Immigrants in the Bible

Have you ever noticed how many of the people in the Bible have immigrant experiences?

Adam and Eve

As a consequence of their sin, they are forced to live in exile, in a place of where hard labor and pain feature prominently in their day-to-day lives. They were immigrants.

Abraham, Sarah and Lot

In response to God's call they pick up everything and head to a new country. They struggle to maintain their unique identity and compromise with the host culture with fiery consequences. They were immigrants.


Despite his brothers' evil intentions, Joseph finds himself fulfilling God's good purposes in a powerful governmental position after being sold into slavery, trafficked to another country and working his way to a place of influence. He was an immigrant.


Though his people served as cheap labor, his host country took steps to subdue and control the growth of his family. Supported by miracle after miracle, Moses led his people from a land where they were foreigners to a place they could call their own. He was an immigrant.


Married to an immigrant and loyal to his family even after she entered widowhood, Ruth left her home and her people, her culture and her support systems to travel to a new country. She worked on the edges of society and within the law to provide for her mother-in-law. She was an immigrant.


He left the comfort and glory of heaven to experience the pain and death and cold of our world. Our missionary God, he accepted displacement for the sake of our salvation. He is an immigrant.

And what can we say about David or Daniel, about Jacob or Joshua, about Ezra or Nehemiah, about Peter or Paul or Priscilla, about the Exile or the Great Commission? The theme of immigration is woven throughout the entire Bible, as immigrants play starring roles.

How does God feel about immigrants? That's the subject of the next post.

This is the fourth post in a Short Series: A Biblical Perspective on Immigration. The next post in this series will be ... God shows special concern for immigrants.

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