealth. Since Hezekiah the aliens/the sojourners had been a serious social problem. The theological justification to support them was definitely associated with this historical context. The present article seeks to find the exact reasons of the appearance of the aliens, particularly the historical causes of it in the 8th-7th centuries BCE. The concern for the aliens and the socially weak in Deuteronomy is examined in light of various legal ordinances. Among the ordinances are (1) the prohibition of excluding the aliens from the Sabbatical services(Deut 5:14), (2) the encouragement of various groups in society to attend the services(Deut 16:11, 14; 26: 11; cf. Deut 2:18), (3) the bringing of the tithes to help the poor(Deut 14:28-29; 26:12-13), (4) the concern for the socially disadvantaged attested in humanitarian ordinances(Deut 24:6-25:18).

Citation status

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