In their book Seeking Refuge: On the Shores of the Global Refugee Crisis, Stephan Bauman, Matthew Soerens, and Issam Smeir write: “The question of refugees—and refugee resettlement, in particular—has divided the church as well. Many Christians feel torn between the natural desire to protect themselves and their families and the desire to minister compassionately to the vulnerable.”
Israel could have taken advantage of these prisoners of war and put them to forced labor in any job the Israelites deemed menial. Or, driven by nationalism, xenophobia, and a desire to emphasize the historical ethnic separation, they could have returned the captives to their lands without offering them any help. The trek home by the 200,000 starving, naked, and shoeless women and children would have left the caravan from Judah vulnerable to the elements and raiders, and surely would have meant death by exhaustion and starvation for many.
In the kindness and sovereignty of the Lord toward Judah and Israel, He raised up one prophetic voice and several leaders who understood the depths of the mercy of God. Israel herself was guilty of the very idolatry that had led to Judah’s plunder. They too were deserving of the wrath of God (vv. 10–13). So rather than incurring more guilt by subjugating their brothers, the prophet and the chiefs exhorted Israel to show compassion to the broken throngs of Judah. The men of Israel, who could have increased their own wealth with the spoils of war and taken advantage of every woman, instead clothed, fed, and anointed with oil each of the 200,000 refugees, giving them help and dignity. The men of Israel carried the desperate people of Judah back to the homes.
Paul Santhouse, VP of Moody Publishers, requests your prayers for him and his teams as they keep Moody Publishers a God-centered, focused, and efficient ministry. Pray that the joy of the Lord and His presence would fill their hearts and minds.